Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Frugal Files: Saving More at Grocery Stores

Hey frugalicious ones!!

It's the end of the month, so wrap up this month's budget sheet and prepare your new one for March!! It seems like so much occurred in February, including getting freebies all month, awesome savings at the grocery stores and making the best use of my couponing knowledge. If you're missing out on the freebies, be sure to catch up with me daily on Facebook: Frugalicious Diva

Speaking of grocery stores, that's our topic for this week!! We're going to chat about how to shop and get the best savings at there. Of all the coupon classes I've taken, the advice that's been consistent is to choose 1-2 stores and get familiar with them. Choose your favorites or ones closest to you. My picks are Kroger and Walmart because I have four Kroger stores within 5 miles of me and two Walmart stores. They are accessible and I love their coupon policies. So let's get started.

1) Sign up for Card Rewards Savings - Most grocery stores have some sort of reward system in place to give you perks and savings at their store. Kroger has a Plus Card good for both groceries and gas, Meijer has mPerks and Rite Aid has +UP Rewards/Wellness card. All cards provide added savings, allowing you to take advantage of in store sales and discounts. Remember though, just like coupon policies, you have to know HOW to use your card, so you actually get savings on things you are already purchasing.

2) Use Coupons - While we're on the subject, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention my new favorite pastime. Couponing is how we truly save at the grocery store, especially ones like Kroger and Giant Eagle. If it weren't for the coupons matched with their deals, I would never shop there. They are too expensive for full price shopping. Thanks to the plentiful extreme couponing blogs, I get the benefit of the deals on the backs of those who've already done the work. All I need to do is collect and clip my coupons, wait for the deals and stock up. Wouldn't you rather shop for food and toiletries right in your own home? Well, let's get those stock piles together!!

3) Shop Clearance - Couponing is my favorite pastime, but the grocery clearance is my new obsession!! A couple of weeks ago I discovered grocers have clearance tables/shelves and I have been in heaven. This is a couponer's dream because you're getting discounts on top of discounts. Merchandise may be thrown in clearance for several reasons: open box returns, discontinued items, damaged packaging, shelf life expiration is nearing, etc. Whatever the reason, it means savings for you and I, and I plan to take advantage. Don't be afraid of those dented cans Belles!!
For every clearance bin I visited, I had a coupon for something there. If I regularly used it and the savings was worth it to me, I purchased it. If not, I left the coupons for someone else to use. I was able to stock my linen closet, so we're set for about 6 months. I was also able to try new products for pennies, thanks to Kroger and their policy to double coupons.

4) Learn the Store Layout - We are always looking for ways to save and I don't know about you, but that includes my time. So to cut back on grocery shopping time, we need to know where everything is. Since we're picking our favorite stores, learn about them. Understand that perishables like deli, produce, meats and the bakery will be on the outskirts of the store and the items with longer shelf lives are in the aisles. Learn which items are close to each other, so you will write your list in that order.

5) Prepare at Home - This is the last step I'm mentioning, but it's the first step to do, tying all the above together. Get your sales fliers and begin to match it up to the coupons that you have. Need some coupons, go to Coupon Divas and check out the printables. Get what you need, learn the coupon policies and get ready to shop. Once you've learned the store, arrange your coupons (and shopping list) according to the store layout. Then save, save, save!!

Be sure to not only save, but share your saving stories!! Post it to my facebook page or tweet #frugalicious on Twitter!! Chat with you next week!!

Frugalicious Diva

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