Brian feels smart about couponing
November 17, 2011
Filed under Currents
Graphic Designer Brian Miller feels smart about a couple things and then he gets really excited about them. Let’s hear him out because some of those ideas are actually pretty good.
Here’s a tip:
Clip some coupons.
Let me just say: I am not an Extreme Couponer (as seen on TV), but I am able to save a decent amount every week at the store. Last week I saved 48 percent on my groceries, which, if my calculations are correct, is almost half! Last week coupons gave me an extra $29.35 to spend on whatever and 48 percent off isn’t even my record. (No big deal, it’s 54 percent.)
Note: I shop at Gordy’s County Market, but I’m sure there are some equally excellent deals at the other grocery stores in town.
A lot of saving money isn’t actually clipping the coupons, it’s just looking for what’s on sale. So before you check out of the supermarket, check out these helpful little notes. They’re absolutely free!
MAKE SURE YOU GET:
Yes, calcium-added white bread costs pretty much nothing, but we’re all getting too old for those factory-shaped, neon white loaves. The bakery bread is usually between $2.50 and $3, but there is always one style that is on sale for half the price. Get that one. It’s sometimes fancy stuff, too (honey oatmeal!)
I know I just said we were too old for some bread, but we are definitely still young enough for chocolate milk. It seems like they switch back and forth between half gallons of chocolate milk and orange juice going on sale for 98 cents.
There are always 10 types of pizzas on sale at any given moment. The key is to switch things up once in a while. For example, I will get ridiculously little individual ones for three weeks in a row because the next week the big ones might be $6 off.
Whatever fruit or veggies:
Fresh fruit does not follow the normal coupon/sale prices. There will usually be one or two products that go on sale every week, so if you’re like me, and now refuse to get anything that’s not going to be reduced price, you’ll have to get that. Last week it was grapes. The week before that it was green peppers. Fortunately, both of those are really great, so stock up!
Packers ice cream:
When the Packers won the Super Bowl, ice cream companies must have made an insane amount of specialty Packers products. But because that idea is just OK, there is a ton left over. Seriously, every week it’s on sale. Somebody should buy some just to put it out of its misery.
BE WARY OF:
Anything 10 for $10:
It can be appealing to save up to $9.90, but sometimes things that are 10 for $10 are also one for $1. If you’re not careful you might end up with 10 boxes of oatmeal, like I did. Does anybody want some of it? I have several varieties. For another example, I can usually get PowerAde for 79 cents, 69 cents if I’m lucky. About once a month a store will put it on sale ‘10 for $10’ and it’s like — do you think I’m a chump?
Toilet paper is something that everyone who doesn’t live in the dorms needs to make sure they have in the house, and every week it seems like one brand is on sale. But sometimes it’s only 25 cents off and you can do way better than that.
In the aisle the store sets aside specifically for products on sale, there is always salad dressing at a great price. Don’t buy it every week. You’ll probably end up with a fridge full of ranch dressing. And if you actually need to buy salad dressing every week you are using way too much of it and you should really make a lifestyle change.
Just get a cart:
I used to get just a basket. I thought that was enough. But then I had to stop in the middle of the frozen foods section not once but twice to dump everything out and rearrange. Just get a cart. They are there to be used.
Know your coupon policies:
About a month into my new couponing lifestyle the cashier told me I only needed to give them one coupon from the advertisement and it would ring up all of the discounts available. That’s true, but then I didn’t get those three boxes of tissue for only 60 cents each. I was not happy. There are both store coupons and manufacturer’s coupons given out every week. Make sure you know which is which and that you are giving both kinds to the cashier.
Don’t be embarrassed:
And when you do get to the cashier, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Which coupons do they need? Do they need to scan all 10 of your fruit cups? Why are you telling me that this is not on sale when I have the coupon right here?
I remember a trip at the beginning of the summer where a friend (we’ll call him ‘the editor in chief of The Spectator’) and I were waiting in line and the cashier didn’t have the store coupon she needed to scan. As my friend rolled his eyes and said I was holding up the line, I told the cashier I would wait right there while she went to find it.
Personally, I would rather have a group of people give me dirty looks than pay for a free bag of potato chips that I knew I had absolutely earned. That’s just me. But it can be you, too!