Picking up Nickels

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I spent $1200 on groceries yesterday

No, I'm not throwing a party for 200 close friends or anything like that. :)

Last night I went into my local Shaw's Supermarket and plunked down my credit card to take advantage of their economic stimulus check promotion:

Customers can exchange their tax refund or economic stimulus checks by presenting their check and a government issued I.D. at their local store’s Customer Service center. Customers may purchase a store gift card in $300 increments not to exceed $1,200. Each gift card will be loaded with an additional 10% dollar amount. The additional amount cannot be used for the purchase of alcohol, fuel or tobacco. Customers are allowed to purchase gift cards less than the total amount of their refund with the difference to be given back in the form of cash. The program is limited to one offer per household. Offer is available May 1, 2008 through July 31, 2008. Copyright © 2008 SUPERVALU INC.

The entire process was surprisingly simple. I went to the service desk and said that I wanted to do the economic stimulus gift card promotion for the maximum amount of $1200. The cashier then filled out a form, loaded (4) gift cards with $330 each, charged $1200 to my rewards Mastercard, and then handed me my gift cards. Interestingly, they never asked for my name or Shaw's reward card and didn't even verify that I had actually received an economic stimulus payment.

This deal means that I basically prepaid $1200 for $1320 worth of future grocery buying power at Shaw's (a 10% tax free return on investment), which should take me about five months to spend since I shop for groceries at multiple stores. And being the cheapskate that I am, I also waited until the first day of a new credit card billing period so that I can defer actual payment for this purchase until July.

I think this is a great deal that everyone who is eligible should take advantage of. Heck, even in the most dire of economic scenarios, we will (hopefully) still be buying groceries. It certainly makes great sense for us, since groceries represent our second largest expense and I do whatever I can to try to minimize costs (Strategy: How to Save Money on Groceries).

All SUPERVALU stores (Acme, Albertsons, bigg's, Cub Foods, Farm Fresh, Hornbacher's, Jewel-Osco, Lucky, Shaw's/Star Market, Shop 'n Save and Shoppers Food & Pharmacy) are offering this deal through July 31, 2008. Kroger is offering the same deal, although it appears that they are limiting it to one offer per household.



  • I also decided to do the full $1,200. It was a big bite, so to speak, but I figured that (a) it's a 10 percent return, (b) food is something I would buy anyway and (c) I'm now 1,200 miles closer to another frequent flier ticket.
    There was a bit of a snafu when the credit card company refused the transaction, a problem that took 17 minutes on the phone to fix. It turned out that because I *never* spend $1,200 at a clip, the computer automatically assumed my card had been stolen.
    I look at this as being $120 ahead on my Christmas shopping -- I'll buy gift cards with the "free" money. And since most of my other gift buying is done throughout the year at clearance tables, yard sales and thrift stores, the gift cards will pretty much finish my shopping. Woo hoo!
    Incidentally, while I was in the store I picked up a nickel.

    By Anonymous Donna Freedman, at 7/24/08, 1:32 AM  

  • Hi Donna, I enjoy your contributions at MSN. :)

    Although it didn't happen with this purchase, I've had phone calls from my credit card's fraud department asking me to verify credit card purchases when I've spent money that doesn't fit their "profile" of me. It is annoying, but I don't mind since one time it did actually turn out that someone was using my credit card information to make purchases at a Payless Shoes in the midwest, of all places.

    Also, your nickel find made me chuckle. My oldest child was pretty jazzed to find a penny in a parking lot recently and had plans to bring it home and soak it in vinegar to clean it up. It turned out that their class did that in school when learning how to count money. Good stuff...

    By Blogger Frugal Frugalson, at 7/24/08, 11:28 AM  

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