Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Whip Your Grocery Budget Into Shape: Know your coupon policies

Welcome to the second major series of posts on Frugal Made Fun! Each week, I'll post 1-2 tips on how to develop your own plan to save money on groceries. I'm going to start with some of the most basic, easiest things you can do to save money, and then progress from there. You can take as much or little advice as you like. As the series progresses, a little more work may be involved, but you will definitely save more money.

Different stores have different coupon policies. The next time you set foot in your favorite grocery store, be sure to swing by the Customer Service desk to find out the exact policy. Here are a few good questions to get you started:

1. Do you double coupons? If so, up to what value?
Some grocery stores double manufacturer coupons up to $0.50

2. Do you offer any store coupons?
Some grocery stores put out their own coupons each month.

3. Can I use a store coupon with a manufacturer coupon for the same item?
Some grocery stores allow you to "double up" and use a store coupon and a manufacturer coupon for the same item.

4. Is there a limit on the number of coupons I can use?
Some stores require that you have at least as many items as you do coupons. Usually this can be "overridden" by a manager but most cashiers do not know how to do this.

5. Do you accept printable coupons?
Most stores do, but there are some that don't. Also, some stores only accept printable coupons below a certain $ amount (i.e. some won't accept printable coupons over $5).

6. Do you price match?
Some stores (like Walmart and Target) will price match competitor's items if you bring in the flyer and buy the exact same thing. There are limitations on this as well (i.e. Walmart will not price match items that are "Buy one, Get one free.")

7. Do you accept competitor coupons?
Some grocery stores accept competitor coupons in addition to their own. This can be great because there are a lot of stores (drugstores included) that offer coupons that are $5 off $25 or something similar.

8. Do you offer any coupon promotions throughout the year?
Some stores offer double or triple coupon days.

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