Saturday, March 6, 2010

coupon tips

Ok, so some of you have asked how I save money at the grocery store. Here is what I have learned so far. I do have to say up front that these are not my ideas, I've learned these from family, friends and several helpful websites.

The easiest way to save money is to shop at a store that will offer Buy one get one free deals, my personal favorite is Publix. If you only buy items that are B1G1, you already save 50%.

Another trick is to make your weekly menu based on the things that are on sale. If you see pork chops are on sale this week, eat pork chops. Buy your snack foods according to what is on sale. Last week, cookies were on sale, so we ate cookies for a treat, this week it's ice cream.

Here are some coupon clipping tips:

Buy a newspaper and keep the ads, get ads from friends and family members. Normally, you will get 3 sections of coupons in your Sunday paper; Redplum, Smart Source and P&G. What I do is put all of the same sections together and write the date on the front and I file them in a (81/2 by 11) expandable file folder. Some people clip all of the coupons and file them in a coupon size expandable file folder with 12 tabs (toiletries, cleaning, cans/box, condiments, cereal/breakfast, baby, snack/dessert, drugs, paper, frozen, refrigerated, and other.) I tried this but found myself sifting through a ton of coupons just to find one, it takes a lot of time. Other people do clip every coupon but use baseball card plastic sleeves to organise coupons.
You may want to pick a way and try it, to see if it works for you.

Another place to find coupons is in the store. Many stores will have store coupons in the store. Also, there are blinkies. You know these, they are the ones you used to stand in front of as a kid just to watch the coupons pop out. There are tear pads, these are pads of coupons and you tear a coupon off, a genius name huh? You can also find coupons on certain items themselves.

The best way to maximise your money it to find good deals at your favorite store and match them with coupons the website will help you do this. They will give you all of the sales of a VAST amount of stores and tell you what coupons match those sales and where to find those coupons. They also have a wealth of information about coupon policies, how to use customer reward cards and so many more tips on how to get the most out of your coupons. The best part is the website is free!

Another good tip is when you find a good deal on something, buy up. I have learned that sales go in 6 week cycles. So buy enough to last you about 6 weeks. I am learning that there is almost always some kind of cereal on sale. So instead of stocking up on one kind of cereal, I buy about 3 boxes of what ever is on sale. In two weeks that cereal is gone so I buy what ever other cereal is on sale. However, oatmeal goes on sale about every 6 weeks so I buy enough to last 6 weeks.

There are some items that rarely or never go on sale: fresh produce, milk, bread and such. These items you will just have to pay full price for. Also, you may run out of an item before it goes on sale, if it a food item that you can live without until it goes on sale then wait for it. If this is an item that you need (toilet paper, paper towels or other personal items) you will have to bite the bullet and buy it at full price.

Also, don't be brand loyal. Everyone has those certain brands of food that they would rather have, but you will save money if you learn to use any brand of mayo or peanut butter. Buy the brand that is on sale.

The hardest part for me to learn is that there are some deals you will have to miss. PLEASE, PLEASE don't go over your budget just because you see a great deal that you just have to have. I budget for food on a two-week cycle so my problem is shopping during the first week and then not having money to take advantage of deals the second week. My two choices are: only spending half of my money during week one or just understanding that I will have to miss out on some deals during week two. I usually just make myself NOT look at any ads during week two.

Ok, I am going to tell you what I understand about Publix coupon policy, this is for Florida (some states differ in policy) and this is only Publix because I haven't looked into other stores very much. I have NOT found any stores in Florida that will double or triple coupons, if you know of some, please let me know.

Publix (in Florida) will NOT double or triple a coupon. In some states they will double a coupon if its under $1 ( I think.)

You can use two coupons when you buy one get one.

If there is a buy 3 for $5, you do NOT have to buy 3 to get the price.

You are allowed to stack coupons. This means you can use ONE manufacturer coupon, ONE Publix coupon and ONE competitor coupon to buy ONE item.

They do accept competitors coupons. Please know this is a courtesy, they will NOT get this money back so use ONE competitor coupon per item.

That's all I have for now, I would love to hear your success stories. Like I said, you can visit They have the coupon policies for other stores and a boat load of tips for maximising your coupons and grocery money.

One last thing, I've only been doing this for about 6 weeks and so far I spend the same as I always have, I just get MORE groceries for my money. I will be happy to answer any questions I can. If I can't I'll help you find the answer. Good luck and happy shopping!