7 Ways to Save at Wegmans

save_at_wegmans

Several years ago, while driving through upstate New York, we stopped at a grocery store my friend from the area absolutely raved about. I had never heard of Wegmans and was a little surprised we were stopping there because it was lunchtime.

Little did I know what was in store for me!

In the years since, and after a Wegmans opened near my home in Maryland, I’ve come to appreciate how well they run and how it’s a pleasure to shop there.

If you’re a fan and looking to save money at Wegmans, here are my best tips.

1. Coupon Doubling Up to 99 Cents

Wegmans has some of the most competitive prices, but did you know they will also double coupons with a face value up to 99 cents? There are a few rules to keep in mind, such as the doubling or face value of the coupon cannot exceed retail price and you can only use four manufacturer’s coupons on four of the same product per day.

If the coupon’s face value is $1.00 or more, it will be redeemed at face value (no doubling).

2. Join the Shoppers Club!

Wegmans has a Shoppers Club, like many other stores, but not only do you get discounts in the store, you’ll be sent mailers that often include more coupons. You will also receive the Wegmans Menu Magazine which often has great recipes and other fun educational articles.

3. Use the Wegmans App

The Wegmans App is a rich-featured shopping-list app that integrates nicely with your local store. You can create your shopping list at home and it will give you your total, pulling prices from the store. This can be very helpful if you’re on a tight budget and help you plan your trip better.

In the store, there are signs throughout that, when scanned with the Wegmans app, reveal videos, recipes, and product information. The app also gives you access to the Wegmans Menu magazine and can pull recipe ingredients from the recipes.

If you have a favorite money saving app, you may want to stick with it. If you don’t and go to Wegmans often, consider using theirs.

4. Create a Shopping List Online

If you don’t have a smartphone, or don’t want another app, you can always create your shopping list on the Wegmans website. Afterwards, you can print it out and see exactly how much the trip will cost you.

The list will organize ingredients based on the store’s aisles, which can save you a ton of time in the store.

5. Consider Wegmans Brand

Most stores’ generic brands are mediocre but not Wegmans – some of their products rival the brand names in quality. Nearly every category of product, from frozen pizza to sauces and packaged baked goods, has a Wegmans brand and they’re usually good and well-priced. At my local Wegmans in Maryland, a 29 oz. can of tomato sauce will cost you just $0.79 versus big brand name tomato sauce priced at $1.69.

6. Don’t Miss the Hot Food

Most grocery store hot food bars can be depressing affairs of overcooked food that’s overpriced. Wegmans has an impressive food bar with nearly every kind of food imaginable, but where they really shine is in two areas — sushi and the burger bar.

The sushi is delicious, fresh, and well-priced, especially if you compare it with a sushi restaurant. If you don’t see what you like, you can make special requests and they are happy to make a roll or package you want. The burger bar is a full-fledged restaurant and they offer a variety of great burgers and sandwiches that are also well-priced.

7. Personal Shopping

If you are short on time, Wegmans offer “personal shopping” where they will get everything on your shopping list and deliver it to your car. You need to place the order online the day before but you pay for it without ever having to leave your car. It costs just $5.95 with no minimum order. It’s not available at every store though, sadly. It is available only in three locations – the flagship store in Pittsford, New York, and the stores in Bridgewater and Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

Finally, if you live in a state where grocery stores can sell beer and wine, give their bargain wines a shot (just remember to drink responsibly). At just a few bucks a bottle, what do you have to lose?

[Editor’s Note: You can monitor your financial goals, like building a good credit score, each month on Credit.com.]

Image: Willowpix

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What to Buy at the Dollar Store (& What to Avoid)

If you’re like me, you enter your neighborhood dollar store intending to quickly grab one or two things. Instead, you end up slowly roaming the aisles for an hour, checking out absolutely everything. After all, you don’t want to miss an amazing $1 deal!

Here are a few things to keep in mind for your next trip:

  • Not everything at the dollar store is actually $1, so check prices.
  • Sometimes you get what you pay for — low price can equal low quality.
  • Dollar stores often receive odd lots or overstocks. Keep that in mind before purchasing — check for quality, damages and expiration dates (when applicable).

There are some items that can be great finds at dollar stores, and other kinds of purchases that are best left to other retailers.

What to Buy

Plant supplies, like clay pots, glass marbles, etc.
These are usually a great bargain at a dollar store versus home improvement stores. I would, however, avoid gardening tools, as the quality probably isn’t there.

Packing tape
I always make a point of picking up a roll or two at the dollar store. The rolls can be a bit shorter than at the office supply store, but for $1 vs. at least three times that, it’s a good deal.

Decorative gift bags
You can usually get plain gift bags pretty cheaply at stores like Target and Kmart, especially if you buy a package of multiples, but those shiny bags festooned with pictures of balloons or holiday ornaments? Those can go for $3 and up versus $1 at the dollar store.

Hair accessories, like coated elastics and hair combs
These are $1 a bunch at the dollar store and are at least $2.50 at the drugstore. The quality of the elastics can be a bit questionable at the dollar store, though, so give them a good tug before buying. 

Toothbrushes and toothpaste
If you find brand names at the dollar store for $1, grab them. Be sure to check the expiration date on the toothpaste, though.

Beach reading and coloring books
You probably won’t find The New York Times best sellers at the dollar store, but a good trashy novel? Yes. Coloring or activity books are also a good buy at the dollar store, but I would skip those that come with markers or crayons, which may be dried out or of poor quality. 

Foam core
School project? If you can find foam core for $1 or even $2 at the dollar store, grab it. I’ve seen it priced between $3 and $12 elsewhere. 

Mylar balloons
If your local dollar store sells and inflates balloons for $1, this is a great deal. The balloon or floral store will charge more.

Cotton balls/pads
If they are 100% cotton and $1, get them. Only get cotton swabs at the dollar store if they are brand name.

What to Avoid

Perishable & packaged foods and candy
Freshness and quality can be questionable, so I would proceed with caution. Check expiration dates and ingredients and inspect for damage before purchasing. 

Power strips, USBs, chargers and earbuds
Avoid buying anything that you plug into your beloved smart devices at the dollar store. The quality is probably not up to snuff, so don’t take the risk. 

Plastic food containers
Especially if you are in the habit of microwaving food in plastic containers or putting them in the dishwasher (both of which I advise against), do not buy plastic containers at the dollar store. The quality may be substandard. 

Sunscreen
Only buy sunscreen if the expiration date is a couple years away (allowing for time it may have already sat on the shelf), as SPF tends to degrade over time. Also check for a seal. If there isn’t an expiration date or seal, skip it. 

Detergents and cleaning products
Like sunscreen, the efficacy of cleaning products can degrade over time. Best to skip unless there’s an expiration date that is a couple of years away. 

Makeup, toiletries and medicines
I’d pretty much skip this category. It’s rare to find name-brand products anyway, and if you do find name brands, they could be pretty old.

Toys and games
These are usually made very cheaply. Your child will delighted for a minute until the toy falls apart. Rubber and plastic balls are good, though.

If saving money is important to you, don’t forget that you can save on everything from car loans to credit card interest rates if you have a good credit score. You can monitor your financial goals like building credit for free on Credit.com.

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