Coupon Question and Answer – Ask I Heart Publix 1/9

coupon question and answer
If you have a question about couponing at Publix, this is the place to find the answer! Each week my buddy Christy over at Winn Dixie on a Dime and I have a little coupon question and answer session here on Ask I Heart Publix. Keep sending in those questions - we love to answer them! Just remember if we didn't get to your question this week...we will do our best to cover it another week!!

Remember--there is a tab at the top of the site under "About" titled “Ask I Heart Publix” where you can find the questions and answers from past weeks!

Here are this week’s questions:

  1. Does Publix accept internet-printed coupons over $5?
  2. Can I use a blinkie coupon at another store or keep it to use later for sale?
  3. Why can't I use SavingStar at Publix?
  4. Do you know why Publix uses LU#s on their coupons rather than barcodes?
  5. What do you think - can I donate food that has past it's "Best by…" date?

And here are the answers!

1.Laura wants to know: I recently took some internet coupons to my Publix and the cashier said that now they only can accept internet-printed coupons up to $5. This particular cashier is always confused about coupons, so I wanted to get more information about this.

Michelle: This is actually not a new policy…it is part of the written policy on Publix site. You'll need manager approval for any higher-value coupon. The website states:

Manager approval is needed for individual coupons above $5.00

Christy: Michelle's said it all with this one! I would suggest taking any coupons over $5 to your customer service desk for approval before you shop.

2. Cindy wants to know: Can I use a blinkie coupon at another store or keep it to use later for sale? I know it's meant to use right then since it's front of the product, but sometimes I know a sale will come up later or I can find a better deal at another store.

Michelle: There are no written coupon laws out there. Sometimes I think it would be easier if there were - tee hee! Personally I think using a blinkie at another store is absolutely fine.

When my boys were little and shopped with me, part of the fun was that each boy got to grab a coupon from the machine. I would then file them in my box and there is no telling where I used them.

Christy: I think blinkie coupons are fair game - they are there for you to take one or two. Since they are not attached to a particular product, I don't believe there should be an expectation that you will use the coupon right then and there.

I will usually save my blinkies for a sale too - might as well get the best deal, right? :)

3. Marie wants to know: I love the "additional" ways to save like Upromise and ibotta. My question is: I really like the savings offers that SavingStar has. Do you know why we can't use SavingStar at Publix?

Michelle: I have also taken advantage of the offers from SavingStar at Kroger. In order for the program to work you a card is required to track purchases. Since Publix does not have a loyalty card this is not an easy addition. I was hoping that since Publix participates in Upromise and that program is powered by SavingStar, that at some point Publix would be included.

I am guessing that a new card system would be required and maybe Publix isn't ready to add that to their plate. I have to admit I wouldn't mind the extra savings!

Christy: I've used SavingStar at other stores like Winn Dixie and I really like their offers too. I'm not sure why Publix doesn't participate. Here's what it says on the SavingStar site:

Nationwide, over 24,000 stores participate in SavingStar, representing over 100 retail chains. Click here to see a list of retailers. If your favorite store is not listed as a participating retailer, please let them know that you would like them to join SavingStar!

So I guess we need to start telling customer service how much we would like to be able to use SavingStar! :)

4. Nick wants to know: Is there a reason why Publix doesn't put a barcode on their store coupons? It seems like it would take more work for their employees to punch in the L.U. codes everytime. Places like Target have store coupons with barcodes, why not Publix?

Christy: I'd love to hear from the commenters on this one - anyone have any idea why Publix uses LU#s rather than barcode coupons? My thought would be that it may be a bit easier to input and maintain LU #s rather than barcodes…but that's really just a guess.

Michelle: I have no idea guess would be that it is easier to program the registers with a number than reading a bar code. I would also like the scoop if anyone knows for sure.

5. Michele wants to know: My question is more to do with the etiquette of food donations than couponing, but I know you will have some opinions! 

I have items in my stockpile that have been bought over the last year that I won't be using. Friends of ours & their kids lived with us for most of last school year, and when they moved out, they left behind a fair amount of food. (Needless to say, we are now poster children for why you shouldn't invite people to live in your home for an extended period of time!)

I would like to donate it, but some of it is 1-5 months past its "best by" date. I hate to throw it away, but I also don't want to insult them by donating food that they will throw away. It's mostly pasta, pasta sauce, canned goods, Ready Rice (in the packets you microwave for 90 sec, not dry), snacks like Ritz Crackerfuls & Granola Thins.... What do you think?

Christy: I know that the food bank that I donate to asks that donation items be WITHIN the "Best By…." dates. It's too bad, because most of that food is likely perfectly fine to eat, but I understand that they need to draw that line or they might get donations of food that is YEARS past date, which they would then need to sort through....not the best use of their valuable time.

I would suggest that you explain the situation to your food bank and ask what they think. When in doubt about something like that…ask!

If your food bank is a no-go, you might want to explore other donation sites….like area churches, soup kitchens, etc, that might have different donation standards. Good luck!

Michelle: Ask your donation location. Many foods don't have expiration dates but "best by dates". Places that can't keep food on the shelf may happily offer a week old box of cereal to a family that might not eat otherwise. I think this will vary - before you throw all that food out...make a call!

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


  1. Jan says

    The food bank I donate too explained to me that they have guidelines set for them by the health department and that it guides them to the”true” expiration date for safe comsumption. So definately check it out before you throw it out :).

  2. marianela says

    I will like to know if the coupons from (the best meals happen at home) are the same bar code or number and how many you allow to print. thans

    • M Mayfield says

      It will only allow me to print two.
      The little veri-fi bar code that prints on the ones that are powered by RP (?) do have different codes or numbers. However, they don’t scan them, they type in the LU #. I don’t think those should be copied??
      Some of them don’t have little veri-fi codes and numbers, just the LU# (example the ones from the best meals happen at home). I don’t see an issue with printing and copying those since you can only print two. If they were in the store or a coupon book, you could use as many as you needed to.
      Anyone else been copying them and have had no issues? I haven’t done that (yet), but should work.

  3. Teresa says

    I started a food pantry at our church last year. There are different regulations for food pantries vs places that prepare meals. Places that prepare meals are subject to the health dept rules. Food pantries get their food from food banks.

    At our orientation, Feeding America Tampa Bay informed us that they research product quality with the vendors. They said not to be alarmed if we came across expired items. They said if we were in doubt to ask for verification. There are different terms such as best buy, use by, sell by…etc. You might try to find a Feeding America location. They’ll sort through it, toss the bad, and distribute the good.

  4. Ashley57 says

    If you are not going to eat the food, you could look into bringing it into work or giving it to neighbors. I eat that kind of stuff if it is a month or two past the best by date. I do know our particular food pantry will not accept it, but I am sure you could find someone!

  5. Reba says

    If you put it in a box down by the street of your house with a FREE sign, and you can add: ‘best by date slightly expired’, you’ll be surprised how fast it will go. There’s a lot of people struggling these days. Don’t throw it out!!

  6. Dee says

    For extra food:

    Look up freecycle dot org – on the home page click on ‘browse groups’ at the top of the page – I’m sure there’s one in your neighborhood – it’s a nationwide recycling group. Post you have food to give away – it should go quick.

  7. Marcus says

    Publix accepts Upromise and I thought they were affiliated with SavingStar. They have some of the same e-coupons, don’t they?

  8. Stacey says

    I volunteer at a local food bank and we have different guidelines to use other than expiration dates. There are some items we do not use past the dates but others are safe. We always go through our donations before putting them on the shelf so we won’t give out anything that is unsafe. You should call and ask before throwing away your expired products.

  9. Elle says

    The food bank in my area takes expired food – they put it in a separate area with a sign that says “Past Date” and allow patrons to “shop” that area and take what they like. So check with your local pantry before you throw the food out!

  10. John says

    Re: LU Codes vs. Bar Codes

    Since a barcode is just a way to easily ‘enter’ a code, there’s no easier programming an LU code than a barcode. Publix has opted for LU codes since it requires the cashier to look at the coupon and enter the code, increasing the chance the cashier will validate the required purchase has been made. If they print barcodes on the Publix Qs (which they can and have done occasionally), it is a lot less likely to be inspected and validated that it is an appropriate use of the coupon.

  11. Martina says

    I don’t think the loyalty card is why Publix is not participating in SavingStar programa. In my area Sweetbay participate in SavingStar program and they don’t have loyalty card either.
    I asked to Publix about this on their Facebook page and they answer me that they are working on it. I hope soon they participate because almost 95% of my grocery shopping is at Publix.

  12. Michele says

    Thank you to Michelle, Christy, and everyone who commented. I will be in touch with the food bank tomorrow. Teresa, I’m in Tampa, so the Feeding America locations will be a great Plan B. And Dee, I’ve been a member of freecycle in the past, it just didn’t occur to me to list food there. In fact, our friend also left behind other items that we’re going to list on freecycle.

    Thanks again, everyone!

  13. Jeremy says

    So I’ve worked at Publix for quite some time now and the loyalty cards are not part of the Publix lifestyle. Publix isn’t a company that believes in keeping business by making people sign up for a card where they can only get deals that way. Our sales are for everyone. But as for saving star, I have heard by some customers that if you enter your Upromise card number into the system you can use it with saving star. If it works I’m not sure. But it’s worth a shot

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