Mixing Maroons - Spend Less, Save More … Get Marooned!

Friday's Frugalities

February 7, 2014

FF #5 – Where are Your Loyalties?

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Grocery store loyalty cards have always been a part of my shopping experience. Except of course the glorious years where I had access to HEB – the best grocery store found on earth. But alas, no HEB nearby anymore. I know that loyalty cards get a bad rap a lot of the time… the prices are hiked up to unreasonable levels just so that you can use the card to get a decent price. And yes, they do it so that they can do market research on who buys what. But I really don’t think they are watching our every move NSA-style. Plus, I see a lot of benefits…

I went to the grocery store on Tuesday afternoon. I had a basic list in my head, but not as detailed or specific as I would usually like. And nothing on paper. I had even done some research ahead of time to see what specials the store was running. One of the perks of a loyalty card is that it remembers what I buy. So with a quick glance at my smart phone app, I could look at my popular purchases and add coupons to my card to use later that day. WAY easier than actually clipping coupons. In fact I think I did it riding in the elevator at work. Talk about genius. I even believe that they tailor the available coupons to match my previous spending habits.

So, I’m at the checkout line. I try to start helping bag the groceries since I insisted on bringing my own set of reusable bags that are color coded and seem to befuddle most checkers. The checker finished scanning everything, so I looked up to go pay. My stomach dropped. The total was $98 and change. I very quickly thought to myself how did it happen. I knew that I had deviated from a list a little bit. I know I splurged on a couple extras that we normally don’t have. But I was NOT expecting nearly a hundred dollar bill. I gathered myself and approached the key pad. Then I remembered to enter my loyalty card number. All of a sudden, the total had dropped to near $82. Now I was feeling better. The crazy part is that when the final bill printed, my total was $74. The first discount accounted for the basic loyalty card prices. The second drop resulted from my very quick scan of coupons, for things I buy all the time. So now as you can imagine, I was feeling pretty good about myself. Then I scan down my receipt as I’m walking to the car. I notice that I got an extra bonus in fuel points based on my purchase. I honestly don’t even know what I did to qualify for the bonus. But, sitting right there on the receipt, I see that I have a free $0.20 discount per gallon of gas to use!

Which brings me to the next perk of my loyalty card… gas rewards. I cannot tell you how excited I was to use the option to get a $1.00/gallon discount on a tank of gas. Course I was about two days early for buying my gas for less than $2.00/gallon – but I’m still not going to complain too much. And no, I didn’t spend $1,000 on groceries that month. Just like earlier this week, they were running a special and I earned 700 bonus points on my Thanksgiving shopping trip.

My point is that loyalty cards can do very good things for your overall budget. And I do shop around sometimes to check prices. But I have found that I always come back to my trusted store. Plus the grocery store itself is so nice and never a zoo. You can’t put a price on everything.  I’ve seen examples of people that can buy a whole week’s worth of groceries for $5 or something crazy. In my world, I don’t have the time for that kind of effort. But I can do this to contribute to our future marooning…

~ Mrs. Maroon

January 2014
FF#4 - What Would I Do Without Breakfast?

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