Let’s face it, convenience stores are just that — convenient. But these stores are notorious for making you pay a hefty price for convenience.
But did you know that you can actually come out of these places with some killer deals and your pocketbook intact? It’s true. Here’s what you do:
1. Buy your milk at convenience stores — it’s up to $0.50 cheaper per gallon.
Milk is, on average, $0.30 to $0.50 less per gallon than at grocery stores. The average family of four goes through 72 gallons of milk a year and could save up to $36.00!
2. Always bring your own cup to save up to a quarter per refill.
Just about all convenience stores offer a discount for bringing your own coffee or soda cup. Check with your favorite to find out what theirs is, but the discounts typically start at $0.10 and can be as much as $0.25 or more.
3. Ask if you can have their Sunday papers (which, of course, have coupons inside).
Many convenience stores keep Sunday papers until the following week and then have to toss whatever they don’t sell. If this is the case, the stores will often give them away for free.
Avoid dumpster diving by asking first!
4. Use manufacturer coupons.
Yep, you can totally use coupons at most convenience stores. Since they regularly run sales on candy and soda, you can combine coupons with sales to stock up on treats.
5. Follow your favorite convenience stores on social media for freebies.
A lot of convenience stores run promos just for their followers. My favorite local convenience store offers a free small coffee or soda just for “liking” their Facebook page.
6. Download convenience store apps for freebies and special discounts.
If you frequent a particular convenience store, then make sure you have their app.
You can usually grab some random freebies just for having it, like free Twinkies at 7-Eleven on July 15 every year!
7. Get your caffeine fix for free on Sept. 29.
Almost all convenience stores participate in National Coffee Day by giving you a free brew. Yep, even the smaller convenience stores do this!
8. Go to 7-Eleven on 7/11 for a free Slurpee.
July 11 is National Slurpee Day, and all 7-Eleven stores give out free small Slurpees from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. while supplies last.
9. Get your donuts from Wawa — they’re super cheap.
If you live near a Wawa, grab their donuts at $3 for a half-dozen. That’s $0.65 less than Walmart — and they taste way better.
10. Look for discounted breakfast items starting at around 9 a.m.
Convenience stores have to toss hot foods if they don’t sell after four hours. Most of them start marking down breakfast items at around 9 in the morning.
11. Stores often offer a special price when you buy two of the same product — take advantage!
Let’s say a single energy drink is $1.99, but you can get two for $2.49. That makes each energy drink $1.25, which is a 38% savings!
Convenience stores do this kind of thing all the time — for drinks, candy and more! Call or stop in regularly to find out which promos they’re running. They can change as frequently as every week.
12. Don’t buy 12-packs of soda or water.
These are some of the most marked-up items! A 12-pack of soda at my local convenience store is $6.99, but it’s regularly on sale for $3.99 at my local Albertsons — which is a 75% difference!
13. Buy fountain drinks at convenience stores rather than fast food joints and save $0.06 an ounce.
Sure, it’s easy to swing through a drive-thru, but a 12-oz. soda at Wendy’s costs $1.69 ($0.14/oz.), while the average 12-oz. soda at convenience stores is $0.99 ($0.08/oz.).
14. Check the clearance rack to save 50% or more on candy.
Yep, even convenience stores have clearance racks. They’re usually near the register, and it’s where they throw any seasonal goodies and non-refrigerated item nearing its expiration date.
15. Free air for your car (or bike!) tires.
Why should you pay for air? Seriously. Many — but not all — convenience stores still offer free compressed air for low tires. Don’t be afraid to use it on your bike or anything else that could use a fill-up, too.
16. Get a free car wash when you spend enough money.
Make sure to check your store’s policy, but some will offer promos for a free run through their car wash if you spend a certain amount of money in a single trip.
17. Get your cooler filled with ice for free at many convenience stores.
You know you can just go buy a cheap bag of ice, but if you have your cooler with you, the convenience store might just fill it with ice they have on hand for free. This is especially true if you’re just filling a smaller cooler for a few drinks.
18. Get a spotless windshield for free.
Those little squeegees aren’t just full of water. Every morning they’re filled with a combo of cleaner and water. So while you pump, make your car windows sparkly.
If you happen to live close to a full-service station, they will even do this for you while you stay in the car!
19. Use your grocery rewards at gas stations and convenience stores.
Plenty of grocery stores also have convenience stores and gas stations these days.
By signing up for their grocery rewards program, shoppers automatically save $0.10 a gallon at Kroger gas stations, and that savings can be up to $1.00 a gallon, depending on your grocery purchases.
TIP: Any sales these grocers have on snacks and drinks are also available at their fill-up stations — and they will totally take your coupons.
20. Sign up for gas station rewards, too.
Gas stations and convenience stores that aren’t affiliated with grocery stores usually have their own loyalty programs. Sign up to earn points for free food and drinks. In some cases, you’ll even get special pricing on fuel and merchandise.
21. Grab some discounted gift cards from Gift Card Granny and Raise to save up to 18%.
Just in case it’s not readily obvious, they’re not gonna work with those mom and pop stores you love.
22. Become an employee for consistent savings.
Most convenience stores offer an employee discount. Chevron will give employees 10% off everything, including fuel. At Wawa, employees get 50% off all Wawa products while working a shift.
23. Download Ibotta and scan your receipts.
You won’t get money back on fuel, but you might on those road trip snacks.
24. Scan your receipt again with the Fetch app.
Double up on your reward with Fetch. They make it a point to offer rewards from any type of store, including convenience stores.
Right now you can score 200 Fetch points for buying any V8 beverage or 500 points for any Planters NUT-trition.