Our shopping expert, Walecia
Konrad, uncovers not one, but
three ways to be smart,
smarter, smartest about things
you purchase every day.
With soaring fuel prices and
rampant inflation at the
checkout counter, who isn't
looking for ways to save
money? These smart shopping
strategies and insider tricks
can help keep more bucks in
Smart: Avoid bogus gadgets -- vapor bleeders, fuel line magnets and
other devices that claim to improve gas mileage. Environmental
Protection Agency tests haven't found a device that really delivers.
Instead, stick to important basics, such as keeping your car wellmaintained.
Without leaving home (and
wasting gas), use your computer
to find coupons, discounts and
the best deals.
Smarter: Get a rebate. The Discover Open Road card offers a 5%
rebate on gas and car maintenance purchases up to $1,200 annually.
And lots of hotels are offering gas deals to keep tourists coming. Go to
BedandBreakfast.com for a list of B&Bs that have deals, like
Prufrock's in Carpinteria, Calif., which will give guests $50 or 10% of
their gas bill, whichever is greater. Online travel agency bookit.com
offers half-price gas cards and flight credits up to $200 on some
packages. Join Choice Hotels' Choice Privileges program and, after
three stays, you can receive a $50 gas card.
Smartest: Find the best prices before leaving home, and/or consider
sharing the ride. To price-shop, go to GasBuddy.com and plug in your
commuting or trip route. Then look for gas stations with the lowest
prices. (Focus on those that have been updated in the past 24 hours.)
On a recent trek, my family filled up at a GasBuddy recommendation in
New Bedford, Mass., for as much as 40 cents a gallon less than nearby
pumps charged. To share the ride, whether you're road-tripping or
commuting, check Carpoolworld.com and eRideShare.com to
connect with eager passengers or drivers.