As a shopper, I’m always looking for ways to maximize my savings. Last week I was at the supermarket, and after I paid for my groceries, a Catalina coupon printed at the register along with my receipt. This coupon stated, “$10 off a $100 gift card purchase” and showed a picture of the supermarket’s own gift card near the text.
What would you do with an offer like this? If you’re a savvy shopper, you can likely predict what I did: I slipped the coupon into my wallet and when I returned to the store this week to shop, I stopped at the register first, before buying groceries. I bought a $100 supermarket gift card and paid $90 for it after the coupon. Then, I got a shopping cart and headed around the store to purchase my groceries, knowing that if I didn’t use the entire card this week, I certainly would on a future trip. What an easy way to save $10!
When I left the store, guess what I saw laying in the parking lot? Another Catalina coupon for $10 off a $100 supermarket gift card purchase. Apparently, another shopper didn’t see the potential in the same coupon that I did. Of course, I picked it up to use on another trip.
Here are some tips my readers have recently sent in to share with you:
Dear Jill: Here’s a tip for saving at the deli counter. Before I even look at what is on sale, I walk the length of the counter and look to see what coupons are on top. You may see what looks like recipe cards or brochures, but look closer because a lot of the time, I find coupons on these displays, too. Then once I pick up some coupons, I will look to see which meats and cheeses match up with sales. I got a pound of German bologna for $1.99 because it was on sale for $2.99 and there was a deli counter display with $1 coupons! — Brenda A.
Dear Jill: Here’s something I just learned recently. When a product is new, the coupons will often tell you where you can find the item in the store. I had a coupon for a new kind of grilled chicken breast. I must have walked up and down the freezer aisle three times looking for this and not seeing it. Finally I looked more closely at the coupon and it said ‘Located in the refrigerated meats case.’ Now I look first because you can’t always assume where something is in the store. I had one the other day for a flatbread that I couldn’t find either, and the coupon said to look in the bakery area, not the bread aisle. There it was. — Julie H.
Dear Jill: I have three grocery stores in my town and one of them has a money-back guarantee on anything you buy. If there is something new I want to try, I will always buy it there because I know if it isn’t quite what I hoped it would be, I can always take it back there for a full refund. When you’re on a tight budget, you can’t afford to waste money on something you aren’t happy with, even if you used a coupon. — Marsha C.
Dear Jill: A few stores I shop now give you a discount for using reusable shopping bags. I can get 5 to 10 cents savings on my groceries if I remember to bring the bags. It’s not a lot, but I have also found that the plastic grocery bags are so thin that a lot of the time they tear when I am loading them in or out of the car. Knowing I will save money also reminds me to bring those bags to make my life easier when taking my groceries up to my apartment. — Rosa T.
I always love seeing and sharing tips from my readers — we’re all in this savings game together.