A challenge and a way to stretch your dollars
to buy more for the food pantry and yourself
Do you wish you could afford to buy more to bring for the pantry? You can with a little planning and coupons. (And, of course, you can save on your own groceries, too.) At the long request of Phil Melton and others, I’m going to share what I do so you can do it, too. I challenge you to give it a try and you’ll be hooked on couponing for life.
I have made the food pantry a definite mission for us, but we’re anything but rich. So, I plan purchases around what is on sale (especially when buy one, get one free), then combine with coupons from various sources. If you have a computer, printer and scissors, you can do it.
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►Store cards and rewards programs — I do most of my shopping at Winn-Dixie, so I am signed up for the Plenti rewards program that allows me to get the BOGOs and other specials. I also make sure I log into my account to activate digital coupons, and then print out a list so I can remember what I’ve selected. (Publix also has digital coupons.)
►Winn-Dixie $5-off-$40 deal — All you have to do is log into the website shown at the bottom of a recent receipt to enter the codes so you can take a survey. At the end, select and print the $5 coupon. (Note: If you prefer Publix, they will take other stores’ coupons, so go to Winn-Dixie a least to buy something so you can get the code to do the survey for the $5 off coupon. They will take it; I’ve done it.)
►Clip coupons from the paper and mail — You get them anyway, so why not clip them?
►Print coupons from coupons.com and valpak.com — Log in and select the coupons you want and then print. When printing, I usually print at least five so I have some for us, too.
►Use a coupon planner — Having coupons organized makes it easy to find the coupons when you’re ready for them. I keep mine in the car when not updating the file so I’m never without them. (Don’t forget a section for restaurant coupons for treating yourself.)
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NOW, HERE’S HOW I COMBINE THESE TOOLS to buy at least $40 worth of groceries for almost nothing:
✓ Look through the weekly sales flier and make a list of items that are BOGO or seriously discounted that you also have coupons for.
✓ Decide to buy enough that the total purchase would be at least $40 before any rewards discounts or coupons are applied.
✓ Make sure you have all coupons to match what is being purchased. (✓ Don’t forget the $5 off $40 at Winn-Dixie.)
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IT’S REALLY THAT EASY.
To share what a difference a little planning can make, here’s how my most recent receipt shaped up:
I focused on Cheerios (BOGO combined with coupons for $1 off 2) and mini-cans of Hormel corned beef hash (on sale for $1 a can combined with coupons for $1 off two), then I also applied the $5-off store coupon. The final bill without sales and coupons would have been $62.20, but I only spent $12.71.
I hope you will take the challenge so we can stock the pantry to overflowing this week and every month going forward.
— Mary McNair