If have the Discover It Card, there’s a good chance you’re smiling. It’s a good credit card all of the time. It’s an especially great credit card this quarter. How else can you get 5% cashback on groceries?
To take full advantage of the perks of this card and to fill up our Christmas fund, we are spending a bit more at the grocery story.
We’re doing a sort of manufactured spending to get the full 5% cashback bonus. But we’re doing it in a way that won’t bust our budget and involves very little risk.
Because if my middle name wasn’t Awkward, it would certainly be Cautious.
Why We Don’t Do Typical Manufactured Spending
The Discover It card offers 5% cashback on grocery store purchases this quarter. It’s good for up to $1500 in purchases. But it only counts at true supermarkets — sorry, Target. That means I can have an extra $75 sitting in my cashback account at the end of March.
The easiest way to meet this amount would be to do our regular shopping throughout the quarter, and then scoop up a Visa gift card or two, and maybe a handful of gift cards.
But that seems like too much temptation and too much risk for me. $500 on Visa gift cards is far too likely to turn into the sushi dinner of my fantasies. And I’m really good at losing gift cards.
Repeat after me: If common credit card advice makes you nervous, don’t follow it.
Honestly, if there’s any financial decision that you’re making that you don’t have to make and it makes you anxious, stop. Stop. STAHHHP.
It’s not that I’m not a fan of easy. It’s just that I don’t think a $75 bonus is worth getting burned. I don’t want to sour the whole cashback bonus experience. So we do a modified version of manufactured spending to max out this particular cashback category.
Manufactured Spending Lite
As of right now, we still need to spend $750 to get the full amount of bonus cashback. (Note to self: It’s not the end of the world if it doesn’t happen.) Here’s what we aren’t and what we are buying to hit that threshold:
Visa Gift Cards – $0
We’ve used these before, especially when we couldn’t convince my mother-in-law to accept regular cash for watching our son. So while the 5% cashback would certainly make up for any fees we incur on these cards, I’m a really big fan of free. These don’t meet that criteria, so they’re a last resort.
Regular Gift Cards – $200
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but stores are going out of business. Regularly. RIP Payless, JC Penney, Victoria’s Secret, oh my the list is long! My biggest reservation about stockpiling too much money on regular gift cards is that I don’t like being forced to shop. I want to spend my money when I want on what I want. But if a store goes out of business, that isn’t always an option.
Even if the entire brand isn’t going under, it can turn into a huge inconvenience. We have a lot of Carter’s gift cards and merchandise credits for HP, but we now have to drive over 30 minutes to get to the store. So our options are pay for shipping, spend more to earn free shipping, wait for free shipping promos…or let the gift cards sit.
I’m not interested in doing that with $750+ of my own money. It’s one thing if the gift card is a gift. But to tie my own money up that way seems unnecessarily stressful.
We are, however, buying $200 worth of Home Depot gift cards. With spring on the horizon (humor me!), we’ve already made a list of a few things that we need for the gardens and the house. Plus, we are missing a wall in our downstairs bathroom after a minor plumbing leak. Basically, that $200 is already spent. To make sure that it doesn’t get wasted, we are going to purchase the gift card right before we head to Home Depot. Luckily, they are across the street from each other so there’s no need to go out of my way. (Time is money, ya’ll!)
Grocery Store Gift Cards – $500
This is an easy one. We know that our grocery budget is $250 a month. We also have the added benefit of knowing that we mostly shop at Aldi. The other local grocer that we shop for produce and loss leaders won’t accept credit cards on gift card purchases, so that’s out. But this quarter, we will scoop up $500 worth of Aldi gift cards before the 5% promotional category ends.
Stock Up on Other Household Items
Honestly, one of the least talked about ways to meet this cashback spending bonus seems to be household items. I don’t know if everyone just shops on Amazon or what. But your local grocery store actually has some pretty good deals on some pretty convenient and necessary household items.
Waste stickers – $0
We don’t pay extra for garbage or yard waste stickers. But we’re the exception rather than the rule in our area. Most surrounding neighborhoods do have to sticker their waste, and grocery stores sell those stickers at no additional cost. If that applied to us, I would buy enough to get me through spring, possibly even summer.
Stamps – $22
Our grocery store sells books of Forever Stamps at cost. That means I don’t have to find an automated machine outside of the post office (because you know I am not standing in that line just for stamps). I always like to have one book on hand because I am a firm believer in writing thank you notes. And I’m kind of obsessed with snail mail in general. By picking up 2 books, I spend $22 and score 5% back on that.
Baby Items – $10
We normally order our diapering items through Target when they do their gift card promotions (stack it with your 5% savings on your Red Card!). However, Aldi sells wipes, and they are great. Thick, quilted, and not tested on animals. I have been buying a bundle on most trips while I bide my time until the next Target stock-up sale.
Cleaning Items – $20
Going green matters to us (just forget you read that last paragraph about diapers ::gulp::). As a result, we don’t use a ton of store-bought cleaning items. However, I am a huge fan of vinegar. So I’ll definitely stock up on a few gallons, especially since we make a concoction of vinegar and other things that works really well to kill the grass and weeds that grow through our patio pavers. (Spring is on my mind, fam!) We also try to only use 1-2 trash bags a week, so we don’t need them often. But I do know that we are running low, so I’ll scoop up a box. I’ll also take a quick inventory of anything else we might need. Usually Target has better prices, but sometimes our local store serves up some great loss leaders.
Final Thoughts on Grabbing That 5% Grocery Cashback
I understand if this kind of spending isn’t for everyone. For us, though, we’ve done it enough times that it doesn’t require much extra effort. It’s mostly a matter of remembering which credit card we want to use and looking at how close we are to hitting that spending maximum.
Honestly? The most work I’ve put into making this $75 was typing up this post.
The real question will be if we get motivated to do this twice. Because we actually have two Discover It cards. Cue the dramatic exit music.
So Tell Me…Are you working on any credit card bonuses? Can you believe that I’m already working so hard on my Christmas fund?