How are you going to save the most money at the grocery store? Do you know what the grocery store will allow with your coupons?
To make things a little easier, I have decided to compile a list for the grocery stores in our area so that you will have an up-to-date, quick reference that will help you save money using coupons and shopping sales.
First things first. If you don’t have shopper’s cards for the stores, then you must sign up immediately. This will save you big bucks. Kroger, Bi-Lo, and Food Lion all have loyalty shopper cards. Publix does not have a shopper’s card but you can sign up for and use a UPromise card that is linked to a UPromise college account for a child in your family. This deposits a small percentage from your purchases on certain items into the account for the child’s college. Wal-mart and Aldi do not have shopper cards.
At Kroger and Bi-Lo, you get points that will add up and save you anywhere from 10 cents to a dollar off a gallon of gas at participating gas stations when you use your card at the store to receive savings on your groceries and when you use it at the pharmacy.
The next thing to do is to go on the Web site for each of the stores, and create a login with them. You will be able to use this to go online and look things up, get coupons and many other things as well. You also want to sign up for different programs at each of the stores as you find them. For instance, Publix has the Publix Paws for pet owners, The Baby Club for new parents and Preschool Pals for toddlers through preschool.
One very helpful thing to know is which stores double coupons and how much do they double. If you are unfamiliar with doubling, it is where a store takes the amount of a coupon and doubles that amount to save you even more. There is no store that doubles up to any amount so it is helpful to know how much you can save. Kroger and Publix both double coupons that are worth up to 50 cents every day of the week. If you use a coupon over the 50 cents, it is taken off for face value. Bi-Lo doubles coupons up to 60 cents, which could save you up to $1.20 when doubled. Food Lion, although it accepts coupons, it does not double coupons. Wal-Mart accepts coupons but does not double them. Aldi does not accept coupons.
Another way to save is by being able to use competitor’s coupons at the store you are shopping. When you can pair that up with a sale at your store, you can save big. Publix accepts local competitor’s coupons. The competitors for the North Augusta Publix are considered Kroger, Bi-Lo and Food Lion. Kroger and Food Lion do not, at this time, accept competitor’s coupons. Bi-Lo does accept local competitor coupons. Wal-Mart accepts competitor coupons but they have to have a specified price for a specific item on them. For each of those that accept competitor coupons, you have to buy the item on the coupon and it cannot be a store brand.
Each of the stores have their own coupons as well. Publix has coupons that you can print out from online, their Advantage fliers (green and yellow), and various coupon fliers and booklets put out throughout the year. These coupons (store coupons) can be added to manufacturer coupons to save even more money. You can use a competitor’s coupon at Publix along with a manufacturer’s coupon to save more money. You cannot pair it up with a Publix coupon, however. You can use either a Publix or a competitor’s coupon. Publix also has a digital coupon program that uses your phone number when you are checking out at the store. The coupons that you have downloaded to your account are not able to be combined with manufacturer or store coupons. Kroger has coupons that will be mailed to you as well as e-coupons. You cannot add manufacturer’s coupons with the e-coupons. You can only use one or the other. Bi-Lo has online coupons that you can print out as well as save to your Bi-Lo card. These can be used with manufacturer’s coupons to save even more money. Food Lion’s and Wal-Mart’s policies states that only one coupon per item can be used.
It is handy to have the coupon policy with you when you shop. You can find each of the store’s coupon policies by going to their Web site or searching for that particular store’s name along with “coupon policy.” This helps in two ways. First, you won’t spend a lot of time working on saving money with coupons only to get to the register and find out that what you have done cannot be used. Second, in case the cashier is unfamiliar, you are able to show her or him the policy and make sure you get the most bang for your buck. One thing to keep in mind, as long as you are following the policies set forth by the stores, you are doing ethical couponing, which is perfectly legal. When you try to get around or bend the policies, it is coupon fraud and will not be tolerated by the store. Happy shopping to you all.
KAREN GREEN CAN BE BOOKED TO TEACH COUPON CLASSES AND CAN BE REACHED AT BUDGETCOUPONS@COMCAST.NET.