Five Tips for Saving the Most during Sales Promotions at the Grocery Store

Okay—the title may be a little overkill, but whether you are budgeting grocery shopping on one income or struggling with two, strategic grocery store visits are a necessity to keeping your household spending in check. Growing up in rural southern Ohio, we were often at the mercy of the pricing of a single, large grocery store within a reasonable driving distance. Today, my family can benefit from the options (and savings) available at a number of stores in the Central Ohio area. It also seems that I am doing more and more shopping at Kroger stores these days than ever before. Why? Special promotions, like the Buy 5 Save $5 (called CartBuster back when this post was originally written) events really make a difference in our grocery spending—when used effectively. What can you do to take advantage of special store promotions like these to get the most from your grocery budget?

Grocery shopping cart at the end of an aisle inside a grocery store
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Pay Attention to Sale Pricing—and Sale Patterns. There is a pattern—and unfortunately, if you miss a “stock up” opportunity, you may be forced to pay regular price for necessities like toilet paper or paper towels in a week or so. It’s also important to pay attention to the sale prices at competitor stores—sometimes other stores undercut special “event” sale prices during the same week in their sale ad.  Just because one store has a special--it may not have the best special available locally!

Remember Coupons. Coupons are a weekly ritual in the Thompson house. Special store promotions often coincide well with the coupons distributed in the Sunday Columbus Dispatch. The old CartBuster events at Krogers, usually now called something different, for example, offer special discounts on a number of Procter and Gamble products—which are also featured in the coupon inserts in the newspaper during the same week. This pattern is often the case. Check the store’s online coupons as well—at the Kroger website, users load online coupons onto a shopper’s card account and they are deducted automatically when a listed product is purchased.

Pinnable image for a blog post about saving more money on grocery store purchases

Visit the Store in Person to Check for Additional Sale Items. Sometimes all sale items or those included in special promotions are not listed in the ad circulars. Most are—but, sometimes you can find more sale items and options in person.   This helps you select the items that are both the most needed and offer the most value to your family for the promotion.

Visit the Store Early in the Week. While our local Kroger often seems to retain stock throughout a sale, many other grocery stores do not. If you want to ensure that you are able to take advantage of a given deal, it’s important to visit the store early in the sale week before the item sells out.   If your desired item does sell out--ask about "raincheck" availability at customer service.  Sometimes rain checks aren't available for deeply discounted items--but, often, you will receive a voucher to use for a discount when the items are back in stock.

Take Advantage of Gas Savings Offers. Many stores in Central Ohio, including Kroger, have on site fuel centers—and offer gas savings to customers based on store purchases over a certain time frame. Stock-up sales, like the Buy 5 Save $5 at Kroger event, serve double duty: they add to fuel savings and they help you avoid paying full price later.

Use Smartphone Rebate and Coupon Apps.  I love rebate and coupon apps like iBotta, ShopKick, ReceiptHog, Checkout 51 and SavingStar.  Each of this apps has its own benefits and rewards--but, you can typically earn rewards or redeem discounts through more than one app for added benefit. 

As an aside, I also take advantage of store brands and visit the bakery department’s overstock racks on every visit. Learning to effectively take advantage of the savings opportunities offered by local stores is a key to managing the family budget! Happy Shopping!

Disclaimer:  I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms Kroger CartBuster blogging program, for a gift card worth $50.  As always the opinions and views expressed are my own and are not influenced by these programs.

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