Ask I Heart Publix

I am so excited about the new feature and love that there was such a great response from you all!!  Actually there was such a great response that I needed a little help!!  My buddy Christy over at Haphazardly Hobbying was kind enough to give me some help to get ten of your questions answered.  There was no way we could get to everyone –if we didn’t get to your question this week…don’t worry we will do our best to cover it another week!!

I am going to start a new tab at the top of the site where I will do my best to organize the information so that it can serve as a quick reference!

Now let’s get to the questions!!

  1. Can I stack manufacturer’s coupons with a Publix coupon that reads “may not be used in conjunction with any other coupon”?
  2. Can I stack a competitor’s coupon with a Publix coupon and a manufacturer’s coupon on a single item?
  3. If my Publix doubles up to .50, how does a manufacturer’s Buy One Get One coupon work for an item that is under $.50?
  4. I live in the land of no doubles. When Publix runs a BOGO sale, and my coupon is $1/2, do I have to buy 4 for the coupon to work?
  5. How does a manufacturer’s ‘Buy One Get One’ coupon work if Publix already has the item on BOGO that week?
  6. Is it ‘against the rules’ to take a peelie coupon off an item even if you’re not going to buy it that day?
  7. What do you do when you have several rebate items on the same receipt, and the rebate you to send in an “original” receipt?
  8. Are you supposed to tip the folks who take your groceries to you car?
  9. Is there a pattern to the frequency of items going on sale, and if so, is it the same for most items? How do I know when to really stock up on an item?
  10. I’ve been couponing for a few months and am regularly saving about 50%, but so many people in the Weekly Totals are saving 80 and 90%!! What am I doing wrong?

On to the answers!

  1. Jennifer wants to know: Can I stack manufacturer’s coupons with a Publix coupon that reads “may not be used in conjunction with any other coupon”?
  2. Most stores will allow you to use both coupons as the wording is understood to mean that you can’t combine that Publix coupon with another Publix coupon. The majority of manufacturer coupons have similar wording.  This verbage is necessary to prevent people from stacking multiple coupons to get an item for free.  Since Publix allows you to use a manufacturer coupon with a store coupon you should be able to use one of each per item purchased.  Be aware that each store can decide whether they will allow you to stack the coupon.

  3. Michelle wants to know: Can I stack a competitor’s coupon with a Publix coupon and a manufacturer’s coupon on a single item?
  4. Publix coupon policy allows you to use one store coupon and one manufacturer’s coupon per item. A store coupon is either a Publix coupon or a competitor coupon.  You need to choose one- so when choosing between the competitor’s coupon and the Publix coupon, choose the value that is higher to get yourself the best deal. Note: there are the occasional stores that will allow the use of all three but I do not post a scenario using three as that is not available for the majority of folks.

  5. Masa wants to know: How does a manufacturer’s Buy One Get One coupon work for an item that is under $.50 if your store doubles?
  6. Masa let me know she purchased an item that was .45¢ and she used a BOGO coupon. When the cashier typed in her discount she received a savings of .90¢ (the .45/1 coupon doubled). I’d say this is a pretty rare scenario since most BOGO items are usually over .50¢ but just in case…the register is programmed to double any coupon amount .50¢ and under when the coupon begins with the number 5.

  7. Heather wants to know: I live in the land of no doubles. When Publix runs a BOGO sale, and my coupon is $1/2, do I have to buy four of the item in order for the coupon to work?
  8. No, you only have to buy two! Even though the items are BOGO, the cashier is still scanning two items- and that’s all the register needs in order for the coupon to work. Both items in a BOGO are a purchase so you are entitled to the discount!

  9. Brittany and Tiffiney want to know: How does a manufacturer’s ‘Buy One Get One’ coupon work if Publix already has the item on BOGO that week?
  10. If your store has true BOGO and you’re using a manufacturer’s BOGO coupon on a Publix BOGO item, both items are free! (You’ll still pay tax for each one if the items are taxable, though.) Essentially, the manufacturer’s coupon “pays” for the first item and Publix gives you the second for free.

    If your store rings BOGO at 1/2 price you will get one item free with the coupon but you will have to pay for the 2nd item.  The second item that you are paying for rings at half price so it is a good deal but not as good as folks with true BOGO!

  11. Cathy wants to know: Is it ‘against the rules’ to take a peelie coupon off an item even if you’re not going to buy it that day? What about tearpads?
  12. This is a HUGE area of debate among couponers! Honestly this is purely an individual decision–I can’t give you a definitive answer as it would be completely opinion based.  I think it best that you go with your gut and do what you feel comfortable doing.  If you don’t want to snag a peelie then don’t do it. If you choose to snag a few then be sure an be kind and leave some for your fellow savers.  This idea really applies to any coupon–peelie, tearpad, blinkie, booklet, etc… common courtesy is a good thing in my book :-).

  13. Deborah wants to know: What do you do when you have several rebate items on the same receipt, and the rebate you to send in an “original” receipt?
  14. This is a good question. I never like to go against what the rebate form says because I’m always afraid that they’ll refuse the rebate and I’ll lose out on that “free money.” Usually, though, I know what items have rebates on them when I buy them, and I make sure to do separate transactions if I’m going to need more than one “original” receipt. Better to be safe than sorry!

  15. Kristy wants to know: Publix is so nice to have people help you out to your car with your groceries and load them for you, are you supposed to tip them?
  16. Here is the answer from the Publix website: We pride ourselves in providing outstanding customer service. That service includes taking your groceries to your vehicle. Tipping is not required. Several of you have emailed to let me know that the baggers are instructed not to accept tips.–thanks everyone!!

     If you receive outstanding service from an employee at Publix you might consider sending an email or making a call to tell the manager about your experience.  So many people are quick to report when things don’t go as they wish –it is just as important to share the positive experience as well!!

  17. Laura wants to know: Is there a pattern to the frequency of items going on sale, and if so, is it the same for most items? How do I know when to really stock up on an item?
  18. Sale items usually cycle every three months. I’d say that after a few months of couponing regularly, you’ll start to recognize a really good price  (it varies depending on the particular item), and you’ll know to really stock up. If you want a hard and fast rule to go by as you get started, I’d say that if the item is 75% (or more) off its regular price, you should really stock up.

    For example, when Simply Smart milk – it’s our favorite – goes on sale and I have coupons to pair with it, I’ll buy as many as I can fit in my freezer. Other things like yogurt go on sale ALL the time and I usually only buy what I can use in a two or three week period at most.

    You will also see certain items on sale at certain times of the year.  If you think about when an item is likely used– that is when you will see the best sales.  Coupons and sales on pumpkin will be more likely in November than in July.  Barbecue sauce will be at the lowest price duing the summer.  You will want to snag turkey and ham at their lowest price around Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter! Soups are cheapest in winter months and ice cream deals are more likely in the summer!  Of course there will be sales throughout the year but if you are looking to stock up on an item you will want to get it while it is “in season.”

  19. Shawna wants to know: I’ve been couponing for a few months and am regularly saving about 50%, but so many people in the Weekly Totals are saving 80 and 90%!! What am I doing wrong?
  20. I am going to let Christy take this one as I have been couponing for a while and I think it is better answered by someone who is new”er” to couponing :-)
    I have to say that about three or four months into couponing, I was in the exact same boat as you. I was saving a lot, but nowhere near as much as most of the people I’d read about online. Around six months in, though, I really started to see a change in my percentage saved. In my opinion, there are three major things that changed for me:

    a) At three months, my stockpile was good but not great – I had a lot of SOME of the things I needed to get through the week, but not MOST or, better yet, ALL of them. At six months, though, my stockpile had really rounded out nicely, and I had a two-three month supply of nearly everything I use on a regular basis.

    b) At three months, I was still figuring out how to tell a good deal from a really great deal, because EVERYTHING seems like a great deal when you’re first starting out with couponing, right? This meant that I’d buy a bunch of, say, frozen pizzas at $3.50 each because “I’m saving 50%!! Woohoo!” Now, though, I know that I just won’t pay more than about $1.50 for a frozen pizza. I know they have been that cheap before, and I know they will be again, and I’m willing to save my coupons until I see a really great price in order to get the best value for my money. Speaking of coupons, too – at three months, I was as excited about a $.75 coupon as I was a $2.50 coupon. I know now what coupons are going to make for a really good sale price down the line (like the $3/1 Snuggle that just came out), so when I see something like that in the insert preview, I’ll plan to get my hands on a ton of inserts that week. The more of an item you can buy at a rock-bottom price, the better your overall percentages are going to be.

    c) Around the four month mark, I started really looking at the super-expensive items on my grocery bills – things like laundry detergent (we were Tide people), etc – and tried to find ways to reduce what I spent on those essentials. You can get creative here – I actually ended up finding a recipe to make my own laundry detergent (it’s here, btw) and gave that a try. It ended up working  great, and it really reduced my monthly totals – or just try to evaluate what you’re spending the most money on and try to find a way to reduce it somehow. This step is different for everyone, of course – only you know what your family needs and where it can be flexible – but you may find areas where you can significantly reduce your totals.

I hope our answers to these questions were helpful! Make sure you ‘tune in’ next week for even more Q&A with I Heart Publix. If you have a question you’d like to see answered, email me at contactiheartpublix@gmail.com.

Comments

  1. says

    Regarding tipping the people who take your groceries to the car, they are not allowed to accept tips. My brother worked at Publix for 3 years (he only recently moved to another job) and he said they would get in trouble if management found out they had accepted a tip. That’s not to say no one ever took what was offered. I am not sure if that varies by store but make sure you ask the manager before you offer. On the other hand, a positive email or phone call about exceptional service goes much further at Publix.

    • Mandy says

      I worked at Publix for several years in high school and college. Tipping was against store policy (that’s not to say I didn’t take it when it was offered though if I am honest!). Another great way though to show your appreciation is tell a manager or the customer service desk how great Joe was or how sweet Mary was on your next trip inside the store. Our managers would give us tokens for all the compliments we received. So many tokens would earn you items in the store – free lunch from the deli, free doughnuts in the bakery, etc. Do this and you don’t have to give any money out and the bagger (or cashier or meat department guy or whoever) doesn’t get into trouble.

  2. Lee says

    Really enjoyed this Q&A. I’m new to couponing and it helped clarify a lot of things I had questions about. I especially like the last question. I was so excited about starting to see savings, but now that I’ve been doing it for a few weeks, I felt like I wasn’t saving enough. Will keep working on that stockpile. Thanks to both of you!

  3. Michelle C. says

    On Question #8, I worked for Publix for a short time, but they instructed all the baggers that you are not allowed to accept tips.

  4. Heather says

    For question #10, I think what greatly affects your total is the coupon doubling. Being in FL, I don’t save as much as I would if I lived in another state since they don’t double here.

    • Kara says

      I agree with that to some extent, but I have been able to get my percentages lower without having doubling (I’m in southeast GA- no doubling here). I have started looking for coupons that would give me overage and I stock up on them when I can. I usually have $10-$15 of overage with my trip that makes up for the produce and lack of doubles. You have to be a little creative, but we can still save tons! :)

  5. Julie says

    Thanks! These were great questions that newbies and veterans alike wonder about sometimes. I, for one, have always wondered about the tipping thing, and thought the suggestion about tracking your most expensive purchases was a perfect suggestion for where I am in my couponing!

  6. Terren says

    I worked for Publix for 7 years, and Publix policy is NO tipping, and while you can’t get in trouble for accepting the tip and if a manager says something you can take it up with corporate, I was told to decline and if the customer insists or shoves it in your hand just say thank you and walk away. Which this happens quite a bit.

  7. Kristen says

    Regarding question #5. Here’s a scenario that will help to answer the question. Please note that I have a very good relationship with the store manager and customer service staff at the Publix that I shop at and if I’m not sure of a coupon or a deal scenario I don’t hesitate to ask them if it’s ok before I start my shopping. That also makes it easier and less frustrating at check out!! I recently had a BOGO coupon for an item that was already BOGO and here’s what I did. I bought 4 of the item total. I also stacked 4 .55/1 coupons on top of that and ended up getting all 4 items for about 30 cents. I then used a competitor coupon and turned it into a money maker!!

  8. says

    @Heather – I’m in Florida too, so I’m with you in wishing for doubling!! However, it is possible to get those totals down pretty low regardless! :)

    • Michelle C. says

      Florida here as well :)

      I also think that getting your totals lower for us Florida gals is to strictly buy what is on sale and what has coupons that you can use, and use the highest valued coupons you can get. I do the BOGOs with higher value off 1 item coupons and then I look for the under $1 deals that we can take advantage of. I don’t pay attention to totals from other people who have double coupon allowances, that way it doesn’t make me sad!

  9. Lynette says

    Hey fellow Floridians! :)
    Just keep in mind that we don’t get taxed on food & medicines and others do.
    Just saying….. ;)

    • Kristen says

      thanks for counting that blessing – I get doubled coupons but our tax is 10%, so after coupons (and being taxed on the pre-coupon price) I pay an average of 30% tax on my out of pocket total for groceries – today trip purchase total $20 – total charge after tax $27!(nothing is ever completely free unless I have coupon overage)

    • Julie says

      Good point – last night the taxes on my purchases in Alabama were MORE than my total purchases ($5.59 total + $5.96 taxes).

  10. Kathryn says

    Regarding #10 and getting your totals lower. I live in FL too and no doubles.

    The thing that’s frustrating is that you really can’t get everything at 80%-90% off. I read about people saying they saved that much, but yet I don’t see fresh produce on the list. I just don’t see realistic shopping weeks – for me, anyways. I’m sure they stockpile, but you can’t stockpile fresh produce and fresh fruits. Sometimes there are coupons for produce, but not regularly. So, for example, if I get lots of great deals using coupons on my BOGO’s, but I buy produce the same trip along with meat that may be on sale, but no coupons, it makes my savings % for that week not as high as I see others.

    I think the important thing is knowing that you ARE saving and KEEP finding ways to save! I’ve learned that I can’t compare my % savings with others otherwise I feel frustrated. I know I have saved tremendously since I’ve started couponing!

    • Sally says

      One thing we do is to buy our produce from a co-op or farm stand, or grow some of it yourself. This greatly reduces the amount spent on it. I don’t live in Florida, but would think you could pretty much grow whatever you want with the warm weather there!

    • Sally says

      Oh, also we have a huge stockpile of free or very cheap frozen veggies and fruit, as well as canned. I think in order to save the most money, you have to take advantage of those kinds of “produce”, not only the fresh. Like this week the Cascadian Farms frozen fruit and veggies are 3 for $0.97 with coupons, time to stock up!

  11. jenn says

    Great post, but I have to disagree with you on one item. I don’t feel that taking peelies when not buying the product is a matter of opinion, it’s just wrong. Tearpads and blinkies are open to everyone, they are not physically attached to an item. Peelies are attached to the item. Manufacturers expect you to BUY that item to be able to use the peelie. I can accept it when tearpads and blinkies are empty, because everyone should have access to those, but it makes me very angry when I got to buy a product, and you can clearly see a peelie has been taken off, and now I don’t have access to that coupon when I am the one buying the product.

    Again, not a matter of opinion, just WRONG.

    • StephanieP says

      I really hate this debate, because it is opinion, and there really are more pressing issues to get worked up over besides a missing peelie. Not everyone has the luxury of waiting until they buy something to score a peelie. I live in an area where it’s not at all uncommon to find an entire shelf full of inventory that has been wiped out of high-value peelies because people sell them online. THAT is beyond wrong! The stores actually know about the problem, but can’t always catch them at it. This week I know I’m going to have to scrounge for Nature Valley peelies if I can find them at all. Had I seen them before the sale I’d have had no issue taking no more than 2 for myself for future use. And if I don’t find them? Oh well, I’ll live without granola bars. One day I’ll live out in the ‘burbs or boonies where I won’t have to worry about these things, but for now I have to coupon offensively because of a few rotten apples spoiling the barrel.

  12. shelly says

    I didn’t know where to put this comment but facebook has a B1G1 coupon for fritto lays kettle cooked chips. I couldn’t print it because of computer troubles but i called and she said she’d send one in the mail to me :-). She also said that from May1st they will have this coupon available on their site so be sure to look out for that one

  13. Sally says

    Thanks for this post! I agree 100% with the answer to question 10. People always ask me how they can save more when they have only been doing it a month or 2. I always say it took me about 3 months to get to 50-60% off, and 3 more months to get to 80%-90% off on a regular basis. So stick with it aggressively for 6 months and you will get there! Also, grab every coupon you can get your hands on (well, at least 1 of each, each time you shop, I am not saying to clear entire stacks ;))!

  14. Sarah Taylor says

    Big Props to Kathyrn’s reply. I have to buy fresh produce and meat, and I take advantage of a big sale/coupon week to get good meat and to get fruits and veggies. It means that my percentages arent as high, but I don’t care. My family is not going to live on cereal, mac n cheese, toaster strudels and the 8 cans of sunscreen that I got on clearance with coupons!

  15. Traci says

    Shauna, if you are reading this, I can relate to your question. It’s all about what you’re comfortable with.

    I have been doing this since about October or so and the best I have ever done was about 70 percent. That is incredibly rare, though. Most of the time I save about 40 to 60 percent. And I am satisfied with that. My husband is thrilled that I go to so much trouble to help our budget. Because I save us so much, I can use a little of that to buy items for the local food bank (using coupons of course!). So don’t be down on yourself if you’re not at the 80 to 90 percent mark. You’re doing great!

  16. Shawna says

    Thanks for the encouragement everyone! I’ll hang in there and see how it goes. Sounds like I should start doing better in a couple of months. BTW, I’m totally ecstatic about the money I’m saving, and I’m able to buy products (like body wash) that I couldn’t afford before. So I’m thrilled with my stockpile and savings so far. Just was a little envious of the totals I was seeing from other folks, and wondering if I was missing something basic. I have other friends who have also just started couponing the last few months and we’ve all been scratching our heads wondering how others were getting such fantastic totals. I am so thankful for all the effort Michelle puts in the site, because as a working mother, there is NO WAY I’d be able to do this on my own. So KUDDOS Michelle! Thanks for the awesome job you do!

  17. Ann says

    Where do I find the insert previews for coupons so I can know if it is worth getting extra papers that week? thanks!

  18. says

    I always tip the ladies that are so kind to help me to the van and load up everything. I just stick it in their apron pocket. And if I don’t have money I will tip w/ a candy bar or something.

  19. says

    About #7 – Rebate receipts: I actually dealt with this @ Publix today. If you ask ahead of time they will print you out multiple receipts! I was so excited not to have to go through the hassle of multiple transactions!

  20. Sara says

    Michelle-

    Regarding tipping Publix employees…my Aunt retired a few years ago at the ripe age of 50 :) and took a PT job at Publix to fill her time, she loves it! She has gotten to know so many people she helps out because her Publix is in an area that is all residential. So she knows all her customers that come Christmas time she gets cards, cookies, and the occasional little gift. If you find you have the same person helping you week after week, come the holidays spread some cheer with a little gift of cookies or something. If the employee knows you from helping you so much, they won’t think it is weird and Publix is A-Okay with that!

  21. says

    Brittany and Tiffiney want to know: How does a manufacturer’s ‘Buy One Get One’ coupon work if Publix already has the item on BOGO that week?
    If your store has true BOGO and you’re using a manufacturer’s BOGO coupon on a Publix BOGO item, both items are free! (You’ll still pay tax for each one if the items are taxable, though.) Essentially, the manufacturer’s coupon “pays” for the first item and Publix gives you the second for free.

    If your store rings BOGO at 1/2 price you will get one item free with the coupon but you will have to pay for the 2nd item. The second item that you are paying for rings at half price so it is a good deal but not as good as folks with true BOGO!

    ACTUALLY IF YOU HAVE TRUE BOGO ITEMS YOU HAVE TO BUY 4 ITEMS. YOU PAY FOR 1 AND GET 3 FREE. I WORK AT PUBLIX AND THIS IS THE RULE WE ARE TOLD TO FOLLOW!!!

  22. says

    Thanks for all the great answers, this is really a great new feature. In regards to question 4 about the bogo deals. This is an issue I have run into MANY times in South Florida. So many cashiers refuse to honor the bogo deals with two coupons, and I have even had a few managers do so as well. By now I know which cashiers not to go to.

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