15 Tips For Shopping At The Grocery Store!

mindi cherry grocery

We talk about how to shop at the grocery stores all the time.  We talk about how to get the best deals, how to use coupons and so much more.  What we don’t talk about that often is how NOT to make other shoppers want to kill you!

I recently launched to site Etiquette Help (seriously – make sure you read through all the archives and Like Etiquette Help on Facebook), but this is one post that I particularly love.

From my 15 Grocery Store Manners | 15 Tips! post

  1. Slow Down – Breaking the land speed record with a grocery cart is not necessary nor is it acceptable in the grocery store. Slow down and be careful around those blind corners.
  2. 20 Items or Less – Why is it that every time an express lane opens, someone with an entire cart full of items jumps over? Seriously folks, the sign is pretty straight forward.
  3. Have Your Money Ready – Nobody wants to wait while you write out your check or dig for your debit card. Consider those around you and have those things ready when you get up there. You wait in line anyway, so use it to prepare for your turn when you get there.
  4. Let common sense prevail – If you are standing there with an entire cart full of items and the guy behind you has a diet Coke, let him pass. If I need to tell you why, you should never enter a retail establishment again…ever.
  5. When a new line opens, be fair – We all have seen it. Five people are in line and the line next to you that had been closed opens. Then the cart at the back of the line runs over to take the first spot in the new line. Again, did we not cover this in kindergarten? A new line is not an invitation to race those in front of you. Be fair and let the people that have waited the longest get the next register.

See the rest of the tips on Etiquette Help!

Ask Me Your Coupon Questions!

Are you new to using coupons? Have questions about stacking coupons, the Lingo or anything else? If you have a question, chances are that someone else has the same one.

Simply head to my Coupon Questions page, submit your question and it will be answered in a future post on Moms Need To Know!

Looking for more Extreme Couponing tips? Make sure that you check out all the posts in my Coupon 101 and Coupon Ethics sections!

What is the Difference Between Store and Manufacturer Coupons

questions from readers

Welcome to Readers Want to Know! These are your questions answered from the emails that I receive and responses to surveys that I periodically post. For more answers, make sure you check out my Coupon 101 posts which will also include other “Readers Want To Know” posts!

Still have questions? Use this form to ask them!

The following question comes from Lisa :

What is the difference between manufacturer coupons, store coupons and getting a coupon from the product website? Are they all different and where do you find each??

HI Lisa! I’m glad you asked this because it can be confusing!

As a general rule:

Store coupons

  • Issued by each individual store and typically can only be used at the store. They may be available on the store website, from store mailings, in-store coupon books and even occasionally in the Sunday inserts.
  • Rite Aid offers store coupons through their Video Values program. Walgreens offers coupons through their monthly in-store Instant Value Coupons book. Check your Sunday inserts for Target store coupons!
  • Some stores even offer store coupons through their own smartphone app (such as the Target Cartwheel app)
  • Store coupons can be usually be stacked with manufacturers coupons for even greater savings (although some grocery stores will not allow coupons to be stacked – check with your local store for their policy!)

Manufacturers coupons:

  • These can come from many places: Sunday coupon inserts, printable coupon sites like Coupons.com, Smartsource.com, Redplum.com (all available for printing right here on Moms Need To Know).
  • You can also check the websites and Facebook Fan pages of your favorite brands.
  • Manufacturers coupons can often be found right in the aisles of your grocery stores. Look for coupon tearpads, bottle tags and peel-off coupons in your local store.

I hope this helps you understand the different between store coupons and manufacturers coupons Lisa!

You might want to check out these recently-asked questions:

Have a question about using coupons? Head to my Coupon Questions page to ask them!

How Can I Find A List of the Sunday Coupon Inserts?

questions from readers

Welcome to Readers Want to Know! These are your questions answered from the emails that I receive and responses to surveys that I periodically post. For more answers, make sure you check out my Coupon 101 posts which will also include other “Readers Want To Know” posts! Still have questions? Use this form to ask them!

The following question comes from Alice:

Where can I find a list of all the coupons that are inside the Redplum, Smart Source, & the P&G insert. I like to know before they come out so I know how many to buy. My local paper does not have the good coupons here in NC where I am so I get my daughter in Jacksonville, Fl to get them and mail them to me. She gets just the inserts for $1.50 each so I pay that and the postage which still is a good deal for me. I usually get from 4-8 sets of inserts!

Thanks Alice

Hi Alice!

The easiest way to find out what coupons will be in the newspaper each week is to check out my Coupon Insert Preview page.  Each week, usually on Tuesday, I update the lists for the upcoming Sunday. I also have a weekly Coupon Insert Preview (every Saturday morning) where I go through the sunday coupon inserts and list what I think are the best coupons of the week (and how many copies of the paper that I will be buying this week).

So Alice, the best answer to your question is that you can find all of that information right here on Moms Need To Know!

To make sure that you never miss a recipe, deal or coupon matchup, you can always subscribe to my FREE daily emails.  You can also simply bookmark my coupon insert preview page and make sure to check it each week (like I said, it is usually updated for the upcoming Sunday by Tuesday.)

Don’t forget to also check out my searchable Coupon Database for a listing of practically every coupon that is available at any given time.

Hope this helps!

Have a question about using coupons? Head to my Coupon Questions page to ask them!

Can I Use a Coupon With a Barcode that Starts With 00 on Anything?

questions from readers

Welcome to Readers Want to Know! These are your questions answered from the emails that I receive and responses to surveys that I periodically post. For more answers, make sure you check out my Coupon 101 posts which will also include other “Readers Want To Know” posts!

Still have questions? Use this form to ask them!

The following question comes from Sharon:

When a barcode starts with 00 does that mean you can use on any product they make? I was behind a lady that did that. I think that is great. Is it legal?

Sharon – I am so glad that you asked me this question before you went out and copied that persons’ actions….because what you were witnessing was called decoding coupon barcodes. It is illegal and considered fraud.

There are certain people who use coupons that have spent WAY too much time trying to decode coupons, and then they use them on any product that the barcode will allow. The most famous case of this was when Crest Whitestrips put out a $10 coupon (for a $30 item) that would also work on a $9 bottle of Tide laundry detergent or even $4 bottles of shampoo.

While the person using coupons in this way may “get away with it”, it eventually hurts all people who use coupons. Stores become less trusting of us, manufacturers put out fewer “good” coupons and store prices can even rise to make up for the fraud that is happening at the stores

It all falls back to what we were taught when we were young. If the deal seems too good to be true, it likely is!

Have a question about using coupons? Head to my Coupon Questions page to ask them!

How Many Coupons Can I Use On 1 Item?

questions from readers

Welcome to Readers Want to Know! These are your questions answered from the emails that I receive and responses to surveys that I periodically post. For more answers, make sure you check out my Coupon 101 posts which will also include other “Readers Want To Know” posts! Still have questions? Use this form to ask them!

The following question comes from Karen :

Can i use more than one coupon for an item?

Example : I have one coupon from computer and then one from paper..can I use both for the same item? they have different bar code numbers on them if that helps

thanks so much

karen

Hi Karen!

As long as both coupons are both manufacturers coupons, you can only use 1 of the coupons on each product. It doesn’t matter that one came from an insert or magazine and the other is a coupon from the Sunday inserts.  If they are both manufacturers coupons, you are limited to 1 coupon per item.

The only exception would be if it is a store coupon and your store allows you to stack a manufacturers coupon with a store coupon (most stores that release store coupons WILL allow you to stack the coupons).

Walgreens has a monthly coupon book of store coupons that can be stacked; Target and CVS frequently have store coupons on their website and apps that can be stacked as well. Store coupons typically have a very different “look” to them than manufacturers coupons.  They usually have shorter barcodes and do not have the 15 lines of “legal lingo” that a manufacturers coupon has.

Don’t worry – if you have a problem figuring out the difference between a store coupon and a manufacturers coupon, almost every store has systems in place that will prevent their registers from accepting more than 1 manufacturers coupon per item.

Of course, the best way to keep track of the best coupon deals (and opportunities for stacking coupons) is to follow my weekly grocery coupon matchups posts.  You can also find the deals for almost every grocery and drug store nationwide simply by using the Favado app on your smartphone. You can even see all the available coupons for each deal, make your list and email your list to yourself!

Hope this helps Karen!

Have a question about using coupons? Head to my Coupon Questions page to ask them!

Understanding Coupon Wording | The $5 Tena Coupon

questions from readers
Welcome to Readers Want to Know! These are your questions answered from the emails that I receive and responses to surveys that I periodically post. For more answers, make sure you check out my Coupon 101 posts which will also include other “Readers Want To Know” posts! Still have questions? Use this form to ask them!

The following question comes from Della :

I am wondering on the TENA PRODUCT coupon where it says “save up to 5.00 does this mean if i buy the smaller pack at walmart at 2.96 (or so) it will be simply free or does it make this Free PLUS overage?

Hi Della! I had to look up that coupon in my inserts. Luckily I hadn’t yet clipped that insert yet because I probably would have just tossed the Tena coupon when I did!

The wording on the coupon is “Save Up To $5″ and there is a space on the coupon to write in the retail price of the item. Because of this, I believe that you will just get $2.96 in value for the coupon. I think that the coupon is intended for people who have never tried Tena to be able to use the coupon to get the smaller packages as you describe for free to try…but will also allow “regular users” of Tena to save $5 off their purchase of “normal size packages”.

If the coupon simply said “Save $5 on Tena”, then I would tell you that you would absolutely get that $2.04 on overage, per the Walmart coupon policy. But, since it says “Save up to $5″, it basically becomes a “free product coupon” for the smaller sizes.  I get a ton of free product coupons from companies and, even though the coupon may say (for example) “maximum value of $3.99″, if the product is only $2.50, that is all they take off of my bill.

I haven’t heard stories about that coupon, but I do carefully track other deal blogs and I am not seeing anyone reporting that they are getting overage from that coupon. Of course, if you are able to use the coupon to get the smaller size AND get overage, please let me know!

Hope this helps!

Have a question about using coupons? Head to my Coupon Questions page to ask them!

Understanding Coupon Purchase Requirements

questions from readers
Welcome to Readers Want to Know! These are your questions answered from the emails that I receive and responses to surveys that I periodically post. For more answers, make sure you check out my Coupon 101 posts which will also include other “Readers Want To Know” posts!

Still have questions? Use this form to ask them!

The following question comes from Sierra :

ok my question is .. if the coup. says save a $1 on the purchase of any 2 am I getting a dollar of each item or am I getting a dollar off the 2 items total

Hi Sierra!

If the coupon is $1 off 2, then that basically means that you will save $0.50 each when you buy 2. In other words, if the item is $2 each, then you would buy 2 for $4 and use the $1/2 coupon, paying just $3 (or $1.50 each)

I hope that helps!

Have a question about using coupons? Head to my Coupon Questions page to ask them!

Understanding Final Prices | Questions From Readers

questions from readers
Welcome to Readers Want to Know! These are your questions answered from the emails that I receive and responses to surveys that I periodically post. For more answers, make sure you check out my Coupon 101 posts which will also include other “Readers Want To Know” posts! Still have questions? Use this form to ask them!

The following question comes from Joanalim :

This is probably a “Dumb” question lol but I am so confuse so help me please
Ok so I have PG $2 off when you buy one head and shoulders shampoo or conditioner. Then I went to (website redacted) and did a price match which shows Target when you buy 3 you get $5 gift card then the sale price is $4.99 then her final price came out $1.32 I am just blown away lol! I don’t get why she got $1.32 for the final prize please help!

Ok – first, as I have have often said – there are really no dumb questions!  None of us were born knowing how to use coupons or understanding coupon matchups, so please don’t feel embarrassed asking this question!

So on to your question….

The other site was correct.  Your final price for this particular deal was $1.32

Here’s how:

Head & Shoulders, $4.99 (buy 3)
Use 3 $2/1 Head & Shoulders coupons
Pay $8.97 out of your wallet, after coupons
Get a $5 Target Gift Card
Final cost, after gift card savings: $3.97 for 3 ($1.32 each)

Now – before you say that you are still paying $8.97 ($2.99 each), you need to look at the “big picture”. Chances are that you didn’t just go in to Target to score that deal. Even if you did, chances are that won’t be the last time you ever set foot in Target. The Target gift card that you got is basically cash to be spent at Target later.

So let’s say that you went in to Target to grab the Head & Shoulders deal and needed NOTHING else. You walk out of the store paying $8.97 and with a $5 Target Gift card. Next week, there is a similarly good deal at Target. You use your coupons to reduce your price and also use the gift card that you got this week to further reduce your out-of-pocket price the following week. That Target Gift Card is basically cash that you do’t have to pull out of your wallet for future deals!

Almost every deal blog that I know will count that Target Gift card as a “cash savings” (even if it is a future savings). This is how we all get to that final price!

I hope that answers your question. If any of my readers have a better way to explain it, feel free to do so in the comments!

Have a question about using coupons? Head to my Coupon Questions page to ask them!

About Safeway Coupons and Limits | Questions From Readers

questions from readers
Welcome to Readers Want to Know! These are your questions answered from the emails that I receive and responses to surveys that I periodically post. For more answers, make sure you check out my Coupon 101 posts which will also include other “Readers Want To Know” posts! Still have questions? Use this form to ask them!

The following question comes from lupe:

so I have a coupon for safe way it says 1.99 limit 4 does that mean I can get up to the limit of 4 for the value of 1.99? or do I need multiple coupons? im a beginner so im not quite sure please help

Thanks for your question Lupe! We were all a beginner at using coupons at one point, so I am glad that you asked!

What that coupon means is that you can use 1 of those coupons for up to 4 items at that price. For Safeway (and other store coupons, such as Walgreens and Rite Aid), you only need to have one of those coupons and that coupon will give you the same discount for up to 4 items (or whatever limit is stated on the coupon)

HOWEVER, you need to be aware that this rule is only limited to store coupons.  At your store (Safeway), you can use 1 store coupon for up to 4 items and that is still a great savings!  But Safeway (and other stores) will still allow you to stack manufacturers coupons with those store coupons for even greater savings.  If you want to take advantage of these increased savings, you will need to have a manufacturers coupon for each item that you are purchasing.

Example:

There is a Safeway coupon for Cheerios at $1.99 per box, with a limit of 4 at that price

There are also $0.50/1 Cheerios manufacturers coupons available.

In order to maximize your savings, you want to have 1 Safeway Cheerios coupon and 4 $0.50/1 Cheerios coupons.

Lupe – I hope that answers your question!  If any of my readers have any other advice, please sound off in the comments!

Have a question about using coupons? Head to my Coupon Questions page to ask them!

How To Prepare For Hurricane Season

prepare-hurricane-season

How to Prepare for Hurricane Season

Emergencies can happen any time anywhere. We can’t prevent them, the only thing we can do is be ready when they come. Hurricane season is one of those emergency times that those on the coast need to be prepared for. One nice thing is that you should know a few days in advance when the hurricane will hit. But do you really want to be one of those people rushing to the store with thousands of others, trying to get the last case of water bottles from the shelf?

There are many things that you can do to prepare for hurricane season and not have to be one of those last minute preppers. One of the best things you can do is create a 72 hour kit.

A 72 hour kit is a kit that will get your through 3 days of an emergency. Ready.gov recommends that all households have a 72 hour kit ready and easily accessible.

Here’s what you need to include in your kit:

  • Water, one gallon of water per person per day
  • Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food (canned foods, prepared meals, granola bars, protein bars, and other similar foods)
  • Battery-powered radio and a NOAA Weather Radio
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First Aid kit
  • Whistle
  •  Infant supplies if you have a baby
  • Moist towelettes or baby wipes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Dust mask
  • Plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place (or a tent)
  • Simple tools
  • Extra batteries

You will also want to have clothing in your kit for each member of the family, at least 2 outfits for warm or cold weather. Blankets are also a good idea and if you can’t fit blankets in your kit, you might want to consider mylar heat blankets. They are very small and easy to store in your kit.

Other good items to have in your kit are: bleach, games, comfort food treats, matches, fire extinguisher, compass, eating supplies, paper towels or paper plates, matches, pens and paper, cash, and personal hygiene items.

This kit will help keep your family calm and safe when they are in harm’s way or dealing with an emergency. You may choose to have a kit that will work longer than 72 hours, it just depends on the room that you have to store a kit.

When you prepare for hurricane season there are also a few other things you should consider doing, along with the 72 hour kit.

  1. You should make a family plan. If your family was to get separated during the course of the storm, or if the store were to hit while you were out of the home, do you have a set meeting place? Do you have a way to communicate with each other?
  2. Learn if your property is flood prone. If you just moved, just ask your neighbors. If it is you will want to prepare for possible flooding and have a safe place on higher ground that you can move to if needed. You may also want to consider adding permanent shutters to your windows.
  3. Make sure all the trees and large bushes are well trimmed around your property to prevent any damage to your home or windows. Tie down or bring inside any outdoor furniture or appliances that might be able to blow away or blow into your home causing more damage. Clean out any gutters and downspouts so all the water has the ability to move away from your home.
  4. Consider installing a generator or have other forms of backup power or alternative power. You can also get hand crank lanterns and other battery powered lights and cooking equipment.

In all of this preparing, don’t forget to have games and comfort food items (like chocolate!) on hand. It will make a stressful time much less overwhelming for your family if you can enjoy your time spent together.

Do you have an emergency kit? What items do you think are necessary in a 72 hour kit that are not on this list? What are some ways that you prepare for hurricane season?

Ways To Save Money In College

save-money-in-college

Ways to Save Money in College

Pretty soon it will be time to hit the books and head off to college. You already have to worry about the expenses of paying for your books and paying for the classes and the rest of the school year, you don’t need to worry about your other expenses emptying your pocketbook as well!

Start a Simple Budget

If you are going to need to buy clothes, foods, and school supplies throughout the year, make sure you set up a simple budget at the beginning of the year. Know how much income you are bringing in (if you have a job or if you are dipping out of your savings account) and how much you will be able to spend on each category per month. Make sure to stick to this budget and don’t overspend!

Use Your Student Discount Everywhere

If you go out to eat or go shopping, make sure you ask if the store or restaurant offers a discount for students! You can also grab other cool freebies like a free subscription to Amazon Prime for Students to get free tv and movies to watch and free shipping on Amazon.

Save on Textbooks

Make sure to try and buy your textbooks used at the beginning of the year (just make sure they are the correct edition). If you bookstore doesn’t have a used copy, a quick Google search will bring up dozens of websites that sell textbooks. Also make sure to sell your books back to the store (or even the online store) that you bought them from at the end of the semester to make a little of your money back.

Don’t Spend Money on What You Don’t Need

You don’t really need that cup of gourmet coffee from the coffee shop, fill up your thermos at the cafeteria after breakfast instead. Buy snacks but stick with generic brands (or just ask your mom to send you some!). Not spending money on unnecessary things will end up saving you the most out of all the tips in the long run.

What are some tips you have for other college students on a budget?