“Strategic Shopping,” my term for the techniques you’ll learn here, allows you to pay the lowest possible prices for your groceries. Even though savings tools may evolve over the years, the basic Strategic Shopping strategies remain the same.
1. Know prices. When you know the prices of your regularly-purchased items, you’ll be able to stock up when they hit their lowest price. Once you’re in the cycle of only paying the lowest prices, your overall grocery spending will drop dramatically.
2. Know stores’ savings programs. When you’re familiar with the various pricing promotions, rewards programs, and store coupons available at the stories you frequent, you can use them to your advantage.
3. Know coupons. By knowing where to find coupons for your items, you’ll cut your spending even further. The key is finding an easy way to use coupons that works with your shopping habits.
We have grocery savings opportunities at the tip of our fingers—literally. We can find the prices of items at almost every store by searching the store’s website or app. We can clip digital coupons by checking a box on that website or app, and the coupon value is automatically deducted at the register. Some apps give cash back on top of sale prices and coupon savings.
Stores have expanded their loyalty programs to include multiple sources of automatic discounts, rewards, and rebates, all without requiring any tedious paperwork. There’s a gold mine of savings available if you know where to look. Our goal is to help you learn how to save money with easy tools that take very little time, create no stress, cause no embarrassment at the register, and help you feed your family healthy food at a lower cost. Let’s dig in!
You can easily print free grocery coupons without buying a Sunday newspaper. I think of that as printing free money when you can print a coupon for an item you’d already be buying. Coupons are available from general coupon sites such as Coupons.com, which has printable coupons for many brands. You can also print coupons directly from manufacturers’ websites. Do an online search for printable coupons for your favorite brands. You may be able to print directly from the product sites, or you may need to subscribe to a company’s email newsletter to receive coupons.
Examples of websites with printable coupons include the following:
1. Coupons.com, which features many different brands. You can print coupons for several products at once as they print three to a page, so maximize your savings and reduce paper waste by selecting at least three coupons.
2. P&G Good Everyday has printable coupons and rewards programs. The website also makes donations to causes based on your engagement. Sixty P&G brands support the program. Find coupons for Tide, Gain, Downy, and Dreft. Once you purchase items with the coupons, you can scan your store receipt to get rewards or donate to charity.
One of the best developments in the coupon world has been the shift from paper coupons to digital. Almost all couponing challenges have been solved with digital coupons. Believe me, over the past two decades shoppers have told me every possible reason why couponing couldn’t work for them.
I understand all those reasons, but to me, the potential cost-savings was worth the tedious process of using newspaper coupons. They are still available, but they are no longer the primary source of coupons. If you get the newspaper or if you receive the flyers in the mail, be sure to check for coupons you would use. If you find coupons for items you already buy, that’s like finding dollar bills on the street. Who wouldn’t take a moment to bend over to pick up money on the street? If you don’t get the newspaper coupon circular, don’t worry. You can save real money by using the free digital coupons available for almost all stores. Digital coupons (also called paperless coupons) can be store or manufacturer’s coupons. You’ll find digital ones on the retailers’ websites, and if a coupon is a store coupon it will say “store coupon.” Drugstores like Walgreens and CVS have both store coupons and manufacturer’s coupons on their websites and in their apps.
Contact companies to request having coupons mailed or emailed to you. There are over 60 companies who have sent coupons to shoppers by request. It doesn’t take long to send a few emails out to see what you get back. Many of these “consumer relations” coupons are high-value, and in many cases they are redeemable for a completely free item.
In addition to combining sale prices with coupons, today you can use apps that give you cash back on specific items. After shopping, you take a picture of your store receipt with the cash back app and match any qualifying items with available offers. The value of the offers will go into your account within the app, and you can cash out your total when you reach a minimum threshold (such as $20.00). Depending on the app, you can get your balance in cash or retailer gift cards.
It’s important to know the coupon type, because you can combine a manufacturer’s coupon with a store coupon on the same item (called “stacking”). You cannot combine two of the same types of coupons on the same item. For example, if you have a paper manufacturer’s coupon, you cannot use it along with the digital manufacturer’s coupon on the same item. back app and match any qualifying items with available offers. The value of the offers will go into your account within the app, and you can cash out your total when you reach a minimum threshold (such as $20.00). Depending on the app, you can get your balance in cash or retailer gift cards.
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