We've been answering questions for Ask I Heart Publix for over three 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:
- Is there any kind of rhyme or reason to what item goes on sale as the Publix Penny Item?
- Why do some areas get the same coupons with higher values and other areas with lower values?
- Are the Sunday coupon inserts regional?
- Is it OK to accept or give US postage stamps in trade for coupons?
- Do you have a schedule of when to clean out and organize your coupons?
And here are the answers!
1. Dana wants to know: My Publix always seems to run out of the penny item by the time I get there (after work, so usually around 6). The exceptions are if it’s not in the regular penny item location (like if it’s refrigerated) or something that no one wants (like Frosted Flakes). If it’s something good (like toilet paper), it’s always all gone. They replace it with something else, but it’s hit or miss whether I’ll want it or not.
I’m not sure if they simply don’t realize how popular the penny item is or if they’re trying to get rid of extra inventory by making it the “new” penny item. All I know is that we had Frosted Flakes three times in one month, and those Lipton noodle bags are always showing up. Our old Publix never had this issue. Is there anything I can do about this?
Christy: Sadly, I have no experience with the Penny Item because we don't get it in Florida. I feel a little like a broken record today, but I'd ask your store management about this and see what they have to say. It certainly doesn't seem fair that you're always stuck with the 'leftover' penny items because you have to shop after work!
Michelle: I have mixed feelings on this one. While I understand your frustration, I see it as a freebie and better than nothing. The average shopper probably does not even realize that when they get the replacement penny item that there was any change at all. Consider having a conversation with the grocery manager to see if there is any way he can try to order more to ensure that there is enough to go around! Most stores know what the item will be 2+ weeks ahead of time which should be plenty of time to get the stock they need. You might also give them a heads up on what the most popular items are...maybe they aren't paying attention to the fact that they are running out.
2. Amanda wants to know: I have noticed for the past few months, most markets receive $1 off toothpaste or toothbrush (or floss) coupons in their monthly P&G ad. But, in my area in north Alabama, we always get $.75 cents off coupons instead for those items. I understand why some areas get coupons and others don't, but why do they give some areas the same coupons with higher values and other areas with lower values? Does that mean we have too many couponers in this area or people that are using coupons?
Christy: I believe it all has to do with the marketing and sales area you live in - if a company is trying to improve sales in one area, they might offer a better coupon there than they would in another area. Here's where I stop, because that's about all I know about this! I'd love to hear more about this if you guys want to leave a comment!
Michelle: I will be honest, I don't know enough about marketing to give a qualified answer! I know that it has to do with a whole realm of demographics specific to the area...I am not sure about the specifics of who, why or where If we have a marketing guru out there--give us the scoop!
Christy: The Sunday coupon inserts are absolutely regional - as we discuss in the question above, often companies will issue different coupon amounts to different areas depending on their sales in that area. If the amount on your coupon is much less than that in another area (or if you don't get a coupon at all), you can always look into purchasing the coupon(s) you want from a clipper site or on eBay....or trade for it!
4. Rita wants to know:I am beginning to trade in the forum. Is it OK to accept or give US postage stamps in trade? Sometimes one party to the trade doesn't have a tradeable coupon, and this still allows the trade to happen or one party doesn't really need anything in trade but can be compensated this way.
Michelle: Sure! I have traded stamps, Box Tops For Education, stickers and all kinds of things besides other coupons! As long as both parties agree...go for it!
5.Amanda wants to know: I have been couponing for four years now for my single girl life. I have recently began helping a family of three with couponing, and had to make the switch to the coupon binder.... Dun dun dun! Previously I did not need such an elaborate system, as I would print the coupons listed in yours and drugstore matchups. Now I'm finding that with my binder it's overwhelming to organize coupons and sort thru expired. Any tips? I know to clean it out at end of the month, but thought maybe some folks had a schedule or other tips for me. 😉
Michelle: I sort my coupons by category. I think is is easier to sort the coupons, find them and I can gradually clean it out as needed. I started with really broad categories and decided that lots of subcategories made my life much easier.
As far as keeping it organized - I am a pile person. I keep a little to-do pile on my desk and every Monday or Tuesday night I go through the pile and put things where they are supposed to go. This includes the many coupons I print or pick up throughout the week. As long as I don't let my pile get out of control, I am able to manage my coupons.
Now, I am bad about cleaning out my coupons. I usually do it a little at a time when I happen to be looking for a particular coupon. I only go through my entire box about once every 3 months...that is about all I can squeeze in.
Christy: I used to have a binder too...but I found that it got really hard to keep organized when I started working with four sets of inserts and two sets of printables each week. Now I have the same sort of coupon box that Michelle has...and all those categories really help to keep me organized too! Plus, it is easier for me to flip through the coupons in the box than it was to work with binder pages.
I'm sure the commenters with binders will have some great suggestions for you as far as how to keep up with binder organization - but what I find to work best is to try to clean out one category per day. That way it's not an overwhelming task and I can get through each section in a month's time.
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.