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Friday, May 21, 2010

Couponing For Newbies: Shopping Grocery Stores

Couponing For Newbies: Day 5

Shopping Grocery Stores

Albertson's and Winco

Although there are many different grocery stores I decided to pick the places where I get the best deals.


Coupon Policy:
Albertson's in my opinion is generally the most coupon friendly store that I have ever been to.
They have a very fair coupon policy in my opinion.

Albertson's coupon policy:

Albertsons accepts manufacturer coupons and you can stack it with an Albertsons in-store coupon.

accepts take printed coupons(see guidelines below)

no longer matches competitors ads or prices

no longer accept competitors coupons or Walgreens Register Rewards

Coupons must be redeemed at the time of purchase of the specific product. Coupons may not be redeemed after the transaction has completed.

Albertsons Coupon Policy & Guidelines:

Coupons — Definition
Coupons are a form of tender presented by the customer to reduce their order total based on merchandise purchased in stores where the retailer has agreed to accept manufacturer coupons. Retailers are not required by law to accept manufacturers’ coupon. Coupons can be printed and/or in electronic form, and maybe integrated into the register systems where they are deducted automatically when all purchase requirements are met.

The following coupon types are accepted by Albertsons:

1. Manufacturer Coupons are coupons issued by the manufacturer containing: “terms of agreement”, face value, expiration date, and verbiage “manufacturer coupon.” Albertsons may issue coupons such as printed ad media coupons, Avenu, or Shop n’ Scan coupons that are manufacturer coupons that contain the words “redeemable only at Albertsons.” Most manufacturer coupons have bar-codes on them and can be scanned. Any coupons that do not scan or have bar-codes should be checked for validity of expiration date and purchase requirements.

2. Store Coupons are your Company’s discount offers in various forms of media including, but not limited to, print, electronic, newspaper, direct mailers, kiosks and Company websites. Store coupons may also contain the words “redeemable only at Albertsons” (or a banner of Albertsons). Store coupons may state that the discount applies only with Preferred Card/Super Card/Loyalty Card.

3. Catalina Checkout Coupons/Rebates are triggered by individual items purchased at checkout which print on the Catalina printer. It is Albertsons’ policy to allow these coupons to be used only for next purchase. Catalina coupons can only be given to the customer for whom they were intended (not to any other customer or associate). If a customer does not want their Catalina coupons, it is Albertsons’ policy that the cashier destroy them immediately. Catalina checkout coupons printed at other retailers may or may not be accepted for redemption following the manufacturer/competitor store coupon guidelines.

4. Internet Coupons printed from a website are redeemable with a qualifying purchase. Albertsons DOES NOT accept Internet coupons containing the following conditions:
a. ‘Free’ product offers that do not require a purchase
b. Redemption value exceeds $5.00
c. Absence of UPC bar code

5. All coupons tendered must have a corresponding sale for the product listed and amount specified, and only at the time of purchase.

Preferred Card
Albertson's has a store store card that is required to get their sales and to use their coupons. The card is free and can be gotten at the store.

When you buy stuff using the card then the amount you spend adds up to disounts on gas at thier filling stations. For every $50.00 you spend you get $.05 off gas up to $1.50 off. For me this total is always done before coupons so I have been able to acquire discounts quickly.
The discount does expire 30 days after you get it. To redeem just use your preferred card at the pump.

Twice the Value Coupons:
Every few weeks Albertson's puts out Twice the Value coupons or doublers as many couponers refer to them.
These coupons let you double the price of your coupon up to $1.00.
For example if you have a $.75 coupon and you use a doubler with it then the value of your coupon is then $1.50.

Normally if the amount of the coupon after being doubled is over the amount of the item being purchased then the double coupon price will be adjusted down.
For example:
You buy an item that is $.75 and use a coupon that is $.50 and one doubler.
They will give you the $.50 for your coupon but the doubler will only be worth $.25.
Essentially they wont let you have any overage.

(note that this is not always the case. The store that I shop at will give me overage so I have to plan on other items that I will put into my transactions to cover this. Fresh fruit is always a good way to absorb overage.)

Doublers also state that only 1 set of 3 doubers per day per family. Most Albertson's will let you do more in a day but will not let you do them all at once. You have to separate them into different transactions.

Some stores will let you do up to three transactions in a row and other will only let you do one and then you have to get back in line. If you have not shopped at an Albertson's before and do not know their policy I would talk to someone at the customer service desk to see what that stores policy is.

Recently they changed their policy and will allow you to use Twice the Value Coupon with manufacture coupons that say "Do Not Double".
Catalina Coupons
Albertson's has Catalina machines at thier registers that produce coupons. These coupons are called Catalina coupons and are often produced when you buy certain products. They often run sales that are associated with getting a catalina coupon.
For example:
Their sale may state spend $20.00 on certain items and get $5.00 off your next order.
The $5.00 will be in the form of a catalina coupon that is produced after you pay for your transaction.
Sometimes a catalina will not print right away. I normally wait for a minute just to see.
If the catalina does not print then the store will check to see if you have purchased all the items required. If you have then they will either force the catalina to print or have you call the catalina company and they will send you your catalina.

The catalinas roll from one transaction to another.
For example:
You spend $20.00 and get a $5.00 catalina.
Then you do another of the same type of transaction and use the catalina that you previously got to pay for it. This new transaction produces another $5.00 catalina.

Special Ordering
Albertson's is a great place to stock up. However they are not normally prepared for a single person to buy large quantities of one product. If you know that you want to buy more than a few of an item then I would suggest calling the store and placing a special order for it.
This way the store does not run out of the product and has plenty to accommodate you and all the other customers. Plus it guarantees that you will have the amount that you want.
I have had great success doing this. I place an order with my manager probably 2 times a month and they have always had it waiting for me when I go to the store.

How can I contact Albertsons with a question, complaint, or compliment?
Phone Number: 877-932-7948

Playing Nice!
Albertson's is such a great store and I feel that they have really gone out of their way to make their stores very coupon friendly. I also feel that it is our responsibility to treat their kindness with respect. Treat the cashiers nicely, I have developed many great relationships with the Alberton's employees. I try to put myself in the employees place and treat them how I would want to be treated.
Also treat the other customers with respect. If you have a million transactions to do be courteous and polite. I would recommend not going through self check out. It was not set up for someone to do twenty transactions.
One more thought, I know I already said this but really if you want a large amount of a product then get a special order for it. It is frustrating as a couponer and as a consumer when you go to a store to get a couple of something only to find out that someone has bought the entire shelf of it. Yes I know it is a business and they want to have people buy as much of a product as they can but this leaves a lot of customers unhappy. And if people are coming in and clearing the shelves and they get a lot of complaints about this then they will start limiting how much we can buy or may start to not let us use coupons. This will make it harder to stockpile.
Overall if you follow the Golden Rule (do unto others as you would have them do unto you) then shopping at Albertson's will be great for a long time.

Winco is a grocery store that is only operated in the western United States. There prices are very low and often times are lower than Walmart. They have a great bulk food section and pretty cheap produce. I shop here to get things that I can't get as cheap at Albertson's. Sales and Prices Sales at Winco are not advertised and change often. Also prices are not always consistent from one store to another.

I have not yet been able to find an official coupon policy. I'm not sure there is one out there for consumers. They accept manufactures and most will accept internet coupons. The rule seems to be that if the coupon scans and look legitimate then they will accept it. They will not give overage if your coupon is for more than the cost of an item. Their computers are programmed to automatically adjust the coupon down to the price of the item.

Bulk Food
I love to buy from thier bulk food section. I can get staples like brown rice and beans and dried herbs much cheaper than most other places. Go here to get a list of bulk spice prices at Winco as compared to Walmart. (Please note that prices may be different at your local stores).

There are a few downsides to shopping at Winco. If your coupon does not scan then you can not use that coupon. I have personally had trouble with this and have put the item back because it wasn't a good deal without the coupon. Also you have to bag your own groceries. This is kind of hard to do if you have your kids with you. The only up side to this is that I can choose to bag my groceries in paper bags and then take the bags home to use in craft projects for the kids.

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