Money Wise--Shopping Smart - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

07/01/04

Money Wise--Shopping Smart

We all have to go in to the grocery store at one time or another, and sometimes that trip inside turns into a big shopping spree. For those who dread clipping coupons, here's a lesson: many of us overspend at the grocery store. We decided to find someone who says using coupons really does pay off, and she doesn't just use a couple on each trip. Charlene Harrell saves well over $1,000 in coupons a year.

What you buy at the grocery store can determine how large or small your grocery bill is, but how you buy is equally important. Harrell works part time, which means saving on the grocery bill is a necessity to her family's overall budget. She hits the stores once a week to take advantage of all the big bargains. And to make the even sweeter, she clips coupons and uses them on just about every item she buys.

"The main thing you have to know is that you can't be a real product person," she advised. "You can't buy just one name brand. You have to buy the brand the coupon is, and that's how you save money."

Harrell is only a small percentage of shoppers, though, because some folks say they don't want to bother with coupons. But taking the time to do so means big bucks. To maximize on her savings, Victor Marrero studies the store's circular to see what's on sale and then uses a corresponding coupon.

After shopping for about and hour, and hitting each and every aisle, Charlene heads to the checkout counter to get the grand total. After the coupons are deducted, her shopping strategy proves successful. In the trip we followed her on, she saved $30 in coupons.

"I spent $75 and paid 45 for it," she said. "For a little bit of extra time and going through items, going through brands, it was well worth it I think."

Sometimes, you'll end up spending barely anything for something if you shop right. You just have to have an open mind. One of the biggest complaints we heard is people saying, "I always forget to use them when I get to the register." Here's a tip: paperclip the coupons to your money. That way, when you pay, you'll remember. 

If you have money questions you'd like answered in Money Wise, email moneywise@wtoc.com.

Reported by: Dmitra Denmark, ddenmark@wtoc.com

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