Once you feel you have mastered the time vs. money debate and are on your way to saving money and stocking up, there is an additional level of savings you can benefit from.
First level – before you go to the store. Check the flyers, use your Price Tracker, and find the lowest prices for the items on your list.
Second level – at the store. Use store coupons, competitor’s coupons, in-store promotions, and manufacturer’s coupons to lower the sale price to a rock-bottom level.
Third level – at the checkout counter. Swipe your loyalty card (Bi-Lo, Ingles, CVS, Walgreen’s, Rite-Aid) or enter your phone number (Publix), or show the code on your cell phone (Hobby Lobby, Bed Bath & Beyond, Dollar General, mall stores, others) to take advantage of the online coupons you signed up for ahead of time. Nothing to clip or count or carry with you, these are stored electronically and will automatically be deducted at the checkout.
I have been doing something additional beyond the store level to reach an additional savings at the third level. There are third-party companies that offer online coupons, also tracked by them electronically, that you don’t have to keep track of. They will pay you online, usually through Paypal or another electronic means. This, to me, is just free extra money that I get to go online shopping with and I get it for no more effort than just signing up online and clicking on a few things. There are ways to be super-organized and print a list, but I’m not always that organized, I just always consider the money I get back to be fun money that shows up like magic!
The main third-party discount I go to is called SavingStar. It’s very easy, and they have paid me quickly every time. You sign up, then click on the deals you want, then after you shop with your loyalty card (won’t work at Publix) the information is communicated to them automatically and the money just shows up in your account! I’ve been doing this a while and am really happy with it. Also, for the deals, I don’t pick and choose. I click on all of them, even the ones I’m not sure I’ll even want, because you never know what you will come across when you are in the store. You might not have a particular item on your list, but if you are following the strategy and checking around for clearance, marked down, “hot price” stickers, and deal items, you might have a great deal show up in front of you at the store and it’s better to already have signed up for the discount.
I would recommend trying SavingStar – if you need any help or advice with the program, ask me, I am experienced in using it now and really, I promise, it’s very easy, and they really do give you money after the fact for the shopping you were already doing anyway. The best part? It does not interfere with your checkout process, it can be combined with other coupons, and it does not change a thing about your shopping list – nothing to clip or carry with you or even remember.
Give it a try! Let me know if you have any questions, I would be happy to help.