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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Reader Mail: Can I Save More with Store Brands?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

It's time again to answer reader mail from people like you who are

learning to Super-Coupon:

Q: "I've been reading your columns with great interest. Prices

seem so high right now in the grocery store. If I just buy the store

brand of products, won't I save more money than using coupons on

the big brands?"

A: This is a common misconception among new coupon

shoppers. It's true that when you compare the shelf price of store

brands with the price of name-brand products, the store brands often

appear to save us more money. But with rare exceptions, we can

almost always buy the name-brand products that we like and prefer

-- with coupons -- at an even better price than the store brand.

Why is this? Quite simply, there are many more coupons and

discounts available for name-brand products than for store-brand

products. If you look at your coupon inserts from the newspaper and

the wide variety of coupons available on the Internet, you'll quickly

notice that there are typically no coupons for store-brand items.

Large, brand-name product manufacturers work very hard to

encourage us to try their products. They feature their brands and

products in the coupon inserts, offering shoppers significant

discounts to try them. Many times, it's also possible to find store

coupons for the same products. If we stack a store and manufacturer

coupon together, we're reaching an even larger savings on the

brand-name item than we could by simply purchasing the store

brand at its regular low price.

As with all things, there are always exceptions. If your store

happens to offer coupons for its own brands, that's a great way to

save. Here's a perfect example. Recently, my store had coupon

dispensers set up in the aisle offering $1 coupons for "any [store-

brand] paper product." During this sale, store-brand rolls of paper

towels, boxes of facial tissue and packages of the napkins were all

on sale for $1. Now, if you're a regular reader of my column, you

know that using a $1 coupon on a $1 sale is one of my favorite ways

to get things for free!

Speaking of coupon dispensers, our next question this week

pertains to them.

Q: "I often see coupon machines on the shelves of the grocery

store, but the coupons in them aren't usually for things on sale. Is

there a strategy for getting good discounts with these?"

A: Absolutely! You're right in noticing that most of the time, the

coupons in the store's coupon dispensers don't link up to the best

sales in the store. That's also true of the coupons we receive in the

newspaper each week. Their greatest value comes when the price of

the featured item takes a big dip. I regularly "shop" the coupon

dispensers in my stores. If I see coupons for an item I like, I will take

a few to hold onto until the sale price drops. About six weeks ago,

my store's coupon dispenser offered $2 coupons for turkey bacon.

But the turkey bacon was on sale for $4.99, a relatively high price. I

took a few coupons from the dispenser and held onto them for four

weeks... when the price of the turkey bacon went down to $2.99.

Now, I took home turkey bacon for 99 cents a package! If I had used

those coupons the week I found them in the dispenser though, I

would still have paid $2.99 a package -- three times the price.

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.