Saturday, February 5, 2011

Couponing Step #3: Where Do I Shop?

Once you have accumulated your coupons and organized them, it's time to figure out which stores are going to maximize your savings. First, make a list of the grocery stores in your area. Next, you'll need to find the answers to these questions for each one. I called several of mine and asked customer service. You might be surprised, after shopping at the store with the lowest prices in our area, I found out that our "premium" grocery store has a better coupon program and actually saves us more! If you have the time and really want to save as much as possible, it's best to shop two grocery stores each week and get the best deals in each place. I did this for a while (and saved a TON!) but with two toddlers, a huband who frequently travels for work and living in a rural area it's just not feasible anymore, so we pick the best store and stick with it. Occasionally if there is a really good deal at the other store I will make an extra trip, but that only happens once every few months.


1. Do they accept coupons? Is there a limit?

2. Do they accept a store coupon with a manufacturer's coupon for the same item? Do they have store coupons available in the store or on their website? Do they accept online coupons printed at home? (Most do)

3. Do they ever double/triple coupons? Up to what value? (Ours doubles up to $0.50, so a $0.50 coupon is actually worth more than a $0.75 coupon).

4. Do they accept competitor coupons? Who is considered a competitor? (Drug stores usually are not)

5. Do they ever have unadvertised sales? (Our stores frequently do a 3-day sale at the end of the week with fantastic prices!)

6. Do they price-match? (I've never done this, but know other moms who have had success bringing in the flier for another store and getting the same price to minimize shopping trips)

7. Do they have a gas-discount program? (We have one store where you can accumulate points on a card to redeem once a month for a per gallon discount at the gas station).

Compare your answers and decide where you'd like to start. Remember those websites I mentioned that match coupons and sales? See if you can find one for the store(s) you're looking for. If not, you can always scan the weekly ad and compare to the coupons you have.

The first time is going to be awkward and maybe a little confusing, so try to do it without the kids if you can. Not that I recommend cashier profiling, but the younger guys are the best ones to get-they go pretty fast, are usually friendly and don't get flustered as easily by a stack of coupons.

Now go see how much you can save, and let me know (in the comments) how you do!

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