A quick study in gas station soda deals
I was thinking today a little bit about a few money-saving habits I have; one that many might not think of when they think great savings. Specifically, I am talking about soda buys at the local convenience mart gas station. They can yield surprisingly good deals when sales are done in the stores, and with my tips, you can save even more when you least expect it.
Usually your best bet for getting cheap soda is waiting for your grocery store to cycle down to the really really cheap sale, which comes along once every other or every three months. In my area, it can go as low as 89¢ per 2-liter bottle, and whenever the sale hits, we stock up on my favorite drink, Diet Dr. Pepper. Once or twice a year CVS will also have a mega Coke 2-liter blowout, and we’ll buy the maximum amount in ever store in our area (there are about 15 within ten miles of our house) for as little as 67 cents.
The problem with waiting for cycles, however, is that sometimes you’re having a party or a get-together and can’t wait a couple months to grab a few bottles for people to drink. Sure, Pepsi is usually on sale when Coke isn’t, and there’s always the store brand, but believe me, I’m almost as picky when it comes to my favorite brands and flavors as I am when it comes to pinching pennies.
So what do I do? Well, believe me—paying the full price of $1.89 per bottle just doesn’t happen in my family. But I’ve found that buying from the local convenience store at the gas station can sometimes offer surprising savings.
My Tips for Saving at Gas Station Soda Deals
Now I’m not going to lie. Usually the sales at the gas station just aren’t that great. That’s because the good sales at supermarkets are actually money losers for them. They count on people coming in and buying a bunch of other stuff with their drink deals. Gas stations, with their narrow margins and smaller distribution can’t do that. What I usually see is 2 for $3.00 or sometimes 3 for $3.33. The thing that you might not realize, though, is that these sales often last longer than Coke or Pepsi promotions elsewhere because their supply sticks around longer. They also sometimes have corporation sales (Hess, Shell, 7-Eleven, what have you) that are willing to take a smaller profit so they can get people into the store.
- #1 – Never ever ever buy soda in cans. This is kind of a general rule—don’t do it at grocery stores either. Aluminum isn’t good for you, if it not recycled it clogs landfills forever just like plastic, and worst of all it’s NEVER cheaper than 2-liter bottles. Seriously. Unless you absolutely have to have individual sized servings, don’t get sucked in by the 5 for $10 12-pack super deals. The price per oz still works out more expensive than regular priced 2-liter bottles.
- #2 – If you really are there for convenience, check the fountain. Usually, the reason you stop at a gas station isn’t to buy groceries. They’re expensive and the quantities and selections are poor—but they are convenient! If you’re stopping just to get a drink on the way to work or somewhere, be sure to check the fountain first. The prices for a big gulp, or the equivalent drink at your place are always better than prices for bottled soda. Sometimes the store even charges more for keeping them in the cooler! Check the fountain and see if they have your flavor first.
- #3 – When sales are over in the stores, check out the gas station. When Coke or Pepsi are offering their best prices in supermarkets, they are to gas stations as well. However, the sales end pretty quickly (usually one week). If a gas station has a whole pile of soda they bought at the cheap price, they’re going to want to get rid of it. Their sale prices are higher, but the sales may go on for two or three weeks. (Depending on how thirsty your neighbors are, I guess)
- #4 – Look for special coupons. I’ve been seeing more and more door tag style coupons clinging to the necks of soda bottles in the gas station. Usually they’re enough to bring the soda down to the supermarket price. BUT, if you play your cards right, you can do even better…
- #5 – Don’t use those special coupons at the gas station! Whoever put them there (usually it’s a manufacturer coupon) is counting on you using it in a place where prices are high and you aren’t buying a lot. Like a gas station. But you (as a faithful HaveKidsWillCoupon.com reader) are more cunning than that. Take those coupons to your local grocery store that doubles manufacturer coupons. Better yet, take it to them during their super duper mega soda sale. Voila! Free soda. (or sometimes money back!)
That’s it for my thoughts on the matter. Do you have any? Anything else you like to buy from Gas Stations? Any other stores we wouldn’t think of to buy a product at a discount? Let me know in the comments below.