by K. Shelby Skrhak
The key to couponing at the grocery store is deciding how much time you have to devote. No time—sign up for a Kroger card and take advantage of store sales without any work. Plenty of time—comparison shop, use coupons and take advantage of store’s price matching policies. You can pick the best money-saving strategy for your lifestyle.
Try on the grocery store-savings strategy for which you have time:
No Time —Enroll in a grocery store’s value card program. Stores such as Tom Thumb and Kroger offer significant savings with their respective reward card. A few years back, stores such as Albertson’s did away with their cards, saying it’d offer every day savings without such a card. But as you’ll likely find, at least one Albertson’s in your neighborhood has closed down, with more to come in the coming years.
5 Minutes a We ek — G o to shortcuts.com or Cellfire for electronic coupons. When you sign up, these electronic coupons link to your Kroger or Tom Thumb card, so you don’t have to cut anything out and bring it to the store.
Here’s the bonus, if you do happen to have a paper coupon for an item, in addition to your electronic coupon, you can use both.
30 Minutes a Week —Clip co upons from the Sunday’s coupon circulars. Tuck them into an extra wallet, and quickly sort them
by category—frozen, canned good, snacks, drinks, etc. Cut coupons for only products that you use regularly. Why? If you cut out every food coupon, you’ll spend too much time in the aisles comparing the price of this yogurt with coupon, versus that yogurt with coupon—and 9 times out of 10, you’ll end up buying the store brand because it’s cheaper than both. So, stick with the brands you’re loyal to, and won’t substitute another brand for. For example, I’m a Campbell’s Soup girl… you’ll never find another brand in my cupboard, so I always clip the Campbell’s soup coupons that come in the Sunday paper.
1 Hour a Week or More —Price comparison sites such as groceryguide.com and thegrocerygame.com offer a plethora of grocery sale information—telling you what stores have what on sale, what coupons can match up to those sale items, and whether the price is a “stock-up price.” A stock-up price is one of the lowest prices such an item will go on sale for. For example, Huggies diapers typically run $13.99 or so, but during “stockupportunities” (clever name thought up by couponers), they go on sale for $8.99. Use a $1.50 off coupon, and you’ve reduced a $14 pack of diapers down to $7.50. Be on the lookout for extra incentives, too. At times, Target or CVS offer a $5 incentive on 2 packages (usually a $5 Target gift card or $5 CVS Extra Care Bucks respectively.)
Category: Personal Finance