One of the mantras at Weight Watchers is “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Planning ahead doesn’t just lead to weight loss success, but it can also help you save a lot of money at the grocery store. 20 minutes of planning each week helps me save a lot of money on groceries and toiletries. I don’t expect to leave the grocery store with a cart full of groceries for $5, but I will consider a shopping trip a success when I leave saving more than I’ve spent and stay under my $25 weekly shopping budget.
I do most of my grocery shopping at Publix because I think they typically offer the best deals (and there’s one within walking distance from my apartment). Here are some things to know about shopping at Publix:
- In the Atlanta area, sales start on Thursday and last through Wednesday. In other areas they start on Wednesday and last through Tuesday.
- Publix store coupons can be used with manufacturers coupons to increase savings.
- Publix doubles coupons up to 50 cents.
- When an item is buy one, get one free, you don’t have to buy two items. You can just buy one item and it will ring up as half-off.
- Many Publix stores will accept competitors coupons. Check with the Customer Service desk to see if your store will let you use coupons from other stores.
- The Publix Penny Item coupon is in the Thursday paper in Atlanta (or Wednesday in other regions). This coupon is for a one cent mystery item with a purchase of $10 or more.
This is how I plan for my Publix trips:
- I look at the weekly circular to see what’s on sale. I get a paper circular in my mailbox on Tuesdays, but you can look at the updated circular online on the day a new sale begins in your region.
- I check out couponing websites to see the week’s coupon matchups. My favorites are CouponMom.com and SouthernSavers.com. Also, IHeartPublix.com is a good mostly Publix specific deals site. Using their lists of what’s on sale, I will then make my shopping list for the week. I try to only buy items when they are on sale and will buy multiples of items that I use often. Note that items in grocery store go on sale in 6 to 8 week cycles.
- I use the coupon matchups to cut out coupons. I only cut out coupons when I need them from newspaper coupon inserts that I have saved and dated for future use.
At the store:
- I bring my shopping list and carry my envelope of coupons. Since I already know which coupons I clipped, I’ll only take a coupon out of the envelope if I can’t find an item. Note, if you can’t find an item you can request a rain check to get the item for the sale price when it is back in stock.
- I look through the store for new coupons. Publix often has coupon booklets with store coupons in displays throughout the store.
- I do my best to stick to the list and then head to check out. Publix cashiers are usually really friendly and won’t be irritated when I use a ton of coupons. When the cashier says “hello” to me, I’ll say “I have some coupons today” and will hand them the envelope.
- Before you leave the store, make sure that everything rang up for the right price. If something is wrong on the receipt let customer service know.
To give you an example, this is what my most recent trip to Publix looked like. I got:
- Fresh Green Beans
- Fresh Zucchini
- Fresh Grapes
- A Mango
- A Publix Bleu Cheese Salad Kit (they’re really good!)
- A pint of Starbucks Ice Cream
- An Amy’s Spinach Enchilada Meal
- Pita Bread
- 6 Cups of Yoplait
- Mushroom Ravioli
- Baby Bell Cheese
- Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
- Ritz Crackerfuls
- An Old El Paso Taco Kit
- Pillsbury Savorings
If the items weren’t on sale and I didn’t use coupons, I would have paid $49.45. With my coupons and promotion prices I saved $25.61 and spent $23.84 on my groceries for the week.
Most of the items that I purchased were healthy and I can incorporate these items with things in my stockpile (like frozen meat, pasta sauce, milk and eggs) to make a week’s worth of satisfying meals. So, that’s a typical week of grocery shopping for me. What do your trips to the grocery store look like?