Grocer plays on pump pressure. 3 flags.

"Spend $15 on things you don't usually buy and 
probably won't use and save $1 on $40 of gas!"
-the fine, fine print
We know that sellers go to great lengths to contact and manipulate buyers.  The goal being to have us buy, buy again and buy more still, certainly more than your frugal self budgeted.  We have seen an explosion in rewards programs, CareCards, store specific bucks, loyalty programs, etc.  Does your keychain look like you're on the janitorial staff at the high school?  Those are, in part, intended to have us feel like we are special, part of the group, and as a result, getting a good deal from our pals, uhm, sellers.  When you stop to think about it, they all subtly play on some very basic human needs we all have, recognition, acceptance, and being part of something.  Fine.

Hey, have you seen the price of gas lately!?  Looks like $5 per gallon this summer.  WHAT?!  That's crazy!! "but wait", says my local grocer, "allow me to play on your fear and anger.  I will comfort you with a deal, friend."  Game on.

I've seen a few fringe "gas rewards" programs but the full-court press is on as gas prices continue to climb.  As with any advertised sale or deal, you've got to break it down into little pieces to get to the bottom line and determine if it's a good deal for you.  Here are a few things to consider before you buy that $2 box of fruit gushers to save 30 cents on gas.

1.  First PLAN to buy what you NEED based on the PRICE of that item alone.  Don't consider buying dog biscuits to get 100 points that will turn into 25 cents next week if you make it to the only Shell station across town, when you don't even have a dog.  Really, only if the program fits YOU, not the other way around, proceed...

2.  RUN THE NUMBERS:  Let's say you do plan to buy what you need at the price you want it at and you manage to get 200 points, whoa!  How much gas do you need and what's the total savings?  Scratch it out on paper and decide for yourself if it's worth it.

3.  APPROVED GAS STATIONS: Make sure you know where you can use the gas points and that it is convenient enough for you to actually use.  We'd hate to see you do all this work and then not even use your points!

Good luck!
What has your gas rewards experience been?

1 comment:

Andrea @ The Greenbacks Gal said...

Ooo. I have a bit of a different take! If I am going to buy something at Home Depot or Target anyway, I will stop by the grocers and buy a gift card to get the fuel points. Then I use the gift card to pay for the purchases I'm already planning on making. Of course, I pay for the gift cards using my mileage credit card - so I still get the airline miles too. I feel like I'm tripling dipping to do it this way. I do have the advantage that Kings is on the way to either of those two locations. I don't load up on unneeded groceries just to get points though.