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Week one of the Jeffrey challenge!

July 6th, 2006 at 03:38 pm

You may have read the news...our site owner, Jeffrey Strain, has challenged me to teach him about coupons and winning the grocery budget game in the U.S.

He is returning to the states after living in Japan for quite a while, and things here have certainly changed! And, they don't HAVE grocery coupons in Japan. Having lived there myself awhile, I thought I'd better review my approach.

The basics of finding coupons and maximizing grocery savings are in articles on

Grocery Coupon Guide

a sister site to savingadvice.com

Many more articles are to come, but the basic information is there.

Then again, for someone who has never sought, found, or used grocery coupons...I decided to review the basics myself.

I personally don't believe in describing and recommending techniques I haven't successfully implemented myself. You need to have a proven track record before you can teach others!

So, I decided if I was going to teach Jeffrey about coupons and grocery strategies, I'd better see what it was like to be totally new to an area and the local stores.

We live in a "bedroom community", with no real retail area. We shop in neighboring towns within 15 miles, with a fairly good selection of supermarkets.

My plan was to travel 30 miles north, to a town we lived in for a few months, 10 years ago. A small central area of stores, easy to find and explore.

DHs plan was to travel 30 miles southwest, to an area in the big city we have never been to before. We had no idea where the supermarkets or shopping centers were. We had no idea where WE were.

Did I mention he didn't bring a road map?

It was actually fun, other than the traffic and trying to find entrances to stores without sliding across 6 lanes of traffic to get there.

First we went to Wegman's. Very large store, nice. Full range of organic to mainstream products. Some coupons, a bit overwhelming in size and choices.

Next, a Giant, then a Superfresh, dropped by an REI (hey, realism, who shops for groceries all day???). Back to Mars, Food Lion, Target, and a Rite-Aid. Then home to empty the dog Wink

I was struck by the differences between stores, coupons, policies, and demographics. Very different customers and products at each store.

I was surprised at SuperFresh; no coupons in the store, but the SmartSource floortalk was under our feet. How standing on a giant logo for Lean Cuisine lifts sales by up to 17%, I'm not sure...are we so afraid to make eye contact that we stare at the ground all day?

Now, to DivaJen, I must admit, I was totally amazed at Target. Ours does not have food items. To find 8th continent soy milk for $2.50 regular price, when our local stores regular price is $3.87...hmmm, definitely going to be looking for a Target closer to home!

And, while most stores have free trial AOL disks, Target has specially marked disks, with $125 Target g/c if you sign up for AOL from the disk. Target had more manufacturer's coupons than I expected, also. I was told they could be combined with Target coupons and Target sales...which could make for some impressive deals.

I also picked up sales circulars in each store, checked on requirements for store cards...and I think I made it fairly well through lesson one

Introduction to Grocery Savings

1 Responses to “Week one of the Jeffrey challenge!”

  1. boomeyers Says:

    Neat job! Sounds exhausting!

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