Blockbuster grocery savings: Part Two

March 20, 2009 8:30:54 PM PDT
We first went shopping with the Coupon Queen a couple weeks ago. She told us she regularly saves about 50-percent on groceries. But on that trip she really stunned us when she got $211 worth of groceries for just $.42!

This time we challenged the Coupon Queen to shop a stranger's list.

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Action News hooked up the Coupon Queen, Susan Samter, with Trish Pappano of Drexel Hill. Trish was shocked when she watched our first shopping trip with Susan.

"I was just amazed because even having cut coupons I haven't been able to make that drastic of a dent."

Trish works part-time, shops for her husband, three kids and two cats. So what kind of savings dent can the coupon Queen make with Trish's grocery list at Trish's regular supermarket?

"I guess $20 would be good," Trish said.

Susan sets her goals a little higher.

"I think I'm going to save between 40 and 60 percent."

So step one?

"Well the first thing I did when I got Tricia's grocery list is I did what I do with my own grocery list I put it in categories," Susan explained.

Those categories are paper goods, dairy, beverages, baking, baby, condiments, household, meat and fish, frozen, pet food, produce, and miscellaneous which includes bread and cereal.

Susan clips coupons every week and files them in her folder which has categories that correspond to her list. And Susan cuts out coupons she doesn't necessarily need for an immediate shopping trip knowing she may use them in the future.

And Susan doesn't just count on newspaper and store circulars for

coupons and sales information she also goes online.

"Coupons are everywhere savings are everywhere."

Some of the Coupon Queen's favorite websites are coupons.com, selectcouponprogram.com, store websites, and manufacturer sites.

"And look for a link that says coupons, rebates, special offers," Susan said.

A quick check of the Tide website nets us a dollar off Tide-to-Go and a dollar off Downy Total Care. Other good manufacturer websites are Kelloggs, Proctor and Gamble, and Betty Crocker.

"Tons and tons of cash back, free gifts, free coupons on your next purchase like I was using today."

Here's an example. Lucky Charms cereal is normally $4.49 but Acme was having a sale, two boxes of General Mills cereal for $4.00.

"Then I went back to the Acme website and sure enough under Lucky Charms is a $.55 coupon which they're going to double to $1.10," Susan explained.

So the cereal that would have normally cost Trish $4.49 goes down to $2.00 and ultimately Trish will pay just $.90

.

Beware, though not all stores accept all internet coupons. Acme will take only online coupons that show the website source and have a bar code that can be scanned. (Acme also does not accept coupons from competitors or other stores)

"I have a separate email address just for the sign ups of these types of things so that I don't have the junk in my regular email box," Susan said. "All of these major sites will never sell your information or abuse the fact that you're signing up."

As their shopping trip continued, Trish also realized to maximize your savings it's helpful to be flexible with your list.

"While you want canned tomatoes you're willing to switch brands if you get a better deal on something else," Susan told her.

Also, you do have to be more creative to save on things like milk, produce, and meat but it is possible.

"Free milk, this is a new brand of milk you buy it, they send you back your full purchase price for free."

"You buy almonds and you're going to get $2.00 back on your produce."

So finally it's time to check out. At the register, Trish realized how important it is to sign up for a store's saving card. Trish's Supercard Savings adds up to $32.52.

Her knockdown savings, in other words her savings from Acme sales happening that day, is $23.84.

It's also important to shop at a store that doubles manufacturer coupons, Susan's manufacturer coupons took off $46.40 and store coupons took off $9.30.

"Bringing our grand total, including our coupon savings including Acme and knockdown and manufacturer savings to $112.06, that's how much we saved," Susan said.

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Which means even though Trish is going home with groceries worth $172.42 she paid only $60.36!

"Oh, thank you yes, I feel good," Trish said.

So Trish's takeaway from this shopping trip was the following:
* Get organized and have a plan of attack
* Clip coupons from a number of different sources regularly
* Go to a store that takes online coupons and doubles manufacturer discounts
* Look online for coupons from manufacturer websites and store websites

Susan is giving our Action News viewers an exclusive deal for the Select Coupon Program: a free one-month trial. Consumers can sign up and get $25 in coupons. After the first month, consumers will be charged $4.95 a month for the program. If they do not want to be charged, they must cancel within 30 days.

* Set up a separate email account for sales signups
* Marry coupons with store sales
* Sign up and use a store's free saving card
* Be flexible when shopping. Be willing to switch things like brands and sizes to maximize your savings

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