Save Money on Your Next Gas Stop with This Free App

When I was a kid, my dream car was a glow-in-the-dark ambulance. A decommissioned one of course, but how cool would it be to drive one of those around?

As I got closer to driving age, and despite my disinterest in actually getting a license and driving, I wanted a Toyota Prius. As fuel prices rose from the sub-$1 prices that I remembered as a child, it just made sense to drive something that would use less gas.

Four years ago, Alyssa and I needed a second vehicle since we both had full-time jobs, and we test-drove some Priuses. After running the numbers, we ultimately decided that we would do better with an older Camry like the one that we already owned.

Twin Cars

Today, our dream car is a Tesla.

Some of you understand, and some of you are curious. Some of you think it’s an awful idea and want to convince me why we should never get one. Chances are, if you fall into either of the last two categories, you probably have never driven one, or you lean too far to the right in your political convictions to appreciate what Elon Musk and his team have built.

But until we have the privilege of realizing our dream someday, we continue to drive our faithful Toyota internal combustion engines.

When we travel, fuel is always one of our most significant expenses. Perhaps it is for you too. So how do we cope with gas prices that seem high to us (but are relatively cheap compared to the rest of the world)?

Introducing the Upside App

The Upside app is a game-changer in the world of savvy travel savings. This isn’t our only way of saving money on fuel, but it’s one of the easiest.

Of course, if you don’t have a smartphone, you can stop reading here because this money-saving method requires a smartphone app.

Using Upside, we routinely save 5-12 cents off each gallon of gas that we purchase. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but it sure adds up over time, especially if you drive a larger vehicle or travel a lot for work (or vacations!).

How Upside Works

Cashback on Gas Purchases
The main feature of the Upside app is its ability to help you save money on every gallon of gas you purchase. The process is simple: before heading to the pump, open the app and browse through a list of participating gas stations in your area. Once you have selected the gas station that you want to use, you go there and complete the transaction.

Back in the app, you specify the debit/credit card that you used, and Upside takes care of the rest, matching your transaction with the gas station’s records and crediting your account with the appropriate cashback. It’s like getting a discount every time you fill up your tank!

Smart Refueling Choices
The Upside app doesn’t just provide cashback – it also helps you make informed decisions about where to refuel. The app displays real-time gas prices at nearby stations, allowing you to choose the most cost-effective option and avoid overpaying for fuel.

Upside App Rewards

Real Money and Gift Cards

One of my favourite features of Upside is its cashback options. You can literally transfer the money directly to your bank so that it’s truly a discount on your fuel purchases! You also have the option of buying gift cards with your cashback, but I don’t recommend going that route. Buy the gift cards later if you decide that you want them!

Passive Income
If you refer your family and friends to Upside, you will receive 1 cent per gallon of gas that they purchase while using the app. Again, not much, but most of you have a lot of friends, and it all adds up! You also get an additional 15 cents off per gallon on one fill-up for each friend that you refer.

Beyond the Pump: Cashback on Everyday Purchases

We don’t do this often, but you can also earn cashback at retail stores and restaurants with Upside. We used to get 20% back at our nearby grocery store before they stopped participating in the program.

I do not encourage people to go and spend money just so they can take advantage of discounts and cashback, but if you can get money back for purchases that you already intend to make, why not?

Upside App RetailersRetail Stores
Many retail stores partner with Upside to offer cashback on your purchases. From clothing stores to grocery stores to electronics retailers, you can earn money back on items you were planning to buy anyway. As mentioned above, we really benefited from this when our nearby grocery store was still on Upside.

You can enjoy cashback rewards when dining at participating restaurants, and the locations nearby you may include nationwide chains or even local independent eateries. Open the app, browse the map to find what you like, and enjoy your meal knowing that you are earning money back. I would not recommend spending more money though just because you know you’re getting a discount.

Get Started with Upside Today

It’s easy to use Upside, and you can always change your mind and delete it if you decide that it’s not worth the space that it uses on your phone. If you would like to use our referral code, you will receive an additional 15 cents back per gallon on your first fill-up, and you’ll be gifting us the same favour. But you can sign up without our referral if you would prefer to do that. Our promo code is 4VKBC, and you enter it when you register your account.

  1. Download the Upside app from your app store. It’s available for both iOS and Android devices:
  2. Create your account in the app. You need to provide some basic information like your name, email, etc. You also need to link your preferred payment method to receive cashback. If you would like to use our referral code and claim your extra 15 cents back per gallon the first time you buy gas, enter the code 4VKBC when prompted. You can also skip this step if you wish.
  3. Browse offers in the app to discover gas stations, restaurants, and retail stores offering cashback. Upsidee’s map makes it easy to find the best deals near you.
  4. After you have made a few purchases at participating locations, simply redeem your cashback within the app by transferring the money to your bank or purchasing an online gift card.

When Upside Doesn’t Work

Upside App MapThere are times when Upside doesn’t work or cannot be used. Hopefully this list answers any questions that you might have.

  1. It does not work at all gas stations. Each gas station has to agree to participate in Upside’s program, and some choose not to. We have found gas stations all over the US that participate, and typically the larger chains do (BP, Shell, Circle K, Holiday, Speedway, Casey’s, Kwik Trip, etc.). We have even found small towns that have multiple gas stations that participate. You just have to open the app and check the map to see which ones do and which ones don’t.
  2. Sam’s Club, Costco, Hy-Vee, Walmart, Fleet Farm, and other gas stations attached to larger retail stores do not participate. After all, some of these places already give you better discounts than the standalone gas stations. Unfortunately, you can’t double up on the savings at these places.
  3. Not all restaurants and stores participate, but I have seen some common ones like McDonald’s, Burger King, and Chick-fil-A on Upside. So you don’t know what you can save until you check the app!
  4. If you don’t claim an offer in the app before you make your purchase, you won’t get cashback. Think of it like a coupon book and “clip the coupon” in the app before you make the transaction.
  5. If you have multiple payment methods loaded into the app, be sure to specify the correct form of payment that you used to make the transaction. If you paid with a card ending in 4124 but the app is showing a card ending in 1762, Upside will not identify your transaction with the merchant and will not give you cashback.


The Upside app is a must-have for any road trip enthusiast looking to maximize savings on their trips. But it can also help you save money right in your neighborhood as you make your daily purchases.

From earning cashback on gas purchases to enjoying discounts at restaurants and retail stores, the savings add up over time. Combined with our other money-saving habits while living life and traveling, it really makes a difference!

Someday if we get our Tesla, we won’t use this app quite as often as we do, but that won’t be for a while.

Perhaps that glow-in-the-dark ambulance will also show up along the way.

Have you heard of Upside before, and do you plan to try it if you haven’t?

“Do You Have Any Upcoming Trips?”

The questions that people ask about you often reveal what they know about you. Either they don’t know much about you and they want to get to know you, or they know you already and want to hear updates on various aspects of your life.

There is one question that we probably hear more than any other: “Do you have any upcoming trips?”

Coliseum FamilyIt’s an interesting question because the answer is always yes. If you define a trip as going somewhere, we always have plans to go somewhere, whether that’s a few hours away to see family and friends or out-of-state for a photo/video project.

But if you define a trip as a vacation, a long journey across the country, or an overseas missions trip, we really don’t have a lot of those trips over the course of a year. In fact, the large majority of our trips are less than 60 hours in duration from the time we leave home until we return.

We have noticed, however, that the average person just does not travel much at all, so we tend to be an exception even though we don’t come close to matching the mileage of a select few.

The two of us definitely traveled much more in our single days before God led us together. So now we have that lingering desire to travel more but simply do not have the availability and the resources to do it as often as we would like.

As a result of these various factors, one thing that people know about us is that we love to travel, and we have discovered ways to do it without going broke. In fact, we have even found some ways to travel in luxury for less than the average person might spend on a basic, no-frills trip.

Some people do not like traveling because all of the stress and expense involved. But when you’re walking through airport security in less than 5 minutes, eating and showering in cozy airport lounges, sleeping business class on an airplane, driving Mustangs and Teslas, and staying in hotel rooms that feature two bedrooms and full kitchens, suddenly the trip to get somewhere is just as enjoyable if not more enjoyable than the actual destination.

Of course, sometimes our trips look like us simply driving our 2000 Toyota Camry down to Iowa and staying overnight with family and friends. You don’t put 20,000 miles on your car in a year just by driving to work and back every day!

But whether our trips find us in our little car or in the front seats of a Boeing 777, we have found scores of ways to save money and upgrade our travel, thus enabling us to travel even more and help others do the same.

Experience is our primary teacher, and we have learned so much from trying new things and making mistakes (sometimes costly ones). But we are also deeply indebted to hundreds of strangers and a few good friends who have traveled this road before us, teaching us the “tricks of the trip” and keeping us updated on the latest travel trends and deals.

So now we embark on a new trip, sharing our trips, travel tips, and money advice on our family blog for the benefit of others. If you want to follow along, we invite you to subscribe to our blog so that you are notified anytime we post. Also, if you are interested in receiving  a few emails a year that are dedicated specifically to family updates, you can also subscribe to those (this is separate from our blog updates).

Here is a short list of the travel-related things we plan to cover:

  • Travel experiences
  • Saving money and budgeting for travel
  • Places to visit in the US
  • Places to visit internationally
  • Traveling with kids
  • Planning missions trips
  • Travel products
  • Tips for flying
  • Tips for packing

Comment below to tell us what you want us to write about! The more feedback we receive, the better, because we want this to serve our readers.

Hopefully we can help you learn some new things and explore more of this amazing world that God has given us!