Free gas for buying groceries

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Gas prices have been falling lately with an average price of $3.30 a gallon, but filling up the tank is still taking a big chunk out of driver's budgets.

"I actually started looking at coupons and sales ads when I was in college," said Ann Peterson.

A husband and three children later, Ann Petersen has mastered the craft of shopping for less.

"I save on average 40-60% on my grocery bill," Peterson said.

It's allowed her to stockpile necessities when they're at their cheapest, but Ann found another way to make sales work for her.

"Martin's continued the program Ukrop's had called fuel perks," Ann said. "For every $100 that you spend, you automatically get 10 cents off per gallon."

This helps at the gas pump, but there are bigger savings to be had.

"They offer bonus deals where if you buy so many items in one category, you get an additional 20 cents off per gallon," Ann said.

Every Monday, Ann sits down with her Martin's circular to find the best deals. She matches available coupons and shares the best discounts on her blog, "Ann's Crazy World."

"20 cents off per gallon equals $4," said Ann.

Her best scenario to date came from barbecue sauce. Each bottle was $1.00. Buy 7, and get 20 cents off the gas. But there was an unadvertised bonus.

"Every 2 bottles of barbecue sauce you bought, you got a catalina coupon for $2.50 off your next order," said Ann. "For every 2 bottles I was buying, I was coming ahead 50 cents."

Ann bought more than 40 bottles and used the catalinas to run another fuel perks deal on baby food. Both deals saved her more than $3 per gallon. She finds a way to fill her tank for free at least once a month.

"There is a max of 20 gallons per fill up," said Ann. "My minivan is a little over 18 gallons. Then I bring my gas can and put the gallon and half in there because we need it to cut the grass."

You might think Ann spends a fortune to get these gas deals. She doesn't. Her monthly food budget is around $200.

If you want to get in on the next deal, click here for Ann's blog.

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