Friday, September 12, 2008

Frugal Grocery Store Question

Okay, so I have a question and I would love to get some feedback and advice from you all -

Awhile back I opened up a grocery store credit card for their gas incentives. They were offering $.10 off a gallon through Labor Day. That promotion has obviously ended, but I am still getting $.05 off. It is actually a store sponsored Mastercard, so it could be used anywhere, but I got it specifically for the gas promotion at their stores.

If you've been reading this blog for awhile you know that I have a little over $1,000 of credit card debt that I am working on paying down. I have nixed credit cards from my wallet, however, I chose in this case to go ahead and get and use the card specifically for the gas and the gas promotions only. Since I already have the gas money budgeted, I simply pay off this card with that amount each month. So far, it has been working great. In fact, it has helped me keep track of my gas spending in a nice easy way.

I must not be the only one that is using their card that way though, because last week I received an offer in the mail offering a $10 rebate on any $100 total purchase not made at their stores or at their pumps. I was going to throw it away. I don't have any $100 purchases that I need to make right now, but then I had a second thought...

There is one other item in my budget that, like gas, has money set aside each month and requires me to go to a store and purchase it - groceries. After reviewing the offer carefully and noting that it specifically allows for groceries purchased at another store as long as the total purchase is over $100, I started thinking. I could go to another store, purchase next month's groceries (specifically stocking up on nonperishables) and get $100 worth of food for $90. I could even take along a calculator (it wouldn't be the first time) and see how close I could get to $100 without being under. Ideally $100.01 would be perfect.

My grocery budget each month is $125.00. I seem to be hitting that or slightly under. Technically it would leave me another $25 or so to spend at the Farmers Market for fresh veggies, since the Market is my preferred place for produce. Since I already have the money set aside, I could simply pay it off - just I like have been doing with gas.

I don't know though, it feels like the edge of a slippery slope. I am trying so hard to pay for everything in cash now. Am I opening myself up for trouble or is it being a frugal shopper? What are your thoughts?

Feast on this:

Information on My Grocery Budget

Gas Pains (Information on my gas credit card)

Photo by: BrittneyBush


Anonymous said...

I think that it should be fine if you're careful. After all, you already have the money available for this; it's not a frivolous purchase because you want something NOW and are willing to pay for it in a few months.

Make sure that you don't buy something that you don't need just to get to the $100 mark. Just buy more of what you consume on a regular basis to get you there.

Catie said...

Do you EVER spend $100 at one time? Eating as many fresh foods as you do, do you even spend $100 on mainly non-perishables? Or is this the time to stock up on pantry items and things you can freeze?

I wouldn't go too far afield of your normal habits, but if it's only a small adjustment, go for it!

Or, option C, we go shopping together, I get a few things I need, and pay you cash..... how easy is that!!!

Sean said...

I enjoy getting rewards as much as the next person, but you have to be careful and be passive about it, for the most part. The best time to maximize rewards is when selecting the programs that fit your natural spending habits. From there, I think you actually want a slight bias -against- earning rewards.

passivefamilyincome said...

Dawn - I think you are disciplined enough to do it. I think you already know my opinions on using credit cards as one of my passive income streams. My only concern would be shopping at just one store. My family spreads out our spending across 4 - 5 stores depending on the sales. That would be my hardest decision.

Dawn said...

lvingpaychecktopaycheck - Very good point about not buying anything just to get over the $100 mark. I'm a big believer in shopping with lists, so I would make sure to take a list of everything I wanted before hand.

Catie - I don't get over $100 often in the summer because I buy so much at the market instead, but in the winter I do. Especially if it is one of those weeks where I am picking up household cleaners, paper products and that kind of thing - those add up in a hurry!

Sean - See, that is exactly what I am afraid of. hmmmm.....

PFI - I limit my shopping almost exclusively to one store combined with the market. While I enjoy grocery shopping, I don't like driving around dealing with people. I have another store not far from work that I would go to for this. I used to shop there all the time before they built the big grocery a couple blocks from my office.

Lindsay said...

Thanks for visiting my "writing for your wealth" blog and commenting!

It sounds like you're doing well working down your debt. I think it depends a bit on the person as far as whether to use credit cards for the perks. I use a card for business expenditures I'd make anyway all the time, and I rack up frequent flyer miles and other rewards. If you can avoid the temptation to use those cards for non-essential purchases (or things you wouldn't buy if you had to come up with the cash), I think it makes a lot of sense to get the rewards.

Dawn said...

Lindsay - Thanks for your input. I am definitely leaning that way.

By the way, I am having a great time checking out your blog!

Debt Dieter said...

I think you'll be fine, you're so focussed on your finances you won't let this become a slippery slope.

Amber Jones said...

You definitely have to be careful - but it's totally do-able!

I'm eager to find out what happens - if you use this opportunity to save money, or if you hold off so you don't "mess up" accidentally.

Dawn said...

Debt Dieter - I think you are right, but I am glad I didn't go this weekend. I was in a total shopping mood and would have blown my budget easy. I think I will go when I am feeling less "spendy."

Amber - Thanks for the encouragement and I will definitely post how it goes!