Big box bucks

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I get lumber from a local millwork shop whenever possible, but I still shop a lot at local Big Box stores. If you do, too, here’s a money-saving tip.

It’s easy to drop 50 or 100 bucks in a visit to your local Big Box – a couple 2x4s, a few boxes of screws or other fasteners, paint, utility hardware, you name it, it adds up quickly. The next time you need that stuff, don’t go to your Big Box store. Instead, it may be wiser to go to a grocery store.

Say what?

A lot of the larger chain grocery stores offer gas deals these days where if you spend a set amount of money you get a certain amount off per gallon at a participating gas station chain. At my favorite grocery, it’s 20 cents off per gallon for every $50 I spend. Save these discounts up and after a month or two I can get a free (or nearly free) tank of gas.

Here’s the best part: Most chain grocery stores sell gift cards now, which count toward your total grocery purchase. Add to that the fact that all of the Big Box stores have gift cards. So, if I need to make a trip to the Big Box, I go grocery shopping on the way. While I’m there, I pick up a $50 (or whatever) gift card to the Big Box store I’m headed to, then use the gift card instead of paying cash for my 2x4s and stuff. The amount I spend is the same, the tax is the same, but the difference is that I’ve effectively earned another 20 cents off per gallon by spending that 50 bucks at the grocery store instead. Now, it doesn’t take a month or two to get a free tank of gas; I can get it in only a few weeks.

Not all large grocery chains offer gas deals, but most do. So start checking out your local stores and see what their gas deal is, then remember to always stop there first before heading to your local Big Box when you need to stock up on shop supplies.

The drive home with your goodies may end up being a free ride.

Till next time,

A.J.

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