A while back I wrote a popular post called “Three Myths about Couponing and Why Anyone Can Do It!”
This is a follow-up to that post with details about grocery shopping in the Twin Cities, how to begin, and all the ways you can save at each major grocery store in the Twin Cities area! (If you know of any tips I can add, please share with me so I can add them to the list!)
How to begin saving with coupons
1. Save the coupon inserts from the Sunday paper. These come in the local Star Tribune and Pioneer Press newspapers. On the front of each coupon insert, write the date of the newspaper that they each come in. For example, if there was a “Smart Source” coupon insert in this past Sunday’s paper, I would write “2/16/18” on the front cover. Don’t clip anything yet. File them somewhere together and in order.
2. Check out sites like Coupon Mom to view and print store-specific shopping lists. These lists show you current sales + coupon deals that you can combine for great deals on grocery and household items.
These lists will also point you to printable coupons online and coupons in the Sunday coupon inserts by date (now you understand why you visibly wrote the date on each insert!).
3. Plan your shopping trip by selecting items and deals and clip and print lists and coupons as directed!
How you can save at each grocery store:
–A No-frills store, ALDI does everything they can to keep prices low (and the planet healthy!). To use a cart you deposit 25 cents which you receive back when you return the cart (no carts all over the parking lot!). Bring your own bags (reusing & recycling). No credit cards (to avoid the processing fees which bring up prices).
–Inventory changes often. Check their weekly ad in the Sunday paper or in-store.
BEST PLAN FOR SAVING AT ALDI: Check their weekly ad for their “weekly red hot special” and for Wednesday “Fresh Meat Special Buy Day” deals. Bring your own shopping bags to avoid paying for shopping bags ($.06 for paper or $.10 for plastic), unless you’re lucky to find empty boxes in the store to use. Use a shopping list and stick to it as it’s easy to want to buy more than you plan to because of the low prices and always-changing selection! Also, because they do offer organic products (their own brand called “Simply Nature” plus occasionally others) and their prices are hard to beat, if you’re shopping for more organic and natural items try to shop at ALDI first.
–Cub Rewards Card. Use this to save money at Holiday gas stations. Save 5 cents per gallon for every qualifying $50 you spend at Cub.
–Store coupons can be clipped from weekly ads (in Sunday paper).
–Printable store coupons. Coupons can be printed from their website to use in store. You can create a shopping list by choosing coupons or print individually.
–Coupon booklets are mailed to households occasionally. Look for the big coupons on the back which include $5 off a $50 purchase coupons.
BEST PLAN FOR SAVING AT CUB FOODS: Sign up for a free Cub Rewards card. Combine store coupons, manufacturer’s coupons, and sale prices for maximum savings.
–Fare For All is a great way to save money on quality nutritious food. Supporting local food shelves through the Emergency Food Network, they buy fruits, vegetables, and frozen meats in bulk to save you up to 40% off grocery store prices. Fare for All is open to ALL. Read more about them in my review!
-At Fare for All, groceries are sold in “packs” – produce only ($10), meat only ($11), or a combination of the two ($20). There is a monthly special “pack” as well, such as mega meat packs or holiday packs.
There are three options for buying groceries:
1) Traditional Fare for All – Pre-order and pre-pay by phone. Pick up at distribution site, available once per month.
2) Fare for All Express – No pre-ordering necessary. Cash and carry. Distributions held throughout the month at various sites in the Twin Cities area.
3) Shop at their Warehouse in New Hope, open every other Monday. All “packs” available for purchase plus individual items which can vary.
BEST PLAN FOR SAVING AT FARE FOR ALL: No matter what you’re getting low prices from Fare for All, but it’s good to track their events and Warehouse sales (in New Hope) and stock up.
–Quality and Service are #1 at Lund’s & Byerly’s stores. There are 11 Lund’s and 11 Byerly’s supermarkets in the Twin Cities area.
–Stores offer bi-weekly ads that feature sale prices. They often feature BOGO (buy one get one free) promotions.
BEST PLAN FOR SAVING AT Lund’s & Byerly’s: Plan shopping trips by checking out their ads in-store or online.
–5% off your total purchase with Target RedCard. Signing up for the RedCard is free and you can either sign up for a credit card or a debit card. The debit card works like a check by drawing from your existing checking account. The RedCard also entitles you to special deals including free shipping on orders from target.com.
–Cartwheel. Sign up online or on your smartphone. Add offers to your “cartwheel” (limited to 10 at first) and print & bring or show on your smartphone when you’re at the register. Can be combined with both manufacturer’s coupons and Target in-store coupons, plus RedCard discount.
–Mailings. Store coupons are mailed to households occasionally.
–Target will match prices for competitors including Amazon. Show Amazon’s price on your phone at the register if it’s cheaper for an identical item.
–They have a schedule for matching prices:
Monday: kids’ clothing, electronics, accessories, books, baby items and stationary
Tuesday: women’s clothing, pets, domestics, and market food items
Wednesday: health and beauty, diapers, lawn/garden items, men’s clothing and furniture
Thursday: housewares, shoes, lingerie, toys, sporting goods, decor and luggage
Friday: cosmetics, auto, hardware and jewelry
BEST PLAN FOR SAVING AT TARGET: Sign up for a RedCard credit or debit card AND for Target Cartwheel which are all free. Combine 5% RedCard discount, Cartwheel savings, store coupons, manufacturer’s coupons and sale prices for maximum savings. Bring your own bags as they offer $.05 discounts per reusable bag that you bring.
–There are 7 Trader Joe’s stores in the Twin Cities area: Shoreview, St. Paul, St. Louis Park, Maple Grove, Minnetonka, Woodbury & Bloomington.
–Stores don’t offer sales ads but a “Fearless Flyer” available in-store and mailed to area residents with quirky descriptions of new products and ideas for cooking or eating them.
BEST PLAN FOR SAVING AT TRADER JOE’S: Like my ALDI tip above, stick to a shopping list as it’s easy to buy much more than you plan to! Like ALDI, prices are reasonable for natural and organic foods and there are always new and fun products to try so plan accordingly.
–Price matching in-store with Walmart.com and Jet.com. Walmart phased out its price match guarantee in 2017, but they still will match an item in-store with an item on their website.
–Walmart Savings Catcher. This is close to their previous price match guarantee. Basically it means that you can scan your Walmart receipt with your Walmart app, then they’ll compare prices with top competitors in your area, and if they find a lower price, you get an eGift card with the difference.
–Weekly ads in the Sunday paper highlight seasonal or featured items plus rollback prices (items that have gone down in price).
-They offer Free In-Store Pickup, and Free 2-Day Shipping for orders of $35 or more.
BEST PLAN FOR SAVING AT WALMART: Use manufacturer’s coupons and use their Savings Catcher to make sure you’re getting the best price.
–There are 7 Whole Foods store locations in the Twin Cities area: Hennepin, St. Paul, Lake Calhoun, Maple Grove, Minnetonka, Edina & Woodbury.
-Starting in summer of 2018, Whole Foods is offering Amazon Prime members special savings in-store at stores across the country. Prime members will be receiving an additional 10% off sale items plus weekly deep discounts on select best-selling items. This is replacing Whole Foods’ Rewards, Digital Coupons and Online Accounts.
BEST PLAN FOR SAVING AT WHOLE FOODS MARKET: If you’re an Amazon Prime member, use your membership to save the most when their new partnership is launched summer of 2018. Also, organic and natural food selection is unbeatable here. Visit their website to see current sales and find budget-friendly recipes. They also accept manufacturer’s coupons.