What has received a lot of buzz lately is the Kroger CartBuster Savings Event! As I introduced to you on Sunday, it's a two-week promotion between 2/27-3/2, which offers deep discounts on a wide variety of popular products from reputable brands, like P&G, General Mills, Nestle, and Pepsi. In addition, you may get one free product coupon per day by checking their Deal of the Day between noon and 6pm EST. I got a coupon good for a free full-size bottle of Tide detergent on 2/27. Monday's deal was free Coffee-Mate. I can't wait to find out what's up for grabs for the days to come!
To celebrate these incredible savings, SocialMoms (formerly TwitterMoms) has teamed up with Kroger on a new blogging program, in which the first 50 qualified bloggers who share tips for saving money at the grocery store will receive a $50 Kroger gift card! Only bloggers in select states are eligible to win, so it looks like they are still in need of a few more good posts. Don't miss this great opportunity if you are a blogger living near to a store in the Kroger family.
Here are a few money-saving tips I find particularly helpful:
1. Plan your meals based on store specials.
Grocery stores usually have a set schedule for releasing weekly specials. For instance, weekly deals start every Wednesday at our local Kroger. Before we go shopping, we browse through the weekly ad either online or in print to see what the best deals are. We'll make a shopping list accordingly and plan our menu around the food items that are on sale. It doesn't mean that you will be having the same dishes every day. You can still diversify your menu with a certain ingredient being used more frequently. You may also find a lot of unadvertised specials featuring your favorite brands. Be sure to include those!
2. Buy only what you need and what you will use.
This is an important supplement to the previous tip. No matter how enticing the deals may look, stick to things you truly need and will definitely use. Do not splurge on useless stuff, which varies significantly by individual. When it comes to grocery shopping, stay away from unhealthy food choices--the health risks that may likely result will far outweigh current savings!
3. Do not stock up on items that will go stale easily.
It is often advisable to stock up on household items that are on sale. It's wise to stock up on toilet paper, trash bags, diapers and the like while they are on sale. But it usually means a waste of money if you buy a lot of food items that will soon expire or go bad easily. From my experience, some products are on sale precisely because they are about to expire. Milk, bread, and packaged deli meat are common examples. Please make sure you check the expiration date before making a purchase.
4. Be a smart coupon user.
Coupon clipping is usually taken as a signature trait for a frugal or smart shopper. I think it important to be a selective rather than addictive coupon clipper. Do not try to collect every coupon you see either online or offline. Focus on the ones for your favorite products and with the best values. This strategy will save you time, clutter, and money. When you have a nice collection of useful coupons in front of you, try to combine them with store specials to get the best deals. Manufacturer coupons and in-store coupons are usually stackable. Use both to maximize your savings. Free product coupons are even better. You may get them from manufacturer promotions, blog giveaways, or product testing programs.
5. Good customer service helps you save too.
If you visit deals forums often, you may have seen "YMMV" from time to time. It means your mileage may vary...depends on the store you shop at. I love shopping at our local Kroger, not only because of their nice deals, but also because of their excellent customer service, in particular, their permissive coupon policy and full refund for error policy. Unlike many places that reject e-coupons, Kroger accepts valid coupons of any form. You can even load e-coupons into your shopper's card and receive the discount automatically during checkout! Human errors are inevitable, but Kroger pays you for identifying them. If you find a mistaken charge on your receipt, take it to customer service. Upon verification, Kroger will refund your money and let you keep the product in question, which means free grocery for you!
I'm sure everyone has their own favorite set of money-saving tips. Please feel free to share yours with the rest of us and let's learn from one another. Don't forget to plan your grocery shopping around Kroger's savings event for the next two weeks if there is a participating store near you. While you are here, enter my giveaway to win a $25 Kroger gift card!
Happy shopping & saving!
Disclosure: I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms Kroger CartBuster blogging program, for a gift card worth $50. For more information on how you can participate,click here.