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I whole-heartedly believe Publix is the greatest grocery store on the planet! While I occasionally stop by another grocery for an amazing deal, you can't beat Publix's commitment to service, cleanliness, and couponing. On top of that most of the people who work there are just plain old nice, which really does make shopping at Publix a pleasure. (They don't pay me to say this stuff, I just really love Publix!)
While I do sometimes hit the drug stores for awesome deals, I've found that it's a better use of my time to focus on one store, even though I am trying to get in the drug store game a little more often these days! There are a lot of great deals out there at Walgreens, CVS, and Rite-Aid, but lately I've found it'soften not worth my time running around town when I can get pretty good deals at Publix. If I see a great deal on something I need I will definitely run to the drug stores or Kroger, but I limit that to maybe once per week and usually have it planned out well in advance. (Having a very busy three year old and two busy school-aged kids has definitely dampened my drug store shopping. Thank goodness Publix is nice enough to offer my little one a cookie & balloon when we walk through the door!)
Here are the basic coupon rules to follow at Publix:
Publix doubles manufacturers coupons up to $.50 in Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, and South Carolina (they do not double in Florida – I'm so sorry all you Florida readers!) They do not double competitor or Publix store coupons.
Publix accepts certain competitor coupons. In our area Publix accepts competitor coupons from other local grocery stores. These include Star Market, Dollar General Market, Kroger, and Target. Some Publix stores will also accept competitor coupons from Walgreens, CVS and Rite-Aid, as well as other grocery stores in your area. Acceptance of competitor coupons definitely depends on your cashier and store management. I've found that when I'm in doubt about coupon acceptance, it's worth taking a minute to ask the management before going through the check out lane.
The Publix Pharmacy will often accept competitor coupons. If you have a competitor coupon for a pharmacy coupon, Publix will usually honor them. For example, my store will take a coupon for a $25 Rite Aid Gift Card with new or transferred prescription (even though the grocery store will not accept a Rite Aid grocery coupon).
Always be on the look out for Publix store coupons. Each month Publix comes out with a Green Health and Beauty flyer and Yellow Advantage Buy flyer. These will typically be located at the front of your store in a kiosk with other flyers. They also have other coupon booklets that are put out seasonally, so watch out for new coupon books!
Publix allows one manufacturer and one store coupon per item. If you have a manufacturer coupon for an item, you can “stack” a store coupon (or competitor coupon) to get a greater savings on that same item. For example, if you are purchasing a pack of Huggies, you can use a $2 off manufacturer coupon along with a $3 Publix coupon to save a total of $5. You could also use a $2 off manufacturer coupon with a Target coupon, but not a manufacturer coupon, Publix coupon and Target coupon (got that?)
The Publix Penny item is available Wednesday or Thursday, depending on when your sale ad starts. You will find a coupon in your local newspaper on the day your ad starts for the penny item, and you must spend $10 pre-coupon to get the penny item. So, if you have some great coupons you can often get this without spending hardly anything! (The Penny Item is not available in Florida markets).
Publix's computers allow one coupon per item. Most stores will allow you to use as many coupons as you want. However, if the number of coupons exceeds the number of items purchased (for example you have 20 items and 22 coupons), the computer will question it. Typically your cashier will send for a manager and they will override it, however they have the option not to, so just be aware of this. That being said, I have never had any problem with them accepting ALL my coupons!
One note on coupon acceptance – a lot of times it just depends on your cashier as to whether or not Publix will accept a coupon! They shouldn't have any problems accepting your manufacturer coupons (they will check the expiration dates though), but not all will accept competitor coupons. If you feel that you are using a legitimate competitor coupon, kindly ask them to check with a manager. When I'm not sure about a coupon, I just nicely ask if it's okay to use one or not, and typically they allow it. I've usually found that when I treat the cashiers with respect they honor my coupons – maybe that's a good life lesson!
Are there any other tips you can think of while shopping at Publix? I'll add in Kroger tips tomorrow, and I'd love to hear your suggestions!