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The Coupon Lady: Area stores' coupon policies

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As ethical couponers, we always want to respect and follow all coupon policies and guidelines when shopping. Coupon policies change often and can vary from store to store within the same chain, so consider the following information to be a guideline only. Always get your policy firsthand on the store’s Web site or by talking to a customer service representative.

Bi-Lo

Bi-Lo doubles coupons up to 60 cents every day when you use your store loyalty card. You are allowed to use other competitors’ coupons at its stores.

Other chains are considered competitors if they have a location within a 5- to 10-mile radius. Unless the coupon says otherwise, you are allowed to use 10 of the same coupon on a product and still have it doubled. Any other coupons past 10 will be honored at face value. If the coupon has a limit, the limit stated will be followed. You are allowed to use one manufacturer coupon and one store coupon per item.

Competitor coupons will be considered store coupons and limited to 10 per transaction. Manufacturer coupons double, but store coupons do not. Bi-Lo has a coupon policy available on its Web site with more details.

Kroger

Kroger’s policies can vary greatly, so my information is strictly for the Augusta area. Kroger doubles coupons up to50 cents every day when you use your Kroger Plus Card. Kroger will accept store and manufacturer coupons on the same item. The store also has electronic coupons that can be loaded to your Kroger Plus Card, but those coupons do not double and are limited to one item only.

If you’ve lived in other parts of the country, you might be familiar with Kroger’s rounding-up policy. However, this area does not round up coupons valued between 51 and99 cents. For those of you not familiar with the practice, a store that participated in rounding up would take a 55-cent coupon and round up the value to $1. In this area, Kroger will redeem a55-cent coupon at face value only.

Publix

Publix will double coupons with values up to50 cents. All other coupons are redeemed at face value. Publix also takes competitor coupons. Each store posts its list of competitors near the customer service desk. Publix also allows the stacking of one store coupon and one manufacturer coupon per item. Competitor coupons are also considered store coupons. Store coupons do not double.

The Wednesday edition of The Augusta Chronicle carries a Publix ad that allows customers to purchase a “Mystery Item” for only a penny with any $10 purchase. Recent mystery items have included paper towels and cans of chicken broth.

Fred’s

Fred’s is not a grocery store, but on Saturdays, it does allow doubling up to 70 cents. Fred’s will only accept manufacturer coupons. On Saturday, only one coupon per identical item is doubled, per customer, per Saturday. The store does not allow overage, meaning that if doubling makes the item free, then the coupon will be accepted at face value only. If the price of an item is matched with a competitor, then the coupons will not be doubled for that particular item.

Food Lion

Food Lion does not double coupons. It has a coupon policy available on its Web site, but finding it takes a little searching. To reach it, go under the FAQ link at the bottom of the homepage. The last highlighted question on the FAQ page will take you to a link of the PDF of the coupon policy.

Food Lion accepts paper and Internet printable coupons from manufacturers, coupons from its Web page and coupons from catalina machines. Coupons must be within expiration date and must meet purchase requirements specified on the coupon. This means that if a particular coupon says “one coupon per transaction,” then multiple coupons of that item will not be allowed on one purchase. Food Lion limits coupons to 10 of the same item during a purchase.

These guidelines will help you understand the basic rules of some of our area stores. Hope you see you out there with binder in hand!


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