Thrifty Grocery Shopping 101

This week Albertsons offers a great opportunity to illustrate the value of shopping with coupons. Grocery store chains offer their own promotions, in addition to national manufacturer campaigns. Get familiar with the ones in your community and you’ll maximize what you can get for your money.
Before you can take best advantage of grocery store sales, you have to have the tools.
Efficiency in coupon use is the determining factor in how successful you will be in saving money. Invest a little time and money into coupon storage and organization. Your efforts will be more profitable when the coupons you need are easily accessible.
At home, designate a filing cabinet drawer with hanging files, plastic hanging file storage box, large shoe box, or expandable accordion-style file to store coupon inserts as you receive them each week. Gain extras from family, friends, playgroups, recycling centers, etc.
Each week, go through the coupon inserts. Clip coupons of products that you use often. File them in your portable coupon file. (We’ll discuss these in a future post). Keeping coupons close to you for items you use often will prepare you for unadvertised sales or last-minute, rushed shopping.
Mark the insert cover with the date. Label the hanging file (if you’re filing the inserts) with the date, and the insert distributor. Example: “8/2 S” would translate into August 2’s SmartSource Insert.
To match coupons with what’s on special this week, there are several bloggers and website out there that can help. Each week, they let you know where the savings can be found, and how to match the coupons with sales- maximizing your savings.
Some of the best bloggers and money-saving sites out there are:
These websites offer forums and updates which direct you to the use of your coupons in conjunction with current sales. You can subscribe to their websites, and in time for grocery store shopping preparation, you will be sent updates. You can purchase this information, sent directly to you, from “The Grocery Game” and others. I find that with the amount of excellent bloggers out there, who work hard to help us, that I get all I need – and more without the need for a subscription. The Grocery Game would be useful to those that have limited time or perhaps beginners to this “sales-matching” process. The Grocery Game also requires that you have some of the larger grocery store chains in your area, and depending on where you live, its value will vary.
At the money-saving websites or blogs, find the forum or list of the stores you frequent.
You will read the best that the writers have found, and often times input from other shoppers as well.
The website entries will detail and clearly illustrate:
Current Sale price and promotions
Coupon’s to use to “better” the deal. This will include the publish date of the coupon insert (example 8/2 SmartSource), the discount the coupon will give you and a link to print a coupon if necessary. This is the detail that makes matching coupons to deals a snap!
The price you will pay, after coupons and promotion/discounts are listed as well.
This week’s Example:
A few days ago, I received my update from A Thrifty Mom. Post Select Cereals are on sale at Albertsons. She informed me that we can get a real thrifty deal when we combine Albertson’s “Buy 4; get each box for $1.50” promotion with recent insert coupons. There is a $1/2 coupon in the July 26th Smartsource insert that will bring the price of each box down to $1 each. Post Cereal and South Beach Cereal bars are included in this deal. A bonus “Catalina” coupon (printed at the register following your payment) will print beginning Friday, when you choose to purchase the Post Select variety. Purchasing two boxes of Post Select variety will net you a $1 Catalina OYNO (On Your Next shopping Order) coupon. For every 3 Post Select boxes you buy, you will receive $2 OYNO and when you purchase 4 boxes of Post Select, you will receive $3. OYNO coupons are good for anything you want to buy in the store, with few restrictions. If you want to get more of these when you purchase additional sets of 4 cereals, be sure NOT to use the ONYO’s that you received from this Post deal. The smart computer will detect the use of the OYNO, and not give you any more. Use OYNO’s for the “bread and milk” items you need to purchase.
It really can be done, that simply:
Get the inserts
File them (or at least stack them chronologically in your large shoe box)
Refer to the money saving sites
Make your list
Clip n File your Coupons in your Shopping Coupon File(divide by store, to make it easier)
Go shopping as an informed, prepared and thrifty shopper.
Impress yourself and your fellow shoppers!
There are other things to consider when couponing and determining what you will buy each week. New tools, such as “clipless coupons” and other advances in technology offer further ease in saving money. There’s a lot to learn, but take small steps every week. Learn and grow with your thrifty shopping. Find a friend or two with whom you can work as a team to share information.
Whether you meal plan, choose your shopping list by what you already have on hand, or other planning tools (which we’ll detail in future posts) – these websites can offer you a wealth of additional information on how to cut everyday costs. They really do make couponing easier, and dare I say, even more fun when you join the networks of many other thrifty shoppers.
Send us your couponing questions and any obstacles you face in saving money. We’ll help you find the answers.

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