OK, I've been getting more and more requests to share how I save so much money at CVS and Publix, so I thought I'd start with the easier of the two. This post will hopefully give you several simple steps to begin saving money at Publix. Keep in mind that I've been at this for over a year now (and I'm still learning) so make little goals and don't get overwhelmed. Do what you can and enjoy the little savings at first, then watch it grow as you get better! Money Saving Mom noted in one of her podcasts to make it a goal to add another $5 of savings each week. Our family budget is $110 for all grocery and household items per week. (including diapers and all toiletries) It is like a game to me now. =) I can usually get it around $90 most weeks.
OK, first and most popular question: "Where do I find coupons for Publix?"
First you need to begin getting the Sunday paper EVERY week and collecting coupons. Here you will find
Smart Source insert
Red Plum insert
and sometimes a Proctor and Gamble insert or special Publix inserts.
I pull them out of the paper and write the date on the front then I file them in a small vertical file box by month so coupons are easy to find and I don't waste time flipping through endless unorganized inserts. This is the system that works for me. I don't clip coupons, because I plan everything that I am going to buy before I go to the store. Sometimes I get multiple Sunday papers if I see the coupons are going to be extra valuable that week.
Many of the coupons I use are internet printable coupons that are linked from the "Bargain Blogs" that I will share with you later in this post.
Publix has rounders at the front of their stores with advertised sales and coupons in these. I grab several of these to keep on hand. Publix allows you to stack a "Publix coupon" with a "Manufacturers Coupon". This adds up to super savings.
Many Publix's also accept competitor's coupons such as Target or Food Lion. Today I got a save $3 on a $10 purchase at Save A Lot coupon in the mail... I took it to my Publix and they accepted it! They will not accept coupons for stores like CVS or Walgreens, but have always taken my major grocery store competitor coupons.
Finally, I am in all of the Publix loyalty programs that you can sign up for in store or online at publix.com Including the Greenwise magazine club (organic coupons in every issue) and the Baby Club (NOTE: if you don't have a baby it would be unethical to lie and say you have one, thankfully I do. =) ) And also the "Pre School Pals Club" There is also a Family magazine you can sign up for and a Wine magazine. All of these magazines and clubs send you coupons in the mail monthly or quarterly.
So... that's that. Step one. Now once you start your collection you're well on your way! Now... there are two SUPER blogs that do LOTS OF THE WORK for you! My online friend, Sarah, has a blog called FiddleDeeDee where she notes the sales and gives you the coupon match ups each week. For example: this week Progresso soup is $1.50 per can. There is a printable coupon HERE for $1.10 off one can. Thus making the soup cost .40 cents! An 84% savings! Sarah maps all this out for you each week in her Publix posts. Sarah also seems to eat pretty healthy and I find her "Organic Friday" posts helpful in buying more organic or natural foods at a lower price. Today I had coupons for hummus, organic pita chips, and Greenwise organic milk. I also had a coupon for $1 off produce (Publix baby club)$1 off any deli item and $1 off any dairy item to stack on it. making my one gallon of organic milk cost only $2.99!
Another site I check often is Southern Savers. (Look for the Publix tab near the top ) She also blogs other store deals like CVS, Walgreens, and Kroger.
Both of these sites are VITAL to my planning each week and I am GRATEFUL to these ladies for their hard work.
Please note also that you should check with the Publix you will be shopping at as to their specific coupon policies BEFORE you start using any crazy competitor coupons because they seem to vary from store to store. Both the Publix's in my city have been very good about accepting my coupons as long as they are not expired and are for the correct products. They also accept two coupons on Buy One Get One Free Deals... one for the one you pay for AND one for the free one, which I LOVE.
I know this may seem like a lot of work, but I only spend about one hour planning my shopping trips each week. Today I saved $60 so I think that's a pretty decent return. =) Once you get rolling and get a system in place that works for you, it becomes very easy. Please feel free to comment with any questions and I will do my best to answer it!