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Let Manufacturers Help Increase Your Savings

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Another way to increase your savings is to focus only on the items on your shopping list.  One way that many people end up spending more money is when they get sidetracked by those RED and YELLOW sales tags.  Have you ever been in a supermarket when something caught your attention and you thought something like: “gee, that sounds good” or “I have not had that in ages” and then bought that/those item(s)?

Although I am not really big on clipping coupons, I do use them when I can quickly and easily combine store sales with manufacturer coupons.  Even then, although I like free items, I only want to spend a minimal amount of time to get those free items.  As with other tasks, there are multiple steps you need to take to get things set up.  After that, it becomes automatic.  As much as possible, I like to set things up on “autopilot”.  This is one step that you can do that with.

After I complete my grocery list, which I create by using my month’s menu and checking the weekly sales circulars, my next step is to review my pantry, cupboards, refrigerator, and freezer.  I cross off items that will be needed for the recipes for the next 2 weeks that I already have.  As I review my own inventory, I also take note of products that are almost empty and note those items at the bottom of my grocery list.  The reason I do that is if I see any of those items while I am in any of the stores and the price for those items is a good deal.  Keep in mind that I already know the price of all the items I normally use.

My next step is to activate eCoupons and clip paper coupons for items on my grocery list.  I created a recurring task reminder with the links to my favorite coupon websites.  All I do is to click on the links in the task reminder and I am instantly launched each of the websites.  I use Chrome so that my login and password for each site is already entered in that screen so I bypass that step.  I activate eCoupons and then click on the link for paper coupons in each of the coupon websites.  I only print the coupons for the items on my grocery list and I paper clip those coupons to my grocery list.  However, I still bring all of my coupons to the store.  I just keep those separate from my grocery list.

If I will need any items before the next rotational sale, or I do not know the rotation for those items, I still list those items at the bottom of my grocery list.  Many times, I can use a coupon and get the smallest size of a product and get that product for free.  I realize that in many cases, you pay less for larger sizes.  However, if I can get that product for free, I prefer to do that.  I pretty much know what coupons I have in my stash because I do not hoard them and I always review them to remove those that have expired.

There are also websites that help you to match coupons to supermarket sales in your area.  For example, I use Maxwell House coffee a lot.  I know that a 30-ounce container of Maxwell House coffee normally costs $12.99 or more.  I also know that many stores rotate their sale of Maxwell House coffee.  During those sales, that 30-ounce container will cost $5.99, which is a good deal.  That deal gets even better when I can match a coupon to that sale.  Even a 50-cent coupon will lower the price of that 30-ounce container to $4.99 (assuming the supermarket where I buy the Maxwell House coffee doubles coupons).  That means I saved enough money to pay for one full 30-ounce container.  That is my idea of a win/win situation.

NOTE: The majority of food coupons are for processed foods that contain preservatives that are usually high in sodium.  It has been proven that Grocery store coupons influence shoppers’ food purchases.  According to research conducted by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, Public Health Research, Practice, and Policy, fewer than 1% of printed coupons are for fruits, 3% are for veggies, and 12% are for beverages and primarily for sodas, juices, and sports drinks:

Of 1,056 online store coupons available during the 4-week study period, 25% were for processed snack foods, candies, and desserts (the largest category). Approximately 12% of coupons were for beverages, more than half of which were for sodas, juices, and sports/energy drinks. Few coupons were available for fruits (<1%) or vegetables (3%). Grocery retailers may be uniquely positioned to positively influence Americans’ dietary patterns, and engaging retailers in efforts to provide store coupons for healthy food items may help address public health priorities.

Match manufacturer coupons and eCoupons to store sales:

I sometimes find different manufacturers’ coupons on different coupon-websites.  I sort by the category I want to save time and quickly scroll through the available coupons.  Since I already have my grocery list, I can scroll quickly through the available coupons.

  • My favorite is: Coupon Mom because you can get all of the above on this one website.  And, it is FREE to join!
    • Coupon Mom offers a variety of great tutorials to help you save money using coupons and how to do it in little time.  The website has a coupon database, grocery store deals by state, drugstores, coupons by brand, and shows the newspaper coupon schedule for the year.  Below are just 2 of her tutorials:
    • Have you ever clipped a coupon and finally got to the store to buy that item, only to find that the coupon you clipped last month expired?  Coupon Mom also has a Coupon Database that can help you avoid that scenario.  Just have your grocery list handy when you use the database.

Go Directly to the Source of Brand Name Products

If you have favorite brands, register on their websites.  They notify everyone who registers with them of upcoming sales.  Before I made a “lifestyle change” to lower my cholesterol, I only used the above tips.  However, throughout the process of reducing my cholesterol level (I reduced my cholesterol by 16 points in one year and Part 2), as I was looking for recipes and was on one of my favorite brand websites, I registered with the website so they would send recipes by email.  My surprise was when one email provided a coupon for a FREE item.  Because I love Ocean Spray products, I joined.  The surprise?  I received 2 products in the mail so I could provide a taste test and complete an online questionnaire after I had tested both products!  Another “lifestyle changes” that I made was to include a variety of grains.  Companies such as Quaker Oats and Bob’s Red Mill became my favorites.  When one company does not offer a coupon for the products I want, I check another maker of oats.  That is why I registered several manufacturers of the products that I use most.

  • Additionally, when a manufacturer makes a new product, they notify everyone on their mailing list and sometimes provide a coupon for a significant discount and sometimes even for one FREE new product.

To get you started, below is a basic list of parent companies.

FYI: Manufacturers limit you to printing only 2 coupons per month for an item made by the same manufacturer, no matter which websites you use.  Print ONLY the coupons for foods that are in your menu.

This is a link from Wikipedia that lists brand name food products.  If you use a brand name product regularly, consider registering with that manufacturer’s website.  Wikipedia has a complete list of their products. The next step is to know which manufacturer provides the products you use.

You Can Get Manufacturers’ Coupons AND earn Rewards Points

I prefer to print the coupons from one of the rewards programs that I belong to.  By going that, not only do I get cents off products, but I also earn rewards that can be later used to buy free gift cards.  My preferred points program is MyPoints.  You print the coupons just as you do from any coupon website.  However, when you turn those coupons in at the checkout register of any store, the store will notify MyPoints, who will issue rewards credits back to you.  They do that via an additional bar code that is printed on each coupon.

NOTE: if you do check out MyPoints, please use the link above.  The link will not affect your rewards in any way.  However, I will earn rewards points that I can use to continue being “Traveling Nana”.  Thanks!

Although I mentioned this tip before, it warrants repeating.  Whenever a store offers a BOGO (Buy One Get One) deals, unless they also print the initial price of the product, I will not go to that store unless there are other products that I plan on getting as well.  I learned that lesson when I went to a store, fully intending to buy one to get one, only to find out that the initial price was almost double what it normally is! That was a quick lesson I learned!

  • One way that a BOGO might work to my benefit (if the price of the 1st item has been increased to be more than the regular price) is if I can buy only one item, and get the half-price (rather than paying full price for one and getting the 2nd one for free).

Another lesson that I learned was My Coke Rewards offered a program where you entered codes that were printed on the INSIDE of the carton.  I went to the store and purchased several Coke 12-packs.  When I got home, I opened one only to find that the code was missing!  I asked my daughter-in-law about that and she said that you have to read the outside of the carton because somewhere on the outside of the carton was a designation showing the code would be inside that carton.  The code was only printed on some cartons and she showed me where to look.  I had just assumed that the codes would be on all of the Coke cartons.

I include the links to my favorite brands in the recurring task list for all the other coupons and eCoupons.

Upload eCoupons to your supermarket loyalty cards.  I set up a recurring task reminder for the 1st day of each month to upload eCoupons to my loyalty cards that I think I might use the next month.  I include the full URL.  Even if I need the links for the various websites that I use to get manufacturers’ coupons during mid-month, I just scroll down to the 1st of the next month and that task reminder will be there with all of the links.

Check Supermarket Weekly Flyers

Sometimes a supermarket will include a coupon that must be cut out of their paper weekly flyer.  Usually those flyers are available at the entrance of the store.  You can see the coupons online but you must tear the coupon out of the paper flyer in the store.

 

Other Ways to Save

  • Help Your Kids Save for College: U-Promise is a Sallie Mae company.  This is a link for their FAQs.  Although U-Promise is geared toward helping families of young children save for college, you can request a check from the savings that you accumulate.  You can also connect the savings you earn to a U-Promise Goal Saver Account and earn interest.
  • After you register, ask all of your friends, neighbors, co-workers, and family members to sign up with U-Promise.  Give them your referral code and you will earn extra to put toward your child’s college fund.  Grandparents are great for this one.

Help Our Military Personnel: both active and retired

  • If you know someone who is either active or retired military personnel, please give them this link.  The website is My Military Savings.  All Americans owe a debt of gratitude for those who protect our freedom.  Our country may have its issues; however, if you have traveled outside the United States, you will know that we have many freedoms that many other people do not have.  Our military personnel are not highly paid.  Anything we can do to help our armed forces people is always very much appreciated.
  • Military Family Coupon Project-Overseas Duty Stations: Overseas military bases will take expired coupons up to six months after the original expiration date.  Before you throw your expired coupons in the trash, consider doing a simple step to help our armed forces personnel by mailing those coupons to overseas bases.  If you do not want to pay overseas postage, you can mail them to The Krazy Coupon Lady, at: Support Our Troops®, P.O. Box 70, Daytona Beach, FL 32115-0070.

 

  • I use Walgreens a lot.  I signed up for their Balance Rewards.  The rules stated that I could earn Balance Rewards when I got my prescriptions at Walgreens.  However, the first time I filled a prescription at Walgreens and did not get Balance Rewards points, I asked about it.  I was told that since I was a government employee, I could not get rewards points.  That upset me because I paid for my insurance program just as anyone who worked in private sector jobs.  I took that complaint all the way to the top, working my way up as I filed a complaint with Walgreens.  I honestly never expected anything to happen; however, to my great surprise, about a year later when I filled a prescription again, I was asked for my Balance Rewards card.  I told the store rep that for whatever reason, because I worked for the government, I was not permitted to earn the rewards.  The rep told me that the store had changed its policy and I could not earn Balance Rewards!

 

TAKE ACTION #1: Check out the resources that I have provided throughout this chapter.  Create a task list that includes links of websites that match with sales.  Whether you use Microsoft Outlook or any other electronic rotational task is not important.  What is important is that you find a way to find coupons for ingredients for your menu without spending a lot of time.

– If you do use Microsoft Outlook and do not use the tasks that are usually part of the MS Outlook software, this tutorial will be helpful: Microsoft for setting tasks in MS Outlook.

#2: When you are checking out at grocery stores and supermarkets, be sure to watch the prices as they ring up on the cash register.  Most grocery stores and supermarkets today scan the products that you had in your shopping cart. The cashier has no control over what was entered into the computer.  Just recently, I bought chicken breasts that were on sale with a “Buy One; Get One Free” sign posted directly above the chicken breasts that I wanted.  When both items rang up at the cash register, I questioned it.  The cashier had someone go to the meat counter and that rep returned, telling me that the chicken that was BOGO was NOT the one I had chosen.  I pointed out that the way the sign was position was a bit shady because it directed shoppers to the chicken breasts that I had chosen.  The store manager would not honor the sales tag and therefore, I refused to buy either package of chicken breasts.  The ONLY reason I wanted the chicken was a BOGO would have been an excellent price.  returned the 2nd package of chicken. (My menu for the 2nd 2-weeks of the month had 3 nights of chicken meals.)  Had I not been watching the cash register as the prices were ringing up, I would have ended up paying full price for the 2nd package of chicken, which I ONLY got because I honestly thought it would be free!

#3: Have you ever stopped at a supermarket on your way home from work because you saw an “unadvertised sale” sign in the window that was a great price for a product that was on your menu?  And, you would have added a manufacturer’s coupon that you knew you had in your stash of coupons; however, the envelope with all of your coupons was at home.  I did that only two times before I finally moved my envelope of coupons to live in my car.  The amount of money I would have saved on that sale would have been spent on gasoline (wear & tear on my car, usage of tires, etc.) if I would have gone home to get the coupons and returned to the store.  Therefore, this suggested task is to consider leaving your coupons in your car so they will always be with you when you find an unexpected sale.

 

 

Updated: July 19, 2017 — 8:00 am

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