How to 'shop smart' and save money during COVID-19

Posted at 3:36 PM, Apr 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-24 06:16:10-04

NORFOLK, Va. - For millions of people, times are tough right now. Bills are piling up, but money isn't necessarily coming in.

As the world changes around us, there are constants that remain: People still need to go to the store to buy food, medications and essential household items.

It can be expensive, which is why News 3 is taking action to make your money stretch as far as it can.

Christine DeRoner, a mother of three, is always looking for a good deal to feed her family.

"I am an app user and I can just clip my coupons. This works a lot at Target and when I do bulk shopping at Sam's and BJ's," she says. "But it's kind of difficult on one aspect to be able to do what I normally do to save money because you're not finding some of the items that you normally find at the stores."

We wanted to find out the best ways to make DeRoner's and the rest of the community's money go further. News 3 reporter Erin Miller took the question to Yuping Liu-Thompkins, a Professor of Marketing & Director of Loyalty Science Lab at Old Dominion University.

She says now is the time to become a loyalty customer because downloading a store's app will allow you to have digital discounts right at your fingertips.

"Once you log onto the account, you just go into the coupon section and you literally just clip the coupon right by clicking on a button there," Liu-Thompkins says.

Related: Experts show how to preserve groceries for 2 weeks after White House urges people to stay home

She also suggests switching over to store-brand products for small savings. One product may only save you a dollar or two, but it can add up when you're filling an entire cart.

Whether it's at the grocery store or another business, there are also third-party companies that offer promotions. Liu-Thompkins suggests using Rakuten.

It's a good idea to check your back account too because there may be personalized coupons hidden in your offers.

"This is a time where we see people searching for other brand information; a time when people are engaging on more information search with their purchases, and we also definitely see more and more brand switching as well," she says.

Feeding five mouths, DeRoner says the small changes make a big difference.

"The impulse shopping isn't quite there anymore," she says. "I think it's just going to be a new normal - this is how it goes and it's just once your kids get adjusted to it, the family gets adjusted to it, why not? Why would you do more?"

Click here for full coronavirus coverage.