This post is sponsored by U.S. BANK and Kroger.
I’ve had many credit cards in my adult life – some with rewards and some without. Over time, you learn it’s better to earn a little “payback” for all of your spending. (Even more so, if you pay your bill in full every month.) The benefits you earn matters, too. I’ve had cards with rewards that were too difficult to earn, had lots of restrictions or simply not worth my time because it was so minimal. I always encourage others to do the math first before applying for a new credit card. Some cards require you to spend thousands of dollars to earn a single reward. Such cards might be beneficial to high-end spenders, but not for “regular folk,” like me.
Not until I found the Kroger REWARDS Visa did I find a perfect fit for my lifestyle and spending. Who doesn’t want free groceries, right? It’s been in my wallet for nearly two years and I’ve bagged lots of benefits, literally.
The savings are revved up right from the beginning, as new cardholders get an extra 25 cents off per gallon of gas (when you redeem at least 100 fuel points) at the Kroger Family of Stores Fuel Centers for the first year. As a true bargain hunter, I only redeem fuel points when I reach the maximum of 1,000 points or $1 off per gallon. As a result, I regularly save $1.25 per gallon of gas – even once filling my tank for just $3.90. After the first year, the card still saves me an additional 5 cents off per gallon at the pump. (If you redeem the maximum fuel points, it means saving $1.05 per gallon.) Every penny counts, right?
Of course, the biggest benefit are the points earned toward earning free groceries. For every $1 spent anywhere Visa is accepted, you earn one point. However, you can earn double points for every purchase made at the Kroger family of stores (Kroger, King Soopers, City Market, Dillons, Baker’s, Smith’s, Fry’s and QFC — excluding fuel centers) and triple points on the purchase of Kroger family brands. (A $5 package of Simple Truth chicken earns 15 points – woo-hoo!) In Denver, it means I shop at King Soopers. The store already offers great low prices and high-quality store brands, so it’s a win-win. I’m earning points on groceries I would and need to purchase anyway. For every 1,000 points, I get $5 in groceries. You can calculate how quickly your rewards will grow here.
On a side note, I especially like to use the card and “double-dip” on the benefits. On a regular basis, King Soopers offers four times fuel points on the purchase of gift cards. It’s the perfect time to purchase gift cards for businesses and restaurants I frequent on a regular basis, especially Target, Amazon and Starbucks. I tell friends that I’m simply “pre-paying” for merchandise, chai teas and scones. Not only do I earn 4 times fuel points, but I also earn double points on the credit card. For example, a $100 purchase in gift cards yields 400 fuel points and 200 reward points. The points add up very quickly. At times, I’ve had 3,000 fuel points in my account.
Now, you may wonder how I rack up so many points so quickly. The trick is that I use the card for absolutely every purchase I make, whether at King Soopers or not. I have even changed all of my auto-pay bills to the card for maximum usage. Then I pay off my credit card bill in full each month, to avoid interest charges.
The rewards are sent quarterly, so points have time to really add up. It’s always a pleasant surprise to get the “checks” in the mail. Plus, every time, they include bonus coupons and offers exclusive to cardholders. (Ka-ching…more savings!) The rewards checks are easy to redeem – simply present them at check out and that’s it. No PIN, login/password or secret handshake needed. I also greatly value that I can use the rewards on top of sale prices and manufacturer’s coupons. (Of course, you can also use your rewards to splurge – lobster tails and steak for all!) Thanks to my rewards and a little smart shopping, I’ve walked out of King Soopers on more than one occasion with about $75 worth of groceries – all for free or just a few bucks.
Even more convenient, you can tie the credit card to you shopper loyalty card, so, in the end, the card becomes three cards in one — Rewards Card, Shopper’s Card and Visa Card.
Want even more ways to save on groceries? Here are some tips from our experts:
Buy what you need when it’s on sale. Many products go on sale at regular intervals. If, for example, you always use Lipton tea bags, buy enough when they go on sale to last you until the next sale.
Buy produce when it’s in season. Fruit and vegetables are always cheaper when they’re in season. Eat oranges in winter and strawberries in summer, when they’re at their best prices.
Use coupons. Fifty cents here and 65 cents there adds up. For the maximum savings, use coupons on sale items.
Buy store-brand items. Store-brand items are nearly always as good as brand-name items, and they’re significantly cheaper. (And, at Kroger-brand stores, you get more reward points, too.)
Use what you buy. Stocking up on sale items sounds like a great strategy, and it is – if you use them. Make a plan to use all your grocery items while they’re still good.*
*Earn points on net spend toward free groceries, excluding purchases made at The Kroger Family of Companies Fuel Centers. Net spend is purchases minus credits and returns. Rewards certificates cannot be redeemed at Fuel Centers. Rewards sent automatically only to balances greater than or equal to 1,000 points, if your Account is open and in good standing.**Offer applies to new cardholders only. Discount is available at The Kroger Family of Companies Fuel Centers when you redeem at least 100 existing fuel points earned in a single month. You must scan, redeem points and pay with your Kroger REWARDS Visa® in order to receive the fuel discount. Additional 25¢ discount offer expires one year from the cardholder’s approval date. Upon expiration, cardholder will receive additional 5¢ fuel discount at The Kroger Family of Companies Fuel Centers when they scan, redeem points and pay with their Kroger REWARDS Visa®. Not valid with any other fuel offer. Accumulation excludes taxes, office services, alcohol, tobacco, fuel, prescriptions and any purchase prohibited by law. Fuel discount effective for a limited time at participating fuel center locations. Not valid in LA, MO or where prohibited by law. Purchases made at The Kroger Family of Companies Fuel Centers do not earn Rewards points. Please see store for fuel discount details and in-store spending requirements. Selling or purchasing fuel points is prohibited. Fuel redemption offer cannot be combined with any other discounts. No discounts to dealers, wholesalers or fleet programs. No cash back. Not valid where prohibited by law. We may suspend or remove you from the fuel program due to violation of these terms or because of fraudulent activity or suspected fraudulent activity.The creditor and issuer of the 1-2-3 REWARDS® Visa® Card is U.S. Bank National Association, pursuant to a license from Visa® U.S.A. Inc.