We have been loyal Kroger grocery store shoppers for some time, and thanks to their double-coupon deals we’ve managed to save quite a bit of money on sale items. As an added bonus, Kroger grocery stores also offer a loyalty card that allows members to receive a $0.10 per gallon discount on gasoline for every $100 you spend on groceries.
I ran gasoline purchases through my Discover Open Road (get $10 Cashback Bonus on each of your first 5 fill-ups) for the rebate. For several months I refused to shop anywhere else because I was convinced this was saving us money. That line of thinking came to a screeching halt when I finally sat down to do the math, and a little comparison shopping.
My Car Can’t Hold More Gas
Gas prices are steadily climbing, but Kroger’s fuel discount only provides a flat discount off the retail price of gasoline. Since my car can’t hold any additional gasoline this means my savings are fairly well capped to $2.00 per fill up (assuming an average of about 20 gallons per fill up).
During the last few shopping trips I’ve noticed significant price increases at Kroger, particularly on dairy, meats and a few packaged dried goods (crackers, cookies, etc.). I knew prices were up everywhere, but I decided to shop around.
Wal-Mart vs. Kroger
I visited a local Wal-Mart Supercenter last weekend armed with the receipt from my last trip to our Kroger grocery store. What I found confirmed my suspicions – Kroger was more expensive. Several items were significantly higher at the Kroger store – some even as much as $1.25 higher for the exact same product and size.
It wouldn’t take a lot of shopping at Wal-Mart to offset the $2.00 I saved per weekly fill-up at the Kroger gas pumps. In fact, we could save quite a bit of money by moving the majority of our grocery shopping to Wal-Mart.
The Kroger fuel discount, and the Kroger Plus card, are great examples of how loyalty programs work. Companies create the perception that by sticking with them you will automatically save money. As my impromptu research has shown, that is not always the case. Be sure to shop around, and stop to do the math to figure out if saving money is costing you more than you think.