Monday, August 15, 2011

How to be a Student Savvy Shopper - Shopping On a College Budget

As an avid deal seeker for families throughout Utah I am frequently asked if it’s equally possible for student shoppers to save money on their grocery and retail purchases.  “Absolutely” is my immediate response! Regardless of your marital or even educational status, saving money is easily attainable for every walk of life.  Of course, there are unique challenges for any demographic, but getting around these issues just takes a few considerations.

The first decision a student shopper must consider is storage space.  College/apartment living space is considerably smaller than a rental home.  When you’re sharing 4 cupboards with 6 roommates, who’s eating what and who actually paid for it becomes cloudy at times.  Consider buying in group purchases for the entire apartment.  Assigning one shopper for all the roommates can actually save the group significantly more money when you’re able to buy in bulk or case lot sales.  It doesn’t even have to be that big of a roommate grocery co-op.  Consider sharing pantry staples like block cheese, milk, bread, boxed cereal, flour, sugar etc…  One roommate won’t likely be able to eat a 2 lb block of cheese before the mold creeps in, but per ounce it’s 50% less than buying an 8 oz block. Divide equal roommate amounts into reusable storage containers for portion control. Sharing food and shopping skills can pay off for everyone, as long as you’re willing and able to share!

The next consideration is budget. Students, like families can add savings and stretch their budget using coupons.  If you’re buying as a group, multiple Sunday newspaper subscriptions are great for shaving  a couple hundred dollars off your monthly grocery bills.  If you are buying for one, consider printable coupon websites like and  These websites offer free multiple printable coupons for everyday products, including milk, cheese, cleaning products and personal hygiene items.  Users are allowed to print 2 of each identical coupon per website.  And don’t forget manufacturer Facebook pages and websites as a great resource for printable coupons!  These online and in-print savings really add up!

Lastly, student shoppers definitely need to consider shopping the ads.  That means buying items when they go on sale at stock up prices.  You may only eat ramen noodles and mac and cheese, but both of these items go on sale for 60% off retail price at multiple times throughout the year.  When you see a case lot sale on your favorite Asian noodles or cheesy pasta, buy a case and store it under your bed.  The next time you need a pack, just shop your “under the bed store” where everything is always on sale and never go hungry again (just don’t store your stinky gym shoes there too!).  Don’t know what  to buy or when an advertised “Stock up” deal is really a deal?  It’s easy – just shop the front page any grocery or retail ad.  These items are called “loss leaders”.  In other words, the store is leading you in to shop at their store by displaying their hottest prices (lowest revenue products) on page 1.  Of course, the goal is to have you buy your entire grocery list as well, not just front page items, while you’re there, but that’s up to you.  Page 1 is a great place to start.

Being a student and savvy shopper can be synonymous.  Implement these simple shopping strategies and educate yourself to save!  For more ideas on how to save money at the grocery store and for customizable, free shopping lists for your favorite grocer or retailer, visit, your source for savings.

Extreme Couponing Arrests on the Rise

With the rise in Extreme Couponing, Extreme Coupon Theft was bound to follow...

I read a complaint just yesterday from a woman in Utah who has had their assisted living facility coupon copies stolen right out of the lobby!  I can't even tell you how many times I've heard of shoppers detailing brazen thefts from their own driveways and front porches.

I'm not sure how someone justifies taking coupons out of elderly care homes or even off of someone's front porch for that matter.  As you may know the Daily Herald has removed all copies, save 1, from vending racks across Utah County due to theft.  Many newspaper companies are having to move vending racks inside convenience stores to protect them from would-be coupon nappers.

I was glad to hear that arrests are increasing in response to these violations.  Believe me, I understand the value of coupons and what using them can do for every family that chooses to implement them in their shopping strategies, but stealing them?

I came across this article just this morning.

"Police, supermarkets and newspapers have reported thefts of newspapers and weekly inserts in Arkansas, Idaho, Texas, Alabama, Florida and California. They have attributed the thefts to extreme couponing, as coined by the TLC reality show. The program, which debuted in April, shows people cutting their grocery bills by hundreds of dollars through the strategic use of coupons. 

Most recently, a 34-year old woman in Arkansas stole 185 copies of the Springfield Morning News that were left outside of a grocery store for pick-up. The woman, who is a member of a coupon club, claims she didn't know she was doing anything wrong. 

In Alabama, the Cullman Timess has also seen an increase in the number of newspapers and inserts stolen. Sam Mazarra, the newspaper's circulation manager, said, "Over my 31-year career as circulation director, it has never been this bad." The newspaper has issued a $500 cash reward for tips leading to the arrest and conviction of someone stealing newspapers"  The Huffington Post

WOW -  rewards for coupon thieves!  Now that's one I didn't see coming.

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