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Boomers: How to Get a Month of Groceries at No Cost from AARP Gift Cards

AARP gift card Kroger

Three easy steps for saving big on groceries. I didn’t pay much attention to the AARP gift cards offer, at first, but I later realized its a winner. As a matter of fact, more than a month of free groceries per year for us. I’ll jump right into it so you can benefit too.

Here’s how it works for AARP members that buy groceries at Kroger (family of banner names), Albertsons and/or Safeway. Note these brands do business through other names, such as Fred Meyer, Ralphs, King Soopers, Fry’s, and so on. Check the Rewards website for the fine print details.

Step 1 – Join AARP

You need to be an AAPR member to take advantage of the offer. Join AARP, if you are not already a member. Anyone age 50 and older is eligible for full AARP membership. Younger folks can get their parents to buy the AARP gift cards, assuming the parents are AARP members.

Step 2 – Purchase AARP Gift Cards

Purchase AARP gift cards from the AARP website (member benefits). You instantly save 12 percent given the $100 AARP gift cards cost $88 for either Kroger, Albertsons and Safeway. You must purchase the gift cards for the place that you shop. The “Kroger” gift card doesn’t work at “Safeway” just to be clear.

The Kroger Family of Companies, the nation’s largest traditional grocer, operates in 35 states nationwide under various banner names. They include: Kroger, Fred Meyer, Ralphs, King Soopers, Fry’s, QFC and Smith’s. Check the store locator tool at to locate the closest Kroger Family of Companies near you. Gift cards cannot be used at Harris Teeter.

Step 3 – Print the Gift Cards

Print the gift cards and use them just like cash at checkout! Make sure the gift card is for the place that you shop for groceries. Again, AARP’s current benefit includes Kroger (family of banner names), Albertsons and/or Safeway. There are AARP gift cards available for other establishments, not just grocery stores.

Example Savings on Groceries – The Math

Let’s say you spend $500 per month (on average) on groceries. That’s $6,000 per year for your annual grocery spend. The AARP gift cards provide you with an instant 12% savings or $720 [0.12 x $6,000 = $720]. A savings of $720 is MORE than a month of groceries at no cost!

In Virginia, you can buy a lot of other stuff at the grocery store, like household items, wine and beer. It adds up fast if you do. The end result is you’ll save big using AARP gift cards because you just pay less for groceries.

TIP: We purchase our AARP Gift Cards with a credit card that pays us 2% back on every purchase. Therefore, we get an extra 2% savings on groceries at Kroger. Total savings is now 14% on groceries. End result, we are saving about $800 per year on groceries using this “no brainer” gift card option through AARP. But note, you can only buy 5 gift cards per month at AARP so make sure you opt for the $100 gift cards and not the $25 or $44 gift cards.

We purchased $500 worth of gift cards for Kroger this month (five $100 gift cards). It cost $440 (instant $60 savings) plus we got 2% back from our credit card company, another $8.80 in savings. A total of $68.80 in savings on groceries in one month. It costs $16 to join AARP and $12 if you select automatic renewal. You must be at least 50 years old to join.

I hope this helps you stretch your grocery budget. Put the money you save in your retirement account spreadsheet and see how much you’ll save in a few years. There are more money saving resources for those interested here.

Get financially independent (#FI) and do whatever makes you happy. Enjoy!

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