Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Those of you that don't live in Idaho...

Ok, so my wonderful husband has been sending people to my blog and I know that some of you do not live in Idaho. I just thought that I would note a couple of things for those of you that live elsewhere.

First off, my blog is definitely centered around Idaho as far as my local grocery shopping (at Albertsons) but there are a LOT of blogs out there for other areas and grocery stores. My blog still has a lot of useful information for you as far as tips/tricks/ideas/things to do and NOT to do, etc. You just won't find matchups pertaining to your local grocery store. (I do, however, do posts about Target/Walmart/Walgreens/RiteAid/etc)

I know that athriftymom has readers from EVERYwhere and she posts a lot of matchups for out-of-state readers. If you go to her site and look on the right side-column (you may have to scroll down a bit to find it) she has a bunch of different store logos and you can click on the store you shop at to see the current matchups. Hip2save also does some matchups for stores in other areas. Again, just scroll down a little bit and on the right side-column you will see a list of stores. Click on yours to see the current coupon match-ups.

There are a LOT of sites out there. Try just doing some google searching and see what comes up. Hopefully you can find a blog by someone based in your area or at least near you that will have the weekly match-ups for the store you shop at.

You can also try the PYP state forums (HERE). Just find your state and see if there is anyone in your area participating. I will warn you, some states have very little to no activity, while others have a ton.

No luck? Well, don't forget that you can do this on your own! First, you will still have to learn all about coupons and start growing your coupon stash, so click HERE if you are new to this site. (click HERE to go to my Coupon Vocab page and HERE to go to my Coupons 101 page). You will also need a way to organize your coupons (click HERE for my Organization 101 page). From there, you will need to find out when your local stores weekly circular ads come out and their new weekly sales start. For example, Walgreens ads/sales run from Sunday-Saturday with a new sale each Sunday. Albertson's ads/sales run from Wednesday-Tuesday with a new sale each Wednesday, or sometimes they have 3-day sales that run Fri-Sun or Sun-Tues. You just need to get familiar with your stores schedule.

You will also want to find out your store's coupon policy. I have a list of coupon policies for some stores (including Target, Walmart, Shopko, etc) HERE, but you will want to find out what it is for your store. Some stores will not accept coupons printed from the internet, some stores will price match or accept competitor coupons while others will not, some will double or triple coupon amounts, etc. You can obtain this information by either requesting it at customer service, or calling the customer service phone number posted on the internet and asking for that information. Get it in WRITING! Most of the time the cashiers or managers IN the store don't even completely know their store's policy. You will want to have this policy printed out and brought with you in the store so that if there is ever a dispute, you have your policy in hand to settle any matters.

Once you are familiar with your store, you can start getting their weekly ad (usually comes in the paper, though some stores mail theirs) and you just have to go through the ad, page-by-page, and match up your coupons with the items in the ad to find out what their price after coupons will be. You can just write this down as you go. When you are done, you will want to check out PYP's price book for reference (click HERE to go to PYP and learn all about this feature. This is something you can download and keep on your computer for future reference or you can even print out the items you want and keep your own binder pricebook that you can add to as you find prices, but it could make for a LOT of printing! They also have a wealth of useful info on their Coupons101 page HERE. Just click around and see what you can learn) This price book will tell you how good of a price the item you're searching for is. For example, if your store has name brand spaghetti sauce on sale for $x.xx, factor in your coupon, which will make it $x.xx, then you can look at the price book page for "spaghetti sauce" (these are listed alphabetically). It will tell you what a 3-star price would be (this is an average price and not a super great deal, but not bad), a 4-star price would be (this is a good price and definitely worth buying if you want/need it), and a 5-star price would be (this is what we call a "stock-up" price because you will want to get as many as you have coupons for if it's something your family will use)

As you get more and more familiar with everything, you will start to know what a great price is just off the top of your head and things will get easier and less time-consuming. It will take time, patience, and practice, but you CAN do it and it WILL get easier.

There ya have what you need to get started. Hopefully you will have luck finding a blog with store match-ups for you so that you won't have to do the grunt work, but if not, you can still save a ton of money by just learning the system. Again, I have a lot of great information on my blog for you, just start HERE and work your way to each newer post. Some of the info will be irrelevant to you, but a lot of it will help. :) If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment or to email me by clicking the "Email Me" link at the top of the right side-column. I'll get back to you as soon as I can.


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