Last week I started a series on my non-extreme approach to couponing. In that post I promised to cover important things to consider when considering taking up the practice of shopping with coupons. This week I am addressing the importance of choosing a store.
In my town of Anderson, SC there are a lot of store options for couponers. In the grocery category, in addition to Wal-Mart, we have Publix, Food Lion, Ingles & Bi-Lo. Of Course we have Target and we have CVS, Walgreens & Rite Aid in the drugstore genre. When I really started taking couponing seriously in Anderson, I had to decide how I wanted to approach grocery stores.
The most extreme of couponers would shop all the sales at all the stores capturing the best deals across town. As we previously discussed I am not extreme. I decided that I would select one grocery store and focus my efforts on shopping sales there. While some people have great success coupon stacking at drug stores, I am staying narrowly focused due to my lack of time and interest.
When it came to choosing my store, I chose Publix. There are a number of reasons I made that my “target” grocery store.
- Publix- where shopping is a pleasure! That is Publix’s tag line and they live up to it. I always leave the store a little happier than when I came in. The staff are friendly, the store is clean and the isles are clear. I just enjoy my experience shopping at Publix.
- By One Get One (BOGO) Sales- Publix always has something on BOGO Sale. This usually means an item is buy one get one free, sometimes it’s half price. When approaching coupons, BOGO sales are always the best starting point.
- Stacking Coupons- In addition to BOGO sales, Publix also provides a lot of store coupons in both print and digital form. Their store policy allows you to stack a store coupon and manufacturer coupon for the same item. Meaning, if I’m buying one bottle of laundry detergent and I have “Publix” coupon and one I cut out of the newspaper, I can use both for that same one item.
- Doubling Coupons– By policy Publix doubles any manufacturers coupon $0.50 or less every time. If I have coupon from the newspaper for $0.50 off, it’s going to actually be $1 off the item. Pair that with a $0.50 store coupon (non-doubling) and I just saved $1.50.
- Rain Checks- Publix is one of the more coupon friendly grocery stores, so their good sale items sell out quickly. This can be frustrating if you don’t know the rain check
secretpolicy. If any item is out of stock and on sale you can get a rain check to get the item for that price at a later date. They had a BOGO sale on All Laundry detergent once and were out of stock. I went to customer service and the Publix employee wrote me a little form promising that sale price for a month. I had to give her the quantity I wished to purchase at the time she wrote the coupon. When I came back to purchase it later the price had returned to normal, but I just gave that form to the cashier and they honored the price.
- Honor Competitor Offers/Coupons- Publix will match advertised prices and store coupons from published competitors. This makes it easier to only shop one store because I can get the same deals at Publix. What stores they honor competing prices for vary by location and can be found posted at the front of each store. For me, it’s Food Lion, Ingles & Bi-Lo.
If you are like me and live in an area where there are lots of store options, don’t be afraid to shop around. Be sure to read the store policies on coupons so you are prepared. Not all stores treat the equally and many change the rules frequently!