Three reasons you won’t find regular WinCo coupon match-ups at FLNW

by Angela Davis on June 2, 2011

We’ve been receiving quite a few questions lately on why we don’t provide coupon match-ups for WinCo and I figured it’s time to just post my reasons! Here are the three reasons I do not regularly provide coupon match-ups for WinCo:

:: Inconsistent pricing — Prices at WinCo vary from region to region and even store to store. A bag of chips at my WinCo on the east side of Portland may be priced at $1.98, but it will be $2.44 at your store on the west side. That price difference will most likely make the deal not worth doing. And it’s super frustrating for you, the reader, to see a deal posted and run out to the store only to be disappointed.

:: No weekly ad — Since WinCo does not have a weekly ad, coupon match-ups require someone to go into the store to scout out deals. This is a very time consuming process (like hours every week). Considering that prices at WinCo vary so much from store to store, it’s just not a good use of my resources right now to either do them myself or pay one of my writers to do it.

:: Generic will almost always be cheaper than using a coupon at WinCo — This ties closely in with the issue above. I just don’t think it’s worth the time to do match-ups when nine times out of ten buying WinCo generic will be cheaper than using a manufacturer’s coupon on a name brand item. Check out this post on knowing how to shop for an example of how buying generic at WinCo usually is the best option.

WinCo functions on a different marketing plan than the other grocery stores. They offer good prices on most items all the time instead of inflated prices 80% of the time and smokin’ deals 20% of the time. Since they have a different way of doing business than Safeway and Albertsons, it would make sense that we “play” WinCo differently.

I know there are deals to be had at WinCo by using coupons and when we find these deals, we will post them. But understand that the deal may not be the same at your store. And under no circumstance should you make a special trip with all of your kids just to take advantage of  one deal. That will only breed massive amount of frustration.

It’s best to view WinCo as your back-up store. Shop there when you need something. Buy the stuff that you haven’t stockpiled yet. Bring your coupons in the store with you, but assume that it will be cheaper to buy the generic instead of the name brand with a coupon. Save those awesome coupons for a store sale or promotion at Safeway, Albertsons, Fred Meyer or QFC.

WinCo is an important part of your shopping strategy, it just usually doesn’t include manufacturer’s coupons.

This post may contain affiliate links. See the disclosure policy for more information.

{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

Dawn Dunlevy May 4, 2013 at 6:50 pm

Winco is much cheaper than any of the other stores and some stores you need a “card” to get a discount price but I find that Winco’s regular price is the same or lower than other store “sales” price, and without the stupid card. Online coupons work for Winco and they do have some on their website “WincoFoods.com” If I only need milk and bread of course I’d hit another store but for the best deal, Winco is the best.

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Sherri April 11, 2012 at 2:19 pm

I will continue to use WinCo as my primary store. They are cheaper in the first place. I do not have time nor do I want to use my expensive gas to run all over town to try and get the super coupon deals. I have always found WinCo to be the overall best value store which saves me time and money..

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Peggie M. April 11, 2012 at 2:11 pm

I forgot to say that fabulouslyfrugal.com is based in Boise, ID so their coupon link ups and prices may vary, but it gives me an idea before I enter the store. I wish they would bring back the sales sheets at the door though. I hear they were discontinued due to other stores using them to competitively lower “their” prices and to keep shoppers coming to the store to see the new deals.

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Howard April 11, 2012 at 2:03 pm

For those new to WinCo: they used to publish a “greensheet” ad every two weeks and leave them at the entrance. That was mostly when they were known as Cub Foods. They often undercut FM sale prices by a penny. I love my WinCo and often buy staples there like fruit, milk, bulk nuts, fruits and croutons, pet food, bagels, French bread, etc. Rarely use coupons there, but sometimes. Every once in a while, they have an ad with unbelievable store coupons to try to drum up some more shoppers. I just found out that a Super WalMart is going to be built across from the Tigard,OR WinCo and CostCo, opening late 2013.

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Howard April 11, 2012 at 1:58 pm

I understand FLNW’s reticence to post WinCo deals regularly. I was not aware their prices vary from store to store. However, I have run to Target several times after reading some of your deals, only to find out that the prices at my two nearby Targets are much higher than yours.
I’ve been trying to figure out for 2-3 months what YMMV means; I’m getting closer to solving it. Something like “Your mileage may vary”? I’ve ruled out “You make me vomit” (although some of your readers might want to use that to describe Winco’s produce, evidently).

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Carolyn August 2, 2012 at 2:07 pm

Literally means “Your mileage may vary” but is often used in forum talk meaning that your results will vary.

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Jessica July 18, 2011 at 1:52 pm

I follow this website and KCL and was able to find a really good deal at Winco using a post on KCL…there was a scenario posted for Walmart a few days ago on a b1g1 free Athenos Feta product. I was able to print 2 of those (think it was coupons.com) and then found the $1/1 Athenos Feta (def on coupons.com) and used 2 of those as well. The tubs of feta were $2.88 at Winco in Eugene, OR so I got 4 tubs for $3.76 or $0.94 each!!!

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Mary Jane June 5, 2011 at 9:39 am

The Winco down the street is only good for Tillamook Ice Cream, maybe Kikkoman Teriyaki sauce and once in a blue moon their 5th Avenue Bagels for only $1.28 but they must change their prices daily, I do better at Safeway with $10.00 off of $50.00 and 4 dbl coupons and their coupons, sometimes, Freds, rarely Alby’s too far to travel..I get food at Wags and Rite Aid with coupons..so Winco is not the price buster they appear to many people..gasoline is nearly $4.00 a gallon no longer can one cherry pick if one wants to have their gas tank last for a while, the poor are suffering more than the rich, they have limited resources to get their food and many don’t use coupons because they don’t buy the newspapers at all, no money for that at all!!!!!!!! I donate a lot, always have been, so Winco is only for specific items, their fruit and veggies look like crap and oh, so dirty in their bins, one can do better at Safeway and Freds etc. they pay their help decently and it is clean and one can get a raincheck if an item is out on the floor!!!!!!

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Maezy June 6, 2011 at 3:04 pm

Diddo on the “fruit and veggies look like crap” (in my experience the produce: look fantastic until you get em’ home chop em’ open only to find it scary looking inside)…. “Winco is only for specific items”…. “one can do better at Safeway and Freds etc. they pay their help decently and it is clean”… and esp the comment that at WinCo’s competitors “one can get a raincheck if an item is out on the floor!!!!!!”. WELL said Mary.

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Carrie October 12, 2011 at 12:53 pm

I agree on the horrible quality of the produce…and some of the bread items. On three different occasions I bought the Cascade brand of english muffins, only to have them start to mold two or three days after I brought them home. Who has the gas money available to go to the store, bring home rotten food, and then turn around and return it? So I would wind up just throwing it out, and eating the cost instead of the food I bought.
There are a few items I still like to buy there, but I don’t go there very often anymore. Winco used to be the only store I shopped at, but with couponing I can get better products for less money! Thanks FLNW!

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Dawn Dunlevy May 4, 2013 at 6:52 pm

The bread molded? Did you check the expiration date? I’d be curious if it was just a old loaf that got left behind because I’ve never had that problem.

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Howard April 11, 2012 at 1:53 pm

I’ve been shopping at Tigard Winco since it opened in 1998 and can’t say I’ve had any horrible food experiences. I wrote to them after they dumped express checkouts and they basically told me to take a hike because they cater to the volume shopper. I just LOVE buying two items there and waiting behind a bunch of people doing their monthly shopping! My wife won’t let me buy their meat because she thinks it’s low-quality.

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Meghan June 4, 2011 at 8:55 am

Thanks for explaining. I’ve often wondered myself why I never saw Winco on here. I live in Monmouth, Oregon and the only stores within a 15 mile radius are Roth’s, Safeway and Winco. Our Winco is actually a Waremart (Which I learned, after my fiance worked there for 2 years) is what Winco Corp. calls their test stores. It’s the only one in Oregon (unless they’ve opened a new one recently). It’s frustrating to go in there sometimes because they test sale prices there and nothing is ever the same price. And to make it even more frustrating… they don’t take internet coupons! So unless I use manufacturers coupons, I can’t use any at all.
Anyway, thanks for the info! :)

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Rachel June 3, 2011 at 10:57 pm

Winco has been easier for me than the other stores; close location, great prices, and truthfully I hate store cards, and I hate the mental gymnastics required (even if FLNW contributors are doing it instead of me!) to get good deals at the other stores.

With all that said, I recently realized that I have been missing out on some savings that coupons could give me without changing my shopping. There are some items that I ALWAYS buy name brand. I HAVE

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Rachel June 3, 2011 at 10:58 pm

(sorry, jumpy fingers) I HAVE to have Cheerios, and Campbells Cream of Mushroom. Coupons could save me money on these items at Winco.

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kirsten June 3, 2011 at 1:39 pm

I continue to go to Winco for bulk items. They keep them full and they turn over the product so fast. I haven’t found many sales that beat bulk prices for certain items.

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Deanna June 3, 2011 at 11:44 am

There are other blogs that follow Winco and do their best to price match. There can be a large degree of price diff store to store so it is a YMMV without question. Nice part about Winco is, they order plenty of everything when it’s specially priced, shelf clearing doesn’t ever seem to be a huge issue. That part is GREAT!

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Jen June 3, 2011 at 11:28 am

Totally agree as prices are inconsistent. I do appreciate it when someone gives a tip of a great price they found at Winco, but I know that the price may not be the same at the location I go to.

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Vee June 3, 2011 at 10:28 am

My trick is to know what prices are regularly lower at WinCo and take in those coupons. For instance, Frigo parmesan cheese is ALWAYS less expensive there – even a double at Albertsons can’t can’t beat the price. I often find .50 Qs and can make it an even better deal. Packaged mixes are also always cheaper (Knorr, Lawreys etc.) Frozen pizza tends to be low too. You need to make price notes of things you buy so you can compare. My Albertsons is generally pretty expensive except for super ad items. All in all, it pays to shop both!

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Tracy June 3, 2011 at 9:07 am

Winco is my main store for fruit and veggies. Although I shop Albertsons and Safeway for the weekly deals, Winco is lower priced by far for day to day items that are needed between sales. I have been told that their lower priced or sale items are on special for a two week period.

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Jennifer June 3, 2011 at 8:44 am

Is there a way to make a Winco “forum” where we could all post deals as we come across them? I’d definitely be interested in checking an ongoing list before I headed off to Winco.

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Maezy June 6, 2011 at 3:19 pm

Fantastic Idea. I second that. AWESOME deals can be had at WinCo, but due to the reasons of hesitation given in the blog, I feel strongly that we all could work together by throwing our “finds” in a hat and benefit tremendously as a group that way.

My primary reasons for shopping there “used to be” for bulk coffee, produce, bulk, and the items never on sale at the big name stores.

*Coffee WAS an outstanding price that just jumped through the roof at my local store from $5.99 to now 7.99/LB! Im fussy about my coffee as my husbands from France and we used to have a cafe… Winco’s coffee is great quality. But, the $2 price jump in a 2-month period? Freddies deal on ‘Seattle’s Best’ is looking real good–and great timing!! Thanks for pointing out the $2 coupon FLNW!!
*The produce is priced well, until you start having to return half the stuff due to poor quality.

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kate May 3, 2012 at 10:02 am

I agree about the produce, I shop weekly and have lately that my produce is not lasting the whole week through,I have now bought 3 bags of the fresh express regular salad mix and it has gone bad days before the date. I know make whatever I need the produce for in the first part of the week so I am not throwing a bunch of stuff away!

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Shawna June 2, 2011 at 9:34 pm

Just wanted to mention a deal I saw in Winco this last weekend. There are peelies on the Tuna helper for .50 off Tuna, Chicken of the sea chunk light tuna was .48 , so Tuna was free- and there are the .75 off 3 mgf. coupons for Tuna helper (.98 ea. w/o coupon)

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Dawn June 2, 2011 at 9:00 pm

I live near Lacey, Wa. there is a Winco there on Marvin, Right now there is Arm & Hammer Dryer sheets for 1.50 each. There is a coupon for $3/2 expires on 6/15. Makes it Free just pay tax!

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cat May 2, 2013 at 1:04 pm

prices.I always shop at Winco in Tigard. There’s no way I could afford to eat all month if I didn’t. I do love when the coupons are available on their products. since most of us carry the internet with, I don’t see how we couldn’t keep up with ‘some’ of the process

However, due to my food allergies there are things I can’t buy at Winco, like frozen food at trader joes or satsumas at whole foods that taste so much fresher.

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Christine June 2, 2011 at 8:22 pm

I just started cruising the Winco in Cedar Mills/Beaverton occassionally. The cashiers are so cute — they always say “how did you do that?!” when we get to my total. They accept printable coupons at this location — if it scans, it’s good. If it doesn’t — no good, they won’t take it. Whenever I see a deal at this location, I’ll post a note via Facebook.

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Krista May 2, 2012 at 12:01 pm

I shop the cedar hills store too and also the orenco/hillsboro store. :)

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Amy M. June 2, 2011 at 7:36 pm

I love our new Winco store! The coupon matchups can be awesome! Between Winco and Albertsons, I’m set………the deals at my Safeway (only 2 blocks away) are so few and far between now, I can’t justify shopping there.

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connie June 2, 2011 at 7:27 pm

The prices at my local Winco vary even week to week, so I completely understand the regional variations. For instance, I buy a certain type of cat litter that can be $5 one week and $8 another. You can bet I stock up when it’s cheap! I asked an employee about it once and he said it was because they buy in volume and the more they are able to buy, the cheaper the price.

The other tip I have is that the sale prices at Winco are always green tags, so I walk the aisles quickly, scanning for green tags to check.

Thanks for all your hard work and help!

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Dana June 5, 2011 at 6:26 pm

You figured them out! LOL. They do change prices each Monday, unless the item was purchased during a ‘Buy In’ then it will remain the same price until they have to order a new shipment. That is why you will sometimes see for example, one different flavor out of say, five flavors, for a lower or higher price. Each store territory deals with different sales reps, so that can mean different Buy Ins.

Each WinCo store also has the ability to keep prices competitive with local stores. It is not uncommon {in my smaller town} for Safeway or Fred Meyer have a cracker on sale {like the Nabisco crackers now for $1.88} & WinCo will match that price.

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Brie Padfield June 2, 2011 at 7:18 pm

My Winco doesn’t take digital coupons, so even if I had a great digital coupon I could match with a sale, I couldn’t use it. This is the main reason I stopped shopping Winco.

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Becky Young June 2, 2011 at 6:43 pm

I do most of my shopping at WinCo in McMinnville. So far it is cheaper for me their then to go to the Mainstream stores with coupons unless they have a sell. I do wish they would have some kind of ads even in each areas local news paper. Safeway prices can be different from one area to another.

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Stevie June 2, 2011 at 8:08 pm

Really, I have had the best luck with Albertsons. Winco is almost always more expensive than matching coupons to Albertsons weekly ads.

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Kristin June 2, 2011 at 9:06 pm

I agree, the Winco in McMinnville has some really good deals. I often find deals on things there that I can never find at other stores and they take internet coupons as long as they scan. I just won’t go on the first of the month because it is crazy!

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Christine June 2, 2011 at 6:41 pm

Makes perfect sense. I would love to see an ad! I love winco, I was so excited when we moved to oregon and I found this ‘crazy’ store!! On the days I have nothing to do and we’re bored, I take my binder and walk through, winco! On those days, if I happen to find any good deals, I will let you all know!

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melody c June 2, 2011 at 6:29 pm

I’ve seen WinCo store coupons in the mail before – anyone else know anything about these? Can you get them at the desk? Are they only once-in-a-blue-moon? They were GREAT prices – like 38c cans of veggies etc.

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MARCIE June 2, 2011 at 6:33 pm

they are once in a blue moon type ads. just a way to bring you in to buy more! But Remember Wal*Mart WILL price match those ads but that is hoping its not a generic item like mentioned above.

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Carla M June 2, 2011 at 6:27 pm

Agreed. Even online would be a nice option, but they wouldn’t be able to because they’re priced differently at each store.

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Jen June 2, 2011 at 6:12 pm

I wish that Winco would put out weekly ads—even if we could only view them online. It would make comparing prices/planning shopping much easier. Maybe one day…..

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