Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Coupon usage

Often, while I am checking out at the store, I am talking with the cashier. A question that generally comes up is if they have seen an increase in coupon usage in the last few months.

Some cashiers will say yes. Some will say no, they have always seen a lot of coupons come thru, and some are just dense when it comes to coupons.

Typically, the person behind me in line starts asking about where I get all my coupons. I refer them to Ebay and to clipping sites. It amazes me that most people don't know that you can buy coupons.

I was reading an article online this morning about how different stores compared in prices and service. It was an interesting read, but I didn't agree with all the info stated.

My stores would rate more like this:
Target: Very in line, if not cheaper, than the groceries and SWM (super walmart) here in the metro. With the combination of store coupons and mfg coupons, many items can be free. Super Targets are always clean, and rarely do I have an issue with an item being out of stock. Produce and meat are always fresh and in good condition. The employees are helpful and pleasant and there are always enough lanes open. They are testing Price Matching in a few districts, and hopefully it will become the norm.

SWM: I don't shop here often, but I am pleased with the prices. I am a ways away from the nearest one, but there is talk of building on closer. I hope that they do. Their system does freeze up and require a CSM Override if you use more than $50 in coupons, which can be a pain, but it only takes a short amount of time for the CSM to come over and do their thing. They will price match with a stores ad.

Cub: I admit, I don't shop there often. Most of my shopping is at Target. Cub does run some good sales though. However, they are high priced on certain items. Take Ocean Spray Juice. A few weeks ago, Target had the juice at a regular price of $1.99 + there was a store cpn out for it. Exact same jug of juice was regular price $3.99 at Cub. I do like that they have an inhouse butcher and fresh meat counter. Typically, they have enough cashiers working.

Sams Club: Even with the $40/yr membership, I love this store. Bulk works for me, esp in the baking ingrediant area. Eggs, milk, flour, sugar, cereal, etc is far cheaper than other stores. Yes, you may have to have some extra room to store the packages in your house, but it is worth it. Not only do you go to the store less, but by buying in bulk, you cut down on individual packaging waste. The downfall to this store is that there are never ever enough cashiers working. Ever. You can't use coupons either. But their produce and meat are outstanding in quality. If you upgrade your membership to the $100/yr one, you are given a complentary health card. It is a health discount program that is free to you with your membership at Sams. It covers a lot of services that typical insurance doesn't. For example, my father in law needed a crown done on a tooth. His insurance covered none of it, but thru the discount program, he saved $400+ on that one crown. Totally worth his $100/yr membership. Oh, and their pizza, YUM!!!

Bottom line: Know your stores. Know their prices. If you need to, take a notebook to the stores and make a list of the items you use on a regular basis and their prices. Keep it as a reference. After all, it is your money!!!

Here is the quote that prompted this post:
"In 2008, 281 billion manufacturers' coupons were distributed, and 2.6 billion were redeemed"

Under 10% of all coupons printed are redeemed. Mfg's know what they are doing. They know that they can put out higher amount coupons and still be ok, b/c most of those cpns won't be redeemed.....................unless I get ahold of them!!!!

With that, I hope everyone has a good afternoon. I am headed to ship a few items and then to Sam's. All this talk of pizza! We haven't eaten lunch yet! From there we will come home and work outside. I need to whip up a garage sale here sometime soon!

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