Your Credit Score, Grocery and Coupon Questions Answered

GROCERIES

Creative Couponing Q:[I] have personally cut my grocery bill in half by using coupons. I save coupons until the items go on sale and then stock up on what I need. I have not paid full price for most grocery items in over a year. There are many wonderful Web sites out there that help organize coupon shopping. Also many drug stores offer "store rewards" for shopping. For example buy toothpaste for $1.99 get $1 back, I then will use a 50-cent coupon and really end up paying only 49-cents for the toothpaste. I wonder if the author of the book addresses coupons, and store rewards as a way of cutting costs or just cutting out one shopping trip.
~jp4ga

A: Absolutely, I talk about coupons and store rewards and stockpiling in "SAVE BIG" ! They are the ultimate form of guerrilla grocery shopping and I devote three chapters in the book to these strategies. You can cut your grocery bills by 80 percent if you aggressively pursue these strategies.

Q: I totally agree with jp4ga's earlier posting. I walk away from local stores every week with bags of free groceries and non-food items using coupons. As a small example, just Sunday I got 8 boxes of dishwasher detergent FREE, 4 dental floss FREE, 10 large packages of ladies personal hygiene care FREE, 4 boxes name-brand healthy cereal for $2.50.This morning I grabbed 8 FREE organic yogurts for my office. The list goes on and on-and it's so easy! Check out some of the great coupon blogs to learn how. Anyone can do this. And boy do the savings add up quickly too!
~bryarsmom

A: That's right, if you pursue what I call creative couponing, you will not only get groceries at deep discounts, but even for free! And you don't have to reinvent the wheel. Just check out blogs like those at www.becentsable.net where veteran coupon queens share the great deals they've gotten by combining coupons and sales and other incentives. All you have to do is copy them!

Q: All the grocery stores around here have stopped taking coupons printed from online sources due to so many fakes being passed. I still use the ones from the Sunday paper and do put them together with sales as much as possible.
~CR

A: As long as your Internet coupons have bar codes, stores should take them. That is the key. Click here for a list of sites that generate legitimate coupons with bar codes for verification.

The "Not Shopping" Method

Q: On the groceries, not shopping one trip out of 4 will eventually result in buying more food to put in the freezer for the fourth week. I have tried that trick myself and I end up staring at an empty freezer and ordering a pizza!
~lovebugs720

A: In my "Good Morning America" story and online I talked about one very simple method of cutting your grocery costs: challenging yourself to cut out some of your shopping trips and actually use up everything in your frig, freezer and pantry. I call it the "Not Shopping" method and it is not as deep a savings as creative couponing, but I suggested it for those who just…can't…get..up..the…energy… to save in a more aggressive way. As far as how often you skip a shopping trip, you have to find the sweet spot where you still have enough groceries in the house to get by. Some people skip a trip a quarter. I try to skip one out of four.

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