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No time to clip coupons? How to save without them at Publix, Winn-Dixie, Aldi the week of Sept. 6-12

Not every week is an amazing coupon week, but that doesn't mean you can't still save your dollars.

Sometimes the deals are lackluster, or there aren't as many coupon circulars floating around. This post-Labor Day weekend seems a little dry on the coupon front.

But fear not. You know I got you.

Let's check out a few deals and how I save money even if I don't have physical coupons in hand.

We'll use Publix as our main example and start with cereal.

Normally, Kashi is a bit pricey, but if you like organic for your kiddos, now is the time to stock up. Not only is Kashi kids cereal on buy one, get one free at Publix, but rebate app Ibotta also has a $1 rebate per box that can be used up to five times on one receipt. (Regular Kashi boxes also are on BOGO, but there's no rebate for it.)

With the Publix deal, you'll get four boxes for about $9. Then, you will save another $4 on the app and get each box for roughly $1.25.

Quick rundown on Ibotta:

I started using Ibotta a couple months ago and so far have not run into any issues. Ibotta posts rebate offers, you give them a photo of your receipt as proof of purchase and get money back in exchange that you can transfer to your bank.

You're basically selling them your data.

I get if that doesn't feel right, but since I hand over data to Facebook for free daily, I don't mind at least profiting off of it in this scenario. (Pro tip: I find most often the app's deals sync up with Walmart.)

Being on the store app can usually make things easier for you.

Like in the case of marked down Tide laundry detergent. Publix's app is pulling an extra $2 off coupon. Secret and Old Spice deodorants are on sale for two for $5, and the Publix app is pulling another $1 off from a manufacturer coupon. Huggies bagged diapers are priced "surprisingly low" at $8.99, and Publix will link you to a $2-off-one package coupon.

Winn-Dixie's app does the same. Keeping with the baby theme: Pampers Swaddlers are marked down to $8.49 (with a Southeastern Grocers Rewards Card). Then, there's a $3 digital coupon, leaving a $10 pack of diapers about 50 percent off. Want some body wash? Olay's "soothing" wash that's normally $7 is marked down at W-D to $4.99. Then there's a digital coupon for another buck off.

But apps don't always pull all the coupons. So even if you don't have time to flip through circulars, check out coupons.com for printable coupons. It's easy to navigate. Publix has General Mills cereal on BOGO, and coupons.com still has a $1 off any two "Big G" cereals.

In my opinion, one of the best ways to save is not to be married to one store.

The grocery market has never been more competitive, which means stores are purposefully pulling out deals to get you in the doors. The biggest trick is to be smart, picky and not get tricked into spending more because it seems like a good deal.

Make sure you're buying items you'll use and are taking the place of something full price that's on your shopping list.

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Not everything that's "on sale" is always the best deal.

Publix and Winn-Dixie have three for $10 specials on berries this week. (At Publix, it's a mix of strawberries, blueberries and blackberries. For W-D, it's raspberries, blueberries and blackberries.) If you're near St. Pete's Lucky's Market, strawberries and blueberries are $2.98 each this week. In Tampa, Sprouts has two for $5 strawberries and EarthFare blackberries and blueberries are two for $4.

Aldi?

Its strawberries are $1.49 this week and its blueberries are $1.89.

By and large, Aldi's regular prices on a lot of items are well below even big stores' best sale prices — all without having to put in effort on coupons, which Aldi doesn't use.

I regularly grab its toilet paper and paper towels when I don't have coupons to make the big brands a steal. If I don't have a coupon for Almond or Soy brands, I get Aldi's. It's only $2.49. I've seen the brand names up to $4.

Personally, I don't notice a major difference in quality. And the taste of saving money? Oh so sweet.

Got any deals I missed or tips you think sale-seekers would appreciate? Email me: sdinatale@tampabay.com or follow me @sara_dinatale.

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