Monday, April 6, 2009

Grocery Shopping and Where I Find Coupons

Remember on Friday when I mentioned I was going to check out my other prescriptions and see if they had a website with coupons? Well, I did and guess what? One of them did. Seriously, no matter what you are taking, it might be worth doing a quick search to see if the pharmaceutical companies have a website for it and if they are offering any specials - you might be surprised. I sure was! I don't usually think of being able to get a coupon for a prescription, but there you go - shows what I knew!

I do hunt for online coupons when it comes to grocery shopping though. The first thing I do, after I make my list, is go to the website of the store I am going to shop at. If I shop at my local megamart they have a ton of in-store printable coupons, right on their site. I don't have to sign up or pay for them or anything. It makes it a lot easier, even if I am not particularly fond of their coupon printer program. However, it is free and I can almost always find a couple I need. While I am there I usually check out the flier, but I don't spend a lot of time on it. I live alone - no real need to stock up here. Because of that, I am only concerned with the items on my list. That makes browsing the flier pretty short work. It is handy for knowing brands that are on sale though...

I haven't had a lot of luck with general Google searches for coupons, but I have had success looking up particular brands and going directly to their websites. For example, if I need almonds I might go straight to the Blue Diamond website, or if I flour, I might go straight over to the King Arthur website. Another place I stop on the web is Coupon.com's coupon bar, which you can find here.

Once at the store, I like to compare prices. I may have a coupon for something, but the store brand may still be cheaper. However, what I didn't know (until I started reading a lot of personal finance blogs) is that a lot of times you can combine coupons. For example, say my local megamart has a $1 off a $4 frozen foods purchase. Say they just also happen to have name brand organic frozen veggies on sale for 2 for $4. Then I hop on name brand organic veggie's website - and look! A coupon for $1 off 2. That's right - most stores will let you use both the coupons - even on the sale items! So, grocery shopping is a bit of mixing and matching for me, but I treat it like a game and have fun with it. (Because you know it is never a good idea to go in the store cranky and hungry, right??)

Here's one other tip - shop the ethnic stores. I buy my dried chickpeas and olive oil (among other things) at a wonderful little quirky Middle Eastern shop for far less than I could at megamart, and the olive oil is of much better quality. Get Stuff Done just recently mentioned that she gets a better deal on soy sauce at her Asian market. Although, you don't always have to go to the ethnic stores to get good deals. For example, I usually buy my rice in 5 lb. bags. Megamart's store name long grain rice was $7.99. In the Asian section of the ethnic aisle, the same long grain enriched rice was also $7.99. However, in the Hispanic section it was $5.99! Same rice, same cook time, different packaging - different pricing!

Since the pantry was a bit low after March's No Spending Challenge, I just recently went grocery shopping. Using these steps, I was able to save $28.17 on my last grocery bill - and that doesn't even include the savings on finding lower priced options like on the rice! (My total after coupons was $60.95.) What I bought should pretty well keep me fed for the rest of the month.

What are your favorite grocery shopping tips?


Photo by: HA! Designs

6 comments:

Catie said...

At that megamart, the exotic 100% fruit juices (mango, guava, apricot) are significantly cheaper in the ethnic aisle. Like, a couple of dollars. I buy them and mix with Pellegrino from the bulk store for a very inexpensive but lovely treat.

Dawn said...

Catie - that sounds awesome!! I haven't really looked at the exotic fruit juices in awhile, but that is really good to know.

getting stuff done said...

that's mad that the same stuff is cheaper in the 'ethnic' aisles of the same shop!

and ooh thanks for the mention! I dont think I have been 'mentioned' before!!

Dawn said...

Getting Stuff Done - I completely agree. It is like you are penalized for looking for things in the obvious places, but look in oddball places and you can get items at a discount. It makes no sense at all! (And you are most welcome for the mention.)

Kristy @ Master Your Card said...

Well, I must admit that I don't do as well in this are of personal finance. My biggest challenge with grocery shopping is my need to get out of there. I don't like big crowds of people - particularly when passive aggressive parents allow their kids to scream, yell, and otherwise terrorize the other shoppers. So, I tried going in the middle of the night when most people are asleep. That soothed my nerves, but the store isn't stocked so most of what I need I end up having to ask for.

I do my best with the coupons. I use coupons.com, the Sunday paper, and in-store coupons when I can. But, when I go grocery shopping I have a get in, get out mentality that doesn't give me time to browse the aisles. But, thanks for the tip on the 'ethnic' aisle! I buy rice all the time and would have never thought to look anywhere other than the rice aisle!

Dawn said...

Hi Kristy - I am the same way when it comes to crowds and kids! I find that I can shop Monday evenings about 7:00 and it isn't too bad. Any other day of the week is madness! I like doing all the coupon planning ahead of time though, it is kind of like a game to see how well I can do.