A 'how-to' on couponing
Consumer savings expert Andrea Woroch outlines basic couponing how-to's.
• Review circulars and base weekly meals on sale items. For meats and veggies you've never cooked with, look up free recipes online and try something new.
• Look for coupons to match those sales item to maximize the savings. Look in the Sunday circular, print them from online sites like CouponSherpa.com, load them up to your loyalty reward card by visiting the grocery store website, use mobile grocery coupons from apps like CellFire or CouponSherpa mobile coupon app, or reach out to a manufacturer or brand directly.
• Avoid prepared foods which are marked up as much as 40 percent. Cut your own veggies and buy larger slabs of meat. Diced up meats for a stir fry or the grill are typically marked up by 60 percent. Also, bake your own cakes and cookies baked goods can be marked up as much as 100 percent.
• Crunch the numbers and look at price per unit. The Federal Trade Commission found that not all larger packages of ketchup, mayonnaise, etc. are a better value, so always shop by the price per unit to determine the better deal.
• Don't fall for 10 for $10, a marketing tactic grocers are using to get shoppers to buy more during each visit. These multiple discount deals aren't always the best price but they catch a shopper's attention and the larger the quantity and savings tagged to it, the better the value appears to a consumer. Buying one or two will reap the same savings.
• Shop in season produce for the cheaper prices or head to your local farmer's market or fruit stand for better deals.
• Shop high and low. Brands pay more for prime real estate: eye-level of an average shopper. The lower priced items are usually placed on low and high shelves. Also, avoid the end caps because those products aren't necessarily the best deals. Always assess the best values.