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Love it or loathe it, few of us can avoid a weekly trip to the grocery story. On any given day, 32 million adults trundle down a grocery aisle, according to a 2008 study by the Time Use Institute.

And while everyone has their own favorite grocer, Americans choose Kroger more than any other chain devoted specifically to groceries. In fact, Kroger is the second biggest retailer in America, according to the National Retail Foundation.

Frugal shoppers are well-known for clutching a cache of coupons, hoping to score big bargains at checkout. But there are additional ways to save at Kroger that go beyond couponing.

Following are six ways you can cut costs — down to “free” for one item on this list — at Kroger. To keep things simple, we’re zeroing in on discounts at the Kroger flagship store, but you can find most or all of these benefits at Kroger affiliates, which include:

  • Dillons
  • Harris Teeter
  • King Soopers
  • Ralphs
  • Smith’s

1. Get the Customer Card

It pays — literally — to be loyal. The next time you’re in Kroger, tell the cashier that you want to sign up for a Plus Card. The process takes just a minute, and it will score you loads of additional savings in-store — such as digital coupons — and in the mail on select products.

2. Sign Up for the Free Friday Download

Every Friday, Kroger lets customers download a digital coupon for a free product — and we’re talking name-brand items, like a complimentary loaf of Sarah Lee bread. Shoppers then have two weeks from the download date to redeem their gratis item.

To take advantage of this weekly giveaway, simply create a Kroger.com account and visit its website on Fridays.

3. Double Your Fuel Points With Gift Cards

Shop at Kroger with your Plus Card, and you typically earn one fuel point for every $1 you spend. But you can do even better in some cases. For example, you can earn double the fuel points for purchasing gift cards.

Fuel points can be redeemed for savings at Kroger Fuel Centers and participating Shell stations. So, you can save on gas by buying items you have to purchase anyway. Talk about a no-brainer!

4. Use a Website like Kroger Krazy

Deal or couponing sites can help you save. The Kroger Krazy website, for instance, is specifically “committed to finding and sharing the best Kroger deals to save you money on the things your family needs most.” From basic couponing tips for beginners to ads by region and “must-do deals,” this is a great place to start your Kroger savings spree.

5. Shop for Discounted Kroger Gift Cards

Some websites let users purchase (and sell) Kroger and other gift cards at a discounted price. It’s important to note that because Kroger is so popular, discounted gift cards disappear from these sites quickly. So, you may need to check back regularly if you hope to snag a card.

6. Keep Your Catalinas

You’ve probably seen a Catalina, even if you’re not aware of it. They’re those coupons that appear on the back of — or along with — your store receipts. They’re easy to overlook as you hastily stuff the receipt into your pocket, wallet or purse.

However, because savings are often based on a customer’s buying patterns, you should definitely take a moment to investigate. For example, if you frequently purchase a particular type of cereal, you may receive a coupon for the brand in the future. Or, you may receive one for a competing brand that’s worth checking out.

Savings on groceries can help you reach your financial goals. You can find more tips on how to save while food shopping here. And, for the truly frugal, here is a road map on how to eat for $6 a day or less. You can also keep track of your financial goals, like building a good credit score, for free each month on Credit.com.

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