Thursday, June 16, 2011

Making the Most of Gift Cards

We have 2 grocery store chains that offer reward points towards XX cents off gas.  This started several years ago, and over time the program has been refined.  As it currently stands:

Stop and Shop offers 10 cents off per gallon for every $100 spent in the store.  They have their own gas station (not every store, but there are 2 that near us), which you must use to redeem the gas points.

Price Chopper offers 10 cents off per gallon for  every $50 spent in the store (WAY better deal!).  They have a deal with participating Sunoco stations. 

Both stations let you build points, which allows for more cents off at your fill up.  Once you redeem the points, the balance (over the round numbers of 100, 150, etc) is left to build upon.  Now....if you are an extreme couponer, this deal will mean little to you.  I mean, if you are only going to spend 19 cents would take forever to earn gas rewards.  Plus, they expire (30 days at Stop and Shop, and the end of the month, two months from date of earning).

What does this have to do with Gift Cards???

Well....purchasing gift cards (and both stores have a large selection) counts towards your total purchase.  Around Christmas last year, Price Chopper even offered DOUBLE points for buying gift cards!!!

When we have a planned purchase (for example, when we bought a new sink for $199 at Home Depot), we buy a gift card for that store.  We were going to spend the money in the case of the sink, we bought a $200 gift card from Price Chopper.  That card translated to $.40 off per gallon ($.10 per $50 spent).  We got $.40 off of gas for a purchase we were going to make anyway.

Unfortunately, the stores do not sell Walmart, Target, etc. cards.  They do sell Bed, Bath and Beyond, restaurants, and Lowes and Home Depot.  This has worked out terrific for our planned purchases!!  Again, the key to the plan is PLANNED PURCHASE.  Don't go and buy $500 of gift cards for the sake of doing it, just to get gas points.

But when you know you are getting something specific, why not get a little extra?

Oh, and for us....just to sweeten the pot....when we bought the sink....we used my credit card with rewards to buy the gift card.  We had the cash, so immediately we paid for that purchase.  We earned rewards, plus $.40 off per gas.  All for a planned purchase.

If your store has a similar program....try it.  Especially with home is a good thing!


  1. This is a great post. You know, my store in Atlanta, Kroger, has that .10/gallon per $100 spent promotion as well. And they too double the points with gift card purchases. I am such a dork I always try to figure out how much that is in dollars, because I can often find cheaper gift cards to certain stores on GiftCardGranny. Pier 1, for instance. Their cards are always 10-20% off when I browse the web! Happy saving.

  2. @Michael - I haven't ventured into buying gift cards on line, but I will have to look into it. With gas prices as high as they have been....I have been trying to focus on Price Chopper (since it is $0.10 per $50) for my money savings.

    It all helps!

  3. We did something like this just the other day. Safeway offered a $10 store credit if you bought a $50 gift card. We had a home repair that was going to cost $50, so I bought a gift card for Lowe's and got $10 back for my next grocery trip. That's a 20% savings from just shopping at Lowe's without the gift card. I also got $.20 off per gallon of gas for that purchase. It was a happy day in frugal land. :)

  4. Great post! I try to maximize points when I can too, but hadn't thought of that (the only store close to me is Safeway and it's too expensive for groceries compared to Walmart) but buying the gift cards for planned purchases is a great idea. I will remember that!