Of all the stores I shop, I frequent Fred Meyer the most. I’ve personally assembled the coupon matchup posts for over seven years now and have been able to learn how to maximize coupons direct from corporate. For awhile now, I’ve wanted to put together a post in plain English to help you make the most of saving money at Fred Meyer. I’m going to cover coupons, yes, but also share tips for clearance, sales trends, and special days to shop.
Using Coupons at Fred Meyer
In general, Fred Meyer is not a place to practice extreme couponing. This is because you’re limited to 5 like manufacturer coupons you can use, and many store coupons also limit quantity. However, Fred Meyer has great sales and generally low prices across the board, so it’s a great place to save on your overall bill and practice more of what I like to call common sense couponing.
Here are some basics about using coupons at Fred Meyer:
- You CAN stack store coupons and manufacturer coupons. Store coupons are routinely found in the weekly ad, monthly savings booklet, and on store shelves. They are also sometimes sent to email subscribers.
- You CAN use printable coupons. Fred Meyer accepts printable coupons, but they must not be blurry or altered, and must scan properly. Only two Internet coupons per manufacturer are accepted per day.
- You are limited to 5 like manufacturer coupons. For all insert and paper coupons, you are limited to 5 “like” manufacturer coupons.
- Fred Meyer offers e-coupons. You can load e-coupons to your Fred Meyer card that will come off at the point of sale. Unless otherwise noted, these are manufacturer’s coupons and cannot be stacked with a paper manufacturer coupon. If you try to present a paper coupon, it will beep.
- Fred Meyer does not offer overage. If your coupon(s) exceed the purchase price of an item, the cashier will make an adjustment. You cannot “make” money using coupons.
As always, it goes without saying that cashiers and managers reserve the right to decline any coupon at any time, for any reason. I almost never run into issues using coupons at Fred Meyer and find most of the cashiers at my store to be extremely coupon friendly. You may wish to print and keep handy a copy of Fred Meyer’s coupon policy.
Making Sense of Extra Bonus and Special Store Coupons
Fred Meyer is more than a grocery store; they offer apparel, sporting, home, furniture, toy, and other departments. Fred Meyer will regularly put out coupons good for these departments in their ads, and it’s important to understand how these coupons work as they can often be stacked!
Extra Bonus coupons tend to cover a large area of the store, such as the Home Department or Apparel. Always read the exclusions – these help you identify what you can and cannot use the coupons on. Extra Bonus coupons tend to exclude clearance and Price Blaster items.
Here’s an example of a store coupon that appeared in the same ad as the Apparel Extra Bonus coupon above. While you cannot stack Extra Bonus coupons, you CAN stack a store coupon with an Extra Bonus coupon. The tricky thing is these coupons appeared in completely different sections of the ad and if you were not paying attention, you might have missed they can be stacked!
In other words, you could do this to save on the purchase of socks:
- 15% off Apparel & Accessories Extra Bonus Coupon
- AND Buy one, get one 1/2 off socks coupon
This is exactly why I cover the non-grocery portion of Fred Meyer’s ad! I want to navigate all the coupons available to you to make sure you don’t miss them. Don’t rely on your cashiers to remind you if there is a coupon you can use.
Also, there is no harm in asking your cashier to scan an Extra Bonus or store coupon if you’re not sure it applies or not. The worst thing that can happen is the coupon will read “does not apply,” and you’ll move on. Sometimes I’ve had the pleasant experience of watching several dollars roll off my total, just because I asked the cashier to try to scan it.
Understanding Clearance at Fred Meyer
Fred Meyer regularly has items on clearance in apparel and home. It will often start at 40% off clearance, and the most I’ve seen it go up to is 60%. Each store may be different, but it’s worth saying that sometimes the clearance will be interspersed in a department. For instance, when they move select items in the home department to 40% off clearance, you may find these items in the toy section, bedding, bath, kitchen, and lighting. There may also be special aisles or places in the store reserved for clearance. It pays to walk around sometimes!
Important: remember that Extra Bonus and most store coupons exclude clearance. Sometimes I’ve found it’s almost better to jump on a 50% off sale with an extra bonus coupon than buy the same item on clearance. Case in point – the pressure canner above is on sale for half off. It’s not labeled as clearance! That means you could use a Home Extra Bonus coupon on top of it, if there was one available. I want to say a couple weeks after I reported this, this item went on 40% off clearance. That would be roughly $44.99 versus $59.99 on clearance. Pay attention.
Another category of clearance to watch for is after-holiday sales. In particular, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween and Thanksgiving. In mid-summer, they’ll start moving items like patio furniture to clearance to make room for school supply displays.
I’ve additionally identified “hot spots” in the grocery section of my store where food and paper goods go to clearance. There’s one in produce, another in meat, another in frozen, and another near the dairy aisle. Last time I was there, I found 2 12-packs of Cottenelle toilet paper for $2.99 – AND one had a $1.50/2 peelie coupon on it!
Making the Most of Fred Meyer’s Reward Program
Fred Meyer offers a free Rewards program that’s worth signing up for, in my book. It won’t get you special prices throughout the store, but it will earn you valuable quarterly rebates. You’ll also be able to take advantage of Fred Meyer’s e-coupons, and they generally put out a FREE product e-coupon on Fridays.
For every 100 points you earn (about $100 spent), you’ll receive a $0.10 fuel savings as well, up to $1 off per gallon of gas. These can be redeemed at Fred Meyer Gas Stations and participating Shell Gas Stations. See more about the Fuel Rewards.
In early 2014, Fred Meyer added another layer to the Rewards program: you can now designate your purchases to benefit the local charity of your choice. You can do this easily over at the Community Rewards page. If you are a non-profit organization, you can additionally sign-up and encourage folks to designate their Fred Meyer purchases to benefit your organization.
Anticipating Doorbuster Sales & Special Discount Days
Fred Meyer loves putting out doorbuster and special sales of all kinds. You can usually expect these to happen for holidays (think Labor Day, Memorial Day) and there are usually many that happen between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Saturday morning is a popular time for these sales to occur (they often cut off at 1 p.m.). The special sales almost always feature high value Extra Bonus coupons and/or Savings Certificates which give you a $ off your total purchase. The special sales also tend to heavily feature items in non-grocery departments (gardening, apparel, toys, home, depending on the season).
There are two ways to stay in the loop on Fred Meyer special sales:
- Follow this blog! I regularly get early access to special sale ads and will dissect the best deals with you here at the blog in advance.
- Sign up for Fred Meyer’s emails. They do a good job of notifying you when they are coming.
Often, you’ll receive very little notice about the sales (maybe a day, at most), so they can be extremely easy to miss! This is why it’s good to anticipate when they may be coming.
Tip: one way I’ve found to anticipate special sales or events is by taking note when the Extra Bonus coupons do not run the full 7 days of the ad. Check out the coupon above – it’s for 5 days only. That would mean it’s only good through Thursday. As Fred Meyer sometimes likes putting out Friday – Saturday 2 Day Sales, it wouldn’t hurt to watch for a notice later in the week.
Why is this helpful? Suppose you are planning on buying apparel or accessories. You might wait it out a bit to see if a better coupon or sale might be happening later in the week.
Top Times to Shop at Fred Meyer
While I like shopping Fred Meyer year-round, there are a few times to pay special attention to:
- Founder’s Day sale. This week-long sale happens in May and what you’ll end up finding is lots of produce, meat, organics, and other generally good grocery stock-up foods on sale. The photo above was taken of my Founder’s Day shopping trip last year. I spent $98 on everything pictured.
- Anniversary Sale. This week-long sale happens in September and is similar in many ways to the Founder’s Day sale. It’s a great time to shop! Last year, we also saw extremely hot e-coupons being offered during this time frame, including a whole roast chicken for just $0.91 (which was easily one of the best deals I shared in 2013).
- Friends & Family Pass Days. About 2 or 3 times per year (generally August and December), Fred Meyer tends to put out an awesome Friends & Family pass that will yield you extra savings across multiple departments including home, apparel, electronics, nutrition, and private-label brands in grocery. This discount can be used on top of Extra Bonus, store, and manufacturer coupons. Even better, the pass has far fewer exclusions than most store coupons.
- Senior Discount Days. If you are 55 or over, shop on select Tuesdays to save an extra 10% on most items.
- Black Friday. Fred Meyer is a great store to shop on Black Friday. They tend to always offer all socks at half off, toys and games at substantial discounts, plus discounts on other items in home. I also find that the doorbusters and special sales leading up to Christmas are pretty solid. You can see last year’s Black Friday ad to get an idea.
If you enjoy shopping at Fred Meyer, please stick around. You will find the ad published to the blog here at 8 p.m. every Friday night – that’s earlier than it’s generally made available to the public. This is made possible through a unique relationship I’ve built with Fred Meyer. I also cover the entire ad, not just grocery. Additionally, I regularly report on unadvertised deals and special sales to help you make the most of shopping this store.
So there you have it! Please let me know what questions you might have about shopping at Fred Meyer or if you have any extra tips you might share!