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Grocery Shopping with Coupons is Easy and Here’s How
I do use coupons when I grocery shop – maybe a little too much. I am in the works of making stockpiles for certain items, but am a long way off from what you may see on those extreme couponing/cheapskates shows. I try to only stockpile items that I know I will be using in the future (toiletries, pasta sauce, cereals, etc.) and use coupons on new items to try if I can get them for under $1 or free.
How do I make coupons work in my favor? The two main ways are the easiest:
Use coupons in conjunction with a store sale.
Say a certain cereal is one sale for buy 1 get 1 free at $3.00. If I have $.50 off coupons for this certain cereal, I can use two of those coupons to make my total $2.00 for both cereals which comes to $1.00 for each cereal. Although the store sale makes the second cereal free, a majority of stores still consider it a purchase so I can use one coupon for the cereal being charged $3.00 and I can use one coupon for the cereal that is free. So I just saved $2.00 on a cereal that normally costs $3.00. Some stores even double coupons which could have brought my total to $1.00 for both cereals, but unfortunately my area does not offer doubling coupons.
Use a store coupon plus a manufacturer’s coupon in conjunction with a store sale.
Many stores (and honestly, I can’t think of a store that doesn’t) accepts one manufacturer’s coupon and one store coupon per item. Going back to our buy 1 get 1 free cereal example, I could use two $0.50 off manufacturer’s coupons and two $0.50 off store coupons for the two cereals, which would bring my total down from $3.00 to $1.00 for both cereals. And if the store doubles – the cereal would be free with a possibility of a cash overage (a cash overage meaning since the doubled coupons totaled $4.00, more than the $3.00 deal – $1.00 in cash would’ve been given to me or put on a store gift card. But not a lot of stores do that anymore.)
Coupons are no longer limited to Sunday newspapers, there are a lot of online sites like coupons.com that offer free printable coupons. A lot of the coupons offered on the sites are the same ones offered in the Sunday newspapers (and more). Also, there are many sites that give you a sneak peek as to what coupons will be available in the upcoming Sunday newspaper, so you can determine if the newspaper purchase will be worth it or not.
And last but not least, a lot of stores now offer digital coupons – allowing you to ‘clip’ digital coupons to your store loyalty card or registered telephone number through the store’s website so there is nothing to hand over at checkout, just a swipe of your loyalty card or entering your number at the register and your ‘clipped’ coupons are automatically applied to your purchase. There are also savings through ‘cash back’ sites/apps such as MobiSave, but I’m an instant gratification type girl and I like my savings at the register rather than in rebate form. But for those of you who don’t mind the rebate wait, a lot of items can result in freebies!
Let us make sure we don’t forget the benefits of competitor’s store coupons as well. A lot of stores accept certain coupons from competing stores. For example, the Publix in my area accepts Winn-Dixie store coupons and the Winn-Dixie in my area accepts Publix store coupons. This opens up a whole new set of coupons outside of those offered in the Sunday newspaper and online. A lot of stores allow the use of both competitor’s store coupons and manufacturing coupons together, but not the store you are shopping at and a competitor’s coupon together. For example, the Publix in my area will accept a manufacturer’s coupon and either a Publix or a competitor’s store coupon on the same item but not a Publix coupon and competitor’s store coupon on the same item.
I love using coupons because I have the opportunity to get brand-name, quality items for dirt cheap – which leaves extra money to buy items that rarely have a coupon or may be a little costly (i.e. fresh meats, fruits and veggies).