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Jill Cataldo

Jill Cataldo

One of the most important strategies to saving on groceries and household items with coupons is to combine high-value coupons with the lowest sale prices.

We can apply this method to using coupons on clearance items as well.

It’s a little more difficult to do, as clearance prices vary not only from chain to chain, but between store locations too.

However, when everything lines up perfectly, you can score some incredible deals. Here are a couple of recent examples from my readers:

“Dear Jill,

Cereal was on clearance with orange tags noting an 85 cent price today. I had coupons for $1 off two boxes. These coupons made each cereal box only 35 cents!

I was sure that the cereal must be expiring soon with that low price, but no—it does not expire until summertime next year. So, I looked closer to figure out why it was suddenly a bargain. That’s when I saw an advertisement printed on the box noting that each box contained a coupon for diapers.

This brand of cereal is popular with both young children and adults, so I can understand this kind of promotion.

When I took the cereal home and opened the box, I found that even though the cereal itself is fresh for 12 more months, the diaper coupons were expiring at the end of this month.

I wanted to share this with you as I had not considered a different brand’s promotion might be the reason the price was so low.

Ari L.”

This email raises several important things to consider when clearance shopping. Not every clearance item’s price is low due to an approaching expiration date, and third-party promotions may be the cause of a product hitting the clearance shelf.

I once found granola bars on clearance for 59 cents a box, because the box’s packaging advertised a movie ticket promotion that had expired.

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The granola bars’ expiration date was many months away, and I used a 40 cent coupon to take them home for under a quarter per box.

“Dear Jill,

Here is a tip I would like to share. If I am in the supermarket and I see something on the clearance shelf that I wasn’t planning to buy, I will open the store’s coupon app and search for that item. A lot of times, I will find a discount in there for the same item I just found, making it an even better price.

Mickey T.”

This is a tip that I find myself using on occasion as well, as I typically only cut and carry coupons for the items I plan to buy each week at the store.

I try to streamline my couponing as much as possible, and before I’ve even headed out the door, I’ve cut the coupons that correspond to my local stores’ weekly ads.

Finding an unexpected bargain on a clearance item is always a welcome surprise, but it also means that there’s a good chance that I won’t have a coupon on me right at that moment to further reduce that great clearance price with.

A quick peek at the store’s coupon app just may yield a deeper discount that I can load while I’m standing in the aisle.

Additionally, it’s worth checking out your local store’s coupon policy to see if they allow post-redemption of coupons.

If they do, you’ll be able to buy the clearance item that’s caught your eye, then clip a corresponding coupon out of your coupon inserts at home. The next time you return to the store, you can take the previous trip’s receipt, along with the coupon, and receive reimbursement for it.

Clearance shopping can also be a fun way to try new products without paying much to do so. My store recently had tubes of Italian tomato paste on clearance for 50 cents each.

I typically buy paste in a can, as it is much less expensive, but the convenience of squeezing just what you need from the tube while you’re cooking is hard to beat. At that price, I was happy to pick some up!

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