Here's what $7 and change bought me at Publix this week!
8 cans Green Giant corn
6 Pillsbury crescent rolls
4 cans Progresso Light soup
2 cans Muir Glen organic diced tomatoes
2 loaves Coles frozen garlic bread
2 Smart Balance spreads
3 cloves garlic
$7.23 OOP (saved $44.67)
Did we need 2 giant loaves of garlic bread and 6 cans of crescent rolls? Probably not. But I am a bread fiend and it is always nice to have such things on hand for blah nights and spontaneous dinner parties. Aaaaand they were cheap.
This week and next week, Publix is having their big Viva Italia promotion. Basically, they've got a bunch of Italian-type stuff on sale this week, and a corresponding flier with store coupons for the sale items. Included on the flier is a coupon for $5 off when you buy 20 participating sale items.
Sound complicated? It is...kind of. I think part of the reason they make some of these promotions so complicated is to increase the chances that you will mess it up somehow and buy a bunch of stuff and not get the savings you're supposed to. But this isn't rocket science! Here are a few tips for navigating special sales events:
Plan! When you're dealing with a sale, multiple coupons, and a certain number of qualifying items to buy, you have to know exactly what you expect to buy when you walk in the door. Southern Savers's weekly ads posts have an awesome feature that allows you to generate shopping lists with coupon matchups, which makes planning really simple. For promotions like Viva Italia that require you to buy a certain number of qualifying items, it's good to have a few alternates/backup plans in case some of the items you're after are out of stock.
Organize the coupons you'll be using before you go. It is such a pain in the ass to juggle a huge stack of coupons while you try to find all the items on your list. I like to fold my shopping list in half and tuck my coupons into it. I organize my coupons in the order the items appear on the list so I know where everything is. This comes in handy when it's time to
Shop carefully. As you go through your list, pull your coupons for each item as you put it in your cart. Double check: is the coupon valid for the item you're getting? Is the item valid for the promotion you're doing? Is it marked with the price you were expecting? Are there as many items in stock as you need? As I place each item in the cart, I separate the coupon(s) I will be using for that item from the stack so I can keep track of what to give to the cashier and what to stick in my purse to take home and return to the coupon box.
Make your green bags do double duty. It is really frustrating to have to keep track of all 20 (or more!) of the qualifying items in your cart. Use your green bags to separate the qualifying items from the rest of the stuff in your cart--count 5 or 10 items into each bag. This way you'll be able to verify that you bought enough qualifying items at a glance.
Be your cashier's BFF. Being a cashier at a grocery store is not a super fun and rewarding job, so you have to kind of sympathize with cashiers that are less than enthused about your stack of coupons. When you roll up to the checkout with a huge stack of coupons, there are a few things you can do to make your cashier's life easier. Say hi and smile. Tell them that you've got some coupons when you start putting groceries on the belt, not after they've given you the total. If you're doing a promotion with a certain number of qualifying items, point it out to them before they start scanning. Group the qualifying items in bunches of 5 so they are easier to count. If you're expecting a certain discount (like $5 off when you buy 20), keep your eyes peeled. Look at your receipt before you walk away. Did you get what you were expecting? If you didn't, or if your cashier is rude or weird about your coupons, don't hesitate to head over to customer service.
Publix's Viva Italia sale is running through the beginning of March, so you can try your hand at the madness yourself! Hot tip: the Muir Glen tomatoes (free after coupons) and the Green Giant canned veggies (.14 after coupons) are the best values in the promotion.