Coupons Save You Cash

July 19, 2012

As food prices are on the rise, turn to SupermarketGuru’s simple grocery shopping techniques to help save cash at the register

Several simple grocery shopping techniques will help to save you cash at the register. Especially at a time when we are seeing food and gas prices on the rise, SupermarketGuru wants to help you make the most of your shopping trips. For reference, shoppers redeemed 3.3 billion coupons in 2010, a 3.1 percent rise over the 3.2 billion redeemed in 2009. As a result, you saved 3.7 billion dollars on purchases, up from 3.5 billion dollars a year earlier. In 2011 conupers saved 4.6 billion dollars! Coupons also had an average face value of 1.54 dollars.

So, how can you get these savings? A focused, planned approach to grocery shopping and a Sunday circular will save you a significant amount each month. Here’s SupermarketGuru’s guide to savings:

Check your store’s circular before you go shopping. Use it to make your list. Plan some of your meals around what’s on sale. Make your shopping list with each week’s circular nearby, and stick to your plan.

Log-on and connect with your favorite stores and brands through social media sites - there are often deals posted through social media that will help you save more than you can imagine!

Know what you spend the most on; keep a list of the items you buy regularly and track the prices over a three-month period. Then you can stock up when they reach the bottom of the range.

Keep your eyes open for unadvertised deals and coupons in the store. By combining sales and coupons, you can often get many things on your list for pennies on the dollar or even free.

Check the discounters - yes, the dollar stores! They often have more upscale items for savings you won't believe!

Store brands are one of the best - and most underutilized - benefits of a supermarket. Today their quality is comparable to the leading brands with few exceptions. Comparing a full week’s grocery list, typically you can buy store brands for over half of the items on your list. On average, you can save 20 percent, but in some cases, you can save even more. Store-branded breakfast cereals, jams/jellies, cookies/crackers, paper goods, pasta and sauces, and cheese and dairy products can get you the best value (price and quality).

When fresh produce is not in season, the price goes up and (in some cases because of the time it takes to get to the store) the quality down - but not when you shop frozen. Frozen fruits and veggies are packed at their peak freshness, nutrition and in season. Read the ingredient list carefully as some prepackaged fruits and vegetables have add sugar or salt- and should be avoided- but plain frozen produce will save you more than fresh out of season picks. Another great tip is to read ads to discover when produce is in season- simultaneously, the frozen counterparts may be on sale- time to stock up! Check the expiration dates before you fill your cart; and remember, most frozen foods, when stored properly, can last up to a year in your home freezer.

Where else can you find savings in the market?
Frozen vs fresh seafood: Most of the time if you read the fine print at the seafood counter you will see that the fish has been previously frozen. Choosing seafood in the frozen aisle is cheaper than the ones that seem to be fresh at the seafood counter and most of the time better taste and texture. Seafood at the seafood counter can be frozen more than once on its way to the store as opposed to the frozen packaged fish which has only been frozen once.

Dairy case versus the cheese table
Natural cheeses are regulated by federal law; no matter what brand you buy. So whether it’s from the dairy case or from the cheese table, it’s pretty much the same exact thing! It’s just the packaging your paying for.
Don’t assume the bigger package is a better deal. Consider the unit price on the shelf tag and buy what goes on sale. Often, a smaller size costs pennies or is free with a coupon.

Don’t think that you can buy it cheaper at a warehouse club. Most name-brand merchandise can be had even cheaper on sale at a major grocery chain.

Happy savings!