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IN THE BAG

Shopping column: Saving money a 'plus' with card, digital coupons

You can download coupons straight to a Kroger store card for even better deals.

Friday, March 1, 2013 - 12:01 am

I'll be the first to admit I'm not good at clipping coupons. Much of my grocery shopping in the past has involved going to a big-box store known for competitive pricing and just slinging things in my cart, paying little attention to the prices.

However, after a bad experience at said big-box store (waiting in line more than 40 minutes), I have vowed to change my ways.

My co-worker, Sheryl Krieg, is a savvy coupon shopper who does most of her shopping at Kroger. She sat down with me this week with a Kroger ad and a recent receipt to show me how she saves about $25-$30 a week off her Kroger bill. (Hint: It takes planning.)

First of all, let me clear up a rumor. The Kroger stores in this area (the Central Division) are still doubling manufacturers' coupons up to 50 cents. Other Kroger divisions, such as the one that includes Cincinnati, are not.

For optimum shopping at Kroger, you must have a Kroger Plus Card, and it has to be swiped every time you check out. That gives you all the sale prices for the week.

But here's how to save even more with digital coupons. You have to go online to www.kroger.com to set up an account using your Kroger Plus Card. It doesn't take long and isn't complicated. Once you've set up your account, you log in and click on “Coupons.” When you find one you want to use, click “Load to Card,” and it is automatically loaded onto your Kroger Plus Card. There's no more fumbling with paper coupons — the coupon value is automatically deducted when you check out.

Once you've loaded all the coupons you want, you can print out a list of what you've loaded. That's important to do, because sometimes they're very specific — you might have to buy two of a product, or a certain size. Some digital coupons can be used up to five times in a single transaction.

Now for the fine print: Digital coupons can't be combined with manufacturer's paper coupons on the purchase of a single item, and they do not double. A limit of 150 coupons can be loaded onto your card at one time.

Here's an example of how I saved money. The Kroger ad advertised a package of Oreo cookies for $2.77, but a digital coupon was available for an additional 55 cents off, so I got my package of Oreos for $2.22.

Yes, it's time-consuming to go through the ad and the digital coupons, but you will save money and probably become more aware of what you're paying for individual items, too. And that's a good thing.

Farmers market

Fort Wayne Farmers Market will be open 9 a.m.-noon Saturday at Parkview Field's Lincoln Financial Event Center, 1301 Ewing St. More than 40 vendors will be selling food, farm products, natural products and handcrafted items. Ivy Tech's Culinary Arts program will do a cooking demonstration.

In other farmers market news, the New Haven Farm Market is partnering with the Fort Wayne Farmers Market this coming summer. The New Haven market will be 4-7 p.m. Wednesdays, June 19-Oct. 16, at Schnelker Park, 956 Park Ave., New Haven.

The partnership will provide vendors with a single, streamlined application process to register for as many satellite markets as they would like, with discounts for selling at multiple markets.

Trunk show benefits Embassy

Christopher James Menswear in Covington Plaza, 6410 W. Jefferson Blvd., is hosting its Spring Trunk Shows on March 8 and 9 to benefit the historic Embassy Theatre.

See the latest in men's fashions from Hickey Freeman, Coppley, Robert Talbott and Allen Edmonds. The store will donate 5 percent of its sales from Thursday through March 9 to support the theater and its summer educational programs.

From 4 to 8 p.m. March 8, there will be food and drinks from Casa Ristoranti Italiano, and representatives of the above-mentioned companies will be on hand. Somebody from The Shoe Cobbler will be there Friday night as well, offering one free complimentary shoe shine per customer.

Kevin Bowman of Polo/Ralph Lauren will be there too, representing Cunningham Optical with the hottest eyewear.

You can see an expanded collection of made-in-America shoes from Allen Edmonds. If you bring in slightly worn shoes, the store will donate them to Soles 4 Souls, a nonprofit that provides shoes to those in need, and you'll get $35 off the purchase of a new pair of Allen Edmonds shoes.

Show me your choppers

That's what they'll be saying to your dogs and cats 2-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday if you take them to PetSmart, 1760 Apple Glen Blvd., for a free dental checkup.

Banfield Pet Hospital veterinary technicians and Greenies brand representatives will facilitate the free in-store oral health assessments. You'll leave with coupons for products and services and knowledge on how to best care for your dog's or cat's oral health.

Donate dresses, professional attire

Women's clothing retailer dressbarn plans an S.O.S. Send One Suit Weekend to benefit the nonprofit Dress for Success, which provides professional attire for women re-entering the workforce.

Drop off your new or gently used professional attire, including suits, dress shirts, blazers, pants, dresses and shoes, Thursday-March 10 at dressbarn, 1034 Thomas Road. As a thank you, dressbarn will offer donors 15 percent in total purchase savings for their generosity.

Sweet Sunday

The Monogram Shoppe and more …, 6410 W. Jefferson Blvd. in Covington Plaza, is hosting Sweet Sunday noon-4 p.m. this Sunday. It is a candy buffet similar to what is served at wedding receptions. A photo album will be given to the first 30 brides. Elegant Cakes will serve mini cupcakes, and the Olive Twist will provide a sweet treat. There will be specials on wedding accessories that day.

Bra fitting

If you're reading this early Friday you still have time to get fitted for a bra 11 a.m.-5 p.m. today at Von Maur in Jefferson Pointe, 4202 W. Jefferson Blvd.

It's part of Wacoal's Fit for the Cure event. For every woman who stops by Von Maur today and gets fitted in Wacoal or b.tempt'd intimate apparel by a Wacoal fit specialist and signs up to get a monthly email reminder to do a breast self-exam, Wacoal will donate $2 to Susan G. Komen for the Cure for breast cancer research and community health programs.

Wacoal also will donate an additional $2 for every Wacoal bra, shape wear piece or b.tempt'd bra purchased at this event.

Know of a store opening, closing or remodeling? Find a good deal? Call Cindy Larson at 461-8284, fax 461-8817, email clarson@news-sentinel.com or write to: In the Bag, C/O The News-Sentinel, PO Box 102, Fort Wayne, IN 46801. To read other columns, go to www.news-sentinel.com/section/LARSON.