How to cut your Publix grocery bill in half

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Publix receipt
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Publix calls itself “the place where shopping is a pleasure” because of its award-winning emphasis on customer service. But that pleasure can come along with very high prices.

So high, in fact, that I often joke that the grocery store should change its slogan to “the place where shopping makes you a pauper.”

But here’s the thing: There is a simple way to fight back against high prices at Publix — and it doesn’t involve any couponing. Instead, it’s all about changing what you put into your cart.

Using Publix BOGO sales to save big money

First off, in the interest of full disclosure, I should note that I’m not loyal to any one grocery chain and will shop at any of several stores, including Kroger, Aldi, Walmart and Publix.

I just go to whichever one happens to be convenient for me on the weekends, when I tend to do my grocery shopping.

But when I am at Publix, I have a strategy for cutting my grocery bill by 50%. It’s as simple as being flexible with what’s on sale and meal planning around Publix’s buy one, get one free (BOGO) items as much as possible.

What is Publix BOGO and how does it work?

Since around 2016, Publix has introduced more and more BOGO offers across its stores to offset the effect of eliminating double coupons and doing away with the weekly Penny Item.

Let’s take a look at a real-life example of a Publix BOGO item:

Publix buy one get one free cereal

While wandering the aisles at my local Publix recently, I stumbled on this breakfast cereal BOGO. Normally, a box of Post Shredded Wheat costs $3.35.

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But when this is a BOGO item, you can either get two boxes for $3.35 or one box for half price — $1.67 in this case.

If you happen to have a coupon for Post Shredded Wheat that week, you can drive the price down even more than 50%. A coupon for 50 cents off would make the price just $1.17, as an example. Pretty good, right?

Editor’s note: In Florida, you must purchase two items to get the Publix BOGO discount. Confirm the policy with your store.

Where do you find Publix BOGOs?

Most Publix BOGOs are on the shelves, marked with a sign like the one above. But in addition, Publix tends to cluster its BOGO deals in a few other locations:

  • Front of the store
  • Ends caps
  • In metal baskets placed in the aisles

Front of the store

Publix BOGO items at the front of the store

End caps

Publix BOGO end cap

Metal baskets in the aisles

Publix BOGO in the middle of an aisle

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When you stick to the BOGOs, you can really rack up the savings. In fact, you’ll cut your Publix grocery bill in half if you make sure the only things that go into your cart are half-price items.

Best of all, this is a strategy that anyone can try out without a lot of pre-planning!

Here’s a sample of this week’s Publix BOGOs

Publix BOGOs change each week. In metro Atlanta where I live, Publix introduces new BOGO items every Wednesday. It may be different where you live, so ask a Publix employee if you aren’t sure.

Here’s a sample of a few items on half-price sale at Publix as of May 16, 2019:

publix bogo buy one get one free items shopping list

  • Publix Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast – SAVE UP TO $4.19/LB
  • Publix Premium Patagonian Scallops – SAVE UP TO $8.99
  • Gorton’s Fish Fillets or Sticks, 18.2 to 24.5-oz pkg. – SAVE UP TO $7.49
  • Barilla Protein Plus or Collezione Pasta – SAVE UP TO $2.50
  • Bertolli Sauce, 15 or 24-oz jar – SAVE UP TO $3.99
  • Buitoni Filled Pasta, 9-oz pkg. – SAVE UP TO $4.19
  • Progresso Broth, 32-oz ctn. – SAVE UP TO $2.59
  • Boca Veggie Protein Veggie Burgers, 10-oz pkg. – SAVE UP TO $3.45

Pasta, spaghetti sauce and broth, plus your choice of protein such as chicken, fish fillets, scallops or veggie burgers. Sounds like the makings for a solid week of meals to me!

Remember, all of it is half-price because you’re shopping the BOGO offers.

The Publix Promise: Another way to get those Publix savings

So, that’s my Publix savings story and I’m sticking to it! I find this is the easiest way to shop at Publix because it doesn’t involve any coupon clipping or planning. You just buy the BOGOs and save 50% right off the top.

But wait, there’s more — before you leave the store!

Did you know that you can actually get free stuff at Publix if you’re an eagle-eyed shopper? That’s thanks to a Publix store policy called the Publix Promise.

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Our Publix Promise guarantees that if during checkout, the scanned price of an item (excluding alcohol and tobacco products) exceeds the shelf price or advertised price, we will give the customer one of that item free. We will charge the lower price for the remaining items.

So ,for example, just this morning I was in the store and picked up some grass-fed beef jerky that was marked down. Country Archer Teriyaki Beef Jerky was on sale for $4.99 — $2 off the regular $6.99 price.

Publix Promise item

For whatever reason, this particular item rang up at $5.99. It’s the first item on my receipt below on the left.

publix promise receipts

I make it a habit before leaving the store to carefully look over my receipt and make sure everything rang up correctly. (I have a very good memory when it comes to money and prices!)

When I saw the beef jerky rang up incorrectly, I brought it to the attention of customer service. Because of the Publix Promise, they gave me a full refund on the item and I got to keep the jerky for free! That’s what the receipt on the right shows.

So the moral of the story is this: If you really want to rack up the Publix savings, don’t ever leave the store without checking your receipt over thoroughly.

I’ve found that even waiting until after you get groceries loaded in your vehicle but before you pull out of the parking lot is too late — because you probably won’t want to go back in the store at that point.

Just make it a priority to take a minute before walking out to check your receipt. I promise, your wallet will thank you!

Final thought

Saving money at Publix is easy if you follow my two-step strategy: Shop the BOGO sales and check your receipt.

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Of course, not everyone buys groceries at Publix. If that describes you, be sure to check out our 22 ways to save money on groceries. It will help put more money back in your pocket no matter where you shop!

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