Today's lesson is for all of you out there who refuse to use coupons. Perhaps you have an irrational fear of scissors or you are deathly afraid of paper cuts? It's ok, I won't judge you, but your friends might. So here are a few thigns to think about next time you want to head out to do some shopping.
First and foremost, never never go grocery shopping hungry. You will spend more money, and if you are like me, lots more money. (Yes, I agree, you do need the latest seasonal package of Oreos, but this isn't about me.) I did a little Google lurking, and there is no concrete additional percentage that you will spend , but it seems like most of the "experts" agree that you will. And I agree with them, and honestly if I agree with it, no one else's opinion really matters. If you have no time to stop and cook a meal, swing through McDonald's and grab a $1 McDouble, it will save you much more than that at the counter.
** Disclaimer while I have your attention: Feel free to give me you McDonald's Monopoly pieces if you are not planning on using them. I already won some goodies off of one meal! **
Second, and what I think is most important, take the five minutes to browse through your store's ad. Grocery stores like Publix and Winn-Dixie have weekly ads that are personalized for your specific store. Conveniently, those links will take you right to the weekly circulars' page where you can punch in your zip code and see what is on sale. Look for items that are buy one get one, 30% or more off, or "2-for" to get the most out of your trip. By doing something as simple as switching brands to take advantage of a sale, you can save some significant money. Also, a lot of times, these sales are still a bargain when compared to the store brand.
Extra Credit Time!! While browsing these sale ads keep an eye out for some special savings. Publix offers a special called "Buy Theirs, Get Ours!" If the name doesn't give it away, when you buy a competitor brand, you can also walk away with the Publix brand for free. Generally, they run this special once a month and it is always something that is out of the ordinary. This week, when you buy:
- Jet Puff mini marshmallows
- Reynold's Wrap Aluminum Foil
- Nestle Butterscotch morsels
- Baker's coconut flakes
- Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk
you get their brand of all of those items for free. Combine that deal with any coupons you may have, and you are officially a couponing mini champ. Then there is Winn-Dixie, my personal favorite. They participate in a lot of money saving programs but for the purposes of this post, we are going to focus on the "Make a Meal" or "What a Deal" sale. This week's "What a Deal" special when you buy Purina puppy chow, you get 3 different kinds of dog treats for free! There is no "Make a Meal" deal this week, but one week I got 2 frozen pizzas that were on sale, and I got ice cream, soda, chips, and garlic bread for free. Generally, the one item you do purchase is between $8 and $15, but you save as much (if not, more) on the items you receive for free. Then don't get me started on using coupons with that deal. Ok, I lied, I will as soon as one comes up again where it applies.
Finally, now that I have completely bored you to tears, I want to encourage you to be "that guy" with the key chain full of loyalty cards. Sign up for everything. As we speak I am printing out my 3rd buy one get one free Coldstone's ice cream coupon since March and free chips and salsa at Tijuana Flats. But, how much did you have to spend to get these discounts? 45 seconds to type in my email address, birthday information, and optional mailing address. Granted, some stores, like CVS will reward you based on how much you spend. But others will send you out freebies just for funsies. My general rule of thumb: if it does not cost you a penny to sign up, why not sign up? A lot of mailing lists include a coupon in your "Welcome to our Mailing List" email. (Like Redbox did over the weekend! Free one night rental for the win!) If they email you too much or do not reward your loyalty with goodies, send that biotch to the spam mail list. Ahh, revenge sure is sweet.
If you take my advice, and find any success- please do not hesitate to post a little comment below. I would love to know if this blog is actually help you in your real life!