Showing posts with label Grocery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Grocery. Show all posts

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Don't Let Your Bundle of Joy Cost a Bundle

The economy may be improving, but for those new parents and parents to be, there are new expenses on the horizon, and it is a broad horizon spanning 18 years or more.  This requires commitment and sacrifice, but it shouldn't land you in the poor house, at least not in the first few years of scenes of Harvard flash before your eyes.

But first things first, you need to prepare for your upcoming bundle of joy.  You need clothes by the bundles, diapers, food, baby toiletries, and maybe formula and bottles.  You may wonder what I'm doing writing a post about baby stuff when all my children have four legs and fur.  Well, the answer is simple.  I want to help people save money, and steer them in the direction of value and information.

There are a number of websites out there devoted to coupon savings, where to get the deals on diapers and how to work the system to even get free stuff.  I have sorted through and pulled out what I think are some good ones.  Some are simply money savers, some have reviews and others will relate their experiences so you'll know you're not alone in baby-land.  

Smart Shopping

Let's start with money saving.  After all that's probably at the top of everyone's list.  This first group isn't baby-specific, but they provide sale information and coupon match-ups for food, household goods, personal care and baby items.
This site has a myriad of different savings from Target and Wal-Mart to the 3 major drugstores, Walgreen's, CVS and Rite Aid.  She has even included store guides so you'll learn how to take full advantage of the savings available.  Yes, there are things to learn about drugstore shopping, and all three stores are different.  She also offers lot of on-line deals like books and toys from Amazon.
This one covers local grocery stores such as Harris Teeter and Food Lion plus other regional stores with coupon match-ups.  It also covers the same 3 drugstores, offering another take on the same sales.

Sometimes grocery stores such as Food Lion, have printable coupons on-line.  In addition to food and household items, there are usually several sets of baby care coupons.

Just for Baby
This provides information on cost-conscious decorating, baby product reviews, coupons and sales and diapers and other products.  There is a product review on diapers, and what other mom's have to say about the different brands and styles, including generics/store brands.
A wealth of baby information, health and support, links to blogs, questions and answers and more.

Alternative Shopping Places

This may not suit all new parents, but I suggest checking out thrift stores, and consignment shops.  Every parent wants their babies dressed in adorable little outfits, and they should be.  However, they grow out of everything so quickly, especially in the first year, that it can be very costly to keep up with their ever-changing dimensions.  While you can't cover all your baby's wardrobe needs at these places, you can find new, or nearly new items, even brand names, for a fraction of mall and specialty shop prices to help offset the other costs.


Network with friends and family who already have children.  Baby clothes will be outgrown before being worn out so see if someone has clothes to loan or give away.  The same goes for items like strollers, car seats, high chairs and cribs.

Other Links (free shipping on orders over $49)

Babies Online (free coupons and magazines and samples, and more)

Wal-Mart Baby (97¢ shipping to your home) (save money on a parents night out, babysitting not included)

Passion for Savings  (check here for Wal-mart deals, and more)

Centsible Savings (check here for Wal-mart deals, and more)

There is much repetition among the coupon sites.  Many cover the same stores and have the same coupons.  You just need to find the ones that best> meet your needs.  As always, pay attention to your coupons for restrictions such as size, item count, etc., and use coupons appropriately.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Are the Grocery Stores Really Too Expensive?

It has been mentioned to me that some of the stores I shop at are too expensive.  I suppose this is true on a regular price comparison with say Wal-Mart or even Aldi.  I shop at these stores, too.  However, I go where I can get the most for the least, and many times that is a major grocery store.

For example, I posted a week or so ago about Harris Teeter coupons in the Friday newspaper.  There were $16 worth of coupons:  Four 50¢ coupons off "any" one item and four $1.00 coupons off "any" item of $2 or more, and also two for $5 off a $40 purchase.  

I used three of the $1 coupons on 3 packs of diet Coke, which brought the price down from 3/$10 to $3/$7, a much better deal.  I used the 50¢ ones on Campbell's tomato soup, making it 10¢ a can.  I used my last $1 coupon on a bottle of wine, and also used a $5/40 coupon.  All of this was on sale already.  Everything else I got was either on sale, I had a manufacturers coupon or it was a store brand.  

What was the bottom line?  I saved $27.34 and paid $34.08.  This is about 45%.

Last week's highlights focused on cleaning products:
Lysol Kitchen cleaner - Regularly $2.89 for 44¢ (BOGOF + $1 coupon)
Lysol Toilet cleaner - Regularly $2.69 for 34¢ (BOGOF + $1 coupon)
Brawny paper towels 8 rolls - Regularly $9.99 for $4.99  (sale $5.99 + $1 coupon)
12 oz. bottle of Joy dish washing detergent - Regularly $1.39 for 39¢ (sale 99¢ + 30¢ coupon)

I saved around 43% that day.  My goal is to save an average of 50% on groceries and household items. 

Harris Teeter always doubles coupons up to 99¢ every day (up to 20 coupons per day).  Go here for their next triple coupon event starting 3/24.

Check out my Top 5 list of things not to pay full price for, and see another example of savings here.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Five Things You Should Never Pay Full Price For

A penny saved is a penny earned.  

Never has that statement been more true.  With prices rising and sizes shrinking, we have to make the most of every dollar.  There are many products you buy regularly that you can get without paying full price.  Here are my top 5:

1. Paper/Plastic Products
2. Toiletries/Personal Care Items 
3. Sodas
4. Cleaning Products
5. Cereal

For this writing, we are not talking about generics or store brands, although these are often a better buy from a regular price standpoint. Today we are focusing on name brand products from the major area grocery stores.

Every week the competing grocery stores put out new sale ads, usually on Wednesdays. Nearly every Sunday there are one or more coupon inserts in the newspaper.  If you take a few minutes to look through the grocery sales, and match up coupons to the sale items you can often save 50% or more.

I have found the biggest money savers to be the buy one get one free sales.  In many stores you are not required to purchase two items, and each one will ring up individually.  At this point the item is already 50% off.  Add a coupon and your discount increases.  If your store will allow it, you can use two coupons on a BOGOF item.  If not, then just purchase them in two separate transactions to get the greatest savings.

Some stores go a step further and double or triple coupons up to a set amount.  They usually have a per-day limit of around 20 coupons.  Of the stores I write about, Harris Teeter and Lowes Foods double coupons every day, and Harris Teeter occasionally has triple coupon or super double coupon weeks.  Food Lion does not double coupons at any time.

Quite often items such as paper goods and cleaning products are BOGOF or maybe 2/$5.  For example, if the regular price for a bottle of kitchen cleaner is $3.29, a 2/$5 sale makes it $2.50 or 79¢ cheaper.  That same item on a BOGOF sale would be $1.64.  Use a $1 off coupon and you get it for just 64¢.  This is the effective way to use your coupons.  The $1 coupon used at the regular price would still make your item $2.29.  You see the difference.

This same concept applies to nearly everything, and coupons are readily available on most items.  One key to making the most of sales and coupons is your ability or willingness to switch brands depending on the deal available.  Brand loyalty goes right out the window here.

However, if you're like me and have favorite brands on certain products, cereal for example, then you clip the coupons and wait for the sale. Our faves are Frosted Mini Wheats (his) and Raisin Bran Extra (hers).  There are often coupons for these, sometimes as much as $1.50 off 2 boxes.  I've gotten Mini Wheats for as little as 50¢ a box.  In this instance, I combined a BOGOF sale with two coupons which were doubled.  I will tell you that great finds like that do not come along every week.  This is where your ability to stock up will take you further down the road of savings. 

If you drink soda, you know that coupons for them are rare.  The price of all brand-name soft drinks has been steadily increasing.  They are now around $6 per 12-pack in the grocery stores.  Most stores have one brand on sale each week, but we are seeing the good sales less often.  Common sale prices range from 3/$9, which is about half price, to 3/$12.  A good price is 4/$10 or $2.50 each, and anything less than $2.50 is a real deal.  So don't be fooled by the BOGOF sales on sodas, pay attention to the regular shelf price, and you'll know when you're getting a good deal.

A little disclaimer:  I like to use the term BOGOF instead of BOGO.  To me this emphasizes that one item is free as opposed to sales such as "Buy one get one for half off" which are also referred to as BOGO.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Reusable Shopping Bags

Do you use reusuable shopping bags?  They're everywhere these days. 
It's the green way to shop, and many stores offer them for sale, sometimes free or discounted with your purchase.  Some stores even offer cents off your bill or a credit for using them.  This is all good, and I use them too.  My one complaint is that when the cashier or bagger puts as much as will possibly fit in the bag.  If you have a lot of heavy items, this can make the bag too heavy to carry comfortably.  

To all the baggers out there, please ask us before filling it to the brim, and offer plastic or paper bags for the excess if we don't have more reusuables.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Some Interesting Coupon Facts

Here are some coupon facts from yesterday's Rachel Ray show:
  • The highest coupon use comes from people making $75,000/year or more.
  • The lowest coupon use comes from people making $25,000/year or less.
  • Only 1% of the $400 billion in coupons printed are ever redeemed.
Does this make any sense to you?  I'm sure we'd all like to save money, whether it's from a need to tighten our belts, to save for that special trip (I'm thinking Italy), donate more to charity or to just have a more secure financial feeling.

There is a time commitment involved in clipping coupons, searching out internet printable coupons and matching them with the best sale or coupon event.  Once you've done the initial work of stockpiling some coupons, locating and bookmarking the internet coupon sites and blogs, what's left is to read, make your list and shop.  You can even get a sneak preview of upcoming coupon inserts and sales fliers before they come out in the paper.  Now get out there and save money!

(Thanks hip2save)