Knowing the rules of each grocery store chain is an essential part of becoming a master couponer. Each chain sets its own rules, and the rules can vary by region. Some chains can even vary their policies from store to store. Knowing the rules for each chain allows the couponer to checkout with confidence.
As long as couponers follow the rules set by each chain, they should never have a problem at their favorite grocery store.
Over the next few weeks, I am going to go over the coupon policy of each grocery store chain and what it means. I will also tell you if the policy is available online for you to print. I highly recommend that a couponer keep these policies in a coupon binder, for both personal information and in case of any potential disputes.
Because each store can slightly modify policies, I often suggest that new couponers visit their closest store and ask a member of customer service about their polices to understand that individual’s store rules.
Today, we’re looking at BI-LO.
BI-LO has been in operation since 1961 and can be found throughout South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia. BI-LO has aWeb site, www.bi-lo.com, where shoppers can look at the weekly ad, which includes tabs for the buy-one-get-one-free deals
of the week and items featured in extended sales known as “price locks.” You can also find out what local produce is in season and download a guide to plan meals around seasonal produce. The site also has a weekly loss leader called a “Meal Deal.”
The meal deal requires the purchase of a main entrée but includes three to four items that are free. Last week’s meal deal was to buy one Zatarain’s Meals for Two for $7.99 and get a bag of Southern Home (store brand) vegetables, box of Texas garlic toast and container Talenti Gelato or Sorbetto free. The value of the free items was valued at $9.37. What’s even better about deals like this one is that you can use coupons on the main item and occasionally on the free products, too.
BI-LO doubles manufacturer coupons up to 60 cents with its rewards card, called the BI-LO Bonuscard. When a coupon is doubled, it becomes twice its face value. That means a 50-cent coupon becomes $1.A 65-cent coupon or higher will be redeemed at face value. Overage will not be given for any product, meaning that you cannot make money off any product. However, you can get that item free and just pay sales tax.
The stores in this region do not round up values to $1 as they do in other regions. Only paper manufacturer coupons from newspapers and magazines and computer-printed coupons are doubled, so I highly suggest that paper coupons be a primary source for savings.
The coupon guidelines can be found on the store Web site, but I will go over the basics: Coupons should be handed to the cashier at the beginning of the transaction along with the Bonuscard. I suggest putting coupons that require writing in the value, such as free product coupons, buy one get one free, etc., on top of your other coupons and letting the cashier know to look out for those items during the checkout process. BI-LO has a limit of 10 coupons on like items that will be doubled. After a person exceeds 10, further coupons are redeemed at face value only.
You can use one manufacturer coupon and one store coupon per item, which means that you can stack a store coupon with a manufacturer coupon on a single item. Store coupons can be found through mail by registering your home address with your Bonuscard, in seasonal store booklets and online. Store coupons and electronic coupons are not doubled. BI-LO also accepts local competitor coupons on identical items.
BI-LO participates with Upromise and SavingStar and has its own e-coupon section on its Web sites.
I hope this made shopping at BI-LO easier. Join us next week as we look at another local chain.
Until next time, happy shopping!