How We saved $2,000 at Meijer in 2014

Meijer is a large grocery store chain based in Grand Rapids, MI.  They have stores all over Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, and Ohio.  For several years we have done the majority of our shopping at Meijer because on average they have better prices and better meat and fresh fruits and vegetables than the other grocery stores in our area.  Meijer has a program called mPerks which is designed to help loyal customers save more money at the store.  In 2014 we used the program for the entire year and according to Meijer saved just under $2,000.

How it works: You set up an account tied to your cell phone and get started.  Every time you use the checkout lane you enter your cell number and a 4 digit pin number. This accesses your account and the program tracks your savings.  There are three different types of savings the mPerks program provides; rewards, specials, and coupons.

Meijer Savings

Rewards: Rewards are given by hitting a certain dollar amount in different categories, and you can work towards four of these at once.  Categories include things like “Total Grocery”, “Meat and Produce”, and “Electronics”.  Every month you earn a reward the threshold for that reward increases. For example when we started mperks we received a $10 reward for spending $200 in total grocery. Now we have to spend $750 a month in total grocery for a $25 reward.  Our rewards earnings for the year were $464. Meijer also has a pharmacy rewards section where every three prescriptions you fill you receive a $10 credit.

Specials: You don’t have to be an mperks member to get the specials at the store, but it is nice that the system tracks your savings.  We are pretty good at stocking up on items we use when they are on sale, and for the year ended up with over $1,400 in savings from specials.

Coupons: Meijer has digital coupons that you can click to clip on their website that are linked to your mperks account. When you checkout with your phone number entered the coupons are automatically applied to your purchases.  This is one aspect that we didn’t use to the best of our abilities and only saved around $16.  I think next year we will do better.

Spending: According to their chart we spent a total of $7,757 at Meijer in 2014.  This covered all our groceries, a large thanksgiving dinner, pet supplies for the year, a large amount of Christmas shopping, and random household goods throughout the year. This averages to a total spending of $646 per month.  This year our grocery bill has ticked up quite a bit, between having more people living with us and a general increase in food prices.  We get groceries every 2 weeks and spend about $220 each trip.  We also go to the grocery store in between the big trips to get fresh bread, fruits and vegetables and a few other things we go through quickly, typically this trip is around $60 each time, for a total monthly spending on groceries of $560 per month.  I think this is pretty good for a family of four, and this also includes pet food and kitty litter.

This puts our non-grocery average monthly spending at Meijer at around $90 a month.  We fill our prescriptions at Meijer and this accounts for a decent chunk of the total as well.

Rotation: As I mentioned earlier the rewards categories climb over time, and get to a point where they are not achievable.  For 2015 we are switching from Mrs. C’s mperks account to my account to reset the categories.  I’m not sure if the thresholds in her account will drop with us not using it, but that would be great for 2016 if they did.  In 2015 I plan to better utilize coupons and keep track of our spending a bit better.

Does Your grocery store offer a similar program?  How much do you spend on groceries a month?

John C. started Action Economics in 2013 as a way to gain more knowledge on personal financial planning and to share that knowledge with others. Action Economics focuses on paying off the house, reducing taxes, and building wealth. John uses the free tool Personal Capital to track his net worth and posts quarterly updates on his finances. Check out the Action Economics archives section for all past posts.

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