Money Mondays: Would You Shop in an Unsafe Area to Save a Few Bucks?

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This post is by Bernie Carr,


Now that gas prices have been rising, many of us are looking for ways to save money.  Well, that was the idea I had in mind the other day when it was time to fill up my gas tank.

Looking for a cheap gas station

I thought I’d try finding a cheaper gas station than the one in my area by using one of those gas price shoppers.  The gas station in my area is very clean with nice amenities like paper towels, window squeegees, and glass cleaners always filled up and ready.  I like that gas station, but lately, their prices are at least .10 per gallon higher than everywhere else.   So I kept driving a few blocks past my familiar areas until I got to a low priced gas station I found on shopper site.  This one was the exact opposite:  the trash cans were overflowing, with litter strewn around the sidewalks.  The area was also run down.  But it was .20 per gallon cheaper, so I was willing to put up with the inconvenience.  I looked around and saw there were a couple other cars over at the next aisles filling up.  I went to pay for my gas in cash.  Because I don’t like to attract attention I left my purse in the seat, covered with a jacket, with only my cash and my pepper spray in my pocket.

I started to have second thoughts

As I was filling up the tank, a beat up looking truck pulled up really close to my car, blocking my driver’s side door.  A burly man in a white tank top and loose overalls came out of his truck and approached me.  There was no place to go, all I could do was keep my pepper spray in my hand.  He asked me if I was from the area, I said no.  Then he said, can I spare a few bucks so he can get some gas, and I told him sorry, I spent my last dime on gas.  He seemed to hesitate, got in his truck and drove to the next aisle where the other people were filling up.

Whew!  I sure was lucky he was just “asking” for money!  I would not have been so lucky if he was there to rob me.  He could have blocked me with his truck and threatened me somehow where would that  have ended up?  I had the pepper spray which gave me a bit of confidence but you still never know.

When I got home, I told my husband about the incident and he asked me how much was I saving.  I told him, to which he said, “saving $0.20  per gallon, if you put 10 gallons, you would have only save $2, is that worth your life?”   That certainly puts it into perspective.  Now I am not so keen about saving a couple of bucks if it means compromising my safety.  This just goes to show, some money saving tips may sound good on paper, but not so great in the real world.

I have not given up in my money saving quests and will continue to find ways to save.

I’ll just be more choosy about which tips to try next time.  Have you ever regretted trying a new tip?  Please share in the comments.


About the author:

Bernie Carr is the founder of Apartment Prepper. She has written several books including the best-selling Prepper’s Pocket Guide, Jake and Miller’s Big Adventure, The Penny-Pinching Prepper and How to Prepare for Most Emergencies on a $50 a Month Budget. Her work appears in sites such as the Allstate Blog and, as well as print magazines such as Backwoods Survival Guide and Prepper Survival Guide. She has been featured in national publications such as Fox Business and Popular Mechanics. Learn more about Bernie here.



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  1. I travel across 4 states ever 2 weeks. I have stopped at gas stations that I never stopped at before and looked around and got a bad feeling and just left. I always trust my gut feeling when it come to things like this. I try to stop a large well light and busy gas stations. And yes when I worked in the Detroit Mi. area I stopped at some very sketchy gas stations along 8 mile. Learned my lesion when I got a tank full of contaminated gas that cost me a lot of money to repair my car. Not only it there the personal risk factor there is the chance to get contaminated gas or as happened to a friend of mine pumped 20 gallons in to a car that had a 14 gallon tank and was 1/4 full. He got a recite and turned the station in to the state.

  2. Prior to WROL? No! The few dollars saved would be washed away if I were involved in some altercation. Especially if I had to resort to using a weapon.

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