I’m Not an Extreme Couponer, But I Can *Easily* Save Almost 50% on Groceries — Here’s How

updated Jan 15, 2021
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I’ve long been the kind of shopper who navigates a circuit of grocery stores in order to snag the best deals. In addition to picking and choosing where I buy what, I am also an ardent advocate for using manufacturer’s coupons, which I clip from the Sunday paper. (Unfortunately, I often leave my envelope of coupons at home, but that’s another story.) So, of course, I’m a huge fan of grocery store reward programs. Join for free and save money! I’ll join any free reward program, but there’s one program in particular that’s completely changed the game: Safeway’s “just for U” program.

While Safeway has always been in my rotation of stores, it was never my primary store — that is, until I discovered the “just for U” program. A while back I started spotting tags at Safeway emblazoned with “just for U” deals that were somehow even lower than the member discounts at my local warehouse store. It’s truly changed the way I shop in the past year. Allow me to explain just how great it is and why I love it so much.

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Why I Love Safeway’s “Just for U” Program

Every week, the “just for U” app offers new digital coupons. Shoppers can “clip” the deals online or via the app while they’re in the aisle. No matter which approach you choose, the deals are loaded directly to your account.

Within the app you’ll also find savings tailored specially to your shopping habits. For example, I’m often offered $1 off frozen food, $1 off O Organics products, $1 off the produce department, and $1 off the bakery department. (These are catchall coupons that apply to any item within that department rather than brand-specific deals, which I really appreciate.)

What makes these digital coupons all the more lucrative is that they’re stackable. (If I purchase a package of pre-washed O Organic brand spinach, I can stack it with my produce department coupon, which brings the price down from $5 to $3.) The just for U program also often offers $5 off your $50 purchase or $10 off your $50 purchase (those stack, too). When I take advantage of both deals, I can save up to 30 percent on a $50 grocery trip.

You can also use manufacturer’s coupons, in addition to just for U deals, many of which are also available to clip within the app. Last week I brought a $62.50 purchase down to $31.18 just by using all of the in-app coupons I clipped. (And honestly, this steep discount is pretty standard!) But that’s not all! You also earn points for every dollar spent — and these points can be converted into more dollars off your total bill on your next trip. It’s the program that keeps giving — and keeps me saving.

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PSA: Everyone Should Join Their Grocery Store’s Loyalty Program

Since discovering this program, I’ve transitioned as much of my shopping to Safeway as possible. But the beauty of the Safeway program is that it’s also available at Vons and Albertsons as well. While I’ve found this to be the best loyalty program among the bigger grocery store chains, nearly all the stores I shop at have some form of loyalty program that rewards you with savings.

No matter where you’re shopping, it’s always worth scanning your loyalty program app, or scrolling through the store’s most recent email blast before you go (or at least before you check out). And swing by the customer service desk to make sure that your phone number is linked to your account, so that you never have to worry about leaving your membership card at home. Just my two cents. Which I’d like to stack and figure out how to turn into four cents.

Are you a member of your grocery store’s rewards program? What’s the most money you’ve saved on a single trip?