I used to dread going to the grocery store. Every time the cashier scanned an item at the checkout, I felt like I was watching my money disappear into thin air.
But since I switched stores, I actually enjoy grocery shopping (did I really just say that?).
For those of you who might not be familiar with it, Winn-Dixie is a southern regional grocer similar to Safeway, Piggly Wiggly or Stop & Shop.
If you live in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana or Mississippi and have yet to try Winn-Dixie, you might want to consider doing your next round of grocery shopping there — you just might fall in love with it.
Here’s why Winn-Dixie is one of my favorite grocery stores — and how to save and earn (that’s right — earn!) the most money on your next visit:
1. Sign Up for a Winn-Dixie Rewards Card
Winn-Dixie’s reward program is essential to shopping there. As a member, I get lower prices every day of the week.
For example, I recently bought two packages of Cafe Bustelo coffee for $5, which saved me an entire dollar overall. I also bought 10 containers of Dannon Greek Yogurt at 85 cents apiece instead of the original 10 for $10 deal.
Membership also lets me…
2. Earn Winn-Dixie fuelperks!
Gas is expensive and we all know it. However, shopping at Winn-Dixie can make those prices at the pump bearable.
Winn-Dixie’s fuelperks! program is one of the main reasons why I shop there; for every $50 I spend, I receive 5 cents off each gallon during my next visit to the pump.
I buy groceries for two people about twice a month, and I usually end up earning at least 25 cents during each trip. If I wait until the end of the month to use my fuelperks!, I can get 50 cents or more off each gallon of gas. That means sometimes I’ll only pay $1.47 a gallon!
By planning ahead, you can save these fuelperks! for when you’re strapped for cash. I like to save mine for the day after I pay rent, when my bank account is almost empty (#college).
Winn-Dixie also offers bonus fuelperks! on select items marked with blue stickers. Purchasing one of these items can help you save anywhere from 5 to 15 cents or more on gas.
You can stack these bonus fuelperks! on top of the regular ones to save even more; I’ve seen people spend absolutely nothing at the pump.
3. Download the Winn-Dixie App
The Winn-Dixie app gives you access to everything you need.
Forget your rewards card at home? No problem, just have the cashier scan it from your app.
Forget to check the weekly ad before heading in? Don’t worry, you can easily access it from your phone.
Between working and going to school full time, I barely have time to sleep, let alone sit down and go through a grocery ad. I like to scroll through the app while I’m waiting in line at the library or have downtime in between classes — it’s so much easier than trying to keep track of a bunch of loose pages.
4. Make Your Shopping List Online
One of the biggest reasons I used to blow too much hard-earned cash while grocery shopping is because I never made a shopping list.
I would meander down aisles, thinking I was saving big by buying marked-down products, but really, I was doing more harm to my budget than good.
When you create a shopping list, you can plan exactly how much money you’re going to spend at the store — and if you don’t stray from the list, you won’t have any surprises at the end.
On Winn-Dixie’s website, you can easily create a shopping list directly from the digital weekly ad by clicking on the products you want. That shopping list automatically appears in your app, so you have no excuse for buying things you didn’t plan for!
In case you’re on the go, you can also create a list directly in the app.
5. Download or Print Winn-Dixie Coupons
While you’re scanning Winn-Dixie’s website or app, don’t forget to look at the coupons.
Be sure to note that Winn-Dixie’s coupon policy changed back in 2014. While you can no longer get credit for coupons with values that exceed product prices — so when you use a $2 off coupon on an item that costs $1.59, you won’t get back the extra 41 cents — stores still welcome manufacturer coupons.
The best part is, you can download them directly to your rewards card, making checkout a breeze.
For those of you who still get joy out of literally clipping coupons, don’t worry — Winn Dixie has printable versions, too.
6. Bring Competitor Coupons
Although Winn-Dixie recently changed its company-wide policy of accepting competitor coupons, you still may be able to use them at some stores.
Head to customer service before you begin shopping and ask if your store accepts coupons from other local grocery stores — it never hurts to ask.
7. Join the Baby Club
I haven’t used this program, but it’s a great additional way to save.
If you’re expecting or have a baby up to three years old, then you’re eligible to enroll in Winn-Dixie’s Baby Club. Members receive an additional 10 cents off each gallon of gas for every $25 they spend on baby products.
In addition to knocking some change off the price at the pump, members are eligible for free or discounted generic antibiotics — and they receive a $10 gift card when they fill their baby’s first prescription.
8. Find the Markdown Day for Meats
While most people believe that you have to consume food by the “use or freeze by” date, that isn’t true — that date has nothing to do with food safety.
Winn-Dixie butchers stick high-value coupons on meat products that are close to their “use or freeze by” dates. Be sure to look for those items when you’re ready to stock up — I’ve seen chicken get as low as the 50-cents-per-pound mark.
I’ve purchased many packages of marked-down meats from Winn-Dixie, and they’ve all been great.
9. Sign Up for Pharmacy Perks
For $5 a year, you can access free select antibiotics, free quarterly wellness screenings, discounted annual vaccines, fuelperks! whenever you fill a prescription and even 30-day supplies of generic prescriptions for as low as $4.
All of those benefits cost you a mere 42 cents per month — that’s it.
Plus, when you sign up and buy your first prescription, you’ll get a $5 coupon loaded directly onto your rewards card.
10. Buy Cheap Wine and Spirits
Winn-Dixie’s wine and spirits store offers pretty much everything you need — and it even sells buy-one, get-one-free bundles of spirits and mixers. September’s alcohol ad offered a bottle of Jameson Irish Whiskey with a bottle of Seagram’s ginger ale for only $23.95 with a rewards card.
The same bottle of Jameson sells for $22.99 at ABC Fine Wine & Spirits — without the ginger ale.
The best part is that Winn-Dixie’s Wine & Spirits will match any local competitor’s advertised price on identical products, so be sure to bring in those ads.
11. Do the Survey
If you’re one of those people who shoves your receipts into your pocket or handbag only to forget about them (trust me, I used to be one of them), you might want to stop — you could be missing out on free money.
At the bottom of each Winn-Dixie receipt, there’s a code for you to enter on tellwinndixie.com that brings you to a quick survey.
Fill out the survey within 72 hours of your visit and instantly download a $5 off coupon for any purchase of $40 or more. The coupon is good for up to four weeks after you redeem it and you can automatically add it to your rewards card — no clipping required.
12. Check Ibotta for Rebates
If you’re a true Penny Hoarder, you’re already thinking of more ways to stretch your dollar after you leave the store.
Winn-Dixie is available on Ibotta, which gives you rebates on your groceries just for taking a photo of your receipt. As I write this, the app offers rebates for yogurt, Diet Coke, eggs, onions, laundry detergent, wine and more.
Stack Deals and Strategies to Save More Money
The last time I went grocery shopping, I bought $172.88 worth of organic items to feed two people for two weeks, as well as two weeks’ worth of dog food.
I saved $16.88 with my rewards card and coupons. When I got home, I redeemed $4 on Ibotta.
In total, I only spent $152 on those groceries. The strategies above helped me save $20.88.
Plus, I earned 25 cents off each gallon of gas during my next fill-up and received a coupon for $5 off my next purchase by completing the survey at the bottom of my receipt.
Your turn: What do you love about Winn-Dixie? Tell us in the comments below!
Kelly Smith is an editorial intern at The Penny Hoarder and a senior at The University of Tampa. Winn-Dixie’s fuelperks! is one of the only ways that she can afford gas.