Friday, October 10, 2008

Places to shop and hints

First of all I have to tell you that my mother said she was furious with my father for his absurd actions. (If this makes no sense to you read the last post for clarification.) Wouldn't we all have been furious? I am just thinking did they already have bread? What can you possible do with just 15 cans of tuna, maybe we should explore this. And at late 1970's prices he couldn't have spent more than $5 on groceries, I sincerely hope that wasn't the whole budget! This is one of those times that we would use that famous line, "Just like a man!"

Okay now to the meat of this post. I am going to discuss a few stores and some tips I have picked up on on how to use your coupons more effectively. Remember we have already discussed that we have to be organized and have a plan. We also have to "have" coupons for this to work. By no means is this all the information floating around out there. There are so many good ideas that I couldn't presume to talk about all of them because quite frankly I don't know all of them , but hopefully this will give some of you a decent start.

First of all make sure to shop on a full stomach. I know we have all heard this proverb (not from the Bible, it means short statement of wisdom or advice that has been passed into general use...I looked it up) before and sometimes we do it and sometimes we don't but it is really good advice, you will be less likely to buy things you don't need that weren't on your list if you aren't hungry.

Next go alone or take a friend that is of like mind. Don't take your children or a spouse because they always try to load your buggy (that means "shopping cart" for you northerners) with nonessential items that you don't have a coupon for and were no where near the items on your list. Try taking a fellow coupon buddy is a great way to save extra money. You can share coupons as you go. This works really well if you find a clearance item and one of you really needs it and the other has a ton of coupons for it but doesn't really need the item or just doesn't want it.

Now to a few specific stores:
(Sorry but I will be only discussing the stores that I am familiar with. I wish I could say that I have used Costco which I understand is like Sam's but allows coupons. Also I wish I could discuss Meyers because they are an all in one store up north that I think doubles coupons. Unfortunately, I don't have enough information on their practices to help you guys. If someone reading this post would like to add a comment on these stores or others that would be awesome.)
Hidden information: You guys will want to read up on this, would I steer you wrong?

Wal-Mart - They take coupons from the paper as well as Internet coupons. They are very finicky. They scrutinize every detail of the coupon, including expiration dates, wording, etc. One thing good they do that others don't is price check items. You can bring in a sale paper from another store and they will match the ad in the paper, BUT it has to be the exact item, the exact size mentioned, and they have to give a specific price. They will not honor percents off or BOGO (buy one get one free) sales. When going to Wal-Mart I make sure all my ducks are in a row. I have all my sales papers in hand, all my coupons ready, as well as a detailed list (of course I do this for all stores...:)). Still about the best that I can manage to save at Wal-Mart is about $20.

Target is awesome for couponing. They have coupons on their website to print out. They take manufacturers coupons. They will take their store coupon (has to say store coupon) and a manufactures coupon at the same time, doubling your savings. They have clearance items on the end caps where you can use your coupons and get items almost free. For example, I found Colgate Total toothpaste for $1.58, I had five $1.50 coupon from online and the All You magazine, I bought 5 tubes of toothpaste and used 5 coupons making the 5 tubes of toothpaste (.08 x 5) = .40! Most of the time you can buy a item that is pre-wrapped with two to a pack (wrapped this way by the store) and use a coupon that is good only when you buy 2 of a certain product. Example: Two boxes of general mills cereal wrapped together, and coupon says $1.00 off of TWO general mills cereals, they will apply it to the two boxes. Something else that will work at Target if you have a coupon that is good for one item and it is wrapped to another item they will stay take the coupon and apply it to the two, example razor and shaving cream kit together and you have a coupon for the shaving cream, they will take it and apply it to the kit price.

Kroger - This is the best place to use grocery coupons. All Kroger stores double their coupons starting at some amount. My local store just happen to double .50 and below. At Kroger if they are having a BOGO sale (buy one get one) you can use double coupons. So if you bought two bags of chips that were BOGO and you had 2 coupons you could use them both. Or just buy the one and use the one coupon and you still get the product for half the original price. Kroger also has great sales. You really have to watch their flyer and plan your trip for what is on sale and what you have a current coupon for. They have a reward card which saves you .10 per gallon at the pump after you spend $100 at the store. Kroger is also great about sending coupons to you in the mail to their store. The more you spend there the more coupons you will least it seems that way.

Okay because this is getting so long we will discuss Walgreens and CVS tomorrow.

I want to leave you with this parting note. I love to read. I currently am reading "The Pattern of Her Heart" which is #3 in the Lights of Lowell series by Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller. This book is set in the United States in the 1850's. In 1857, the country under President Buchanan was under a financial crisis - banks were failing. (article - Here is a direct quote from this book that by one of the characters. The people in the book are afraid of loosing their jobs at a cotton mill. I thought it might be relevant to all of us during this time:
"I trust all of you are keeping the economic situation in our country and at the mills in your prayers. In times of difficulty, our true power comes through prayer. We must remember that we have a heavenly Father who cares deeply about our every need. When others flail about in worry and torment, we should be leaning upon God, knowing He will see us through our tribulation. Instead of showing others the strength we have in our Lord and Savior, we often emulate the behavior of nonbelievers."