I spent $30 on 60 participating grocery products in the Kroger Mega Savings Event (that’s about 50 cents per item). I would have spent over $160 if I would have purchased those same items at regular price when they weren’t having a special sales promotion. That’s a savings of about 80%. And on top of that I collected $4.70 worth of Box Tops for Education to give to our Elementary School.

Don’t forget to enter my Kroger $30 Gift Card Giveaway (now expired). Thanks goes to General Mills, PepsiCo, and MyBlogSpark for providing me with the $30 gift card to spend. It certainly was a fun challenge to see just how far I could make my coupons go. I had some special high-value coupons I was saving (like B1G1 Free SoBe), coupons from friends, and coupons from a Kroger mailer that I used.

Here are general grocery store savings tips that can be applied to almost any store:

1. Read the weekly ad. It seems pretty basic, but most people do not read their weekly ad. Read it so you know what’s on sale and about any special promotions.

2. Buy items on sale. Look for the good sales on items your family normally eats. Even better use your coupons when those items are on sale to increase your savings.

3. Take advantage of store promotions. Look for store promotions where you get extra savings for buying a specific number of participating items.

4. Watch for Catalina deals. But as I found out, don’t bet on them. They can be unreliable meaning they just don’t always print for you and there’s not much you can do about it. I got a $1.50 Catalina coupon in my above transaction, but I was expecting to get more. For some reason the printing only triggered once, proving to me once again that Catalina deals are unreliable.

5. Use coupons. Gather all the coupons you can, then use the ones that will save you the most on what you need or what you can stock-up on while it’s on sale. If your store offers eCoupons, use them. I used a coupon on every single item I bought, and I even got a peelie coupon for free Old El Paso taco seasoning for buying the taco shells. I also took advantage of my Kroger doubling and tripling coupons so that my lower value coupons ($0.35) were actually worth more than my higher value coupons.

6. Do rebates. I’ve listed some “free after rebate” offers that you may want to take advantage of. Just be sure to read all the details and make sure you complete your rebate request correctly