Seven Ways to Save at the Supermarket

7-14 SupermarketFood shopping is an essential part of living for every family. But over the years, prices on fare have increased steadily, causing households to spend more and more on their weekly groceries. And, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Expenditure Survey, the average American family shells out nearly $540 a month on food, with an average of approximately $312 for groceries.

But unlike your mortgage or gas bill, what you spend on food is flexible. Start with these tips to reduce your supermarket spending today:

1. Scour store sales and stock up. While many people think it’s the coupons that save families in groceries, it’s more so store sales — and combining a store sale and a coupon is one of the best money saving things you can do. Also, when something nonperishable that you use is on sale, it’s a good idea to stock up. It may seem counterintuitive at the time to spend more money (since you’re buying more), but in the end, you can save hundreds. Meats are also good to buy in bulk when they’re on sale, as they will freeze well.

2 …But don’t be fooled by said sales. Many times, a store will list a product for something along the lines of “buy five for $10” when, if you do the math, you may only be saving a couple cents. Also, keep in mind that when sales like these are listed, many times, you don’t need to buy five products, or whatever amount listed to get the sale price. So, for example, if a sale is for “two for $5,” buying one will cost you $2.50. Retailers are just listing that price in hopes that you’ll buy more. Don’t fall for it!

3. Clip coupons. Search your Sunday newspaper or visit websites such as Coupons.com, SmartSource.com and Redplum.com where many manufacturer coupons can be found and printed for free. There are also sites such as CouponMom.com, LivingRichWithCoupons.com and TheGroceryGame.com that offer up-to-date sales-tracking services for most states and grocery chains. In addition, it’s a good idea to shop at the stores that double your coupons (usually under 99 cents).

4. Don’t shop on an empty stomach. Even if you know you’re on a budget, a study published in the Journal of Consumer Research found that you’re likely to spend more money if you don’t eat beforehand. So, before you hit the market, have a meal or take a snack with you if you’re on the go.

5. Use cash. “It’s psychologically more difficult to fork over cash than a credit card,” says Jeanette Pavini, Coupons.com’s household savings expert. It’s said that using cash when grocery shopping will cut your spending by about 25 percent. Before going grocery shopping, stop at an ATM so that you’re fully stocked up on cash. You could also start a “grocery jar” and drop a few bucks into it each day or week, and use it solely for food shopping.

6. Keep your focus. Does a product ever catch your eye so much that you evidently stop and examine it, mulling over whether you should purchase it? It turns out that the more you interact with a product, the more likely you are to buy it.

“Virtually all unplanned purchases…come as a result of the shopper seeing, touching, smelling, or tasting something that promises pleasure, if not total fulfillment,” says Paco Underhill in the book Why We Buy. Another way to avoid impulse buys? Ride your bike or walk to the store.

“It’s amazing how focused you can be when you are limited to one shopping bag full of groceries,” says Ross Williams, writer at simplemindedinvestor.com. “Once you are very conscious of each purchase, it seems to carry over even to the small items where space isn’t really an issue.”

7. Check over your receipt. Just because a product is on sale doesn’t mean the register will automatically ring it up correctly. Always watch your products being scanned and if something trips you up, don’t be afraid to ask politely if that price is correct.

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Deb Kemp Promoted

Deb Kemp

Deb Kemp

Deb Kemp has been promoted to Assistant Vice President/Credit Card Manager at Merchants Bank, according to Sue Hovell, Senior Vice President/ Director of Sales and Marketing.

Kemp oversees Merchants Bank’s successful credit card and merchant processing area, which has grown substantially under her leadership, including about 10 percent per year over the past four years. Most recently, Kemp’s area doubled the amount of balance transfers acquired during its most recent balance transfer campaign. Additionally, the merchant processing part of her department, which helps businesses process credit card transactions, has grown significantly.

“The work Deb and her department have accomplished over the past few years has been significant in helping Merchants grow across all of our locations,” Hovell said. “She works with many employees across our organization, and I join them in congratulating her.”

Kemp has been with Merchants since 1992 and has been a part of the credit card department since 2001.

Merchants Bank Looks to “Swipe Out Hunger” for Area Food Shelves

SwipeOutHungerAppBannerMerchants Bank will be donating 5 cents each time a Merchants Bank credit card or debit card is used between November 29 and December 15, up to a total of $10,000, for area food shelves during “Swipe Out Hunger,” the Bank’s second annual Facebook Giveaway.

The “Swipe Out Hunger” giveaway will work like this:

  • Supporters of area food shelves will be able to vote once per day between November 29 and December 15 for their chosen organization
  • At the end of the giveaway, nominated food shelves will receive a percentage of total amount of money raised based on the percentage of votes that organization receives on Merchants Bank’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/MerchantsBank

The Food Shelves were nominated by bank locations (Bank locations making the nomination are noted in parentheses), and there were a number of locations that nominated the same organization. Participating this year are: SEMCAC Houston County Food Shelf (Caledonia and Spring Grove), Friends in Need Food Shelf (Cottage Grove), La Crescent Food Shelf (La Crescent), The Hunger Task Force (Onalaska), Channel One Rochester (Rochester), Southeast Minnesota Education & Resource Center (St. Charles), Winona Volunteer Services (Winona), 360 Communities (Lakeville), Eagan & Lakeville Resource Center (Apple Valley and Rosemount), Hastings Family Services (Hastings), the Cannon Falls Food Shelf (Cannon Falls), SEMCAC in Preston (Lanesboro), SEMCAC in Rushford (Rushford), the Randolph Food Shelf (Hampton) and the Red Wing Area Food Shelf (Red Wing).

Holiday Shopping has Never Been Better

ScoreCardHolidayThe best part about the holiday season is seeing the joy on the faces of your loved ones when they open the gift that you bought for them.  Do you know how you can make this even better?  Use your Merchants Bank Visa ScoreCard to make your holiday purchases and get a gift for yourself.

Did you know that you can use points you receive by using your Merchants Bank Visa ScoreCard and redeem them for merchandise, travel rewards, or even toward a gift card to your favorite shopping locations? 

Why should the holiday season just be about giving presents to other people when you can treat yourself too?  Use the Merchants Bank Visa ScoreCard to buy gifts for your loved ones and use the points you earn for yourself.  

How do you redeem your ScoreMore points?

All you need is a Merchants Bank Visa ScoreCard credit card.

It’s this easy:

  1. Go to www.scorecardrewards.com
  2. Login to your account
  3. Click on the “Go Shopping” button under “ScoreMore”
  4. Use your ScoreCard Rewards card for all purchases
  5. Watch your bonus points add up

How to Start:

If you already have a Merchants Bank Visa ScoreCard, you’ve already started. Just go to www.scorecardrewards.com and start shopping.

If you don’t yet have a Merchants Bank Visa ScoreCard, apply online or contact us and we can help you apply. Happy Shopping!

Credit cards are subject to credit approval.

Let Your Bills Pay You

ScoreCardHolidayENDid you know you can earn points when you use your Merchants Bank Visa ScoreCard? You can even redeem those points that you earn to order a gift card to one of your favorite shopping locations.

 Each qualifying transaction you make earns you valuable Bonus Points. You may redeem your points at any time. The larger your Bonus Points total, the greater the value of the award you may choose.

When you open your credit card account, you will receive your ScoreCard Rewards catalog for your shopping convenience, or you can login to www.scorecardrewards.com and shop away.

For more information contact your local Merchants Bank office or visit our website.

ScoreMore When You Shop for Back-to-School Items for Your Kids

Earn points when you shop

It’s that time of year again. You’ve seen the deals in the paper already, summer is coming to an end and it’s almost time for your kids to go back to school. That means it’s time to start shopping for all of those back to school items on their school list.

What if you could shop for all of this year’s school supplies and earn points at the same time? You can with Merchants Bank Visa ScoreCard. The ScoreCard allows you to get 2X, 3X, 4X and more points for making your purchases with participating retailers – in person and online.

Don’t make the back to school process more difficult than it needs to be. Why not reward yourself using the points you earn while you shop for your children’s back to school items?

All you need is a Merchants Bank Visa ScoreCard credit card.

It’s this easy:

  1. Go to www.scorecardrewards.com
  2. Login to your account
  3. Click on the “Go Shopping” button under “ScoreMore”
  4. Use your ScoreCard Rewards card for all purchases
  5. Watch your bonus points add up

How to Start:

If you already have a Merchants Bank Visa ScoreCard, you’ve already started. Just go to www.scorecardrewards.com and start shopping.

If you don’t yet have a Merchants Bank Visa ScoreCard, apply online or contact us and we can help you apply.

CreditCardBackToSchool

Credit cards are subject to credit approval.