Couponing can make a person crazy – but not using them and knowing how much I could be saving would even make me crazier! The process has become much more sophisticated in the last several months with the additional option of loading electronic coupons onto store loyalty cards. Safeway started this trend, which is being picked up by other chains.
If you haven’t gotten involved with using electronic coupons, getting started is simple. You go online, enter your loyalty card number and create an account. Then each week an email will arrive reminding you to load your coupons onto your card, thus eliminating the need to clip store-specific coupons from the weekly food ads. Safeway gives shoppers the option of doing it electronically, or the old fashioned method with scissors. Another great feature is that once you've loaded the coupons you can print your list; what you've loaded or with the addition of everything else you need to buy.
Customized coupons are an added bonus to the electronic system. Based upon your buying habits you receive coupons specifically for those things that you would most likely have on your list anyway. I love this because since I buy a lot of fresh produce I usually receive coupons for the fruits and vegetables I would buy anyway, or more often an offer like $3 off of a $10 produce purchase. That’s wonderful because typically there would be no produce coupons (other than the clementine “Cuties” that often crop up).
It is a hassle to carry around all of the loyalty cards, but it’s part of the deal. I have created a “branch office” in my purse which is a small make-up bag that holds loyalty cards, gift cards, and essential things like my fingerprint clearance card (hey, I never know when I may have to prove that I’m not a convicted criminal!). See pic below – and that’s not all of them!
Each store has its own policy relating to whether or not a paper manufacturer’s coupon can be used in conjunction with the electronic discount. Safeway is generous with its policy and allows double discounts. My “coupon bragging” for this post is a result of that generous policy. Not only did I use product-specific coupons for several items that I’d loaded onto my card, I used a coupon that came in the mail for $10 off of $50 AND had loaded $6 off of $60 on my card, and was able to use them all! I’m hoping that you can see the totals on the photos of the receipt (as proof of my bragging), but if not, the total I spent was $59.78, and what I saved was $64.03. You’ll have to take my word for it that I did not buy a bunch of weird stuff I didn't need just to get the maximum discount – it was truly our groceries for the week.
|I spent $59.78 |
(Sorry for the crumpled nature of the receipt -- I had to pick it out of the trash when I got the inspiration to do this post -- fortunately it was in the recycle bin!)
|And "proof" that I saved $64.03!|
The downside of this system is that sometimes I end up in the store and haven’t gotten around to loading the coupons onto my card, so don’t get the lesser price. I feel sorry for the cashiers who have to listen to people complain, of which I am NOT one! It will be interesting to see how long the electronic coupon-loading system continue because my guess is that there are as many angry customers who are mad about missing the deals as there are customers like me that feel we have made out like bandits!