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Let your grocery purchases fuel your car…

Your grocery purchases could get you free gas. A lot of grocery stores are offering perks/rewards for using their loyalty card or partnering with companies like FuelPerks to offer discounts at the gas pump. You do your grocery shopping as usual, earn points for those purchases, then use your grocery store loyalty cards at the gas pump and earn discounts on gas. With the gas price sky high, we could all use some help right? A lot of grocery stores are participating in these programs, there is a good chance you already buy your groceries regularly in one of these store. If you can get free/cheap gas and don’t have to do anything extra, why not take advantage of these programs…

FuelPerks!

This is one of the most popular programs. I used this a LOT when I was on East coast and none of the West cost grocery stores are participating in this program (they have their own program, read below).

How FuelPerks! works

  • Sign up for a rewards/loyalty card with your grocery store. Register that on FuelPerks.
  • Do your shopping as usual.(No point in buying more just to get some discount, that never works! Unless, you are using one of the rewards maximizing strategy, again, read below).
  • You will be credited FuelPerks rewards for your purchases. The FuelPerks is linked to your loyalty card.
  • You can keep track of your rewards at the FuelPerks site or it will be printed at the bottom of your receipt during your checkout.
  • For every $50 you earn 5c-20c discount (Reward offers vary between retailers). No limit. So if you spend $750 in a month and your store offers 20c rewards for $50, you get $3 discount per gallon up to 20 gallons! So if your gas price is $4 and your have a tank of 20 gallons, you pay only $20 instead of instead of $80. That is a LOT of savings. And if the gas price was close to $3 like it was last year, you get free gas!!!
  • Some items, just like coupons, have 2X or 3X rewards, so you will earn the discounts a lot faster than you think.

List of Grocery stores participating in FuelPerks

You can earn fuelperks for online purchases from places like Homedepot.com, gap or Best Buy.

Shell Gas Discount Programs

When I moved to California, I not only underwent sticker shock but was also terribly disappointed to learn that a lot of my discount hacks didn’t work here. But last year I saw Shell advertising about discounts for Ralphs card members. It is not as good as the FuelPerks program, but it a discount nevertheless.

Shell has teamed up with a lot of grocery stores to give discounts on gas for grocery purchases at the participating grocery store – Kroger being the most famous.

How the Shell Gas Discount program works

  • For every dollar you spend at the grocery store you earn a point. For some purchases like gift cards or store specials you get 2X-3X points. Earn 100 points to save 10c/gallon on gas. Prescriptions filled earn more points too.
  • When you are at the gas station, before you enter the credit card information, you will have to enter the loyalty card number or an alternate id, like phone number that matches your loyalty card record.
  • If you have enough points you will get the discount for that filling.

Stores participating in the shell discount program

How to maximize these programs

Never buy something just for the discounts. With that said, there are ways you can maximize these discounts from stuff you buy anyway.

  • Gift Cards : You can buy gift cards for other stores from the grocery store. A lot of times, these purchases qualify for 2X or 3X points. So if you are doing some spring renovation and you are planning to buy a lot of stuff from Home Depot anyway… Estimate how much you will need and buy the gift cards at the grocery store (check the discounted gift cards to see which one offers better value if you are going to buy a lot).
  • Fill out gas cans : These programs offer discounts up to 20 gallons (or more depending on the program). But my car doesn’t have a 20 gallon tank. So I could get a couple of 5 gallon gas cans to use up my rewards to the fullest.

I used to get a lot of rewards using FuelPerks when I was living on the East coast. Now, we buy a lot of our groceries at the farmer’s market, so we are not earning rewards quick enough. Some months we earn enough when we have visitors. I have not tried the gift card trick because, well… we never needed those.

Have you tried any of these programs? Do you know of any other grocery stores that participates in such gas saving programs? Do you earn rewards fast enough to get free gas?

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