Resource Guide for Great Deals

Written by Tiffany Willard

“Are you a coupon shopper?” That was the question posed to me in January by a childhood friend. My answer was a quick and absolute “Yes.” I always checked the paper for coupons for the products I use. The challenge was to then remember to take them to the grocery store with me, and ultimately remember to hand them to the cashier. You could say I’m a saving queen these days. Every trip to the grocery store now nabs me a savings of 50 to 75 percent.  When my family eats out, we do so at a fraction of the menu prices. And I recently launched my own Web site, ZealforaDeal.com, to share my amazing savings finds with others. Read on for a peek at a few of my most resourceful tips.

Groceries
For groceries, I shop at Publix because I love their customer service, but also because of their coupon policy. They double any manufacturer coupon up to 50 cents in value. They also accept competitor coupons at face value — and they allow you to “stack” coupons, which means a 50-cent manufacturer coupon (which doubles to $1), combined with a 25-cent store coupon from a competitor earns you a savings of $1.25 off your purchase. Combine that with their weekly BOGO deals, and you can really save.  But I couldn’t do it without IHeartPublix.com.  I use this site to find out what’s on sale this week, where to find the coupon for each item (many are printable online), and which competitors have coupons available for the same item.  The brain behind IHeartPublix.com also has another site: IHeartSavingMoney.com.

Every Publix has its own coupon policy, so ask your local store which competitor coupons they accept.  For other chains, do an Internet search to find an equivalent coupon-matching Web site. Please keep in mind: Hard-core coupon shoppers are a very honorable bunch. Photo copying coupons, pulling coupons off products without purchasing them, and arguing with store personnel over discounts are strictly frowned upon. So as your mother always told you, play fair and be nice.

Dining Out
Restaurant.com offers discounted gift certificates to restaurants in your area that are valid for one year from purchase date. Offers vary by restaurant, but most offer a $10 certificate for $4, or a $25 certificate for $10. Some restrictions apply. They periodically discount the certificates even lower. During a recent promotion, I purchased $25 certificates for $2.50.

Scoutmob.com offers 50 percent off restaurants, as well as shopping, in trendy locations around town. They post a deal, and you have 24 hours to “Get It” free. A text is sent to your mobile phone with the coupon information. You show the text to your server and the discount is taken off your bill.

Groupon.com offers discounted deals on restaurants, services, events, hotels and shopping. A daily deal is offered and a minimum number of people are required to sign up for the deal to be actually offered. If enough people sign up, the deal is yours and your credit card is charged for the amount of the offer. On the off chance that not enough people sign up, the deal is cancelled and you’re charged nothing.

HalfOffDepot.com offers 50 to 90 percent off gift certificates to your local favorite restaurants as well as a wide variety of service providers and attractions.

For More Information
Do you have a Zeal for a Deal? Check out my website for more deals, coupons, and free events in your area. Get out there and enjoy your favorite things for less.