10 Rules for Saving at the Register

So the cost of groceries are going to skyrocket. Listening to financial professionals mention it on television, twice in one week scares me. I am sure that many others are quite concerned as well. So what can we do about it? Boycott? Well, if we boycott food shopping, we will starve. So that’s a negative! I coupon. I have been couponing for many years, however the last several months, I have made myself follow some simple, yet imperative rules. Boy, have they worked out!

Rule #1:
Buy at least 3 major newspapers with coupon inserts and keep them organized. I clip them and organize them in card collecting sleeves, by category(i.e. dairy, breakfast, household, personal etc.) and in a zipper binder. So now you are prepared in every aisle in the store. FYI- There are NO COUPON INSERTS ON HOLIDAY WEEKENDS.

Think of coupons as MONEY. If I am entering a store (which accepts coupons) with my wallet, then my coupon binder comes with me.

Search for online savings. Major manufacturer websites who do not publish coupons, may have them available on line to print until your reached limit.

Don’t be brand committed. As hard as it may be, try a new brand of ketchup, shave gel etc. You may be able to find significant savings when an item is new, on sale and has a matching coupon.

Look through clearance at all stores. I recently found major brand makeup on clearance, with matching coupons I was able to bring home one dozen items for less than $0.33 each. Some stores do not have clearance sections though. However, they will have brightly colored price tags to show that item is drastically reduced. Keep your eyes peeled!

Check your store coupon policies and sign up for the store rewards cards. Some stores double coupons, some do not, some stores triple twice a year, some stores do not accept computer coupons, and some stores will double only 1 “identical” coupon in a single transaction. Which leads us (couponers with multiple “identical” coupons) to have multiple transactions to receive my “double” coupon savings, which the store allows. Don’t be shy! If you have to make multiple transactions to maximize your savings, then so be it! Also, some stores have great incentives like gas perks, and store credit. Just as good as cash, but only used in that specific store. Makes out for a pretty good shopping trip when you end up getting money back after purchasing items you needed anyways.

Review your receipts and be willing to go back if something was rung up wrong or if you grabbed the wrong size(ounces, qty etc.) If you were overcharged and missed it at the register, you could have lost out on that savings you went to get in the first place. Speak up and head to customer service, and don’t forget to reclaim the coupon savings that you may have lost in the original transaction. Be sure that it is reapplied to the corrected transaction.

Base your shopping trips on whats on sale(advertised and unadvertised). If you want to save a specific percentage on groceries and anything else each week, then make it a priority to preplan your weekly shopping trip to match up with your coupons. Remember, it’s up to you on how much you save.

If the item you wish to buy is in the printed sales ad, but it completely sold out, be sure to get your raincheck. A raincheck is another way to ensure that all interested consumers that wish to buy the item at that sale price, can come back at a later date and still recive the sale price, up to the raincheck expiration date.

Have everyone in the housold understand that your efforts of savings is for everyone’s best interest. It will eventually become habit for the whole household on the benefits of preplanning and organization. When you shop with others (kids, spouses or partners) who are not familiar with your savings routine, you will(most likely) over spend.