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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Couponing's Best-Kept Secrets: Big Stores, Bigger Discounts

Monday, January 11, 2010

In the past couple of months, I've shared some of the best and most

exciting Super-Couponing secrets with you. This week, I have

another. Like some of my previous tips, this one may challenge your

assumptions about getting the best possible price when you shop.

Super-Couponing Secret: Shopping at the "more expensive"

stores may save you more money!

In many areas, shoppers have several grocery stores to choose

from. The same area may have smaller grocery markets, discount

grocers that offer "everyday low prices" and large-scale, major-chain

supermarkets. Many people tend to consider large supermarkets to

be more expensive than their low-price, themed counterparts. This is

a reputation that the large supermarkets typically don't deserve, as

they can be some of the best places to save big.

Consider this point: Grocery stores that offer "everyday low

prices" definitely have prices that are not too high. But prices here

are also usually not too low, either. These stores offer the same

prices on items week to week, with few to no sales. By contrast, the

larger supermarkets offer "high/low" prices. On any given day, it's

true that about half the items' prices will be higher at the

supermarket than at an "everyday low price" store. But prices on the

other half of the items will be lower. Those are the items that Super-

Couponers watch for price drops on. When the prices take a big dip,

that's when we can move in with our coupons and bring the price

down even more.

This is an advantage supermarkets can have over other stores.

During a typical 12-week sales cycle at a supermarket, the price of

any particular item will fluctuate from high to low. But just once

during that time does the price hit its lowest low -- we call this the

"12-week-low." This is the lowest price that item will appear at

during the price cycle.

Why is it a good idea to watch for these 12-week-lows? That

12-week-low price is typically 50 percent lower than the regular shelf

price. Any time we're able to buy something for half the original

price, even without a coupon, it's time to buy it! Of course, we also

want to use coupons at that point to bring the price down even

more. With coupons we can often save 70 percent or more off the

original price.

Here's an example. A box of granola bars is usually $3.29 at my

large supermarket. The same brand of granola bars is $2.99 at an

"every-day low price" grocery in town. The grocery store doesn't

change or cycle its prices; the granola bars are $2.99 every single day.

But at the supermarket, the granola bars will go on sale numerous

times over the next 12 weeks. Some weeks the bars will be the full

$3.29, but other weeks the price will be lower... and lower still. I

watched the bars over several weeks and saw them go on sale for

$2.99, and $2.49 and $1.99. But one week, the bars dropped again, to

"2 for $3," or $1.50 a box.

During this entire time, I was holding onto a $1 coupon for the

granola bars. When the bars hit $1.50, they were now on sale for less

than half their original price. I used my $1 coupon and took the box

home for 50 cents. If I had purchased the granola bars at the "every-

day low price" store with my $1 coupon, I would still have paid

$1.99 a box. But I picked them up for a quarter of that price... at the

larger, so-called "more expensive" supermarket!

CTW Features

Jill Cataldo, a coupon-workshop instructor, writer and mother of

three, never passes up a good deal. Learn more about couponing at

her Web site, www.super-couponing.com. E-mail your couponing

coups and questions to jill@ctwfeatures.com.