Many of my friends have asked me "HOW" in the world I am saving so much $$ on my groceries, toiletries, cleaning products, etc. I am going to attempt to give you ALL some $$ saving tips that will work regardless of what grocery store is in your area. This is a BRIEF overview on GROCERY and I am happy to answer any specific questions - just be sure to comment below. In a few days, I will blog about the drug stores and how you can work those deals!
GROCERY STORE - Here are my rules:
1 - Shop by a LIST and only buy what's on SALE. Smart shoppers know that sales "cycle" - meaning if something is on sale this week, it will go on sale again. Most sales cycle between 4-8 weeks, so for instance if I need taco kits and they're on sale this week, I will buy enough to hold me the 4-8 weeks until they go on sale again.
2 - SALE ITEMS - Concentrate on the Buy One/Get One Frees. This is a smart strategy. Depending on your grocery store policy, the item will either ring up at half price (meaning you only have to buy one to get the sale price) OR full price (and you must buy two items to take advantage of the sale). Be sure you have a COUPON for EACH buy one/get one free item you're buying. 2 taco kits on BOGO = you need coupons for 2 kits.
3 - COUPONS - SAVE all your coupons. Get them from your Sunday paper. Get them from your uncle who doesn't save his coupons. Have friends that don't coupon save them for you (although I don't understand why someone wouldn't coupon in these tough economic times!). Save the ones you think you won't use, because sometimes a deal comes up that you'll need that coupon! Try to get at least 2 copies of the coupons in every Sunday's paper, then you'll have multiples to take advantage of the buy one/get one free sales that will happen!
4 - BRAND LOYALTY - Forget about it! Don't worry about being loyal to your same brand of peanut butter - buy what is on sale and what you have a coupon for! There are very few exceptions to this rule in my house - COKE products only! Heinz Ketchup only!
5 - COUPON STACKING - Occasionally a store will put out a "store" coupon for a particular product. You can then "stack" that coupon with a "manufacturer" coupon and use 2 coupons per item you purchase. EX: There's a Publix store coupon for Scrubbing Bubbles for $1.00 and you also have a MANUFACTURER coupon for $1.00 on Scrubbing Bubbles. You can use these 2 coupons together to save twice the $$ on your item. This strategy also works at drug stores like CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid. Target also stacks coupons. How do you know whether it's a store or manu. coupon? Look at the top of the coupon and it will state "manufacturers coupon" or "Target coupon/store coupon". See, that was easy!
6 - COMPETITOR COUPONS - Learn whether your local grocery store accepts competitor coupons. These days, many of them do. Find out which ones they accept and concentrate on those. Many stores will accept the store coupons for an individual item and then you can stack them with a manufacturer coupon. For instance, at my Publix, they will accept a Target coupon for ex: $1.00 off a particular item. Again combine that with a manufacturer coupon to save lots of $$$ . Additionally, my store will honor the drugstore coupons that state "$5 off your total purchase". CVS/Rite Aid, etc puts out coupons all the time for $5 off $25 purchase, etc. Become familiar with these policies and learn how to use them to your advantage.
7 - LITTLE SPECIAL THINGS - My Publix store will accept a "Register Reward" from Walgreens as a manufacturer coupon. PLEASE NOTE - this is NOT the norm or standard. Most stores do NOT accept these, we're just very fortunate that our Publix does. I generally have about $8-10 a week in these Register Rewards, which deducts from my overall grocery bill and adds to my savings. Next you'll ask "But HOW do I get these register rewards"? Each week in the Walgreens sale flyer, you'll notice items that will state "Earn $$ Register Rewards with purchase". I get the RR's by purchasing those items. The RR's can be used at either my Publix, OR at Walgreen's on your next purchase. This is a simple way to save $$. Of course anything I purchase to get those RR's, I make certain it's either already FREE (after the RR of course) or I have a high dollar coupon to make it worth my while.
8 - PRICE MATCHING - Note that some stores (Wal Mart, Walgreens, Target for sure) WILL price match an identical item in a competitors ads. They generally will not match the BOGO free items or % off items, but if say milk is $2.99 in another store they will generally match the price.
9 - Last but not least - ORGANIZATION - this one is HUGE. In order to coupon effectively, you have to be organized. You need to know what you have and what you need at all times. Different people use different organization systems that work for them. Me, I haven't found the perfect one yet. I'm still learning. I still make a mess of it, but I'm trying. The biggest thing is going into that grocery store with a PURPOSE and a PLAN. I cannot stress this enough!
WANT TO GET STARTED???? I have links to several of the blogs I follow their advice - see the sidebar to the right. If none of these stores are in your area, google search the store name and savings, coupons, blog, etc. Believe me, regardless of which grocery store you frequent, someone in the blogsphere has figured out how to work their sales, deals and coupons. In these tough economic times, paying full price is unheard of! This is one bandwagon you need to jump on - and quick! :-)
Can't wait to hear from everyone!