(Updated 3/04/17) Since Kroger is the biggest grocery store chain in the country, I figured it was time to do some research and figure out some of the best ways to save money at Kroger. Hacks that’ll save you money in a variety of ways, including at the gas pump, as well as in every section of the grocery store.
The Kroger family of stores actually includes a bunch of grocery stores. Specifically City Market, Dillons, Fred Meyer, Fry’s, King Soopers, QFC, Ralphs, Harris Teeter, Smith’s Food and Drug, and of course Kroger Supermarkets. These money-saving hacks should work at all of these stores.
Loyalty Always Rules the Day
If you want to save money at Kroger, the first thing you’ll need to do is get your hands on a free Kroger Plus Card. The only way to currently get their rewards card is in the actual brick & mortar store.
Just ask any cashier and you’ll have to fill out a little paperwork, literally takes 1 minute. They’ll ask for your name, address, and email address, that’s it. You’ll immediately get your Kroger rewards card and can start saving.
By having a loyalty card from Kroger you’ll be able to nab a bunch of exclusive savings. Perhaps the biggest is the ability to load manufacturer coupons to your card via the Kroger site. Then just swipe your card at checkout and automatically get your coupon savings.
Also, once you have your Rewards Card, be sure to sync it with a free online account at Kroger. By linking the two you’ll be able to download digital coupons to your rewards card, build your shopping list, manage prescriptions online, track fuel points, and more coolness.
Score up to a $1 Off a Gallon of Gas
The Fuel Program at Kroger, via your Kroger loyalty Plus Card, is a dang easy way to save at the pump.
Here’s how it works:
- $1 in Groceries = 1 fuel point.
- 100 fuel points = 10¢ per gallon discount , 200 fuel points = 20¢ off/gallon, and 1,000 fuel points = $1 off/gallon.
- Double fuel points for Gift Card purchases. For example, $25 in Gift Cards = 50 fuel points.
- Fuel points apply to a maximum of 35 gallons on one purchase of fuel at a Kroger Fuel Center or Shell gas station.
- 100 fuel point limit on a single fill-up at participating Shell gas station.
- However, up to 1,000 fuel points can be redeemed for up to $1 off per gallon at a Kroger Fuel Center.
- A Single Prescription filled = 50 fuel points.
- There is NO limit on the number of fuel points you can earn.
- IMPORTANT: Fuel points earned in the current month will expire at the end of the next month. Fuel points do not combine across months. Use them or lose them.
Simply scan your Kroger Plus Card at the pump and redeem your gas savings.
Buy Gift Cards for 2x Fuel Points
The next time you’re shopping for a gift card, or two, consider buying them from Kroger and score 2x fuel points. So if you buy a $50 gift card you’ll score 100 fuel points to be used towards a discount at the gas pump.
Also, keep an eye out for special promotions throughout the year where Kroger offers 4x fuel points on gift card purchases. It makes for a great time to stock-up for Christmas gifts and even things like birthday and teacher’s gifts.
Kroger sells a HUGE selection of gift cards for retailers, restaurants, movie theaters, hotels, and online services. You can either buy them online or in-store and you’ll collect your fuel points either way.
If you ever have questions about fuel points earned on your gift card purchases, call Kroger directly at 1-800-576-4377.
Grab Friday Freebies
Did you know that you can get a FREE item at Kroger, or any Kroger owned grocery store, every single Friday? That’s right, according to Kroger, “Every Friday, you can download a digital coupon for a FREE item! This offer is available exclusively to Customers with a Kroger.com account.”
Just visit this page to get your free item Friday coupon. You need to load the “free item” coupon to your Kroger Plus Card on a Friday, but you have a couple weeks to redeem it in-store.
In recent weeks, the Friday freebie has included a free Dannon yogurt, free Hershey candy, and a free can of premium dog food. Gotta love free.
Kroger “Generic Brand” Guarantee
If you buy a Kroger brand item and are not completely satisfied for ANY reason, they’ll let you return it for a full refund or exchange to the national brand. This is Kroger’s famed “Quality Guarantee”.
From the Kroger site, “Simply return the product, packaging and receipt to your nearest Kroger store. The customer service staff will assist with a refund, exchange, adjustment or credit to a Kroger Gift Card. Some exclusions apply.”
The Kroger brands that come with this awesome guarantee include Kroger, Big K®, [email protected]™, Fresh Selections by Kroger®, Home Sense®, Comforts for Baby®, Private Selection™ and Simple Truth®.
Always Stack Coupons at Kroger
Kroger stores are SUPER coupon friendly.
They’ll actually let you stack a manufacturer coupon with an in-store Kroger paper coupon to really maximize your savings.
From their internal Coupon Policy, here’s the full scoop…
- Coupons will be limited to no more than five (5) paper manufacturer coupons for the like products, each coupon value considered one (1) coupon in the same transaction.
- Coupons will be limited to redemption from products currently on-hand at the store location.
- Limit one (1) manufacturer coupon (paper or digital) per item purchased.
- All coupons will be accepted at face value.
- Expired coupons will not be accepted.
- Only Pharmacy competitor coupons will be accepted.
It’s also worth noting that Kroger has the right to accept, decline or limit the use of ANY coupons. This will typically happen when you print out blurry or out-of-proportion Internet coupons so be careful.
Loyal reader Robin also piped in on this topic, “I also get paper coupons mailed to me. Some of them are for free items. And sometimes I get free ones in their digital coupons, aside from the Free Friday item. My most recent paper ones were for a free miracle whip and 1 box of any style/size Kroger breakfast cereal. Most recent digital free ones were a free Coffeemate Creamer and a pckg of Keebler cookies. Plus they give you manufacturer AND store coupons, which can be stacked. Pair those stacked ones with sale items and you can score free (or close to it) items.”
Gotta love free, or close to it.
Order Online…Pick Up In-Store
Kroger has this really cool, yet often overlooked feature called ClickList.
ClickList allows you to shop online for over 40,o00 products, including fresh meat and produce, select when you want to pick-up your order, and then swing by your local store and pick it up curbside.
The best part? You don’t have to get out of your car! You also don’t have to pay for your item until you pick it up (credit card is required).
ClickList is a fantastic option for seniors, parents with a newborn at home, and of course, lazy people like me.
Look For “Manager’s Special” Tags
Kroger is famous for having managers that actually manage their stores. Crazy concept, huh? Managers will find products that just aren’t selling, and are often nearing their “sell by date”, and mark them WAY down for a quick sell.
This is good news for us shoppers as these “Manager’s Specials” provide a great opportunity to stock-up and save. Look for the special stickers on the shelf or on the product itself that let you know about these specials.
The spots in Kroger where you can almost always find these specials is in meats, dairy, and the bakery. I also have it on good authority that you should shop at Kroger on Monday or Tuesday to find the most “Manager’s Specials” in the store.
Over 60? Shop on Thursday and Save
A big chunk or Kroger owned grocery stores offer a senior discount when you shop on a Thursday or Wednesday. You typically have to be at least 60 years of age to qualify.
I have heard the discount can be anywhere from 5% to 10% of your total grocery bill. The actual discount depends on the Kroger location and specific policy.
On your next visit, simply ask about a senior discount and hopefully you can start saving some money right away. I’ve always believed that it never hurts to ask as the worst thing they can say is “Sorry, we don’t offer a senior discount.”
“5 For $5” Hack
Kroger is famous for offering bulk savings like “5 bottles of Gatorade for $5”, or “10 protein bars for $10”. But what they don’t advertise is the fact that you don’t have to buy that exact amount to get the deal.
For example, you could choose to only buy 2 bottles of Gatorade and get them for $2. So the take-away here is DON’T get tricked into buying more than you’ll actually use.
Kroger Free Wi-Fi Rocks
When using your smartphone inside Kroger (maybe you’re using apps like Ibotta, Checkout 51, or the Kroger app) be sure you take advantage of their free Wi-Fi and save your data for when you get in the car and drive away.
Ask the Reader: What hacks and tricks do you use at Kroger grocery stores to save money?
By Kyle James
Photo by Nicholas Eckhart.