Trends: Kroger Offers You A Bonus If You Put Your Stimulus Check On A Gift Card

Kroger is getting into the stimulus bonus action! Unwilling to be outdone by Sears, Kroger is offering a bonus if you put your stimulus check on a Kroger gift card. They have Kroger gift cards? My what a sexy gift. Honey, you shouldn’t have.

From their press release:

“Grocery bills represent a significant expenditure for the average American family. In fact, the average family of four spends between $105 and $235 per week* on food purchased at a store and prepared at home,” said David B. Dillon, Kroger chairman and chief executive officer. “Kroger’s program allows our customers to stretch their grocery dollars further. We are excited about the opportunity to touch the lives of millions of families across the country by helping them extend their household budgets through this special program.”

We expect this sort of promotion to become annoyingly ubiquitous in the next few weeks, don’t you?

Kroger Stores Offer Customers Free Groceries (Press Release)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Steve518 says:

    For a grocery store to do that though, that’s a good deal. It’s not like I don’t need food.

  2. DeliBoy says:

    Wonder if my bank will tack 10% on to the CD I was planning on taking out? Ha!

  3. laserjobs says:

    This is a way better deal than getting junk from Sears. Awesome!!!

  4. Coelacanth says:

    Phase 1: Collect stimulus checks.

    Phase 2: ??

    Phase 3: Profit!!!

    In this case, I’m willing to bet “Phase 2” is to artificially raise the price on all their goods, once they have everybody’s money on a gift card :P

  5. Coelacanth says:

    @DeliBoy: Yes, seriously. With the present liquidity crisis going on, why don’t retail and investment banks reach out for people’s stimulus checks?

    Not everyone needs more stuff to fill their life with…

  6. Balisong says:

    Wow, that’s actually a great deal. Everyone needs groceries. Wish there was a Kroger near me.

  7. evslin says:

    Interesting idea, too bad the Baker’s stores in my area are closing up rapidly. I know of at least two that have shut their doors since January, and in the amount of time it would take me to buy $660 worth of groceries the other two could tank as well.

  8. girly says:

    I’m also wondering if this will be accompanied by a price hike.

    If not this one is almost worth it.

    The sears one might not be. I wonder if you can use the sears gift card you get with other discounts, because sometimes they have discounts better than 10%.

  9. FreeMarketGravy says:

    @COELACANTH: Well, keep in mind that it’s an :economy stimulus” check, not a “account building” check. It’s made to be spent.

    Of course it’s not really going to do anything for the economy and it’s an empty gesture, but given the fact that the majority of people prefer to spend rather than save (a reason we have the problems we do, but that’s a topic for another time), it makes more sense to offer rewards for spending it and nothing for saving it rather than vice versa.

    Yes, there *could* be rewards offered for both spending AND saving it, but the last thing the economy needs is to be giving away the farm.

  10. castlecraver says:

    This is great news for my struggling grandparents. (Who, incidentally receive a large Kroger gift card from us as part of Christmas every year)

  11. azntg says:

    Just curious, but is Kroger close to facing bankruptcy too? Or are they just trying to one-up Sears and nothing else?

  12. SkokieGuy says:

    @Balisong: Just wait, you’re going to see many more merchants making similar offers.

  13. chrisjames says:

    “the average family of four spends between $105 and $235 per week”

    That’s a mighty swing. They couldn’t average that average?

    Wouldn’t it be better to tell people to spend their stimulus checks on their debt? That could be an extra $50 a month in interest they have to spend on other things on top of the up to $1200 in debt they don’t have to pay off now. If I were in such debt (and I am) I’d be less inclined to spend my paycheck (and I am).

  14. jtheletter says:

    Here’s a scary thought for you, the increased value on those cards is roughly equal to the food-purchasing power of $600 one year ago. (monetary inflation + food price increases)
    CPI is a lie.

  15. Gev says:

    @FreeMarketGravy: An empty gesture that’s pretty much guaranteed that at least some people are going to still have a job after November 4th.

    I’m pretty sure this was it’s real purpose anyway.

  16. captainpicard says:


    Actually no, this year thier profits are down but for the last 3 years profits were up. Kroger is doing very well.

  17. Rupan says:

    Kroger is the main grocery store that I shop at. It is only a mile from my house. I really want to do this but what about those of us that are going to get a direct deposit? I am always going to need groceries and if I can get an extra $60 then it is worth it.

  18. ryatziv says:

    @chrisjames: No, not really. Your paying off your debt doesn’t really stimulate the economy. Actually, your going more into debt does.

  19. “They have Kroger gift cards? My what a sexy gift. Honey, you shouldn’t have.”

    Good for new moms (lots of diapers!) and college students. (And the elderly, as someone said upthread.)

    @azntg: Kroger’s a slow-and-steady company. Their profit projections are never sexy, but they grow quite steadily over time. They’re one of the companies that pursues the small, incremental improvements strategy.

    (And my Kroger is unionized!)

  20. AZTriGuy says:

    We have “Fry’s” here in Arizona, same company as Kroger though. Same signage, same VIP cards, just a different name out here I guess. But, with 3 hungry kids, we do most of our grocery shopping at Sam’s Club. I can’t see getting $2,100 in gift cards at Fry’s/Kroger, but I could see doing that if Sam’s Club jumps on this trend. I’ll take that extra $210 for sure . . . maybe buy an extra Wii game for the kids or something and do my part to buy something I really don’t need :)

  21. @DeliBoy:

    Actually, my credit union is doing something like that (but not mentioning the Stimulus check)

    They are giving 7%APR on the first $500 that you deposit into your Savings account.

    (Although, there are other conditions: You have to eliminate paper statements, and you must have either billpay or direct deposit. I have dd and get e-mail statements, so I qualify)

  22. CRNewsom says:

    @Eyebrows McGee: I thought all Kroger stores were unionized. UFCW Local 227 here.

    /not currently in a union

  23. balthisar says:

    @chrisjames: It’s the difference between “an average family of four” and what all of the families of four spend on average.

  24. @Eyebrows McGee:

    Out here we have “Ralph’s” which is a Kroger supermarket.

    Ours is unionized, as well. Can’t forget that fact, since all the supermarket workers here went on strike a couple of years ago. At ALL the local supermakets. (They’re all unionized)

    It was rough – Everybody needs groceries, so shoppers were still crossing the picket line, and the workers were picketing in the parking lot, and in the entrance to the parking lot. One picketer at Ralph’s in West LA even trough his half-empty coffee cup at my car for shopping there (styrofoam-no damage)

  25. mike says:

    I want to see a company that has a balls to do a 50% increase.

    Then I’ll be impressed.

    10%! You’re still turning your money into nothing.

  26. snowmentality says:

    I’m actually considering it. We shop a lot at Kroger.

    The stimulus check was going to go into the savings account where I’m scraping together $$$ to fund a Roth IRA, but the financial situation has changed so that I may be forced to spend it on necessities. Bah.

  27. Dobernala says:

    Are Kroger giftcards good at Kroger gas stations?

  28. madanthony says:

    Too bad I had my tax rebate done by direct deposit – so no check. Guess even if there is a store near me that does this, I won’t be able to take advantage of it.

  29. fuzzymuffins says:


    *wonders if strip clubs will be offering “stimulus check” deals.

  30. azntg says:

    @captainpicard and @Eyebrows McGee: Thanks. I was just curious. So, it really is the case of the latter… jumping on the government check bandwagon (what are the chances of a government check bouncing, after all? Though that’s a funny thought in by itself)

    @madanthony: I envision more people taking this one up that the Sears offer. Somebody better tell Kroger that some of us do like to live in the 21st Century and receive direct deposit.

  31. DeafChick says:

    People need groceries so why not put it on a gift card instead buying useless crap.

  32. Saboth says:

    At least Kroger is a better company, and I am sure they will be in business in 2 years. However….I can’t see putting $600 on a food mart gift card. That’s like getting $100 for Christmas and using it to buy school books.

  33. linkura says:

    We shop at Kroger at lot (as well as Trader Joe’s for complementary purpose). This might be of some use.

  34. mac-phisto says:

    @fuzzymuffins: lol. thanks for the coffee up the nose. IT BURNS!!!

  35. Me - now with more humidity says:

    If you don’t spend it the terrorists win.

  36. AZTriGuy says:

    @madanthony: Uhm, you should still get the stimulus check. I didn’t think that direct deposit had anything to do with it. Hell, half the country uses direct deposit now, that would make this whole program rather worthless. You filed a tax return, you’ll get a check.

  37. BigElectricCat says:

    “They have Kroger gift cards? My what a sexy gift. Honey, you shouldn’t have.”

    Don’t diss the grocery gift cards. I lived in Hawaii for a time, and in my experience, a gift card to Star Market or Safeway was considered a perfectly suitable holiday, birthday or housewarming gift among the local folks.

    Perhaps such things are a bit declasse for the more well-to-do, but my friends and acquaintainces in the Aloha State seemed to have no problem whatsoever with the giving and receiving of grocery gift cards. Hey, everyone’s gotta eat.

  38. Mr. Gunn says:

    jtheletter: THIS

    No Krogers around me, but if I can get one online, and sell it for >95% face value on Ebay, I’ll do it. I’ve got at least 6 weeks to think about it or for a local store I do shop at to offer this.

    I like this trend.

  39. Mr_D says:

    @AZTriGuy: I think he’s referring to the fact that there’s no reason to cut a paper check when you have DD. Will they at least be sending out a stub? Sounds like a question for Tax Cat.

    As for the 10% bonus, I’m not sure why Kroger is doing this. Everyone has to buy groceries, so this bonus is cutting right into their profit, on a sale they would have already made. With Sears it made more sense.

  40. hi says:

    How is this a good deal… seriously? They buy goods and raise the price just like anyone in retail. They get stuff in bulk at a discount, raise the price and make a profit. So now they want to take your entire check and give you some goods that have been marked up (as always..I’m not saying they will raise them even higher), make their profits and then give you a slice of their profits back to you in the form of more marked up goods. This is a great deal for them, not so much for you.

  41. plustax says:

    @Mr_D: They don’t send out stubs for your regular tax return refund so I wouldn’t expect one on the stimulus check either.

  42. mamacita says:

    Kroger is hoping that you will spend more on impulse buys and things that you ordinarily wouldn’t buy, because psychologically you have designated that money as a “bonus.” They are hoping that you will stay in this frame of mind long enough to spend way more than the $30 they gave you.

  43. AZTriGuy says:

    @Mr_D: Ah, got it, that makes sense. Thanks for the clarification. I thought they were cutting physical checks for everyone, regardless, though. I didn’t think they were doing the DD based on how you had this year’s tax return done. Haven’t paid much attention to it since the initial announcement, though.

  44. trujunglist says:

    Scam. I’m willing to bet that shortly before and after the chaos checks start, Kroger suddenly faces large increases in food prices due to some sort of gas shortage.

  45. puddleglum411 says:

    Oh man! If Costco did something like this I would be all over it.

  46. SonicPhoenix says:

    Here’s why it may be a good deal.

    Let’s say that I’ve been a good consumer and I ‘ve got 6-12 months living expenses in an emergency fund that I add to monthly and when it hits a certain threshold, part of it gets converted to long term savings (stocks, bonds, CD’s, Roth IRA, etc.). For simplicity sake, let’s say that I buy about $1200 worth of groceries per year. There are two possible scenarios here – one where I put my stimulus check directly into long-term savings and one where I use it to get 110% of it’s value in products from the grocery store.

    In scenario one, I spend $1200 over the course of the year on groceries and I put my $1200 stimulus check into long term savings for a total gain of $2400.

    In scenario two I get 110% worth of gift cards ($1320) and spend $1200 on groceries and put $1200 that I saved over the course of the year by not spending it on groceries into long-term savings. In addition I have $120 worth of gift card left over; in this case I now have a gain of $2520.

    Scenario #1 – $2400
    Scenario #2 – $2520

    I don’t know about you, but I’d prefer to be $120 dollars richer especially when the only cost to me is a shuffling money around in a slightly different manner.

    Now admittedly this argument makes some assumptions that the grocery store is going to be around and won’t file for bankruptcy and that you spend the gift money before the cards expire. It also omits the gains from interest that you may make on any investment since scenario #1 invests the money for a full year longer than scenario #2 but as long as the interest rate is less than 10% APY you come out further ahead when you take the gift cards.

  47. kelptocratic says:

    Gosh, if only my bank did something similar! Say a percentage-based, monetary reward applied monthly in proportion to the amount of money I’ve allowed them to hold for me.

    That would be great!

  48. redknight says:

    While a Kroger giftcard may not be a sexy gift to Liberal Manhattan Elitists, those of us who are bitter about losing our jobs often appreciate the gift of food from our church, which we cling to out of despair. If we don’t get this food, we’re forced to cling to guns and hun for raccoon.

  49. @CRNewsom: When I lived in NC, not all were. They all are around here (central IL), though.

    And guys, part of the benefit to Kroger is that you’re not going to spend your entire $660 at one time … most people are going to go on shopping in their normal pattern, $100 per trip or whatever, and all that time Kroger gets to sit on your cash and make interest.

  50. Southern says:

    Kroger could cut their prices by 50% and they’d STILL be one of the most expensive grocery stores on the planet.

    Ok, maybe that’s a *bit* of an exaggeration. They’re still an extremely expensive grocery store though, mostly upscale. You may get an extra 10% on your Gift Card, but you’d still get more groceries for your buck at a place like FoodTown, *cough*Wal-Mart*cough*, etc. :)

  51. kazoni says:


    I think the cards do work for gas as well. Here in Kansas, we have Dillon’s Grocery Stores and Kwik Shop gas stations that take gift certificates (paper based…gasp!). Though even with the 10% bonus (~$30), you’re talking only a partial extra tank (my wheels 2000 Honda Accord, 17gal tank…almost $50 to fill up at $3.00/gal…ouch, thank god for good gas milage).

  52. Major-General says:

    @kazoni: Dillons is owned by Kroger. Or rather, it is rumored that the Dillon family got Kroger to buy them, since the head of Dillon’s is now the head of Kroger.

    Kwik shop is also a Kroger brand. As is Fred Meyer jewelry.