This blog post is for me to share with you guys how to save money by getting prepared to shop. All or most of your savings when using coupons is about getting prepared and getting organized. So I wanted to share a few of the things that I have learned and that I do to get ready to go grocery shopping. Some of these things I’ve learned the hard way…but that’s just how it goes sometimes.
So first and foremost…of course you get your coupons sorted and organized. That’s not this post. You should have them already in your way of organizing them. Next you need to make your list…what do you need to get? Here’s where things get interesting…
What I was doing, is I would get the Harris Teeter flyer on Wednesdays and go thru them during the week and match up with my coupons. I do my shopping on the weekends. Groceries are usually Saturdays, and I will do retail/drugstores on either/both Saturdays and Sundays. So that Friday night I’m making the list. I will check Food Lion’s website to see what’s on sale. So that’s worked for me a few weeks…I was still saving money. But not to the most I could.
When you look at a price and it says Buy 1 Get 1 Free…you may think that’s a good deal right? Depends on the store and depends on the price! Usually the ad doesn’t say how much it is, so you don’t know if you’re getting a deal or not. Well with Harris Teeter, you don’t have to buy the two items to get the savings. Each item rings up at half price. But you still need to know the price. As of last night, I found the key to the magic door! If your grocery store offers online shopping, like Harris Teeter does, then the night before I go shopping I go thru all of the items on the weekly ad (usually online but if the computer is acting a fool I’m using the paper ad). If I’m doing it online, I have my Evic coupons pulled up, the Harris Teeter shop from home page up, and the weekly ad pulled up. First I go off of items that are on advertised-sale, if it’s a good deal and I have a coupon then I add it to the list. Then I go thru and find items that I actually may need to get or that I have a coupon that’s about to expire that I want to use…I go to the shop from home site and that’s how I find out the prices. The awesome thing about this is that I don’t have to take a lot of time to calculate my deals. The site already will have my prices with savings on sale items. It already shows the item as half price if it’s on a BOGO. It’s awesome! Then I go and look at Food Lion’s website and see if they have something I will need on sale.
I shop at Harris Teeter first because they double coupons. Food Lion comes second. This weekend I was able to not only save money by knowing exactly what things would cost today, but I also saved time because I knew exactly what I was looking for and didn’t have to mull over prices at the store. Food Lion doesn’t have the luxury of the shop from home, but that’s ok because I do the majority of my shopping at Harris Teeter now.
One of the downsides of Harris Teeter’s coupon policy (learned the hard way) is that they have caps on how many of the same item coupons you can use. It’s 3 in one transaction. And that totally sucks. Had I known that I wouldn’t have used 4 coupons last weekend when I was stocking up on some dry goods. The items were on sale, but I missed out in the savings with that fourth purchase because I didn’t know the cap was 3. Also you have a max of 20 coupons that can be used in one day. That’s tracked by your card. If your plan was to be extreme with coupons, I honestly don’t know where you can do that in my neck of the woods. Because in my research I’ve been doing for the stores we have, everybody has very strict limits. Walmart seems to be the best with their coupon policy…too bad they don’t double. So far, aside from last weekend’s effort to stock up, I don’t mind the limitations on the amount of coupons that can be used, because I’m not doing huge transactions like that. I shop a lot at CVS and Walgreens too so it cuts out on the need to do large grocery trips.
The last thing I wanted to touch on is how to find your deals. We all have different stores in our different regions. Sure it’s fine to follow a savings blogger who is across the country, but when you’re looking for specific deals to the stores you shop at, you need to find a more local source. So google and find some savings bloggers who will post match ups for your stores and areas. It helps to take a lot of the extra work out of preparing for your shopping trip. The plan should be that because of the extra planning, you spend less money and less time at the grocery store and you stock up on items in the process.
***image is from google via pocketyourdollars.com