Tuesday, November 26, 2013

If shopping Amazon this Christmas, buy yourself a gift card from Kroger and save money on gas

    Last year I wrote about saving money on gas by buying an Amazon gift card from Kroger. It's that time of year again.
    Kroger is offering quadruple fuel points on most gift card purchases through Dec. 10. Kroger fuel centers redeem these fuel points with a 10-cent discount on gas per hundred points redeemed. So a $250 Amazon gift card purchase earns 1,000 points, or a dollar-per-gallon discount, the maximum allowed.
    There are a few quirks about the Kroger points. They don't accumulate, and points earned can be used immediately or carried into the next month. But after the next month they expire. Also, they pull from the earliest month possible when redeemed, but will pull from only one month's point. So if you have 800 October fuel points remaining and 1,000 November points, asking for an 80-cent discount will use the October points. Asking for a 1,000-point discount will use the November points, letting the October points go to waste.
    There is a strategy to all of this. You need to be aware of your fuel point balances, which are printed on your grocery receipt. On Nov. 29 or 30, buy just enough points to bring your November fuel-point total to an even thousand. Then buy additional gift cards Dec. 1 through Dec. 10 to give yourself fuel discounts through the end of January. So if you know you will be shopping on Amazon, go ahead and pay now!
    Oh, and the gift cards are easy to use. Just log into your Amazon account, go into "My Account" settings and apply the gift card. It will immediately give your account a credit balance for the amount of the gift card.
    The amount you save will depend on the size of your car's gas tank (and the size of your family's Christmas), up to a maximum of 35 gallons per fill-up. A $250 gift card purchase yields a $1-per-gallon discount on gas. For my car that's $16 in savings. Since I use an airline card to buy groceries, add another $2.50 to that for a total of $18.50 saved. If you drive a Suburban, figure $30 in fuel savings, so an effective 13-percent discount on your Amazon shopping.
    For us, this is only a seven-percent savings on our Christmas purchases, but if you know you are going to be spending money with Amazon, why not save the seven percent?

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