WRAL SmartShopper

WRAL SmartShopper

Thursday thoughts: Shopping at stores that don't double coupons

Posted September 29, 2011

One of our readers has asked a question and I think many of you can help her!  She lives in Princeton and they have no stores that double coupons. She wonders how she can save at Food Lion, Walmart and Piggly Wiggly. For those of you who do not have access to stores that double coupons, how do you best work the sales at your stores. If there are any Piggly Wiggly shoppers out there, please share your best savings strategies for that store.

Here is her e-mail:

"I would love to save money when I go grocery shopping, but how can I do what you say when the stores we have around here to shop at doesn’t do double coupons, or 2 coupons on one item and so on like you talk about ways to save.? I have asked but they said no. No double, no two coupons on one item, etc.

Also, all I have to shop at is stores like Wal-Mart, Food lion, Piggly Wiggly. We don’t see going out of town just to go grocery shopping like at Harris Teeter in Garner I think will be the closest one to me.  I live in Princeton, NC in-between Goldsboro and Smithfield, NC. What can we do to save money?"

Here are a few thoughts:

* Make sure you scan your card at the Food Lion coupon kiosk before you start to shop to see if there are any good store coupons you can use.  Sometimes they offer produce and meat coupons, like a $2 off a $10 produce purchase coupon.

* Match the sales with coupons and especially look for Buy One Get One Free sales that match with coupons.

* Contact companies to request coupons for the products you use so you have plenty of coupons to chose from. Even if they won't double, many of the coupons companies send you have longer expiration dates so you can hold onto them and wait for a good sale.

* Take advantage of the drug store rebate programs for CVS, Rite Aid and/or Walgreens.  You will be able to get many free and close to free items using the rewards programs at these stores.

* Consider driving to Clayton a couple times a month to shop at Lowes Foods. They double coupons that are .99 or less every day and they will let you double up to 20 coupons per day. If you drive with a friend and split the cost of gas (you can just alternate who drives each time), you'll save on fuel. Depending on where in Princeton you live, it is probably only about a 30 minute drive to Clayton. If you can save $50 or more with the sales and doubled coupons, it may be worth your while to make the drive. Lowes Foods is also one of the stores I have mentioned that lets you use a store and manufacturer coupon on the sale item.

What other suggestions do you all have for her? Thanks for your help!


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  • des2030 Sep 30, 2011

    Oh, and you can flash freeze fresh produce so that you stock up when it goes on sale (or when buying from farmer's market). Wash your veggies, lay them out on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper, and pop in the freezer till frozen. Then you can put it in a ziploc to keep. Of course, some veggies just don't freeze well, so you'll have to keep that in mind.

    I like to freeze sandwich baggies full of "seasoning veggies," like chopped onions, carrots, celery and herbs, so that I can pop them into my pot/pan immediately when I need them (they'll defrost quickly). Huge time saver that I really need to do more often. lol

  • des2030 Sep 30, 2011

    I use my crock pot to precook chicken and even a pork loin (great later for pulled/BBQ pork). This way I save $ by buying in bulk and save time when it's time to cook.

    I've also found that Walmart can be cheaper on some items even when using HT's double Qs. And I take money maker Qs to Walmart so the overage will bring down my OOP for overall shopping. Example: $5 Bengay Q; the product costs $4.27. With 4Qs, I made over $3; and now I have stocking stuffers for my older and/or more active family members, too. :D

  • paintbananas Sep 29, 2011

    Some Piggly Wiggly stores have online coupons that can help - bonus points, they're sometimes for the already-cheaper store brands. But they're more locally-dependent most of the other grocery stores - my Piggly Wiggly ads are specific to Sampson County. The coupons are at - and I think they may be for all of NC, but I don't really know.

    I have the same setup - Wal-Mart, Food Lion, and Piggly Wiggly, nothing else - and my best saving strategy seems to be knowing what's typically cheaper at each store, watching the ads for any changes, and making multiple trips.

    Also, my Food Lion has let me stack a manufacturer's coupon and a store coupon (from the kiosk) before. Don't know if they're supposed to or not...

  • citylefty Sep 29, 2011

    I lived in Kinston for many years so I know what you go through. For produce and fruits & veg, shop at Aldi. Drug stores often have the best sales on certain items like cereal. But the best is to use the price-matching feature of WalMart or any other store that does it. This saves gas and gets you the best deals, especially on meats because WalMart is high there. Join Sams and shop in bulk if you have a big family and freezer. And use your coupons anyway. There are 20-30% savings for the items you need, even without doubling. Many stores that double, like the beforementioned Lowes Foods, often have higher prices to begin with and doubling only really saves when the item goes on sale. Good Luck! I've felt your pain.

  • Faye Prosser - Smart Shopper Sep 29, 2011

    GREAT suggestions everyone! Thank you for sharing your thoughts! I am sure this will give our reader lots of new ideas and ways to save. YOU ALL ROCK!!

  • Oxymoron02 Sep 29, 2011

    Coupons alone account for a very small percentage, over all, of how I save at the store. My budget has been, for YEARS, $2 per person per day for all food, toiletries, cleaning and paper products. It was that much before I got into coupons last year, and it remains there now. Coupons make it easier, with a baby added, and I get to donate a lot with the same money, but my shopping strategy did not change.

    The bulk of my savings has always been careful stockpiling. While free is awesome, stockpiling the best deals only and never touching a coupon (excepting the occasional blinkie or peelie for the product you're buying in the store) will save you more than continuing to shop week-to-week and saving a few cents here and there using coupons.


  • heremeaj Sep 29, 2011

    You can also shop at the wholesale part of the farmer's market - it is at the end of the open structure in the back in the Raleigh mkt. You have to buy a case or a box of veggies but they are really so much cheaper. If you do not have a large enough family to use a case of veggies or enough room to store them you could share costs and produce w other families. I am currently seeking two other families to test that arrangement if anyone is interested in trying it at the Raleigh mkt.

  • hollyjenkins Sep 29, 2011

    something else -- i wouldn't get too caught up in calculating the % you save on each trip, but look more at how much less you spend (per month) when you're using coupons and being more focused about shopping the sales. you're not going to see 90% savings on a shopping trip to a place that doesn't double coupons, but you can probably still spend a lot less money than you currently are.

  • Amomoftwo Sep 29, 2011

    I would like to endorse the driving with a friend idea. Before there was an Aldi's in Raleigh, I drove with a friend over to Wilson to shop at Aldi's. Not only was it fun, we did actually save money despite the cost of gas and without using coupons! The more the merrier!!

  • purplepat777 Sep 29, 2011

    I agree with what MountaineerEarGirl said. Even though Food Lion and Wal-Mart may not double coupons, they frequently have lower prices to begin with so doubling isn't as necessary to save money. Target also frequently has lower grocery prices (even non-Super Targets) than local grocery stores and don't forget Target has coupons available for printing from their website and they accept 1 Target coupon + 1 manufacturer coupon per item. You will eventually learn which stores have which items at the lowest prices and you will know what to buy and where. Also, like Faye said, match sales to coupons! That can't be stressed too much.