- I currently shop at Walgreens, Rite Aid, Shaws, Hannaford, Walmart and occasionally Target. I like all these stores for different reasons. Walgreens has Register Rewards(RR)which are a great way to maximize your savings. Rite Aid has +UP Rewards(+UP), Video Values(VV), and Single Check Rebates(SCR) to help you save. Shaws will double your coupons up to .99 cents. Hannaford is best for sales on fresh cuts of meat and produce. Walmart is a pain to get in and out of but they accept lots of coupons and allow overage(this happens when a coupon exceeds the value of the item you are purchasing but the extra amount is applied to your total). Target has their own store coupons you can print and combine with a manufacturer's coupon to maximize your savings.
- Each week I look up the stores' ads online. You can easily access these by googling them or going to one of my two favorite sites (HotCouponWorld-HCW or WeUseCoupons-WUC). Both of these sites also give you matchups. These are where other users post the sale items and match them to the coupons that are available. Now, I know you're probably thinking whoah....this is a lot. But trust me, over time it becomes a lot easier! These matchups also sometimes include different scenarios (transactions) to maximize your savings. Now, this being said I only buy what our family can use---unless it's free or makes us money (these are called MM or money makers). The matchups will tell you where to find the coupons you will need. For instance, say you would like to buy some Tropicana orange juice that is on sale Shaws and the site says that there is a $1 off one ($1/1) manufacturer's coupon in 12/11/11 SS. SS stands for Smart Source, RP for Red Plum, GM for General Mills, P&G for Proctor & Gamble. For more information on coupon lingo you can click on this link: Coupon Abbreviations/Lingo/
The corresponding date can be found on the actual insert in fine print. I keep my inserts intact and only clip out what coupons I know I will use. This is much easier than cutting out all of them and then organizing them. Believe me, you binder will still be bursting! ;) So you now can go find the correct insert and clip your orange juice coupon. Hooray!
- I'm sure there are better ways to be organized with your coupons. Many people have big coupon binders. I simply use a white envelope with each store's name on it. These I keep in a clear clutch along with my master list that I have typed and printed from Microsoft Excel. I also keep a pen handy in case I need to write down prices or cross out items as I put them in my cart.(keeps my 2 yr old busy too! LOL)
- I make a list of all the staples we need for the week. This includes anything we've run out or need to make the week's meals. I then add in any meats, fruits, vegetables that are on sale that week. Then, anything that is free or is a MM (money maker). You also should have a budget. Mine is roughly $100 per week you should adjust your list accordingly based on your own budget. Prioritize. Cut out anything you don't absolutely need and save it for next week's grocery list. There are times I will go for weeks without buying something because there isn't room in the budget for it. (Or maybe I am waiting for a good sale or coupon to come out!)
Here are some tips:
- Hannaford's website has all their prices listed online. Go there with your list and write down their prices. Now when you go to the much dreaded Walmart comparison shop. 95% of the time Walmart has it for cheaper but I still shop at Hannaford's because their meats and produce are much more appealing to me!
- Walmart will price match any competitor! I've had them tell I need the ad. However, that is not true. Simply tell them the price and what store it is. They should do it, if not call over a manager. Other sites often recommend that you carry a copy of stores coupon policy with you which is not a bad idea but I personally do not bother.
- Walmart also takes competitor's coupons. I've had issues with them taking another stores' coupon but I tend to profile their cashiers. The older ladies give your coupons a harder look and will be more likely to question the coupons you are using. Go for the teenaged boy or girl, they almost never question you and your checkout will go much more smoothly.
- If the store doesn't have the item you want to purchase don't be afraid to ask for a rain check! Sometimes it even works out better for you: A coupon for that item could come out between now and then or the store could offer the item at a lower price. For instance, Shaws had a sale on Chex Mix (BOGO) and shelf price was $3.79. All they had was Honey Nut so I got a raincheck. The next week it was on sale for $1.88 which made my .50/2 coupons even better! I got six bags for .64 cents or .11 cents per bag!