Archive for April 2015

How money I spend at the gas pump is financing my retirement

If you have a credit card, chances are you get some form of loyalty rewards for using it. Some get points,

how my gas purchases finance my retirement

how my gas purchases finance my retirement

others get travel rewardss or airmiles while the latest craze is ‘cash-back’ credit card.

Each has a preference and every card has certain advantages, but personally, I use the “Signature RBC Rewards Visa” . It has an excellent rewards program where you earn 1 RBC rewards point for every dollar spent.

Once you have enough points, you can use them to buy travel and airline tickets, electronics, or my favorite, financial rewards. Since getting my card a few years back, I have been using the points accumulated to convert them to RRSP (Registered Retirement Savings Plan)

Basically, for every 12,000 points accumulated, you can convert them to get $100 in RRSP money (or TFSA, mortgage credit voucher etc.) Which means that for every $100 you spend on the card, you are getting just around $1 back (0.89 to be exact) . This conversion rate may not be as some other cards out there, but the rewards are worth it.

But here is where it gets interesting: using this card in conjunction with an ESSO gas card, you can accelerate your points accumulation. How? ESSO lets you convert your ESSO points to RBC rewards points. You get 1500 RBC points for every 2500 ESSO points.

So when I fill up gas, I pay witth my Signature RBC Rewards Visa card to get RBC points, as well as swipe my ESSO card to get ESSO points (which get converted back to RBC points) .

So essentially, the money I use to fill up gas for my car, all comes back to me-through points-in the form of RRSP money, which I save for retirement of course.  Based on my current annual credit card and gas spending, I have been able to earn an average of $300 in RRSP savings every year. And for someone who drives more, uses their credit card more often, they can save even more.

And remember, as previously mentioned, you can use your RBC rewards points to redeem for other rewards, including TFSA, travel vouchers, credit towards your mortgage, electronics, gift cards and so much more. You can find a full list of what is offered here:

New proven methods for saving gas

The web is full of tips on how to save money on gas and have better fuel efficiency. Some are creative and can save you money

Creative tips to save on gas

Creative tips to save on gas

while others are useless or we already know about. Here are some of my personal favourites which I apply myself.

-Gravity is your friend: why even press on the pedal when the can can go down on its own? On downhill rides, gravity not gas, is your friend.

-Scan your local routes to work and other common places for one with the least amount of traffic and stop signs. Don’t get used to the same routine: find other routes that can potentially save you money.

-Turn off the car at those red lights that take more than one minute. You know you are going to stop after all. I know at least 3 of those in my area. And since I drive through them at least a few times a week, it is a no-brainer.

-Always try to fill-up rather than topping up only. Without going into too much details, and speaking from years of personal experience, this will save you money.

-Last but not least, take it easy on your gas pedal. This may sound like common sense, but do you really watch your pedal? Are you aware of how smooth or how hard you press on it? Do you press on it gently, as if you are pressing on egg shells? This is probably the single most overlooked factor in your fuel efficiency. Practice makes perfect. You may have been used to always pressing hard on the pedal and may take some time to break out of this habit and go easier on the pedal, but it will pay off .


Just because gas prices are down, doesn’t mean you no longer have to care about saving money at the pump. You should take any savings you can get, after all, gas prices are bound to go back up in the long term, if not earlier.