This article is written by a woman who knows everything there is to know about saving money at Fresh & Easy: Chenay Schroeder. This article answers every question you may have about shopping at this store. If you have any questions, just post them and Chenay Schroeder will answer them for you. Please welcome her as This Mommy Saves Moneys first guest blogger!
Chenay J. Schroeder
I’ll bet you have driven past a quirky looking store in your neighborhood; and you may have wondered what was inside, or you may have never given it a second thought. Either way, you should know what lies inside this quirky store, otherwise known as Fresh and Easy.
You are obviously on this site to learn how to save some money, so how can this quirky neighborhood store possibly save you any money? I am here to tell you that it can!
Let’s cover the basics first. What’s inside this store? Pretty much everything you will find in a conventional store, and some other great products to boot. It is a smaller store than the other giant chains like Vons and Albertsons, but you can still find basic name brand items in this store.
What makes Fresh and Easy so quirky and special? Something most moms can really appreciate when feeding their precious offspring, a plethora of organic foods and natural products at an AFFORDABLE price. Fresh and Easy’s claim to fame is that their own brand “contains no artificial colors, flavors, high-fructose corn syrup, and no added trans fats”. It today’s quest for a healthier lifestyle isn’t that just awesome! You don’t have to spend an entire paycheck while trying to feed your family healthy food!
Fresh and Easy is very environment and family conscious so you will see reserved parking spots for hybrid cars and/or customers with families. They also encourage you to use cloth bags instead of plastic. And in order to keep costs down, they have minimal employees, and you scan and bag your own groceries.
So now you know that this little neighborhood store really is a one stop shop. You can purchase anything from apples to zesty premade meals, and everything in between at great prices.
So how do you shop Fresh and Easy? How do you maximize your savings?
Here are the Fresh and Easy 10 commandments:
1.) Get their membership card (it’s FREE)
2.) Sign up to receive emails (They send you extra weekly coupons!). You can also check your account and convert your points to cash * (See #4)
3.) Make sure in your circular ads that come in the mail every week, you clip the coupon included on the Fresh and Easy ad. (Fresh and Easy DOES NOT accept any manufacturer coupons, they only accept their own. So you want to maximize the number of your coupons when you shop there).
4.) Many of their products will have bonus points attached to them. For every 100 bonus points you accumulate on your card, you can go online to your account and convert that to $1.00 in cash to use toward your next transaction. Unlike the coupons that have a minimum purchase amount to redeem, there is NO minimum purchase amount for using your bonus points you converted to cash. And you CAN use your cash and coupons together.
5.) If you have a choice between two products, and they don’t differ greatly in price, always opt for the item that has bonus points. (They mark the items in the store and in their ad that will have bonus points).
6.) Since Fresh and Easy does not accept manufacturer coupons, generally you do not want to purchase items there that you have coupons for; that you can use at another store and get a lower price (unless in your price comparison you see that Fresh and Easy will still be the cheapest).
How can you tell if it will be cheaper to purchase a regular item with their coupon, over purchasing another store and using a manufacturer coupon? Fresh and Easy coupons always come in certain monetary increments. $3 off $30 (or 10%), $5 off $25 (or 20%), etc. So you look at your item and the coupon value you have. Will 20% off that item at Fresh and Easy beat another store with a manufacturer coupon?
7.) Purchase items that there are rarely manufacturer coupons for : meat, vegetables, fruit, bread, pasta, frozen vegetables, canned foods, rice, beans, coffee, nuts, organic items, natural products, etc. Fresh and Easy is very comparable in prices to other stores for these items, and even cheaper if you use a coupon.
8.) Stack your coupons. You should get at least 2 coupons a week, the one that comes in the mail, the other in your email. You must purchase the monetary value increment to redeem each coupon. Example: You have 2 $6 off $30 purchase. In order to use each of those coupons, you will need to spend $60 total.
9.) THE MOST IMPORTANT Fresh and Easy rule: DO NOT EXCEED YOUR COUPON VALUE!!! If you have a $6 off $30 purchase, that’s the same as 20% off your purchase, (another way to think of it is 20% off each item you purchase – so you can better compare your purchase price on individual items. Remember from grade school – The sum of all parts equals the whole). But the moment you go over the $30 you start decreasing your savings, and potentially ruin great deals, especially if you could get a better deal at another store with a manufacturer coupon.
How do you stick to your coupon value? Do your math as you shop. Keep track of what your total is going to be. Depending on what other shopping you plan on doing that week, with other sales and coupons, it may be a light or heavy Fresh and Easy week for you. Cardinal rule with couponing: Just because you have a coupon, doesn’t mean you HAVE to use it. If this is going to be a light week for you, you don’t have to spend enough money to use your 2 coupons. Let’s say you have 2 $6 of $30 coupons, and you only need $45 worth of items. Why not split your purchase up between weeks to maximize your savings. What do you NEED this week? What can you add or take off your purchase to get to your coupon value? It’s easiest to do this with your non-perishable items. “I’m low on pasta, but if I buy 4 packs right now for the month, I’ll go over my coupon value. I’m really only planning on using one this week, so I’ll buy 2 this week and 2 more next week when I need to meet my coupon value”. OR “I’m $1.00 short of my coupon value; I’ll add a can of tomato sauce because I know I will definitely use that item”.
If you know that Fresh and Easy will be a heavy week for you, but you don’t have enough coupons, you can break your purchase up between weeks by adding/subtracting non-perishables. Or you can scan the coupons you do have multiple times, as long as you are still within the monetary increment. You will need to feed a blank piece of paper into the coupon slot at the register. They usually have scraps of paper at the register so you can do this.
10.) Know your coupon values and how they cycle. The most common Fresh and Easy coupon is the $3 of $30 purchase (10%). No need to rush to the store and use up this coupon if this is all you have. They are common, and low in value. This is especially true if you aren’t a weekly Fresh and Easy shopper, but maybe go every other week or so. If you aren’t an every week Fresh and Easy frequenter, you should hold out for those larger coupon values. $5 off $25 and $6 off $30 are the best coupons to use because they’re 20% off and you don’t have to spend a lot to use them. They do have $5 off $50, $10 off $50, $14 off $70, $16 off $80 coupons. They are all really just 20% off your purchase, but you have to spend a whole lot more to use them. Around any of the holidays, Christmas, super bowl, Easter, 4th of July, they always put out the better coupons.
Those are your Fresh and Easy cardinal rules. Once you master them, you will learn how Fresh and Easy can be a great way to save your family money, and help your family eat healthier as an extra bonus! Eating healthy doesn’t have to cost you more, and you can still save on other family favorites. So be brave and venture into that that quirky store in your neighborhood. You will be pleasantly surprised by the hidden deals that await you.