I've had several questions as comments so I thought I would address them today!
First Question-- Why don't I ever mention Aldi? Do you shop there??
Aldi is a great store and I used to shop there several times per month. I would shop at Aldi and then once per month I would go to Walmart and get everything that Aldi didn't carry. This lowered my budget to about $400. Typically I would still go over putting it closer to $450.
Then last year around Feb. I found "Couponing". As I started using coupons stacked with store sales at Meijer and Kroger I found the need to visit Aldi lessened. I remember going there and thinking I just got that cheaper and that and that.
Now I maybe go there every 6 weeks or so just to fill a couple gaps. I typically spend less than $20. when I go. My current budget stands at around $200./month (give or take) That is substantially lower than before and I find I have more food around than I used to.
My opinion-- Try "couponing" -- that is using coupons along with sales. Stockpiling and menu planning. You can read more about that here. If that doesn't work for you and you prefer not to use coupons then Aldi is the store for you!
Where can you use coupons, When can you use them, and how do you know a stores coupon policy?
Most stores tell you all this info in there flyer or on their website. If not simply asking at the customer service counter should give you the info. or give them a quick call.
My Kroger takes MQ and Internet Printables everyday. They triple up to .50 cents, however only 2 like coupons will triple in any one transaction. Find out all the coupon info. experience is going to be a good way to find this out. You'll learn as you go!
Most stores take coupons -- CVS, Walgreens, Rite aid, Meijer, Kroger, most local grocery stores, even Dollar General. Just check with the stores in your area to find the best stores to shop at.
Questions to ask..
1. Do you take manufacturer coupons?
2. Do you take internet printables?
3. Do you double or triple coupons?
4. If so how many "like" coupons will you double or triple?
5. Do you have any "store"coupons. (Like Meijer has the Mealbox)
6. If they don't regularly double, do they have special events where they do?
What does "Limit one coupon per purchase" , "One per transaction", and "Limit one per customer" mean on the coupon?
This is really not tricky, although a lot of cashiers don't even know what this means and will try to tell you false meanings and make it tricky.
"Limit one coupon per purchase" simply means that you can only use one coupon for each item you're buying. For instance I buy a bag of chips I am "purchasing" this item therefore I can only use 1 coupon to buy that. Which is really common sense and that's why almost every coupons says this. Just to make sure you don't buy 1 bag and use 5 of the same coupon.
It does not mean that you can only use 1 coupon for your entire order.
If a cashier tries to pull this on you simply tell them "fine" then you'd like to purchase each item separately. This will usually get the point across.
"One per transaction" is entirely different it means you can only use 1 of that exact coupon per transaction or order. The Meal Box coupons used to say this, meaning if I bought 2 bags of chips I could only use 1 coupon even though I'm buying 2 bags. (they've since changed that rule).
"Limit one per person" -- I have to admit I don't see this one much on coupons. I guess it would mean that I can only use 1 of that coupon ever. I also have to be honest, I don't always read all the fine print on every coupon. I've never had a coupon that I know of that I could only use one per person???
What do things like MM and MQ mean?
- Catalina -- coupon that prints out of a machine at checkout. Usually after you pay.
- OOP-- out of pocket
- YMMV-- Your Miles May Vary (your experience may be different)
- MQ -- Manufacturers coupon
- Q-- Coupon
- MB -- Mealbox coupon for Meijer only
- Blinkie-- coupon out of little machine
- BOGO or B1G1 -- buy one get one free
- Peelie-- MQ found on product package
- RR -- Register Reward-- like a catalina only at Walgreens
- SS -- Smart Source coupon insert
- ECB -- Extra Care Bucks -- only at CVS
- RP-- Red Plum coupon insert
- FAR -- Free after Rebate
- P&G-- Proctor and Gamble insert
-CRT -- Cash Register Tape
- EXP-- Expire
-MIR-- Mail in Rebate
-OYNO-- On Your Next Order
- MM -- Money Maker
I think the best way to learn sometimes is to jump in and get your feet wet. Go slow and start at one or two stores.
Another great way, of course, is to ask more questions! (Which by the way I love)!! It's hard to know what to post and how to help if you don't ask!!
So go ahead, let's hear it.
If you're a couponer and see something I have wrong or missed please also feel free to chime in!