How Using Grocery Fuel Points Has Surprised Me

by Kevin on November 8, 2012

I like to drive. I’d much rather drive than fly just about anywhere. I’m a car guy, and now have a car that requires premium gas. It is a fun ride, but I’m sure you’ve noticed that gas is kind of expensive these days.

My wife was a big proponent of using our grocery store’s fuel points system, but I was extremely skeptical.

Skepticism led to it taking a while for me to get on board, but now I’m so onboard now that I’m practically the captain of the ship!

Why I Didn’t Think Fuel Points Would Be Worth It

I thought grocery store fuel points were just a marketing scam to get you to buy more stuff than you really needed at the grocery store for a┬áminuscule┬ádiscount. I also thought the gas sold at the grocery store might be of lesser quality than elsewhere, and that it would have a premium tacked onto it so that when the discount was applied you would be getting a “deal”.

Turns out, I was wrong on at least two of those points. (I don’t have the tools to test the quality of the gasoline, but our cars have been running fine.) More on these in the next section.

Why Grocery Fuel Points Have Worked For Us

Here are three reasons the fuel points system has worked out just fine for our budget.

We Buy Enough Groceries

First, we buy enough groceries at the local grocery store to justify using the points system. The fuel points grocery store we buy from is Kroger. Their system gives you a 10 cent per gallon discount for every 100 points. You get 1 point per dollar spent at the store, so spending $100 on groceries in a month means you would get a 10 cent discount off every gallon you purchase for one purchase. (The points have to be used all at once up to a maximum of 35 gallons.)

We normally spend about $240 to $250 per month on groceries. That is good for a 20 cent per gallon discount. On one fill up of 15 gallons, that comes to a discount of $3.

We Rack Up Points with Gift Card Promotions

Since the fuel points only come in 100 point increments we try to make sure that we get over the 300 point mark if we’re at 240 to 250 points. The easiest way to do that with Kroger is to buy a gift card. Under normal circumstances you get 2x points on gift cards, so a $25 gift card would be 50 points. Kroger also runs promotions from time to time where you get 4x points on gift cards. So a $25 gift card would get you 100 points.

We Don’t Pay Extra for Gas

My biggest fear was paying too much for gas just because it was convenient or I had points to use. I wanted to be able to buy the cheapest quality gas I could find even if it wasn’t at my grocery store.

Thankfully, at least on our side of town, the grocery store gas is right in line with the other gas stations. They don’t charge more or less because there is one station one block away that they compete with.

Additionally, Kroger gives you 3 cents off per gallon even if you aren’t using your fuel points when you scan your card. That makes Kroger’s gas less expensive than the station down the street.

We Use Grocery and Fuel Cash Back Cards

On top of all of this we also earn a nice bit of cash back by using credit cards that give us both grocery cash back and gas station cash back. Depending on the card we are using we’ll get either 3% or 5% back on those categories. So not only are we getting at minimum 3 cents off per gallon, we’re also getting another 3-5% back in cash back. I’m really happy with our fuel points with Kroger, and recommend you try them or your local store’s fuel point program out. Read the fine print and see if you can save some money on purchases you would make even without the program. (In other words, don’t go out of your way to buy things you wouldn’t buy to get the fuel points. For us, simply buying groceries and the occasional gift card works just fine.)

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