One reason I am a big advocate of clipping and filing every coupon in your coupon box/binder from the Sunday paper is that you can take advantage of clearance sales. You can many times combine a clearance special with coupons to get stuff for free or even make money on it.
In the dairy department at Safeway, you will often find clearance stickers for $.25, $.50 or $.75 on food that is nearing the sell-by date. Each clearance sticker counts — in this Yo-Plus example, the cashier took off $.75 four times.
Purchased Yo-Plus Yogurt = $3.60
Used $.50/1 coupon (-$.50)
Used Safeway double (-$.50)
Received (4) $.75 clearance deductions (-$3)
FREE with $.31 overage after coupon, double & clearance stickers
My Safeway had 3 yogurts, so I made $.93. It would have been even better if I had printed off some $1/1 Yo-Plus coupons and filed them in my coupon box.
This was my entire transaction:
After almost two years of sticker trolling at Safeway, here’s what I’ve learned:
:: Shop the smaller, less trafficked stores with lower product turnover. You’ll have a better chance of finding product that needs to be clearanced before the sell-by date. For instance, it’s nearly impossible to find clearance stickers at the Sunnyside Safeway but Damascus and the smaller Gresham stores have them frequently.
:: There’s a difference between sell-by and expiration dates. Almost all dairy products can be safely consumed well after the date printed on the package. Our family is constantly using out-dated cheese, sour cream, cottage cheese, butter and yogurt. My theory is that God gave me a nose and a tongue for an actual purpose. If it smells or tastes bad, we don’t eat it. If it smells and tastes fine, it probably is safe.
:: Not all clearanced items are a good deal. It’s easy to get addicted to buying clearanced items just because you have a coupon to match. Sometimes you’re still paying more than WinCo or Super Walmart. Be smart and buy only what is truly a great deal and what someone in your family will actually eat.
:: Get creative with your clearanced finds. If you find a dough product for really cheap or free, check the Pillsbury website for new recipes. Chances are you will have many of the ingredients in your stockpile and can whip up a tasty and super easy meal for your family.
:: Keep dairy coupons with you at all times. You never know when you will hit the clearance sticker jackpot. Even if you organize your coupon inserts whole, try to cut the dairy coupons and keep them in your purse.
Also, try to print all the yogurt and Pillsbury dough & cookie coupons you can find on the internet. They are usually a higher value than the Sunday paper ones and you can make good money if you find the right clearance opportunity. Periodically check Coupons.com, Pillsbury, Betty Crocker, and Box Tops 4 Education for great internet printable coupons.