- Do your best to shop at stores that double your coupons. There have been several times where my bill was several dollars less than I thought it was going to be, because I forgot (or didn’t know at the time) that the store doubled coupons. Some stores will double coupons up to $1 (they will give you an additional $.45 off if you use a $.55 coupon), and a few stores will double up to $1.50! Watch your receipts and call your stores to know for sure. Some local stores that double coupons are Weis Markets, Giant Food Stores, and Martin’s Country Market.
- Watch for catalinas (coupons that print with your receipt at the register). Blogs will keep you informed on regular deals, for instance sometimes Weis gives a $1 catalina off your next beef or chicken purchase if you buy 3 Old El Paso prodcuts. Or $2 off if you buy 5 products, etc. You can also watch your local grocery circulars for these offers. I recently did one at Weis that gave me $10 OYNO with $35 worth of Betty Crocker items (combined with coupons, I got 3 bags of groceries for only $3).
- Regularly check your local discount grocer. I try to make it a point to go about once a month. If you are a coupon freak, many items you will be able to get cheaper with coupons at your main grocery store, but some items are just always cheaper at places like BB’s (several locations), Sharp Shopper (several locations), Ebenezer (along Route 272) in Ephrata, and Glenwood Foods in Hinkletown. After shopping at each location a few times, you will quickly learn which stores have good prices on the items you need. For instance, I watch for Gene Wenger’s hamloaf on sale at Glennwood, and often find cheap discounted bananas at Sharp Shopper and Glennwood, and I haven’t found a better place for canned goods than BB’s Discount Grocer.
- Learn when and where to buy meat at good prices. Buy in bulk, and freeze it for later use. I watch Redner’s 5 for $20 meat sales (specifically pork chops, new york strip steak and filet mignon—I don’t always find that their other meats are good deals on this sale), and I always check the discount meat bin at Weis on my visits. Sharp Shopper and Glennwood have good deals on frozen pork tenderloins.
- Set your grocery budget lower than you think you can do. Make it a challenge! Before we were married my husband told me he thought we should spend $50 a month on food. I thought he was insane and literally almost freaked out. But I chose to make it a challenge and see if it was possible, and told myself I wouldn’t get upset if I couldn’t do it. (Actually I set my budget to $100/month in my head, because that seemed more practical to me, compared to what my friends were saying.) Long story short, we’ve been married almost three years, and even before I started using coupon scenarios like you’ll see on this site—I have been regularly spending about $20-25 per week!