Avoid falling for grocery store tricks

Stores have tricks they use to get you to browse longer and add more items to your cart. By knowing the tricks that grocery stores use, you can avoid falling for them and save money at the grocery store without even using coupons.

Sales flyers – Not everything in the sales flyer is actually on sale. Manufacturers will pay grocery stores extra to feature their items in the ad even if they aren’t offering the products at a discount. Not everything in the flyer is a great deal!

Fresh flowers – Grocers put the flowers near the entrance to the store for a reason. Seeing and smelling flowers increase your mood by as much as 40%. A great mood could equal a lax wallet.

Symbolic – Grocers put items together in pretty packaging to make you buy more. In the fall, you might see apples sold in cute, handled bags. The bags look farm fresh for a reason!

Freshly sprayed produce – Those cool water jets that they spray on produce aren’t just to keep the produce fresh. It also inspires you to pick more produce because it looks inviting, like it just came from the farm.

Hard to find items – Sometimes the grocery store hides items on purpose. Instead of making an item easy to find (like a specific type of cheese), they will hide it to make you look harder and hopefully put more varieties in your cart.

End cap displays – Most customers go around the perimeter of a store when they shop. They add special end cap displays to entice you to go down that aisle and add more to your cart. They will also make you think everything on the end cap is part of the weekly sale, but in reality they have added extra items that compliment the sale item. If peanut butter is on sale, you might find full priced jelly on the same end cap.

Hot coffee – Think that coffee is really free? Nope! They hope you will fix yourself a cup which will make you walk slower and browse more.

Banks and ATMs – they are to remind you to get out more cash so you can spend more cash.

Bakery – It isn’t near the front of the store for convenience! By seeing fresh baked items, they hope you will buy things you weren’t planning on buying.

Pharmacy – They add a pharmacy to a grocery store because you have to wait to get your meds filled. Why not wait and browse and buy things you don’t ‘need’ while they fill your prescription.

Dairy products and meat – These are located at the back of the store because you NEED them. Why not have you walk past eye appealing displays to get to them? You might just add more to your cart if you do. Ever say “I went in for a gallon of milk and spent $40?” This is why!

Checkouts – Yep. They really do put the candy and small toys at the check out counter to drive you crazy and drive your bill up as you try to keep kids entertained as you check out.

Kid’s eye level – Ever wonder why all the kid friendly snacks are towards the bottom of the shelf? It’s because little kids will see the festive packaging and add it to your cart.

Generic items – People that buy generic products will hunt for them, so stores put them out of the line of sight so they don’t encourage others to purchase them.

Free samples – These are another marketing gimmick to get you to purchase items you had no intention of adding to your cart before you tasted them.

Eye level – The eye level space is prime real estate for brands. Most people don’t look at the top of bottom shelf when they are shopping. Brands actually pay a premium to be featured at eye level.

Convenient packaging – Grocery stores will offer food packaged in convenient sizes to make you think they are a great deal. You’ll find pre-cut chicken and pre-made hamburger patties in the meat department and new products on the shelf that are marked as “on the go” packages. When you could buy the bigger packages and make your own smaller servings and save a good bit of money.

Price gimmicks – Items are priced 2/$5 and 10/$10 to trick your mind. The mind thinks getting 10 items for $10 is better than getting 10 items for $1 each.



How To Find Clearance Deals At Sam’s Club

Sams Club runs some pretty great clearance sales. Once a week they mark down items that they have to much stock on hand or are getting close to there sell by date.  At my local store the markdowns usually begin at 25% off, after usually 2 weeks they go down 50%, after about a month they go down to 75% off original price, and finally after about 6 weeks they go down to either $1.01 or $0.97.  
Here at my store they tell me there isn’t a set markdown day or schedule and that the information is emailed to them that day of what needs to be marked down.  You can spot a clearanced item by the price.  The price always ends in a 1… $4.01, $3.81, $2.81, and so on.  I’ll watch the price of an item I’m interested in and if there is quite a bit left when it is originally marked down, I wait and check back weekly until the price drops or the stock starts to get depleted and then I’ll buy it. 
At Sam’s since most items come in bulk you have to do simple math to figure out if the price is actually cheaper then what you would pay at your local grocery store or Walmart.  If you look on the signs, sometimes it will tell you the actual unit price per item in the lower left hand corner. For instance, today I noticed the Horizon Chocolate Milk boxes, a pack of 18 was $4.01 and on the lower left hand corner it said $0.22 per unit price. That means each little carton cost me $0.22 and at my local grocery store, I  already know I can never get them for lower then $0.75 a carton.  
You can also utilize Checkout 51, mobisave, snap, and some ibotta offers for purchases made at Sam’s Club to save even more money! 
In the past, I have found Kettle Chips (the huge bags) for $0.97, Pull-ups Girls and Boys cases for $0.97 and Carters Baby Outfits for $2.81! I went today to take pictures for this post and check out all the great clearance deals I found.

SamsSams 1

Check your local Sam’s Club to see what you might have on clearance!

(Thanks Brandy!)



Introducing the Couponing to Disney Budget Binder

Budget Binder

I am so incredibly excited to introduce the official Couponing to Disney Budget Binder. We have been working hard behind the scenes to design a way for you to get your family on a budget and use that budget to pay for your family’s dream, whatever it may be!

So head over to the Budget Binder page and learn more about this incredible and FREE tool! You can also find a link to the Budget Binder under the Start Saving icon in the toolbar.

Be sure to let me know what you think and how you were able to use this to get your family on the track to Couponing to Disney!



How To Design Your Own Coupon Binder (Plus Printable C2D Cover!)

The most popular way to organize coupons is with a binder. If you are interested in starting your own binder to keep you organized and on track as you Coupon to Disney, here’s what you will need:

A 2 inch binder (I use an Avery 2 Inch Binder)

Currency and Coupon size binder pages (my favorite)

9 Pocket Inserts

Avery Write-On Tabs

And if you are interested, I have a printable binder cover of the above logo. Just print this out and put it in the cover of your binder to keep you inspired to reach your goal.

Choose between these 2 organizing methods:

  • Organize by category (such as diary, canned, condiments, etc)
  • Organize in alphabetical order (Kraft foods in the Ks, General Mills in the G’s etc)

Or you could do like me and combine the 2. I have 9 different categories where I organize all the coupons I know I am going to use no matter what. I then organize the rest in alphabetical order.

My categories are: Baking, Canned, Condiments, Dairy, Frozen Food, Kid’s Foods, Sides, Snacks and Non Foods..



Organize Your Coupons For $1

 

Coupon Organizer

Need to organize your coupons or receipts? Target has just stocked their Dollar Spot with these fabulous 8″ accordion files that are perfect for organizing your couponing supplies! I use one for my receipts, one for my rebates and one for the coupons I plan to use in the store (I have a pocket for Target, a pocket for Walmart and so on). They would also work great for the envelope system!

Pinterest

(Thanks Totally Target and Kel!)



2013 Coupon Insert Schedule

newspaper_full

Here are the coupons you will find each week in the Sunday paper.

January

  • 01/06/13 – There will be (3) SmartSource, (2) RedPlum and (1) Target.
  • 01/13/13 – There will be (1) SmartSource and (1) RedPlum inserts.
  • 01/20/13 – There will be (1) SmartSource insert.
  • 01/27/13 – There will be (1) SmartSource, (1) RedPlum and (1) Proctor & Gamble inserts.

February

  • 02/03/13 – There will be (2) SmartSource and (1) RedPlum inserts.
  • 02/10/13 – There will be (1) SmartSource and (1) RedPlum inserts.
  • 02/17/13 – There will be (1) SmartSource insert.
  • 02/24/13 – There will be (1) SmartSource and (1) Proctor & Gamble Inserts.

March

  • 03/03/13 – There will be (1) SmartSource and (1) RedPlum inserts.
  • 03/10/13 – There will be (1) SmartSource and (1) RedPlum inserts.
  • 03/17/13 – There will be (1) SmartSource and (1) RedPlum inserts.
  • 03/24/13 – There will be (1) SmartSource, (1) RedPlum and (1) Proctor & Gamble inserts.
  • 03/31/13 – There are no inserts scheduled due to Easter holiday.

April

  • 04/07/13 – There will be (2) SmartSource, (2) RedPlum and (1) Proctor & Gamble inserts.
  • 04/14/13 – There will be (1) RedPlum insert.
  • 04/21/13 – There will be (1) SmartSource insert.
  • 04/28/13 – There will be (1) SmartSource, (1) RedPlum and (1) Proctor & Gamble inserts.

May

  • 05/05/13 – There will be (1) SmartSource and (1) RedPlum inserts.
  • 05/12/13 – There will be (1) SmartSource and (1) RedPlum inserts.
  • 05/19/13 – There will be (1) SmartSource and (1) RedPlum inserts.
  • 05/26/13 – There will be (1) Proctor & Gamble insert.

June

  • 06/02/13 – There will be (1) SmartSource and (1) RedPlum inserts.
  • 06/09/13 – There will be (1) SmartSource and (1) RedPlum inserts.
  • 06/16/13 – There will be (1) SmartSource and (1) RedPlum inserts.
  • 06/23/13 – There will be (1) SmartSource and (1) RedPlum inserts.
  • 06/30/13 – There will be (1) RedPlum and (1) Proctor & Gamble inserts.

July

  • 07/07/13 – There will be (1) Proctor & Gamble insert.
  • 07/14/13 – There will be (1) SmartSource and (1) RedPlum inserts.
  • 07/21/13 – There will be (1) SmartSource insert.
  • 07/28/13 – There will be (1) SmartSource, (2) RedPlum and (1) Proctor & Gamble inserts.

August

  • 08/04/13 – There will be (2) SmartSource and (2) RedPlum inserts.
  • 08/11/13 – There will be (1) SmartSource and (1) RedPlum inserts.
  • 08/18/13 – There will be (1) SmartSource and (1) RedPlum inserts.
  • 08/25/13 – There will be (1) SmartSource and (1) RedPlum inserts.

September

  • 09/01/13 – There will be (1) Proctor & Gamble insert.
  • 09/08/13 – There will be (2) SmartSource and (1) RedPlum inserts.
  • 09/15/13 – There will be (1) SmartSource and (1) RedPlum inserts.
  • 09/22/13 – There will be (1) SmartSource insert.
  • 09/29/13 – There will be (1) SmartSource and (1) RedPlum inserts.

October

  • 10/06/13 – There will be (2) SmartSource, (1) RedPlum and (1) Proctor & Gamble inserts.
  • 10/13/13 – There will be (1) SmartSource and (1) RedPlum inserts.
  • 10/20/13 – There will be (1) SmartSource insert.
  • 10/27/13 – There will be (1) SmartSource, (1) RedPlum and (1) Proctor & Gamble inserts.

November

  • 11/03/13 – There will be (1) SmartSource and (1) RedPlum inserts.
  • 11/10/13 – There will be (1) SmartSource and (1) RedPlum inserts
  • 11/17/13 – There will be (1) SmartSource insert.
  • 11/24/13 – There will be (1) SmartSource, (1) RedPlum and (1) Proctor & Gamble inserts.

December

  • 12/01/13 – There will be (1) Proctor & Gamble insert.
  • 12/08/13 – There will be (1) SmartSource and (1) RedPlum inserts.
  • 12/15/13 – There will be (1) SmartSource and (1) RedPlum inserts.
  • 12/22/13 – There are no inserts scheduled due to Christmas holiday.
  • 12/29/13 – There will be (1) Proctor & Gamble insert.

(Thanks Hot Coupon World!)



Getting Started Couponing: Spice and Herb Stockpile Tips

Spices don’t ‘spoil’ like milk or meat, however they do lose their strength over time. Many people advise that you replace your spices every 6 months, but that is a lot of money! Here’s some tips on extending the life of your spices:

  • Store your spices in a cool, dark place
  • Keep containers tightly closed to protect them from moisture and oxidation
  • Consider storing your spices in tins which will protect them from light
  • Direct light fades the color and reduces the quality of your spices. It is better to store them in a cabinet than in a pretty spice rack
  • Don’t store your spices near heat sources (such as your stove, microwave or dishwasher)
  • Write the purchase date of the spice/herb on the container so you’ll know how long you’ve had them
  • Replace the lid on the bottle as soon as you use them.
  • Do not sprinkle over a steaming pot directly from the bottle. The steam will result in caking or loss of flavor.
  • Paprika and Chili Powder should be stored in the fridge. The rest of the spices should not.
  • Freezing does not extend the shelf life but rather may develop condensation which will accelerate loss of flavor and aroma.

If you are new to Couponing, you might want to take a moment to read more in my Getting Started Couponing series.



Getting Started Couponing: Ask Schools About Fundraisers

With school back in session, you might want to call your local school’s secretary and ask them what fundraisers they will run this year. I have purchased coupon books, discount cards and even Chickfila coupons from our local high school.

If you are new to Couponing, you might want to take a moment to read more in my Getting Started Couponing series.



Getting Started Couponing: Ask About Eligible Discounts

Most couponers know that stores offer a discount for seniors and military, but some stores also offer discounts for teachers, service men, students and more. Always ask the store what kind of discount is offered. You might just save a ton of money!

If you are new to Couponing, you might want to take a moment to read more in my Getting Started Couponing series.