Follow these low-effort, big-payoff strategies to save more at the store
If sorting and collecting isn’t your thing, you can still slash your grocery bill. Look for “blinkies,” those little coupon dispensers attached to store shelves. “Peelies” are coupons that are stuck to the product. “Catalinas” are promos that come out of a separate catalina machine after you check out. They include coupons, ads and OYNO (on your next offer) dollars specific to the store you shop at. Combine these with store coupons and manufacturer’s coupons to see your savings grow.
When an item is on sale but isn’t on the shelf, don’t give up. Stop at the customer service desk to ask for a rain check. You’ll get the sale price next time you shop.
"The stores in my area have started being more careful about the coupons they accept. In many cases, I have to explain the
rules to the cashier. My best advice is to know the store policy and bring a copy with you every time you shop."
- Jessie Alonzo, 29, Kernersville, N.C.
When you do use a coupon, buy the smallest size allowable. Using a $1-off coupon on a $2 box of rice is a bigger discount than using it for a $4 box of rice. If there’s a sample size, see if you can apply the coupon to that―you could end up getting the item free!
When you can’t be bothered clipping coupons you might never use, try this shortcut. Type the name of the product or store and “printable coupon” into Google. You’ll find sites that enable you to download and print coupons instantly.
"I’ve been an avid couponer for about four years, so when the drugstore chain that I frequent changed its BOGO policy, I stopped
buying there altogether. Instead of shopping where I believe my business is undervalued, I now plan my route around a different
- Tara Facchiano, 34, Plymouth, Mass.
Check shortcuts.com to see if your supermarket offers e-coupons, which you can download right to the store’s discount card. When you use your card at checkout, the coupon’s value is automatically deducted from your total.
"Because I know that my store won’t accept a paper coupon and digital coupon on the same item, I’ve started giving all my paper coupons to the cashier before I hand over the loyalty card. I want to make sure I’m using
the highest-value coupon possible."
- Andrea Robinson, 42, Monroe, Ga.