As I was walking down the aisle at the new Price Chopper in Hopkinton this weekend, stack of coupons in hand, a frustrated appearing shopper approached me and asked if I was impressed by the store.
Without hesitation, I answered "Heck yeah! It's especially great with coupons!" If she had continued to follow me through checkout, she would have witnessed a $126 order dwindling down to $48 after coupons.
It was a typical "good" shopping trip for me—not extreme, but more extreme than the average shopper.
What really impressed me was the outstanding level of service. The manager, Phillip, was standing near the register during checkout. I asked him if I could order a pizza from the register to save some time. I was hoping he could call it into the food service department from his walkie talkie so I could pick it up after the checkout process. Phillip walked away. I thought, "Oh well, nice try. Can't hurt to ask," as I smiled to the patient shopper behind me in line. Before I was done checking out, Phillip reappeared, pizza box in hand!! How awesome is that??!!
On my way out, I stopped to tell his boss about how helpful he was. His boss will be giving him another service "star" award. Since this will be his 6th star, he will receive a gift card to the store. Well deserved!
Back to the savings...are you wondering how I got $126 worth of groceries for only $48? A pretty penny at $78 worth of savings. The answer is simple: coupons! The details are not so simple, but I'll try to be as clear and concise as possible.
Right off the bat, I saved $15: $5 off general grocery coupon from Wegmans coupon booklet (yes, they accept competitor coupons), $5 off $50 purchase coupon from Shaw's circular and $5 off $50 purchase from Roche Bros. Entertainment Book coupon for Aug-Oct. Note: It is important that the $$ off coupon be presented FIRST, before the manufacturer and store coupons. Otherwise, if you present them last, your total won't be enough to use the $$ off total order.
The rest was pretty straight forward. Price Chopper has a lot of BOGO deals this week (buy one, get one free). Both items are scanned individually in the computer system, so you can use a coupon on each product, even though one is technically free.
Price Chopper also doubles coupons up to 99 cents. So, if you have a 99 cent coupon, they'll double it to $1.98. This was helpful when purchasing Kleenex Hand Towels reg. price $3.29. They were on sale for $1.88. I had a 70 cent coupon which doubled to $1.40, so net out-of-pocket was only 48 cents for some very sturdy, absorbent, disposable hand towels.
In this week's circular, Price Chopper also had 2 Dollar Doubler coupons. This allows you to double 2 coupons that are $1 in value. My kids have been begging for Cap'n Crunch, so I took this opportunity to use $1 coupons, doubled to $2 off to fulfill their request for only 50 cents per box!
Circulars are a great source for coupons, including competitor circulars.
Some other sources of coupons are:
Sunday newspaper inserts - many coupons from the hard copy can also be found online at Redplum.com, SmartSource.com, Coupon Network, Proctor & Gamble, General Mills, etc. (I tend to find the best prices on newspaper subscriptions at this website: http://www.discountednewspapers.com/index.html.). You can also order just the inserts from services online, but that's a topic for another time.
Store Rewards Cards and Reward Card Kiosks - signup for exclusive savings.
Coupons.com (in another blog I'll tell you how you can earn rewards for printing coupons from coupons.com through Swagbucks, UPromise, etc.). Usually you can print up to 2 coupons per computer by pressing the back arrow a couple of times and printing a 2nd time. Most, if not all, grocery stores in this area accept printed coupons; however, some retailers, like Staples, do not.
Social media pages: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. "Like" the store or brand to be alerted when coupons are posted online.
Store newsletters - signup online. They are usually distributed once/week. Note: If you sign up for Shaw's newsletter, they often have $$ off fresh fish. This type of coupon can also be used at Price Chopper. The only kind you cannot use is if the coupons says it's for a specific store's brand of product.
Catalinas - those coupons that print from the register when you purchase a pre-determined amount of specific products. For instance: $7.50 off your next order when you buy (WYB) $75 worth of a specific brand.
Peelies - those stickers on products. These can be significant when you find them on chicken or meat packages. I see lots of them on cookies and crackers.
Blinkies - Those red machines attached to the shelf that pop up a coupon for a specific product.
Recyclebank.com - complete tasks to earn points and redeem for coupons like $5 off at Shaw's which you can use at Price Chopper or for specific products like tuna fish, etc.
Manufacturer websites for specific products - Hood has some great coupons online.
Last but not least, Smartphone apps! Did you know the Keyring app allows you to scan all of those store rewards cards into your phone? That'll shave a few ounces off your pocket or purse. Most grocery stores have their own apps and there are many coupon apps available to download too.
Save on gas - many grocery stores have gas rewards programs. Price Chopper has one in conjunction with the purchase of $100 in gift cards, but I think this program is ending soon. One idea is to purchase $100 Visa gift card in one order to earn 40 cents off per gallon of gas at Sunoco. Then use that gift card in a separate transaction to pay for the groceries. Just use the divider on the conveyer belt to separate your orders. I haven't been adventurous enough to try this yet, but it's a thought.
I'm sure there is something I'm forgetting, but this should be a good starting point. Please let me know if you have any questions.
Oh yes, by the way, it's a good idea to get to know the managers at the stores you shop at regularly. They tend to be extra helpful when they recognize you as a frequent shopper and not some random person off the street. This is especially helpful when there is a register discrepancy. They can sometimes override an error for the sake of customer satisfaction and repeat business.