The following post is from Christina of Northern Cheapskate:
You don’t have to be an extreme couponer to know that finding a good coupon and matching it with a great deal at the grocery store will save you money.
But there are places to save at the supermarket that often get overlooked. Are you missing these places for savings?
Visit the service counter.
The service counter can be a great place to find coupons. Many grocery stores keep copies of their sales fliers and coupon books at the service counter.
In addition, some stores offer coupon exchanges near the service counter. If you spy a great unadvertised sale or you’ve accidentally forgotten your coupons at home (gasp!), you can stop by the Service Counter and look for free coupons to help you save.
Ask for a rain check.
Have you ever found a really great store deal and had the perfect high value coupon to go with it, only to find the store shelf empty? A lot of people just shrug and figure that they’ve lost out on a deal and buy something else. But you can be a savvy shopper by asking for a rain check. Just visit the customer service department and ask for one. The rain check will allow you to get the same great store price when the item is back in stock. Most rain checks are good for at least 30 days, so chances are you can still use that coupon, too!
Look for products with added savings.
My husband looked at me quizzically as I dug through a display of crackers. He couldn’t understand why I didn’t just grab the ones in front. Well, the boxes of crackers in the front didn’t contain extra coupons like the ones in the back! Pay attention to the packaging when you’re making a purchase, and look for additional savings like coupons and mail-in rebates.
Check your receipts.
Don’t toss your grocery receipt until you’ve looked it over. Look for errors in your bill and don’t be afraid to bring them up to a manager. Look for surveys on the bottom of your receipt – sometimes they offer discounts there. And of course, the backs of grocery receipts can have coupons, too!
Don’t forget those catalinas.
Catalinas are those little slips of paper that sometimes print out with your receipt. They’re usually triggered by buying particular products. Sometimes they’re simply advertisements, but sometimes they are high value coupons, so pay attention! The lady ahead of me in line at the grocery store stuffed a wad of Catalinas in my hand, saying, “You can have these, I never use these dumb things.” I thanked her, and it wasn’t until I was in the car, that I noticed that they were coupons for two free movie passes! So check those little slips of paper, note the expiration dates and save!
Shop the clearance sections.
It’s not just your favorite discount department stores that have clearance sales! Most grocery stores have scratch & dent sales, or will give deep discounts on food that’s near its expiration date. Those deals can be combined with coupons, too! I once got FiberPlus cereal bars for $.90 a box and high quality bacon for $1 a pound just by looking around. Get to know what days your meat department drops the prices on meat near it’s sell-by date, and fill your freezer! And don’t forget to scope out the produce section. You can often buy bags of brown bananas (perfect for breads and muffins) for a steal!
What tricks do you use to save at the grocery store?
|Christina Brown is the creator of Northern Cheapskate, a blog dedicated to frugal living through coupons, freebies, and money-saving ideas. She lives in the rural north woods of Minnesota where she clips coupons, pinches pennies, and chases her three boys (a 7-year-old and twin 5-year olds) as a stay-at-home mom.