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10 Things You Should Not Buy at the Grocery Store

10-Things-NOT-to-Buy4

10 Things You Should Not Buy at The Grocery Store

Saving money at the grocery store does not always mean using coupons.  There are some products that rarely or never have coupons making it near impossible to get these items for super cheap or free.  There are several ways you can work deals however to help pay for such items – using Catalinas for example to pay for meat but that is a post for another day.

Today we are going to talk about ways to save by not even buying certain products.  Most of these products are for pure convenience which of course you pay extra for.  Some of them you may be able to score a great deal on from time to time but if you can’t, avoid buying these items.  Being on a tight budget and wasting money on convenience foods just doesn’t make sense.  Use that money to spend on things that are more important, like meats and veggies.

Here is my list of what you should  not buy at the grocery store:

Fresh Herbs: Fresh Herbs are just so easy to grow.  Even if you don’t have a yard to plant an herb garden, a small corner of your kitchen is all you need to plant herbs that are used often by your family.

Produce Out of Season:  If you are on a tight budget, the last thing you want to waste your money on is high priced fruits and vegetables.  Buying produce in season is a huge money saver.  For instance, corn, eggplant and peppers are just a few of the produce items that are in season in August.  Now is the time to buy them and freeze them so you can use them during the off season.  Or, if you don’t have room in your freezer to store extra produce items, then simply prepare your means based on the produce in season.  If you are not familiar with the sales cycles for produce be sure to check our this handy guide to Grocery Sales Cycles

Canned Beans:  Yes I know sometimes we can get these at a great price however when that is not possible, opt for the dry beans.  They are so much cheaper and easy to prepare even dry.  Make sure to check out How to Cook with Dry Beans if you are unsure how to prepare them.

Bottled Salad Dressing:  I usually pass on these items even when I can get them for free as it’s so easy to make delicious salad dressings.  We have our go to Italian Salad Dressing that we make often but I’m always experimenting with new salad dressings.  Quite honestly they taste so much better than bottled and so much better for you too!

Juice Boxes: Another item that you sometimes get great deals on but again, when you can’t, don’t waste your money on this convenience.

Baby Food: Baby food is just so easy to make and easy to store.  You can freeze them in ice cube trays and pop them out when ready to serve.  Not only is it less expensive, it’s a much healthier option for your little one.  If you haven’t made your own baby food check out how to get started making baby food.

Flavored Water:  If you want flavored water, you can easily chop up a lemon or lime and add it to a water bottled filled with filtered water.  So much cheaper!

Pre-cut Produce:  There we go with convenience again.  Precut produce is always more expensive and not worth the expense.  If cutting down the time to get dinner on the table is important to you then consider taking an hour on a Sunday or an evening to prepare the vegetables ahead of time so during the week all you have to do is grab and go.

Organic Produce:  Let me clarify this for some of you that are 100% organic.  If buying organic is important to you then buying it at a grocery store is not the route you should be going.  It’s going to be expensive.  Seek out alternate sources such as local farms, farmers markets, co-ops, etc.  Also, if you like organic, note that you don’t have to buy everything organic.  Be sure to check out the Environmental Working Groups Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen for a list of the 12 items you should buy organic and the 15 that there is no need to waste your money on.  Topping the list of the Dirty Dozen are Apples, Strawberries and Grapes.  The Clean Fifteen starts with Avocados, Corn and Pineapples.

Individual Packaged Products:  Another convenience item!  Unless it’s free, don’t waste the money on these single serving packs.

I’d love to hear what items you have opted not to purchase at the grocery store.  Do you refuse to buy granola bars because you make your own?  Do you make your own bread and are able eliminate that expense at the grocery store?  Share ways you have found that have helped your family save.

 




How to Get Started Using Coupons – 4 Easy Steps!

How to Get Started Using CouponsHow to Get Started Using Coupons

The new year brings new resolutions.  If one of your resolutions is to get your finances in order, I highly recommend setting up a budget.  Having control of your money and knowing exactly where it goes is one of the most important things you can do to secure your financial future.

Six years ago when we set up our first budget, we were forced into it during a time of unemployment.  One of the biggest expenses we had, besides our mortgage payments, was our groceries.  We were spending over $15,000 a year on groceries.  When we realized that for more than 20 years,  all that money was going toward groceries, we knew we had to make a change.   Actually, at that time, we were forced into making a change as we didn’t have the money to pay for our groceries and stay in our home while receiving unemployment checks.  It was a difficult time but, there was a wonderful benefit that came out of it….Couponing!  And, it’s changed our lives forever.

I recommend using coupons and saving to anyone that will sit still long enough to listen to me.  The thing I always tell them is that it’s easier then you think to get started.

So, if you want to save some serious money at the grocery store, here are four easy steps to get you started.

1.  Know Where to Find Coupons

Obviously, having coupons is the first thing you need to get started.  But, where do you find them all is usually the first question I get asked.

These days there are so many more options to getting coupons from paper to printables to electronic coupons.  Here are top 6 ways to find the best coupons.

Inserts in your weekly paper – these are inserts that vary each week in your Sunday paper.  Inserts are from Smart Source, Red Plum and/or P&G.
Printable Coupon – check out our list of all the top printable coupons sources
Catalina Printouts – these are coupons that print at your store after checkout
Magazines – Look for magazines with coupons.  All You Magazine is one of the top magazine for the best coupons however, Good Housekeeping, Woman’s Day, Better Homes & Garden Magazine and even Shape magazine have some great coupons
Tearpads/Blinkies – These are coupons that are found in store.  You can find them on displays or hanging from the shelf.
eCoupons – These are becoming more and more popular.  eCoupons are coupons that load onto your store loyalty card or your smart phone.  They are deducted at the register when you make a qualifying purchase.

2.  Know When to Use Coupons

Clipping and using coupons is only the first step in saving on your groceries.  Knowing when to use your coupons is what will get you the biggest bang for your buck.

Wait for a sale – Waiting to use your coupons when the items go on sale is the secret to saving the most money.  Don’t waste your coupons on full price items.  Hang onto them for the lowest price sale and then use that coupon.

Follow Sales Cycles – Sales on products usually run in cycles of about 8-12 weeks.  Also, sales follow cycles of holidays and events throughout the year.  For instance, snack and finger foods always go on sale around Super Bowl and candy goes on sale in February for Valentine’s Day.  Follow our Grocery Sales Cycles to see what you can expect to buy during certain months of the year.

Buy at the Lowest Price – This goes along with the first point which is wait for a sale.  If you wait for that item to go on sale, you are able to get it at it’s lowest price, combined with a coupon and even a store promotion.  Take a look at our example below on cereal to see just how much you can save by waiting for the lowest price and combining offers.

Cereal-Price3.  Know How to Use Coupons

Have you asked your customer service department at your store if they accept competitor coupons?  If not, you should!  There might be some ways to save at your store that you didn’t even know about.  Here are some things you should ask your store so you know that you are taking advantage of every savings opportunity:

Double Coupons – Does the store double coupons?  If so, does a $0.50 coupon double up to $1?  Does a $0.75 double up to $1.50?  Is there a limit to the amount of coupons that double?  Make sure you understand exactly how their double coupon policy works.

Stacking Store Coupons – Make sure to ask the store if they allow you to use a store coupon with a manufacturer coupon.  This is called stacking coupons.  Although you can never use 2 manufacturer coupons on the same product, you can, for most stores, stack a store coupon with a manufacturer coupon.

Competitor Coupons – Does your store accept competitor coupons?  Make sure to ask.  If they do, it’s even more of a savings opportunity.  I recently found out that Harmon Discount Stores accept Ulta Coupons.  Ulta Coupons are usually better coupons then Harmon puts out so now I am always saving Ulta coupons when come in the mail or newspapers.

4.  Stock Up

Stocking up on sale items is a very important part of getting the most savings at the grocery store.  It gives you control of what you are paying for your groceries instead of the store having control of your prices.

Lets say your family eats a lot of Cheerios cereal and you were able to purchase a box for just $0.50.  After 1 week, that box of Cheerios would be gone.  When you go back to the store the next week, you’ll need to buy another box of Cheerios.  And, guess what…it’s no longer on sale.  So, you wind up paying $3.99 or maybe even $2.99 if you have another coupon.  That is a big difference from the $0.50 you bought the week before.

Now, lets say you bought 8 boxes of Cheerios at the sale price of $0.50 (after coupons).  You are now in control of the price you will pay because you can wait for another sale.  You are not forced to pay a higher price for that product since you have enough to get you through a couple of months.

Stocking up does not mean turning your house into a mini market but it does mean having a stock of items that will last your family about 3-6 months.  A typical stockpile will consist of products that can be stored on 3-4 shelves.  That’s all you need.

Get Started!

Now that you know the 4 basic steps to saving at the grocery store, what are you waiting for?  Get going and SAVE SAVE SAVE! ;)

Be sure to visit the LRWC Beginners Section for even more great tips to help you save at the grocery store.




Top 10 Ways to Find Printable Coupons

 Printable Coupons

 

Top 10 Ways to Find Printable Coupons

Living Rich With Coupons is our motto and finding coupons is our game.  We find them, you use them and everyone saves.  But, where do we find them?  Ah, that’s the secret.  Searching for coupons is just the start of the fun of saving.  Sometimes they are in plain site and sometimes they are hidden.

Here are our Top 10 Resources for finding the best Printable Coupons out there.

1. Top Printable Coupon Website

The number one resource for coupons are some of the top coupon websites.  These websites hosts coupons from major brands and some may even update them every day.  Here are the most popular sites but be sure to check the full list on our Printable Coupons page.

2. Target.com

Target is a great source for Target Store Coupons but did you know that you can also get Printable Manufacturer Coupons on the site as well?  The questions is always, how can you tell which coupon is a manufacturer coupon and which is a Target Store Coupon.  There is a simple way to tell.

Screen Shot 2013-07-01 at 1

  • Manufacturer Coupons:  In the description look for the words “When You Buy” followed by the product information as shown in the first image on the left.
  • Target Store Coupons:  In the description look for the words “with purchase of” followed by the product description as shown in the center image or look for just the product description as shown in the third image on the right.

3. Mambo Sprouts

Mambo Sprouts is a great source for printable coupons for all natural, gluten free or organic products.  The coupons are powered by the same technology as Coupons.com so once you have downloaded the printing software for Coupons.com, you can print from Mambo Sprouts.

4. Brand Facebook Pages

Another great source for manufacturer Printable Coupons is directly from the Brand Facebook pages.  There are thousands of grocery brands on Facebook so, although it is impossible to follow every brand out there, find the brands you use most and “like” their page.  Companies will usually promote new or redesign products through their Facebook pages and, we find this avenue a top source for the higher value printable coupons.

5. Sign Up for Newsletter for Your Favorite Brands

Be sure to sign up for newsletters from your favorite brands.  Again, as we mentioned about the Facebook pages, there are thousands of grocery brands.  Choose 10 – 20 brands or products that you use a lot and get on their mailing lists.  Many times companies will send out exclusive coupons that are only available to subscribers which means we can not share links on the website to share with our readers.

6. Brand Websites

You found a great sale at your local stores, you’ve checked Coupons.com, our Coupon Database and can’t find coupons for the products in the sale.  Well, don’t forget to check the brand’s website.  Sometimes coupons are not always located on the front page of a website so look around and see what you can find.  You never know, there could be coupons hiding out there.  Or, better yet, find their customer service email on the site and shoot them an email and ask if there are any links for printable coupons.

7. Ads

If you are visiting grocery store pages, deal blogs (like Living Rich With Coupons) or similar type websites, keep your eye out for ads.  There have been many great printable coupons that are found through advertisements online so be sure to keep an eye out for them.

8. Grocery & Drug Store Websites & their Facebook Pages

Many of the grocery stores have printable coupons on their websites.  These coupons are usually the same coupons found on Coupons.com however, many times they will get exclusive manufacturer or even store coupons that are not available on the regular Coupons.com pages.  We have found some great coupons on some of the following grocery & drug store websites:

  • CVS.com
  • Hannaford.com
  • Walmart.com
  • Bi-Lo

9. Master List of Bricks Coupons

Did you know that there is a running list of Printable Coupons powered by Bricks technology?  What is Bricks Technology?  Good question!  It’s the printing technology that is used by Coupons.com.  Many manufacturers use this technology to promote their coupons through the various methods stated above.  There is a list of most (not all) of the latest Printable Coupons currently available using the Bricks Technology.  This is also referred to as Bricks Coupons.

10. Recyclebank

Another great source of coupons is a site called Recyclebank.  Recyclebank is slightly different since you have to “pay” for the coupons.  The form of payment is not cash but rather by using points you have earned from Recycling or learning about recycling by reading posts, playing game or taking a quiz.  Once you earn enough points you can turn them in to “pay” for your coupons.

 

 




How to Use & View the New My Store Pages

How to use the New My Store Pages on LRWC

I know that some of you are still having trouble finding the Store Match Ups.  Above is the original video I posted but since then we have made a couple of changes to make it even easier for you view all the deals from the store page.

Here are the 2 changes: Screen Shot 2013-04-12 at 10

 View Full Match Ups

Once you are on the store page, you will see a Read More on the bottom left (it was smaller and on the bottom right in the video) at the top half of the page.  Click that and the entire weekly match ups will expand and be in full view.Screen Shot 2013-04-12 at 10

View Full Deals

Below the match ups and on the “Latest Deals” tab, you will see teaser posts of all the deals we have posted for that store.  We have now added a “Click Here to View All Deals” link on top of the teasers.  If you like to scroll and view the full deals, simply click the link to do so.

I know sometimes when things change it gets confusing so I just wanted to show you how easy this new format is and that everything you are used to is still there and can be viewed the exact same way as before.  The only difference is that we stored it all in one place instead of having links everywhere.  So now you will know where everything is, yet you can still see everything exactly as you did before.  Best of both worlds ;)

If you have any questions please let us know.  Comments are  always welcome as it helps us to make the site better and easier to use.

Note: If you don’t see the video above you can try viewing it here.

Oh and as of right now, Acme, A&P, CVS, Harris Teeter, Pathmark, Rite Aid, Stop & Shop, ShopRite, Target, Walgreens & Walmart are all done.  Next up is King Kullen.

Enjoy~




How to Use & View the New My Store Pages

How to use the New My Store Pages on LRWC

You may have noticed some changes when trying to view the match ups for certain stores.  We are slowly changing over to a new “MyStore” format which has the match ups, preview ads, catalina offers, coupon policy, ways to save and anything else to help you save money at that store.

I know sometimes when things change it gets confusing so I just wanted to show you how easy this new format is and that everything you are used to is still there and can be viewed the exact same way as before.  The only difference is that we stored it all in one place instead of having links everywhere.  So now you will know where everything is, yet you can still see everything exactly as you did before.  Best of both worlds ;)

If you have any questions please let us know.  Comments are  always welcome as it helps us to make the site better and easier to use.

Note: If you don’t see the video above you can try viewing it here.

Enjoy~




Grocery Price Comparison Tool – Now with Select Your Store Feature!

How to find the best prices on groceries

How to Find The Best Price on Groceries

How to Find the Best Prices on Groceries – It’s been 1 month since we launched the new Grocery Price Comparison Tool.  And, to celebrate we have already implemented our first upgrade.  Yep, based on your comments, we have already made it available to select your stores.

In the example above, you can see we’ve searched MiO and it allows us to select the stores we would like to shop at.  Here is how to use the store select feature:

  • Type in the item you would like to search for in the search box and hit return or click “Search”
  • The list of stores with current deals on that product will appear
  • Select the store or stores you would like to view and click “Search”** (see below for tips on selecting stores)
  • The deals at the stores you selected will populate underneath.
  • Scroll down to view all the current deals on that product at your local stores

If you haven’t used the Grocery Price Comparison Tool yet, you need to give it a try.  It’s a great tool for the serious, and even casual coupon shopper, who is wondering how to find the best prices on groceries.  If you need to buy an ingredient for a recipe you’d like to make or maybe a great new coupon came out and you’d love to know exactly where to use it,  the Grocery Price Comparison Search Tool is at your service to find you the best deal at your store.

Right now we have 29 stores in the database including Target, Publix, ShopRite, Safeway, CVS, Rite Aid and much more.  And, we even have previews for the drug stores so you can find out deals ahead of time.

To make it easier to find the GPC, there is a quick link available at the top of the site (next to Bogo the dog).  You can also bookmark the page or you can even download the LRWC Toolbar which has a quick link built right into it.

So head on over and give it a test drive. Search for something you have a coupon for or are looking for a deal on. Running low on paper towels? Search “Paper Towels” and see which store has the best deal this week or even next week. Here at LRWC we make it easy for you to save!

Grocery Price Comparison Search Tool

**Tip to choose multiple stores:  First click a store you want.  Then hold down the Control Key (Command for Mac users) and click on the additional stores.  To choose a group of stores or all the stores,  click the first store you want, then hold down the shift key and click the last store. All the stores between the two clicks are selected.




New Grocery Price Comparison Tool

Grocery Price Comparison

Grocery Price Comparison

Need to buy an ingredient for a recipe you’d like to make? Or maybe a great new coupon came out and you’d love to know exactly where to use it? Well, I am so excited to present to you the best thing since sliced bread. Or maybe the best thing since Printable Coupons. It’s the {Insert Drumroll here} brand new Grocery Price Comparison Search Tool. It’s truly a couponers dream.

This awesome new search tool helps you to locate the best prices at your local grocery stores  including ShopRite, Stop & Shop, Safeway, Kroger, Publix and more.  Also included are drug stores such as CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreens and big box stores including Target, Walmart & more.

Looking to find out who has the best sale on eggs this week or next? Look no further, simply search Eggs in the GPC (Grocery Price Comparison) and find out where to buy your eggs at the lowest price. Plus, we even have previews in there so you can get a heads up on any deals coming up for the product you are searching for.

See, I told you, a couponers dream come true. Go ahead pinch yourself to be sure you are really awake and reading this. I promise you that you are not dreaming. ;)

So head on over and give it a test drive. Search for something you have a coupon for or are looking for a deal on. Running low on paper towels? Search “Paper Towels” and see which store has the best deal this week or even next week. Here at LRWC we make it easy for you to save!

Grocery Price Comparison Search Tool

Just a tip, because we are still refining the search, use broad terms. For example, search Kraft instead of Kraft Cheese.

We will have a quick link on the site shortly.  but you’ll want to bookmark the GPC for quick access.




Extreme Couponing Tip: Buy Reduced Products to Save

Extreme Couponing Tip: Buy Reduced Products to Save

This week’s Extreme Couponing Tip is on taking advantage of reduced items for quick sale at your local grocery stores!  While grocery shopping, I love casually browsing the clearance or reduced end cap to see what goodies I can snag for a great price!  This is a great, easy way to save and most of the time you don’t even need coupons to score a great deal!

I was at ShopRite the other day and picked up a bunch of ShopRite Brand beans that I like to have in the house for making traditional chili and white chicken chili (so good!) for only $0.44 each without any coupons!  I also love stocking up on tomato paste, canned tomatoes and tomato sauce from the reduced section to make homemade sauce.  I recently stocked up on some ShopRite Brand evaporated milk for $0.25 each.

Often some of the products in the clearance section of your store are damaged or dented.  I’ve just recently discovered that some dented cans can in fact be dangerous if eaten.  Please take this into consideration when buying reduced items for quick sale.  There are signs you can look for when buying dented cans as to which ones to avoid, which I’ve borrowed from NewLifeonaHomestead:

  • The most obvious way to tell if a can of food has spoiled is by pushing on the top and bottom of the can. If the top or the bottom of the can moves, or pops, the seal has been broken and it is not safe to eat.
  • If the can is bulging in any way, discard it. This is a sign that dangerous bacteria has been growing inside of the can, and the gases it is giving off is causing the can to swell. DO NOT open a can which is bulging. Breathing the gases inside is toxic.
  • If there is rust on the can it probably isn’t safe to eat out of. Rust can be a sign that air has penetrated the can, which will cause bacteria to grow inside.
  • When buying dented cans try to avoid the ones with dents along the seem of the top or bottom of the can.
  • If when you open the can it sprays out, spurts, or somewhat explodes, this is a bad sign.
  • And most obviously, if it’s leaking, it’s not safe.

If you follow these precautions, I’m sure most dented cans are safe.  I’ve been buying them for many years and have never suffered any ill-effects! ;)

Another benefit to browsing the clearance section often is seeing what brand name products are on clearance so you can stack with a coupon for a very good deal.  If you don’t carry a coupon binder with you and can’t stack the clearance item with a coupon right away, take a picture of the item or write down what’s on clearance so you can check the LRWC Coupon Database when you get home to locate the matching coupon, clip or print it, and then head back to the store to score a sweet deal!

This simple yet effective tip will hopefully help you to continue in your journey of Living Rich with Coupons!

Do you have an idea for an Extreme Couponing tip you’d like to see addressed?  Leave your ideas in the comments!






Why Weighing Your Produce Can Save You Even More!

Weigh Your Produce

This week’s Couponing Tip is on weighing your pre-packaged bags of produce!  This is an important tip to remember while at the grocery store and a tip that I’m just getting used to doing.

When picking up a 5-lb bag of potatoes that are on sale, for example, how many of you typically weigh the bag before you place it in your cart?  There’s no need to, you think, because all the bags are 5-lbs and they are all the same price  Think again! You’d be surprised at the variation in weight from bag to bag.  I’ve gotten a bag of potatoes that weighed close to 6-lbs even though it was labeled 5-lbs.  By taking that extra minute to weigh a few bags, I gained an extra pound of potatoes!  You can check out this post on the Consumerist about a huge difference in produce at Stop & Shop.  Crazy right?!?

Remember, this rule only applies when you’re buying produce at a fixed price that is already bagged.  Here are some examples of items I typically weigh before buying.

Some produce items to weigh before buying:

  • Potatoes
  • Onions
  • Apples
  • Oranges
  • Strawberries

and more!

This simple yet effective tip will hopefully get you more produce for your money and help you to continue in your journey of Living Rich with Coupons!

Do you have an idea for an Extreme Couponing tip you’d like to see addressed?  Leave your ideas in the comments!




How to Get the Best Online Deals

How to Get the Best Online Deals

How to Get the Best Online Deals

Are you looking for to find out How to Get the Best Online Deals?  Every year it just creeps up on us!

With the “official” holiday season just about here and with Black Friday and Cyber Monday only just over a week away, we’re already beginning to see some awesome online holiday shopping deal ideas!

If you don’t want to fight the crowds this year, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for some great online deals that can make fabulous holiday gifts.  We will be posting various online deals here at LRWC as we find them!

Here are some tips for shopping online this holiday season:

  • Take advantage of Ship to Store and Free Shipping Offers:  Many online retailers such as Walmart, Kmart, Lowes and many more offer free shipping when you have the product you purchased shipped to your local store.  This is a great feature because sometimes we can score a great price on a product but then shipping charges can make the deal not so good anymore.  Consider signing up for the following free shipping offers:
  • Amazon Prime: Free 2-day shipping with membership for any amount on participating products on Amazon.
  • ShopRunner : Free 2 day shipping with membership for any amount at stores like Toys R Us, American Eagle, Drugstore.com, PetSmart, Sports Authority, GNC and many more.
  • Always shop online through Cash Back sites:  ALWAYS shop through Ebates or ShopatHome before you start your online shopping to get actual cash back in your account, to save even more money!  If you are new to either of these sites, you will also get a bonus cash back when you make your first purchase of $25 or more.
  • Locate the best Internet price:  Even if an item seems like an awesome price, quickly take a minute to do a price comparison to make sure it’s not selling somewhere else cheaper.  Often times private sellers on Amazon will raise the “retail price” very high to make you believe you’re getting a spectacular deal because the % of saving is so high, however this might not always be 100% accurate so be sure to do your research!  I use the online extension PriceBlink which gives you prices at many different stores right in your toolbar.
  • Ship the item directly to recipient: If you’re online shopping for holiday gifts, consider shipping the item you’re buying directly to the recipient!  This will save you extra time and save you the added expense of shipping the item yourself once you receive it.
  • Remember to check LRWC for daily deals:  Be sure to bookmark the following pages to check the up-to-the minute deals for your holiday shopping

What are your tips for online holiday shopping?











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