Looking for the Perfect Storm

When you are figuring out the lowest possible price you can pay for the items you buy most often, depending on your level of commitment and time available, you can search for greater and greater savings. This is the approximate process:

  1. Check the store sales flyers and find the lowest sale price.
  2. Check your stash of coupons to see if you have a manufacturer’s coupon saved.
  3. Check online to see if you have a printable coupon you can use (manufacturer’s or store).
  4. Check the store websites to see if they have an electronic coupon you can load onto your loyalty card so you don’t have to bring a printed coupon.

Combining a lowest price, manufacturer’s coupon, and store coupon is generally considered the best you will do at finding the lowest price. In most cases, that would be your “Perfect Storm” to find the lowest price.

Getting a little deeper into the process, and finding even higher amounts of savings, that’s rare, but it can happen. I’ll try to make a special entry when I find examples. Here are a few possibilities you can add to your existing Best Possible Price to make it even better (in some cases, to have overage!)

  1. SavingStar also has an active coupon, which will give you money directly after the fact and does not interfere with or disallow any of your sale/coupon strategies.
  2. There is a corollary coupon that does not reduce the price of the product, but does allow you to get a lower price on another separate product due to your purchase (fruit punch example below, Hellmann’s mayonnaise example previously).
  3. Rebate offer you can send in from the manufacturer (details would be on the package or the product website).
  4. Catalina offers – that is the separate machine next to the cash register that prints out coupons “good on your next purchase” that are often dollars off when you buy a certain number of products (Uncle Bens rice example below).
  5. And of course the cumulative bonuses, such as fuel perks, that save you money on gas for making any purchase whatsoever.

Here is a current example. At Publix and Bi-Lo, they sell an individual fruit punch bottle with the brand name “Honest Ade”, it is an organic fruit punch. Regular price is $1.59, occasionally goes on sale for $0.99 or similar. There is a current active coupon for $1 off of two bottles. There is also a current Publix coupon for Buy One Get One Free. Some quick math shows that when it goes on sale, you get them both for free, with your Perfect Storm. But, it gets even better than that. There is also a current active coupon good for $1 off of produce when you get two bottles. Looking in the produce aisle, you can find several things for around $1. A head of cabbage, two lemons, some garlic, a couple of apples … whatever you were going to get anyway. Finding that really wonderful level of savings is a great feeling. Now you have two bottles of fruit punch and some free fresh produce.

Here is another example. Not exactly a perfect storm, but really really good. Bi-Lo has Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice on sale for $1.50. There is a current active coupon for a Free cup of rice (regularly $1.00) when you buy three Ready Rices. There is also an active coupon for $1 off of two Whole Grain rice products, and another active coupon for $1 off of two Regular rice purchases. Getting two of the Uncle Ben’s products in the Whole Grain and two in the Regular will net you $2 off the sale price plus the free cup. Also, a Catalina coupon (the other machine next to the register) will print out a coupon good for $1 off your next grocery purchase (anything you buy!) because you bought 5 Uncle Bens products. This is what will go in your cart:

  • Two Ready Rice in Whole Grain Brown Rice (before coupons, $3)
  • One Ready Rice in Regular (before coupons, $1.50)
  • One cup of regular rice (before coupons, $1)
  • One cup of rice, any flavor (before coupons, $1)

Use the free cup coupon (minus $1), two whole grain rice coupon (minus $1), two regular rice coupon (minus $1), and now you have spent $3.50 and you will get $1 back at the register, for a net of $2.50 spent on five rice products. It’s not a Perfect Storm because there’s no competitor’s coupon you can stack on top of it, but it’s pretty good!

Incidentally, if you are interested in the Uncle Ben’s deal, it’s good at Bi-Lo until the 21st. You can find the rice printable coupons on the SmartSource printables link.

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