Tips and Tricks for Shopping at more than half the price!

I am a bargain shopper.  I love getting good deals on groceries and other products.  95% of the time when I shop, I buy things on sale, clearance, with coupons, or other deals.  I have made a list of why I like to shop at certain stores and their "perks." I have also included my tips on how to save money while shopping.  I hope it helps you save lots of money!

All Store Tips:

  • Ibotta: Sign up here to start saving tons of money.  I have already saved 85 dollars by using this App.  The way Ibotta works is that you get money when you buy selected items at most stores.  After buying the items, scan the bar code of the item and the receipt.  The money will be added to your account and after 20 dollars you can get your money through a paypal account or in gift cards.  
  • Checkout 51: Checkout 51 pays you cash when you buy selected items at any store. Offers go live on Thursdays at 12:00 in your time zone and then expire the following Wednesday at 11:59 of that same time zone.  After buying the items, upload your receipt using Checkout 51.  They will confirm your purchase and credit your account.  Once your account reaches $20 you can cash out a receive a check in the mail.  Wahoo! Just make sure you submit your purchase right away because the offers can go away after so many people redeem the offer.  You can download the App or if you don't have a Smartphone you can use Checkout51 on your computer.  I really like Checkout 51 because they often have deals for produce which I am always buying.  I have gotten 50 cents off bananas and 25 cents off tomatoes.  
  • Ibotta and Checkout 51 are very similar.  I have had Ibotta longer, but Checkout 51 seems simpler to use.  It is nice having both because sometimes you can buy one product and get money back from Ibotta and Checkout 51 getting products for dirt cheap or even free!  That's my kind of shopping.
  • Use Coupons: See my past post on how to get coupons and how to use them.  Want to see how I organize my coupons?  Check it out here.
  • Store discounts, unadvertised sales: When I go shopping and am heading to the next thing on my grocery list I keep my eye wondering at all of the store items.  This way I am able to see all of the store discounts for quick resale or unadvertised sales.  Sometimes items even have coupons attached.  By doing this I am able to find really great deals.  Be cautious though, if you are an impulse buyer this may not be a good plan for you.  I am very cautious of what I buy and make sure it is practical, a good deal, and something we need.  Otherwise, you can find a marked down item with a coupon, buy it and have no need or desire for it.  A good deal is only a good deal if it is something you need and like.  
  • Shop in a way that works for you.  If you are extremely busy, pick one store that will save you the most about of money and go there.  If you want to save more money and have a little extra time go to a couple of stores.  If you have time for a little prep work before going shopping, print coupons, look at sales, and do what you need to do to save money.  If you don't have time or energy to do any extra work besides walking in the grocery store, grabbing your food, and checking out then be aware of how to get the items you need for a little cheaper.  I have some ideas below.  
  • Open your mouth.  I have always been afraid to ask certain questions because I am afraid of getting the answer, "No." I don't like being told no, so I usually avoid asking questions that could result in a "no" answer.  However, I am learning that it is better to ask because I often get what I want and a "yes."  Just a month ago I saved 100 dollars buy asking my dentist if I could use a coupon even though according to the instructions you had to spend over 300 dollars to get the discount.  I wasn't going to ask, but last minute I decided to take the chance and save myself 100 dollars!  They said yes :)  So instead of paying them 250 dollars I only paid 150 dollars.  Don't be afraid to ask for a good deal.

Target: I love Target.  Their store is clean, they have a lot of great products, and have great deals after using coupons.  You just have to know how to use all the great things Target has to offer.   
  • Cartwheel: Cartwheel is an App for your phone or you can use your computer. It is a way to save money at Target. You add offers to your Cartwheel from hundreds of available products. New offers are added regularly! Then bring your smartphone or your printed Cartwheel to the store. Have the cashier scan your barcode and you will automatically save on all the offers loaded on your Cartwheel.  I love Cartwheel because you can even add the offers after your shopping cart is full.  You just type in what you are buying to see if they have any offers (ex, 5% off, 10% off).  I got my most favorite shoes at Target with a Cartwheel deal.  I loaded a 30% off on shoes to my cartwheel.  The shoes were already on sale, so they ended up costing my 10 dollars for a comfortable and cute pair of shoes.  
  • Women's Mad Love Laksha Canvas
    mad love shoes
  • Text Message Coupons: You can sign up to get Target text message coupons.  I love these because they include $1 off fresh vegetables, $1 off fresh fruit, $1 off meat, etc.  Sometimes coupons are for items that you may not need or aren't healthy items.  These coupons are great because they are for items that are good for you and that you are usually buying anyway.  Or you can just text offer to the number 827438.  They immediately will send you coupons.  Throughout the month you can get other codes to text to that number for additional coupons.  I usually find these codes on other coupon sites.  In one month I got about 3 set of $1 off fruits, so these text message coupons are great.  Other text message coupons I have recieved are 20 dollars off of 100 dollar baby purchase, 5 dollars off 25 dollar grocery purchase, and 10 dollars off a 50 dollar home purchase.  
  • Online Coupons: You can go here and print coupons.  Some of them are manufacturer coupons and others are store coupons.  You can use both a store coupon and a manufacturer coupon on the same product if you have them.  
  • Clearance: Sometimes Target has great markdowns.  They are usually found on the end isles.  I have bought clearance items with Target coupons to get very cheap and free items.  I love double dipping!

Smith's/Fred Meyers/Kroger:

  • Manager Special: The store puts yellow stickers on items that they want to get rid of quick because they no longer sell the item or its sell by date is coming up.  The items are often in their usual spot or at the back of the store or in a section that says,"Manager Special."  You can pair these specials with a coupon to really get a deal. If you need items from the bakery, Smith's usually has a ton of items on Manager Special.
  • Coupons: Almost every Friday Smith's and other Kroger stores have a FREE item that you can download onto your store card.  So far I have gotten free yogurts, protien bars, chips, pizza, and drinks.  Most of the items cost between 1 and 5 dollars.  You can also download other coupons onto your store card.  

Maceys: I love shopping at Maceys because they have great customer service and because of their carts.  They have shopping carts that have a car attached.  My son loves driving the car and moving the steering wheel around.  He actually gets upset when he has to get out of the shopping cart.  

  • Case lot sale: They have case lot sales where their can foods and other items are priced really low.  You don't have to buy the entire case to get the cheap deal too.  If you buy one or a case, it's the same price individually.

  • Price Matching: I usually leave Walmart frustrated for one reason or another, usually because of their long lines and their lack of help.  However, I love that Walmart has everything all in one spot and that they PRICE MATCH.  It is nice to be able to go to one store to get all the good deals.   I collect all of the ads for the week, sit down with my planned out menu for the week and plan my shopping list.  I write down the items I need to buy, the price, and what store has it for that price.  I also check for other coupons or discounts (Ibotta, Checkout51).  

Winco: There are certain products I always but at Winco because they have such great prices.  I also keep my eye out when shopping for signs that advertise really cheap items.   

  • Spices and Bulk: Sometimes I have a recipe that calls for a spice that I don't have on hand and that I probably won't use very much of down the future.  Winco has bulk foods that you can just get as much or as little as you need.  This saves you money by not buying more than you need.  Also, it is a lot cheaper than if you buy them in containers.  Cinnamon sticks are around 6 dollars for a container and you can get the same amount at Winco for about $.67. Huge savings
  • Bulk: Usually the bulk items are cheaper the same item prepackaged.  Winco has a great selection of candy, fruit, nuts, spices, pasta, cereals, and the list goes on and on. If you are going to buy a ton of one item you can save 5 % off bulk items.  Click for more details
  • Bread: Winco's bread is always so cheap.  You can always find a quality loaf of bread for around $1.25.  They have great prices on bagels, buns and english muffins too. 
  • Weekly specials: Winco doesn't have ads, but if you go into their store they have some amazing deals.  Some past deals have been $.75/ .lb strawberries and $.50 for Pillsbury crescent rolls.
  • Signs: Winco often has huge signs for the items when you enter the store and on the end isles.  They also have price tags that are colored that are right below the items.  Green price tags mean sale, Red tags mean very low price (stock up)
  • Almost out of date meat: I have gotten amazing deals on meat.  I talked with the butcher and he told me they mark down the meat at my store around 9 am and 6 pm everyday.  So if I want to get cheap meat that is when I go to Winco.  Don't be afraid to ask to find out when you can save money on meat.

Costco: Costco has some great deals.  You have to be careful though because a lot of their food and other products can be purchased elsewhere for a lot cheaper.   
  • Coupons/Instant Rebates:Costco has great instant rebates and coupons that are mailed out and can be found at customer service.  These are high valued rebates and coupons.  Use them.  
  • Great items: Some items that I find to usually be cheaper at Costco:
    • Diapers: Usually every month Costco either has Huggies or Kirkland brand diapers for 5 or 6 dollars off a box.  This makes buying a large quantity of diapers a good price, easy and hassle free.  
    • Bananas: They come in a bundle for 46 cents/ lb.  That is the cheapest I have seen bananas.  
    • Spinach:  You can get a large bag for cheap.
  • Pay attention to their labels and know what they mean:
    • Prices ending in .99 are full price, try to avoid these products.
    • Prices ending in .97 are deals that are decided by the store manager.  They won't be on sale long, but can be great discounts. 
    • Prices ending in .49 or .79 are a manufacturers special offer.  These products are usually priced lower than retail price.
    • Prices ending in .00 are products the manager wants to get rid of and are priced very low, but stocked low.
    • Prices or labels with an asterisk are items that will be discontinued, so once they are gone they are gone for good.  They are often priced low to get rid of them. 
If you want another way to save money around your birthday month check out my birthday freebie post.

I hope these shopping tips are helpful and you can end up saving a little bit more money than you have in the past.  It's amazing how much money you can save with using coupons, apps, text messages, and knowing each store's system.  Happy Shopping!

Are there any shopping tips you can share with us to help us save even more money?