Coupon Question and Answer: Best of Ask I Heart Publix 12/12

We've been answering questions for Ask I Heart Publix for over two years now, and we've definitely found that some questions keep popping up as new couponers write in. So every month we're going to feature a "Best Of" Ask I Heart Publix, where we post some of our favorite questions and answers from past weeks, months, and years.

Don't worry....we'll still be answering the new questions you guys send in, too, so keep sending in those questions! Just remember if we didn't get to your question this week...we will do our best to cover it another week!!

Don't forget to look under the "About" tab where you can find the questions and answers from past weeks!

Here are this week’s "Best of" questions:

  1. What do you do when you’ve gotten home (or your are just in the car on the way home) and look at your reciept to find they missed a coupon (like a $5/50 competitor coupon)?
  2. Do you prefer checking out with a manager instead of a regular cashier?
  3. Any suggestions for how much to budget for groceries for a one-person household?
  4. I am just starting and wonder how many papers should I get each week?
  5. Is there a way to know when certain items will be on sale at Publix?

And here are the answers!

1. Julie wants to know: What do you do when you’ve gotten home (or your are just in the car on the way home) and look at your receipt to find they missed a coupon (like a $5/50 competitor coupon)?

Christy: I am very lucky in that my store is no more than 5 minutes away from my home - so if I have the time to spare, I'll often go back to correct any major mistake (more than $4 or $5), or I'll call to tell someone about the problem and have them fix it the next time I stop in. I'll often let minor errors slide, since they've made mistakes before in my favor in the past and I think it all ends up balancing out that way.

Michelle: My store is over 20 minutes away so I usually just let it go if I make it home.  I try to watch the coupons as they are scanned by the cashier to avoid any issues.  I am a bit of a geek and organize my coupons before I hit the register.  That way I can pull any that I have for items I did not end up getting and also arrange my coupons so the larger value coupons are on top.  Like Christy said, I think in the end it balances out.

2. Krystal wants to know: Do you prefer checking out with a manager instead of a regular cashier? It seems to me the easiest way to check out is when a manager is at the register! When I see them there- I always go right to their lane. It’s just easier because they can do any overrides they need to do, and it also seems they take any coupon I hand them without question! The cashiers always seem to check a little more carefully then the manager in my store, like they are nervous they would get in trouble for using coupons that were wrong.

Michelle:  I really have no preference.  I know most of the folks at my store so I feel comfortable at any register.  I will admit that I will usually go to my favorites, but only because I am a talker and love to chat and catch up :-)

If you are going to need overrides, then it is definitely easier to go through a manager's lane.  If I know this will be the case, I will swing by the customer service desk just to give them a heads up so they will be ready for me.  I think getting to know your store will make for an easier checkout experience.

Christy: I usually look for my favorite (coupon-savvy) cashiers or a manager when I check out - it just seems more efficient to me - because I hate to hold up the line. Since I've been shopping at the same store for so long, they all pretty much know me there - so even if there isn't a manager working a lane, one almost always gravitates to my area when I check out - they know they are probably going to have to do an override or two! :)

3. Amanda wants to know: With the start of the new year, I want to revise my couponing method, strategy, and tracking of deals. I am not a mom but yet a college graduate, and I've saved so much but want to continue to save, and also quantify my savings! I saw where you posted about using Mint as an option. I am looking into that, but don't know how much would be best to budget for a single girl. Any suggestions?

Michelle:  Amanda it really does not matter if you are budgeting for 1 or for 10...the basic principles are the same.  Spend less than you make and save as much as you can.  I know that may seem too basic but it is really all you need to do.  The specifics will vary based on your situation. If you are looking to save more then find ways to cut your current spending.  It is always a good idea to set up a very detailed budget so you know where your money is going each month.  I find it is better for me to stay on top of my budget and keep making modifications as needed.  In my opinion, the best way to save is to have a plan of attack.  Know where you want your money to go and work hard to make sure that happens. Cover your bases so that you can get what you need, what you want and even cover those emergencies that are destined to occur.  Keep track of everything...there is nothing more eye opening that actually sitting down to see where all your money goes week to week!! If you don't like what you see, make a plan to change it!

If I did all of that while still in college, I would probably have a savings account at least triple what it is right now!  I am so glad to hear that you are starting young!!

Christy: Michelle is right on here - the key for me is sitting down every week to look at exactly how much I've spent and on what. I find that setting aside a small amount of time every week to do this (rather than every month or few months) means that I stick with it and can see problem areas before they become HUGE problem areas :).

4. Ronda wants to know: I am just starting and wonder how many papers should I get each week?

Michelle: Rhonda, I think you will get a different answer from each person you ask.  I get my home delivered paper and occasionally buy a Sunday double (2 papers bundled and sold at a lower rate).  Personally, I find that I do better by using clipping services and order only the coupons that I know I will use!  Five dollars per week at a clipping service can yield you a ton of coupons that you want/need versus 2 or 3 sets of inserts that may only included 5-10 coupons that you might use!

Christy: Like Michelle says, you will definitely get a different answer from everyone! Personally, I would recommend buying papers in multiples of two if your Publix offers true BOGO (since you will be buying your deals in multiples of two) - or, if your store offers half-price BOGO, as many papers as household members that you shop for.

5. Lisa wants to know:  Is there a way to know when certain items will be on sale at Publix?

Michelle:  Not really....I post the ad on Monday for the upcoming week and every once in a while a company will email to give us a heads up on an upcoming deal but that is about all there is.  There are some promotions that repeat each year and we see similar really great deals.  The Italian Days promotion is right around the corner and it is one of my favorites...I look forward to it each year (I think you guys are going to like it too 😉 )

Christy: I wish we could predict sales a little better...but as Michelle says there are a few promotions that we can look forward to each year. We definitely do see that most items go on sale at least once every 3 months....and seasonal items like baking goods are usually best stockpiled at the holidays, barbecue items in the early summer, and school and lunch supply items in the early fall.

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


    • kelly says

      The Managers at your store will have their framed photos usually by the Customer Service Desk. Managers at my store are always easy to spot, as they’re in white shirts with ties and wearing slacks. :)

    • Ash says

      Lol! … I’ve been going to the same Publix for a while…
      Keep an eye out for the people that the cashiers call over to help them when they can’t handle one of the coupon issues on their own, lol! Like, if you have more coupons than items, they need the manager to come Okay it. Every once in a while, I get lucky, and find a manager stuck in check out 😉 So much faster!

  1. Linda says

    I have certain cashiers that I prefer so if I have a choice I get in their lines. They get me out the door a lot quicker. I always have my coupons organized and my purchases grouped so it makes it easier for the cashier to see I am purchasing the products I have coupons for which is usually most if not all of the items I purchase.

    • Contessa says

      I agree with what Linda said about the cashiers and that is how I do my coupons as well.

      My Publix is very nice about missed coupons, I just take my receipt and the coupon back in and they will usually take it off my bill. I’m not sure, maybe it is because I shop there a LOT and most of the cashiers and managers know me. We live less than a mile from my favorite stiore so it is not unusual for me to pop in a couple times a week.

  2. Sarah says

    What month is the Italian Days Promotion? What other promotions does Publix have every year and what months are they in? Thank you for all the tips and advice.

  3. Ash says

    About cashiers forgetting a coupon:
    This was happening to me a lot when I first started. Now, I just count the number of coupons I have. At the bottom of the receipt, it will say how many Vendor coupons, store coupons, and competitor coupons were used. I just make sure they add up to my number before I walk away.

  4. Dave says

    When I first got married we knew we needed a budget. We were mainly cash people and for the first 2 months we kept a notepad in the car and tracked EVERY PENNY we spent: 25c for a toll, 79c for a donut, EVERYTHING. At the end we realized how much crap we spent money on and were able to cut out a lot of it.
    Now we are more savvy spenders. We buy gift cards to our favorite stores online at a discount, we put as many of our expenses as we can on a rewards credit card and pay it off each month, we use coupons like crazy, use the discount sites like groupon, we mystery shop for cheap or free dinners out, and on and on. We have been amazed at how much we have been able to cut back on our expenses.

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