Since I posted the link to the Star Tribune article recently, I’ve had a few people ask me if I had any tips on using coupons and saving money at the grocery store.
First of all, I try to keep track of grocery prices. Some people keep a written price book, but I don’t have time for that. I just try to pay very close attention to what I am paying for items and keep a mental tally. Know your unit prices. Know how much you pay per ounce or per item. This can help you decide if a “Price Shocker” is really a good deal. Sometimes, it’s not.
On Sundays, I get two local newspapers and the state edition of the Star Tribune. The Star Tribune by far has the best coupons… but the locals have some ones tucked in unusal places. Look over the entire paper, because you may find a $5 off coupon for Ground Round, or a $13.95 oil change coupon out there. Also look for coupons in magazines, too. I’ve seen great coupons in American Baby, Parents and Parenting, and Fitness magazines. I clip coupons while I watch tv. It really doesn’t take that long. If you really love a product call/write the company and tell them. Sometimes you’ll be rewarded for your effort with great coupons.
I have very little brand loyalty. I often will buy the store brand of something if I don’t have a coupon that makes the price of a namebrand item comparable.
Because I have so little brand loyalty, I clip any and all coupons I might use. Sometimes, particularly with brand new products, the stores will have a really good sale that when you use a coupon, makes it worth trying the product. Example: I normally buy either Cascade dishwasher detergent with a coupon or a store brand. But because I had clipped some coupons for Electrasol 3-in-1 dishwashing tablets, I was able to get several boxes of them for 41 cents each!
Always try to combine a store coupon with a manufacturer coupon. Target is a great example for this. They have store coupons right on their website. Use a manufacturer coupon with it for even more savings. This is how I was able to get Huggies baby wipes for 14 cents a tub!
Think small. Sometimes the best deals do come in small packages. If a coupon says $1 off one item, find the smallest size, and purchase it with the coupon. You will probably get the item for free or nearly free. (If the coupon doesn’t exclude trial sizes, check out that section, too). For example, I got a 2 oz bottle of Purell hand sanitizer for free because I had a coupon that covered the entire cost of the bottle. I also got a 24 count bottle of Tylenol for less than a dollar.
Stock up. When you see a great sale on something, fill your pantry. Many items go on a four to six week sale rotation. If you buy enough during a great sale, you’ll have enough to make it to the next great sale.
Stay tuned for more couponing tips soon!