Friday, January 27, 2017

Couponing at Kroger & Affiliates

New to shopping at Kroger stores?  Here is an explanation for you!

Kroger is a great place to coupon, because they have a lot of stacking deals.  However, when people throw out terms like "Mega Sale," it can get a bit confusing!  Hopefully we can simplify it a bit for you here.

What is a Kroger store?
The first thing that you will want to is find out if you are near a Kroger store!  Kroger has a TON of affiliate stores that all have pretty much the same sales ads, deals, etc.  Here is a list of Kroger-affiliated stores:
  • King Soopers
  • QFC
  • Ralphs
  • Smith's
  • City Market
  • Dillons
  • Owen's
  • Pay Less
  • Baker's
  • Roundys
  • Food 4 Less
  • Fred Meyer
  • Fry's
  • Harris Teeter
  • Jay C
  • Gerbes
  • Harris Teeter
  • Pick N' Save
  • Copps
  • Metro Market
  • Mariano's
  • Foods Co.
  • Ruler Foods
Note that not all of these stores will have the same deals as Kroger.  However, the majority of them should.  Also, most of them have their sales run from Wednesday through Tuesday, but some will go Thursday through Wednesday.

Rewards Program
The very next thing you'll want to do is sign up for Kroger's rewards program.  This is fairly easy; just tell a cashier that you want a store card.  They'll give one to you, you'll fill out a brief form, and that's it!  You have to have a Kroger (or whatever store name) card in order to be able to get the sale prices.  It will be scanned at checkout each time you shop.

Once you get home, you should register your card online at the website of the store you got it from and set up an account.  You can also set up an "alternate ID" for your card, which is a 10 digit number you can enter at checkout instead of having to have your card scanned.  Many people pick their telephone number as their alternate ID.  You do not have to use an alternate ID, however - you can just always scan your card.

Kroger cards have a few benefits.  One is that you can load digital coupons to it once you've created the account.  You can do this online through their website, or by downloading the store's app and logging in.  These coupons are considered manufacturer's coupons and do NOT stack with insert or printable coupons.  The majority are one-time use digital coupons.  Occasionally there will be promotions with 5x digital event, where a digital coupon will be applied up to 5 items in a single transaction instead of just to one item.

Another benefit for Kroger cards are the fuel points.  Every dollar that you spend gets you one point, and 100 points will get you $.10 off per gallon at a Kroger-affiliated gas station!  Most stores will have a gas station outside of the store.  Some common gas stations are Loaf N Jug and Shell.  If you are not certain where one is and your store does not have one nearby, you can ask at your local store or check your store's website for nearby locations.  Gas points add up by the month and expire after two months.

Kroger keeps track of your purchases, and you will occasionally get emails with Best Customer Bonus digital coupons.  These are coupons that are just for you and are based on your purchase history.  They see what items you typically buy on a regular basis, and they will give you additional coupons.  On occasion, you will also get paper coupons on the mail.  These are always nice because they are store coupons and can be stacked with manufacturer's coupons (see coupon policy below).

Every Friday, there will be a digital coupon for a Free Friday Download.  This is a digital coupon for a free item.  It will only be available to download that day, but you will have a few weeks to use it before it expires.

These cards are universal:  if you usually go to King Soopers and go out of town, you can use your card at Smith's.  It will have all of your same coupons, points, etc.  If you move, even, you do not need to get a new card.

Mega Sales
One of the easiest ways to get the best deals at Kroger is to way for one of their Mega Sales events.  They occur about once every 1-2 months.  A Mega Sale (or a Mega Event) is a promotion where multiple items throughout the store are marked down, provided you purchase a certain number of items.  Some examples are "Buy 5, save $5" or "Buy 6, save $3."  With these types of sales, you MUST purchase the exact quantity to get the discount.  You can mix and match these items - as long as they are all part of the same Mega Sale.

Here is an example: let's say that Kroger is having a Buy 4, Save $4 mega event.  Items that are part of the sale (many do not show up in the weekly ad) will be marked with a tag like this one:

You can see that if you were to purchase four of these items, it would have a Mega Sale price of $1.99.  You can either purchase four of this item, or just one and then three different items that are on sale as well in order to get the Mega Sale price.  As long as your Mega Sale items add up to a multiple of 4 (or whatever the sale is for), then it doesn't matter how many of each individual item you purchase.  If you were to just purchase 1-3 of this bottle and no other Mega Sale items, you would then pay $2.99 instead of getting the discount of $1.99.

The reason that Mega Sales are so great is because they are a discount and not a coupon, so you can stack coupons with them!  You can often get some amazing savings from stacking Mega Sales with coupons.  Mega Sale shopping takes a lot of planning; here is the way that we do ours.  Often the best deals are sold out the first day.  If that happens, you can get a rain check at the register and come back after the sale when the items are fully stocked.

Woohoo! Deals
Whenever you shop at Kroger, always make sure to check out the manager's special clearance sections!  Usually there's one in the meat department for meat that is about to expire, another in the dairy area for refrigerated goods that are close to expiration, and a third large one for everything else.  Usually these are items that are slightly damaged, day-old bakery goods, seasonal items, or just needing to be cleared out for whatever reason.  You can also use coupons on these, so often you can get fun items for free or even as moneymakers!

Coupon Policy
Kroger and Kroger-affiliated stores have the same coupon policy, for the most part.  You can see their official store policy here.  But we put together some of the key points for you:
  • Limit of 5 like (meaning the same) insert coupons per transaction (unless coupon states others)
    • Some stores interpret this to be just 5 like coupons.  Others interpret it as 5 like coupons per UPC.  So if there is chocolate cereal and strawberry cereal, you could use 10 like coupons (5 for each flavor).
  • Limit of 2 like printable coupons (IPs, or internet printables) per transaction
    • This is the official policy, although some stores allow for 5 like IPs
  • No stacking two manufacturer coupons for the same item.  You may stack a store coupon and a manufacturer's coupon.
  • A select few Kroger affiliates still double coupons up to $1, but the majority do not.
  • If there is a BOGO free sale and you have a coupon, only one coupon can be used.
    • A few stores allow two to be used, but this is uncommon.
  • The manager has full discretion to refuse a coupon or change the policy for their store.  This has been occurring frequently due to more people fraudulently couponing.
We hope that this post was helpful for you!  Did we miss anything important?  Do you have any further questions for us?  Please let us know here, and ,ake sure you join our Facebook group to get updated with the latest deals as soon as they are posted, as well as see extra deals unique to the group!  Also, follow us on Twitter and Instagram!

Note: any links in our posts may include affiliate links. Please read our Disclosure Policies here.
Please make sure to double-check store policy and coupon fine print before shopping. Please follow all coupon rules.