Great news, Northern California shoppers : Safeway is rolling out a new savings program called Just For U, and it's going to lower your grocery bills like never before. At first I was skeptical because I already love Safeway's Club Card program and I didn't want them to scrap it -- but I've since learned that the Just For U program doesn't replace the Club Card program, it enhances it.
Safeway invited me and a group of other bloggers (like Citymama and Safewaygirl and The Frugal Find and The Mom Jen) to their headquarters in Pleasanton, CA to tell us all about it. The Just For U program gives you 3 ways to save using your Safeway Club Card:
Now you can "download" manufacturer's coupons to your Safeway card! Instead of stealing the Sunday paper from your local coffeeshop, clipping out the coupons and having to remember to take them to the store, just go to the Safeway Coupon Center. They have hundreds of coupons every week (the largest online coupon center in North America!), and all you have to do to get them is log on to your Safeway.com account, go to the Safeway Coupon Center and click on the coupons you want. They'll be registered on your Safeway Club Card, so when you buy the item at Safeway and use your Club Card, the coupon will be redeemed automatically.
2) Personalized Deals
Based on your shopping history, the Just For U program creates a list of items you buy frequently (or items you might want to buy) and gives you a special price for them. These Personalized Deals are just that -- the Club Card shopper in front of you at the checkout stand will have a completely different set of Personalized Deals. To take advantage of these Personalized Deals, log on to your Safeway.com account, go to the Personalized Deals section and click on the products you want. Heck, click on all of them -- they're valid for 90 days and there's no item limit, and you don't need to do anything other than give them your Safeway card at the checkout line.
3) Club Card Specials
Yup, you still get the Club Card Specials that you know and love. What's more, you can see all your current local Club Card Specials online, and even create and print a shopping list from that list of Club Card Specials so you don't have to wander the aisles searching for a Club Card Special you might need. You can also include Coupon Items and Personalized Deals in your Just For U shopping list so you don't miss any opportunity to save.
After our Just For U 101 session, we headed to a local Safeway store, where we were given a $50 Safeway gift card and told to shop for some items on our Just For U shopping list so we could see the savings rack up. I admit, I had visions of racing around Safeway, piling as many items into my shopping cart as I could get my hands on in 1 minute -- but sadly, there were no sweepstakes shopping races that day. Still, $50 is $50 and I wanted to see how far that money could go with the Just For U program.
I love Oroweat's Country Buttermilk bread, but I don't buy it too often because it's expensive ($4.79) compared to Safeway bread. Even on sale, it's usually about $2.50. So I'm overjoyed that it's on my Personalized Deals list for only $1.95! So I get to buy Oroweat whenever I want for the next 3 months without having to wait until it goes on sale, or having to hoard it and freeze it when it does.
I think this is the first time I've ever used a manufacturer's coupon -- it was for $1 off a $4 bottle of Newman's Own dressing. Thanks to the Just For U program, I didn't have to clip any coupons or remember to bring them to the store. My purse is messy enough as it is without it being clogged with a bunch of paper coupons!
Bertolli pasta sauce is regularly $3 per bottle, $2.49 with Club Card savings -- but this happened to be one of my Personalized Deals items, so I only paid $2.02 for it!
See that 10-pound bag of potatoes? It was on sale for 97 cents, and with the 50-cent coupon I got from the Coupon Center, I only paid 50 cents! Fifty cents for ten pounds of potatoes.... what is this, 1945? At that price, we'll be having potatoes for dinner for the next 3 days!
In total, I bought $57.38 worth of groceries and paid $36.89, for a total savings of 36%. I like to take note of the "Total Savings Value" that gets printed on my Safeway receipt, and usually it's in the 20%-25% range, so 36% was phenomenal for me -- and it was all thanks to the new Just For U savings program. Of course, I did have to do some pretty careful planning -- I stuck to my Just For U shopping list which only contained items that had coupon savings, Club Card Savings or Personalized Deals (or a combination), and I was pretty meticulous about making sure I was getting the correct item and size to qualify for the discounts. Truthfully, I don't really like having to print out a shopping list -- but once Safeway rolls out a Just For U mobile app for the Android platform (they said it's in the works), I'll be able to whip it out to remind myself of the discounts that are currently on my Club Card -- then I'll be unstoppable.
Disclosure: I was invited to a blogger event that included breakfast and lunch. At the event, I was given a $50 Safeway giftcard so I could shop and see how the Just For U program works; I was also given an assortment of Safeway groceries and a second $50 Safeway giftcard to take home. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.