Thursday, June 2, 2011

Couponing...At The Grocery Store

Mondays are my favorite mail day. Around here, it's "Grocery Store Ad Day". I always look forward to checking out the weekly specials and comparing them to my coupon collection to get the best bang for my buck.

  • Look At The Ads
    • This sounds like a no-brainer, but thoroughly look at the ads. Make a list of the things that are a good deal, and check your coupons so you can get even more savings. Even if there is a store you normally don't shop at, they might have manufacturer's coupons in their ads you can use at your regular store. Remember you can use one store coupon and one manufacturer's coupon per product purchased.
  • Know Your Coupons
    • Knowing the coupons you have in your collection allows you to be more efficient while browsing the ads.
  • Be Aware of Unit Price
    • This is especially important at grocery stores where they sell smaller packages. Just because something is on sale and you have a coupon doesn't make it a good deal. If a 30-pack of antibacterial household cleanser wipes are on sale and you have a coupon making them $1.50 per tub, is that cheaper than the Costco pack of 320 for $8? Not even close. Just because you think you're "saving big" on grocery store prices doesn't mean you can't do better elsewhere.
  • You Don't Need To Get Every Deal
    • There will always be another good deal. You'll waste more money in gas by running to every store to try and get every deal than you would save in coupons.There will always be another good deal. Sales run in cycles. It will happen again.
  • Be Mindful of Your "Stock Up" Price
    • This will come naturally as you begin to coupon more. You will begin to see what a pretty good price is, versus what a "stock up" price is for every item you purchase frequently. I stock up on cereal around $1-$1.25 a box depending on brand, toothpaste when it's free, and pasta sauce for less than $1 per jar. Since sales run every 3 months or so, I will buy enough to last us 3 months, until the next "stock up" sale.
  • Be Aware of Your Cashier
    • Try to get a young male cashier if possible. They are not as much of coupon sticklers as the older females. Bring the coupon policy of your local store when you shop, in case the cashier gives you a hard time, you can show them the corporate policy.
  • Don't Get Sucked In
    • Yes, couponing can be addicting. Seeing that "% Saved" on the bottom of your receipt can give you a high. But, don't lose sight of your original goal--to save money for your family. Constantly buying "good deals" that you are never going to use can be detrimental to your budget.

      I will talk about couponing at drugstores another time, since those are a completely different animal. Couponing is an investment, but you choose how much or little time you want to spend on it.
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