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!!
Past week's question and answers are organized into topics HERE.
Here are this week’s questions:
- How can I get the green and yellow advantage flyers and coupons?
- If my coupon says “excludes trial size,” can I still use it on a travel size item?
- What do you do if you forget to use a coupon at the store?
- When does Publix restock the “hot” sale items after they’ve first sold out?
- Can you add the aisle #'s to our shopping lists?
- Can I use a $1/2 MQ and a free item MQ at the same time if I am only buying 2 of that item?
- Can you use 2 manufacturer's B1G1 coupons and get both items free?
- How do you keep track of rebates and “rewards” or “points” websites?
- What’s your checkout procedure?
- How did you come to start this blog?
And here are the answers!
- Yajaira wants to know: How can I get the green and yellow advantage flyers and coupons?
- Tiffany wants to know: what’s the distinction between ‘trial’ and ‘travel’ sizes? If my coupon says “excludes trial size,” can I still use it on a travel size item?
- Katie wants to know: Do you ever forget to use a coupon? If so, is there anything you do about it when you get home and realize your mistake?
- Cheri wants to know: If I go shopping on any day but the first day of the sale, it seems like all the good stuff is gone. When does Publix restock those ‘hot’ sale items after they’ve first sold out?
- Ian wants to know: Is there a way to have the Aisle #'s to our shopping lists? I have only shopped at Publix twice, and I was running around like a rat in a maze.
- Jessica wants to know: Can I use a $1/2 MQ and a free item MQ at the same time if I am only buying 2 of that item?
- Danielle wants to know: Can you use 2 manufacturer's B1G1 coupons and get both items free?
- Pamela wants to know: How do you keep track of rebates and websites with benefits? For example, what methods do you use to keep track of what rebates you want to use and putting together the items for mailing? And do you have any suggestions for keeping track of websites that give rewards/points for using or participating? I have trouble remembering to go to reward/points sites like Coke Rewards, Swagbucks, and Vocalpoint, and it’s hard to keep track of ways to earn the rewards/points they offer.
- Missi wants to know: What’s your checkout procedure – do you give the cashier your coupons up front or hand them over by item or what? Like you, I normally shop with 2 and 4 year old boys in tow, so I'm all for a more efficient way to check out!
- Kelly wants to know: How did you come to start this blog?
These flyers should be in the turnstyle at the front of your store with the weekly sales ads. If you don’t see them, you can check with your customer service desk. As a last resort, you can post a request for a number of the flyers here on the Trades board – I’m sure there are a number of people that would be happy to mail you some of the flyers.
In my experience, a ‘travel’ size is larger than a ‘trial’ size. You can use the coupon on any corresponding item that does not specifically state that it is a ‘trial’ size.
Christy: Unfortunately, this happens to the best of us. If I realize my mistake before I leave the store parking lot and I have the time, I might go in to the customer service desk and ask them to credit me for the coupon if I have it with me. Otherwise, though, I just chalk it up to a learning experience.
Michelle: I totally agree with Christy...most of the time I just let it go and save the coupon for another time. If is was a really good coupon I might head over to the service desk
Christy: I would assume this would depend on your particular Publix and when their trucks arrive. In my area, Publix restocks at least three or four times a week, but they may not restock hot sale items because they just don’t have any more of that item to restock. When I’ve talked to my customer service desk about this in the past, they’ve always told me that they’ll have the item back in stock within 10 days (the point at which rainchecks in my area expire). If I have a coupon that’s expiring before they get the item back in, they’ve even agreed to honor the coupon for me after the fact! Moral of the story: make friends with your customer service workers :).
Michelle: Most stores get multiple trucks --you might consider talking to your grocery manager about the various trucks and their schedule. If you know that the truck with the frozen items comes every Monday night then you know your best time to check back will be Tuesday! Another idea is to give your store a heads up on the hot items...most of you can probably guess what they will be! If you give your store a heads up they will be able to order more and it will be waiting for you when you shop Stores order based on various data but unless someone gives the store a heads up that there is a hot coupon they will not know to order a large amount as they are going on various info such as previous sales.
Christy: I have at least 10 Publix within a 10-mile radius of my home, and each store is a little different – and some of the newer stores are a LOT different. It’s simply not possible to include aisle numbers here because they’d differ for every store.
Michelle: I would seriously have to put on a cape and call myself wonder woman if I even tried to attempt that one Every store varies so that would be next to impossible!
Christy: I know it seems like we answer a variant of this question every week (examples HERE and HERE), but it’s obviously something that we all question from time to time. In my opinion, the free item coupon attaches to one of the items, so you’d have to buy three of the item in order to use both coupons.
Michelle: I know it can be super confusing but if you think of a coupon actually attaching to an item it will be easier to know what you can and can't use (in your mind think about stapling that coupon to the item(s) it goes with). If a coupon reduces the cost of multiple items-- that one coupon attaches to all those items and nothing else can be used on them!
Christy: Nope – the conditions of the coupon are that you purchase one item (regardless of the price) in order to get the second item free. Now, if you have 1 manufacturer’s B1G1 coupon and 1 Publix B1G1 coupon, that’s a different story. In that case, Publix is essentially buying the first item for you and the manufacturer is buying the second item.
Christy: Whenever I find or hear of a rebate that I know I’ll want to use, I put the form (or even a post it reminding me to LOOK for the form in the store) in an envelope marked “Rebates” that I check weekly as I make my shopping list. Once I purchase the item, I try to mail the rebate form out the same day. And I do keep track of what I mail out – I have a basic spreadsheet that I use to track my grocery purchases, and I’ve added a page to it that just records the company, item, rebate amount, date purchased, date sent out. When checks come in, I add the date received to the spreadsheet, and that’s how I keep track of rebates that are still ‘out there’ somewhere. I know there are people that scan their receipts, UPCs, and rebate forms before they send them out, but that’s simply more time than I care to invest in my rebates.
As for rewards & points sites, they can get overwhelming really quickly. The first important thing to remember is that you can only reasonably manage to keep up with a few of these, so figure out which ones are the most valuable to you and focus on those. I’ve created a bookmark tab in my web browser that includes all the sites I visit daily or weekly: Swagbucks, my “try & tell” groups that send me free coupons or items, the few sweepstakes I enter daily, etc. When I get up in the morning, I try to get my daily visits in while I’m drinking my coffee so I don’t have to think about them for the rest of the day!
Michelle: ORGANIZATION is critical!! I make lists and revisit them to make sure things I need to remember are brought to the forefront every few days until the task is completed. I also think it is important to prioritize. Do what you can do and don't beat yourself up if you can't get to everything!!!
Christy: I obviously don’t have kids with me while I shop or check out, but checkout can still be a stressful experience (frankly, I’m in awe of you ladies that manage to do all that you do with kids in tow!!). However, here’s my procedure:
As I shop, I transfer coupons from one envelope (marked “shopping list”) to another (marked “purchasing”). This way, I know that everything in my Purchasing envelope should be in my cart. I keep all the coupons organized in the envelope by item – so if I have four coupons for GoGurt, for example, they’re all together. Often before I check out, I stop in a quiet aisle and do one last run through of my list and my coupon envelope to make sure I have everything ready to go.
When it’s time to check out, I try to pick aisles with cashiers I know, but if my favorites aren’t working, I’ll generally try to pick an aisle close to the customer service desk so that managers are nearby if necessary. If I have time, I’ll stack the belt with my items in groups – pantry, household, frozen, etc) so that my bagger can bag items in a way that makes it easiest for me to put stuff away once I get home. If nothing else, though, I make sure to unload all like items together on the belt so that the cashier can easily see how many of a particular item I’m purchasing.
I ask my cashier before they start scanning if they want the coupons first; most of them do, so I hand them over right then and there. However, if I have a $X/$XX competitor coupon or the like I’ll often indicate that I have it but hold on to it until the end of the order – I’ve had experiences where a cashier got flustered and it got “lost,” so that’s just a safeguard for me.
Michelle: Christy and I might be two peas in a pod!! I too have a envelope or ziploc with all my coupons ready. I prepare my spreadsheet and coupons at home. I have my coupons sorted and all like coupons are together. I don't do a separate envelope for the coupons I may not end up using. Instead I go through the coupons at checkout and actually hand the cashier coupons in groupings. I let them know how many of each coupon I am giving them so that they can be sure they scan the correct quantity. So... I will hand the cashier the coupons while stating "here are four yogurt coupons" As the cashier scans I can watch to ensure they are being scanned and get my next group ready. I always put any free items at the end of the belt so that they can easily confirm the price to enter. Not every checkout experience is stress free but I do try to make sure the boys are content before I get in line. I am very lucky that the folks at my store are super and will actually entertain them if they see things are starting to go downhill
I think it was a combination of things... before I started the blogs I had a group of friends that asked me to share my deals with them. Each week I sent out an email with all of the great deals that I had found. Around that same time I met Valerie Hoff over at 11Alive. Apparently I had lost my mind as I agreed to do a couple of things for her on TV. I remember after doing a story where I got $70+ worth of groceries for less than 25¢--Val told me that I should just start a blog. That stuck in my head and one day instead of emailing my friends the deals I just turned on the computer and that same day I had I Heart Publix up and running!! I almost wish I had a screen shot of how the site looked as it was very funny!!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.