Coupon Question And Answer – Ask I Heart Publix 5/7

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 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. Are there limits to how many Advantage Buy coupon deals I can grab?
  2. How much do you budget each week or month for meat and produce?
  3. Can I use a competitor coupon with the Colgate Publix gift card offer?
  4. If we rarely see a sale on at item, should I buy a year's worth when it does go on sale?
  5. I'm embarrassed when I pick up a bunch of free or moneymaker items. Should I space those purchases out?

And here are the answers!

1. Chelsea wants to know: I'm loving the free deals in the new Grocery Advantage Buy flyer. Is there a limit to how many deals I can grab with Advantage Buy Publix coupons?

Christy: I believe that this will depend on your store. One nearby store in my area has no limits at all on deals, and another store about 5 miles away that enforces a limit of 10 like items per transaction. So I would ask at your customer service desk to be sure.

Michelle: Yep--this is going to be one that will vary by store. As you will notice in most all of the ads there is wording that "Quantity Limits May Apply".  Some stores have set limits to ensure that everyone gets a chance to partake in the deals. Other stores that are not hit as hard by couponers may not really care. It's best to ask at your store if you plan on getting a large amount of a particular item.

2. Gennifer wants to know: My stockpile is in great shape and I am adjusting my budget a bit. I'm wondering how much you budget each week or month for meat? I'm wondering if I am budgeting too much or too little.

Christy: This is such a personal call. It really depends on how much your family needs each week and what your storage situation is like (if you have a deep freeze, etc). Personally I budget about $10 a week on meat, order every few months from Zaycon, and then supplement as my stockpile gets low.

Michelle: I also order from Zaycon and have a buddy who I can get beef from. I usually only buy cuts/types that I can't get from those sources. Like Christy mentioned this will likely be a very individual number and be based on your family's eating habits. My guys are meat eaters and we have meat 5 - 6 nights a week if not all 7. I would guess that if I did have to budget in meat each week, it would likely be 50% of my budget!

A good way to reduce your spending is to get creative with your meat choices. The recipes you choose can really impact how much meat is needed per meal. I was just thinking that my Stuffed Chicken Thighs with Gravy that I made earlier this week was such a better option that BBQ chicken. I was able to use half the amount of chicken I normally would need for my family. It is so much heartier than just basic chicken. Same concept as grilled steak or beef stroganoff. I can use a fraction of the amount of beef in the stroganoff but if I do steak I'd need about 24 ounces to feed my whole meat loving crew!! Creativity can save the budget big time!!

3.  Amie wants to know: Can I use a competitor coupon along with manufacturer's coupon for the Colgate/Publix Gift Card offer? I didn't know if the gift card offer "counted" as a Publix coupon for the items I buy.

Christy: I'm going to suggest that you ask your customer service desk on this one too. Since the gift card offer is a Publix coupon with a LU# and it applies to all the items you are purchasing, I would say that you should not use any other Publix or competitor store coupons on those items (of course you CAN use manufacturer's coupons with the Publix coupon).

Michelle: Yes because it's a coupon, I would say that you would not be able to use additional store coupons. Of course if your store allows it then that is all that matters. Better to ask than to get caught off guard at checkout!

4. Ruby wants to know: It seems like some sale items have stopped appearing in the last year or so. For example, Ovaltine is on sale (well, there is a coupon) in the Grocery Advantage Buy Flyer. When is the last time we saw a sale on this? Should I buy a year's supply?!? (I'm only half kidding.)

I am with you on this one. I am almost totally out of Ovaltine myself and I thought the same thing. Sales are so hit or miss and so hard to predict but the LAST thing I want to do is have to pay full price for something like that!!

I am likely going to get at least 4 - 6 tubs as I have been watching for a sale and NOTHING. For things that you use daily (that are not often on sale) I think it's best to get while the gettin' is good :-)  If a really good sale pops up after the fact, I will happily grab that deal and be set for longer. If no sale pops up at least I was able to pad my stash for a while.

Now that may not be the perfect answer but that's my plan!! I have already grabbed two canisters while I had the gas deal and will likely grab more and take advantage of the Visa deal. It's my way of feeling like I got even more of a discount!

5.  Brenda wants to know: What's your strategy for grabbing free or better than free items? I always feel a little weird about buying a bunch of something if it is a freebie or a moneymaker. Should I space them out and grab just 2 or 4 every time I shop?

Christy: Your question is pretty similar to Chelsea's (#1), so I will say again: you should really ask your customer service desk about this one. Each store may have a policy about limits and you want to make sure that your purchase falls within those limits. However, keep in mind - you really should never be embarrassed about a free or moneymaker deal. The coupons are "paying" for the items for you. You have done you research, compiled your coupons, and your freebies are your reward for all that work! :)

Michelle: I think there are a couple of parts to that question. Like Christy noted, the quantity limits will vary by store and it's best to talk to your store about what they allow.

Then there is the part about what's an appropriate amount for one person to purchase. That is a question that will be depend on the person and their needs. Four items may be more than I need for my family. Another family may need 20 of an item to last them the same amount of time. We are all very different and use items differently. I think that is important to remember before we start judging our fellow shoppers.

Now is there a such thing as excessive shopping? I think everyone would agree that there are folks who may take it to the extreme. Does one person need 100 air fresheners? I wouldn't think so. There is that part of me that cringes and then I stop myself and think that maybe that is the only way that they are able to afford milk for their babies. It's all about perspective and none of us can really step into the shoes of another person. I try not to judge folks as I figure they know what's best for their needs.

I get emails all the time from folks asking why they don't see deals that I share on my weekly totals list and ask why I don't take advantage of moneymakers.

I decided a long time ago to pass up the freebie/moneymaker items unless it was something I would really use....something that I needed. In all honestly, I got tired of the disappointment when I was unable to find those free/moneymaking items and it really took some of the fun out of shopping. I realized that it took more time and effort than it was worth. I have a reasonable budget that works for me and as long as I can stay in that budget, I am a happy camper. I do miss out on the freebies and cheap items quite often but I get what I want/need and rarely get disappointed when I shop.

I don't have the room for 20 bottles of vitamins or the energy to find someone to take them off my hands. Throwing them away makes me feel guilty so the best option for me is to NOT buy them. I might lose out on a couple of bucks that would have reduced my totals that week but it's less stressful for me NOT to buy them.

Another family may depend on those vitamin deals. Maybe it gives them enough money to put extra food on the table each week?

I am not sure I answered your question as I am not sure there is really an answer to the question of how much is too much. That is a very personal number and will vary person to person and situation to situation. I think it's something you just know. My little inner voice has a way of letting me know what's right or wrong for ME - that's what I use as my guide.

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. We are really running low on questions to answer, so if you have a question you'd like to see answered, PLEASE send it in!! Just email me at


  1. Wendi says

    I’m with Michelle, it’s not worth the headache for me to track down/print coupons and plan a scenario around freebies that may not be in stock, unless it is something my family will use. I figure that someone that really needs those items will be thrilled to get them. Most of us have probably experienced the disappointment of truly needing an item and not being able to get it. I think we’d all have less frustration shopping if we’d consider others a little more.

  2. TheresaQ says

    I’m with Michelle on the moneymakers/freebies. When I first started couponing I went for them all the time. Then, I had a bunch of unwanted vitamins, baby bottles, cat food (I don’t have a cat!) and other stuff we don’t need. It’s not worth the hassle or the guilt if I can’t give something away. So, if we don’t use it, I skip it and it’s better that way.

  3. Amy says

    Most of us have a period at the beginning where we feel like we need every single deal and can’t leave a bargain on the shelf. After we’ve adjusted and realized how a stockpile works over time, gauged our storage space and family’s needs and reasonable prep time, we adjust.

  4. Diva says

    I am one of those people that depend on the moneymakers/freebies for deals at my local store. I can’t use Target or Whole Foods as a competitor, so I usually snatch up what I can put away. I have such a small stock right now, that we can really use anything. And besides, those free vitamins last a LONG time. :)

  5. lynn says

    i do the freebies as much as i can but i don’t get crazy. i do not have a cat but i did do the cat litter deal a few weeks ago because it was a mm and my husband does our oil changes so it is good to have for oil spills. i have a bag or box that i keep so if it is a freebie or mm i put it in the box that it goes in and once a month or so i drop off at the local pantry or shelter on my way back to publix :)haha! if it is toothpaste or soap or toys, school supplies i put those in my operation Christmas child box so i am not scrambling at the last minute and spending money needlessly. i will go through and weed out my stockpile and give a bag or two to my mom and brother. like i said i do take advantage to help my overall oop total because i need that extra help right now but i do not clear shelves or get 20 of something, i will usually stick to 4 of a mm deal. to chelseas question if it a great deal in the green flyer i will usually spread my purchases out over the span of the ad, do two here and two there and so forth.

  6. Michelle says

    I just wanted to say how much I appreciate this website Michelle, and all the work you put into it. I love that while you carefully show us all the deals, you always encourage your followers to abide by store policy and never have a greedy attitude about getting all the deals or judging those who rely on moneymakers to put food on the table. There are several blogs/groups I have stopped following because the attitude of the site is ‘I deserve to get all the deals, no matter if it prevents someone else from being able to purchase one or two, and I’m going to get really mad if someone tries to stop me’. Thanks for doing all the hard work for us, but keeping couponing positive not a competition!

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