16 Tips For Your Very First Trip To Publix

There are more than 1,300 Publix grocery stores in the United States. If you haven't heard of the retailer until recently, it's probably because it is only in eight states – the state with the most Publix locations being Florida. If you're gearing up for your first trip to Publix, get ready for a new experience. While all grocery stores share many of the same basics, each one is slightly different. 

Publix is no exception, so you'll want to prepare for what you should expect as a first-time shopper and, possibly, a future regular at the store. Understanding how sales and discounts work is key to helping you maximize your savings on your grocery bill. Beyond saving money, there are other things you'll also want to know, such as which departments have built up a positive reputation, which products you might want to try, and some Publix policies that could impact your shopping trip.

1. Check out the weekly ad

When you walk into Publix, you'll want to make sure you grab a copy of the weekly ad. Think of the weekly ad as your opportunity to find the best deals that will be available throughout the store and as a guide to help you focus your shopping trip. Ideally, you'll want to flip through the ad at home before you actually head to the store. This will give you more time to scour it for savings opportunities and plan out your meals for the week so that you maximize your savings.

There are currently two different Publix weekly ad cycles. Some sales run Wednesday through Tuesday, while others run Thursday to Wednesday. So, be sure to verify with your local store to find out when the new sales start and end so that you don't miss anything. You should be able to find the weekly ad online just after midnight on the day the new sales go into effect. Unlike many grocery stores that require you to be a member to take advantage of the sales, Publix does not hold such a requirement. You can shop the sales even if you haven't joined its program.

2. Don't overlook the Extra Savings flyers

Most grocery stores run a weekly ad, but how many do you know that also offer a special Extra Savings flyer? Well, Publix does. In fact, there are two different Extra Savings flyers for you to look through and find additional opportunities to save. The sales presented in both flyers run for two weeks, starting on Saturday and ending on the second Friday. The first flyer is green and is filled with savings on food products. It will include a mix of sales and coupons that you can use during your shopping trip.

In addition to the green Extra Savings flyer with special savings on food products, Publix also has a purple Extra Savings flyer. This flyer highlights the special deals that the store is running on non-food items. Use it to help you find the top deals on over-the-counter medications, cleaning products, paper towels and toilet paper, and other home essentials.

3. Shop BOGO Sales

All of the specials in Publix's weekly ad or Extra Savings flyer can help you keep your grocery costs down. However, there is one special type of sale that you'll want to pay extra close attention to: The BOGO sales. If you haven't heard the term BOGO before, it is short for buy one, get one. In some states, this means if you buy two of the same items, you can save 50% on one. For example, if granola bars that regularly cost $5 are put on a BOGO sale, you can grab two packages for just $7.50. In other states, this means you can buy one item and get the other same item for free — so you'd only be paying $5 for two of those granola bars.

If that's not enough, some Publix locations also allow customers to buy just one item and still take advantage of the 50% off savings. This means that you could just buy one $5 box of granola bars and only be charged $2.50. If your store offers this option, it can make the sales even more worthwhile to you. Sometimes, you just don't need or won't be able to use two of an item. Each week, there will be several BOGO deals at Publix, so be sure not to miss any of these when you're looking through the ad or shopping in the store.

4. Sign up for a Club Publix account

While this grocery store doesn't require shoppers to be a member of the Publix loyalty program to take advantage of the weekly sales, there are several other reasons you should consider signing up. First, you'll get an extra day to preview the weekly ad and start creating your plan of attack for your next shopping trip to maximize your savings. Signing up to be a Club Publix member also means that you can clip digital coupons and apply them to your purchases for increased savings.

If you're planning to become a regular shopper at Publix, becoming a Club Publix member can also help you simplify each shopping trip. You'll have the ability to save your shopping lists, so that you can quickly add the items you frequently purchase. Electronic receipts for your past purchases are also saved in your account, making it easier to track your spending, savings, returns, and exchanges. As a Club Publix member, you'll also receive a special offer on your birthday, as well as product or recipe suggestions based on your indicated areas of interest.

5. Get your coupons ready

Don't head to Publix before you have your coupons ready. Shopping with coupons at Publix can help you save a lot of money. First of all, there are several different types of coupons you'll be able to use. These include the digital coupons that you can view and add to your Club Publix account. When you enter the phone number associated with your account at the register, any applicable digital coupons will be automatically applied to your total. You don't have to worry about getting the cashier to scan anything.

Publix also accepts several types of paper coupons, including manufacturer's coupons, printable coupons from its website, and coupons from the Extra Savings flyers. The store also accepts coupons from its competitors. Check with your local store for a list of nearby competitors that will be accepted. This is an amazing perk that many grocery stores do not offer and really goes to show you the potential savings that await when you shop at Publix.

Coupon stacking is allowed at Publix, too. This means that you can use up to two coupons per item or use a coupon to help you save even more money on a product that is on sale that week. You can even use the online Coupon Savings Helper available through the store's website to identify which sales items also have available coupons.

6. Shop Publix brand products

Most grocery stores offer private label brands – some are definitely better than others. When you're shopping at Publix, you'll want to make sure that you don't skip over the store brands. These items may be under the label Publix Premium or GreenWise, and in both cases, offer you a product of comparable quality to top national manufacturers. These brands produce a wide assortment of items, including meat and dairy products, pantry goods, produce cleaning supplies, and more.

While they're of comparable quality to more well-known brands, Publix Premium and GreenWise products are generally a less expensive option. You'll find several Publix Premium and GreenWise products in each week's specials, allowing you to save even more on these already reasonably-priced options. Publix doesn't manufacture its store-brand products itself. They are produced by various national manufacturers, possibly with some slight recipe modifications. This means that you can feel even more confident in your ability to save money without sacrificing quality.

7. Look for the clearance section

Did you know that Publix has a clearance section? If not, you do now. While the location of the clearance section will vary from one store to the next, start by looking between the cash registers and the pharmacy. The items found in the clearance section will also vary, depending on what the store is looking to get rid of more quickly. You can find deals on holiday-related merchandise after the holiday has passed, as well as savings on food and home-related products.

Sometimes, clearance items may be mixed in on the shelves with regularly-priced items, especially in the case of refrigerated and frozen items, which can't be left out at room temperature. Items that are on clearance should have a red sticker indicating that they are marked down. Sometimes, you may see an orange clearance label. If you see anything with an orange clearance sticker, you might want to buy extra if it is something you really like.

8. Check your receipt before leaving

It is always a good idea to check your receipt before leaving any grocery store. You want to verify that all of the items you purchased rang up for the correct price. Plus, we've all heard stories about clerks misentering an item quantity and charging a customer for 33 of something instead of just the three things that they actually purchased.

However, there is an added incentive to verify the product totals on your receipt when shopping at this store called the Publix Promise. If something rings up at the incorrect price, with the exception of tobacco or alcohol products, you will receive one of the items for free. And all of the rest of the prices will be corrected to the lower advertised price. For example, if you grabbed three different cereal boxes that were on sale for $3 each, but they rang up for the regular price of $3.99, Publix would give you one free box and correct the prices for the others to the $3 sale price.

9. Skip curbside pickup or delivery

Curbside pickup and delivery can make it much more convenient to get your groceries. Depending on which option you choose, they'll either show up at your door ready to be put away or be placed in your vehicle when you arrive at the grocery store. While both of these options are very convenient and can expedite your shopping trip, they both come at a cost that you might decide isn't worth it.

Publix delivery and curbside pickup, where it's available, are powered by Instacart. The prices you'll find when shopping for items for delivery or curbside pickup may be higher than those that you'll find in-store. There are also delivery minimums if you want to avoid extra delivery fees. Instacart also charges service fees. All of these extras can really add up. You can pay $99 for a year to avoid paying delivery fees for every order, but that is still a lot of money to shell out.

If you want to maximize your savings, then you will probably want to shop in-store to get the best deals. Another option is that you can place an order for in-store pickup. This option is not powered by Instacart, so you'll only be charged store prices without any upcharges or fees.

10. Download the Publix app

Downloading the Publix app will make each shopping trip easier and more enjoyable while also helping you save more money. We've already touched on some of the reasons you might want to install the app on your phone above. First, it can help you find available coupons for some of your favorite items and brands. Click on the coupons you'll use to save them to your account. 

With the app, you can also browse through the weekly ad and other special flyers at your convenience. You don't need to worry about having a copy of the print ad with you, and you will be able to scroll through the specials whenever the opportunity arises. The Publix mobile app also allows users to make a shopping list, check out featured recipes, and more.

If you want to be able to order Publix for delivery, there is a separate app that you'll need to install. The Publix Delivery app — powered by Instacart — offers everything you'll need to set up grocery delivery and save yourself a shopping trip. In some areas, you might also be able to use the app to place a curbside pickup order. Both the Publix app and Publix Delivery app are available for Apple and Android devices.

11. Stop by the bakery department

Whether you're looking for a few cookies to bring home for tonight's dessert, some fresh-baked bread for tomorrow's breakfast, or a cake for an anniversary or birthday celebration, you can just stop by Publix's bakery department on your next shopping trip. Publix customers have consistently pointed to the bakery as one of the store's top features. You'll really need to try a few items for yourself to understand how good they taste and why you'll be able to save yourself a separate trip to a dedicated bakery.

The bakery at Publix offers a wide selection of baked goods to take care of all of your needs and cravings. They offer many pre-made loaves of bread, cakes, pies, donuts, and other pastries throughout the year and around various holidays. You can also place special orders for decorated cakes for your celebration or event. With several cakes, icing, and filling flavors to choose from, the possibilities are nearly endless. Publix even accepts orders for wedding cakes.

12. Request a raincheck for out-of-stock products

Missing the opportunity to purchase something you know you'll use or something new that you've been meaning to try that is marked down can leave you disappointed. If you've ever been excited to grab something that was on sale at the grocery store, only to show up and realize that there was none on the shelf, then you already know the feeling. Fortunately, Publix issues rainchecks for sale items that are sold out. This means you'll be able to purchase the item you want at a future date for the current sale price, even if they are no longer on sale.

The type of sale being run will impact how many rainchecks Publix is willing to offer. They will issue rainchecks for a maximum of eight single-sale items or four deals, such as BOGOs, for a maximum of 20 total items. You'll still have the opportunity to stock up on products at a later date. Publix even takes things a step further and accepts rain checks for coupons that have since expired but are within 30 days of receiving the rain check.

13. Shop in the meat department

Make sure you walk through the Publix meat department during your first and subsequent shopping trips to Publix. You'll find that Publix offers a rather extensive selection of different types and cuts of meat. And be able to find precisely what you're looking for with the different portion sizes and packaging options that are out.

The level of service you'll receive is possibly even better than the selection of meats offered by Publix. Beyond simply being helpful and assisting you in finding what you're working for, a Publix meat cutter will be happy to help you make sure your purchase is exactly what you're looking for. They can repackage items to match the quantity you need and can even cut a meat product to your specifications. So, if you need something trimmed, cubed, or sliced before cooking it, save yourself the prep time and ask one of the meat cutters to help you out. In case you didn't know, Publix employees will break down a rotisserie chicken for you if you ask.

14. Visit the seafood counter

After you're done in the meat department, you'll want to head down to the seafood counter. As is the case in the meat department, you'll find several different types of seafood to choose from. The Publix Seafood department prides itself on offering top-quality seafood from across the globe to its customers.

Understandably, it is impossible for a grocery store to offer every single type of fish or shellfish — there simply isn't room. Just because you don't see something out, however, doesn't mean that you won't be able to get it from Publix. The seafood department's Reel Variety Program means that you can put in a special request for up to 80 different types of fish. Your order will be delivered quickly, coming in fresh, not frozen.

Do you enjoy steamed seafood? Do you dislike taking the time to prepare it? Well, another benefit of shopping at Publix's seafood counter is that you can ask them to steam any of the items they offer for you. That's a pretty great service to offer.

15. Try a Pub sub

By now, you're probably starting to realize that each of Publix's departments has a lot to offer. Well, the deli is no different. Consider grabbing a sub for your lunch or dinner the next time you're at Publix. Publix subs, affectionately called pub subs, are truly something else. While some sandwich shops may only put a few slices of meat and other toppings on their subs, Publix doesn't hesitate to pile each sub high with meat, cheese, and veggies. Take a look at the online menu, and you'll quickly start to understand just how nicely filled and delicious-looking each sub is.

There are many different options to choose from, too. Meaning you could go multiple times during the week and come home with something new to enjoy. Some of the many different pub subs that you can try include the chicken tender sub, Boar's Head Italian sub, Boar's Head ham sub, Boar's Head ultimate sub, and Boar's Head roast beef sub. In addition to subs, there are also numerous wraps you might want to try as well.

16. Look for information about Publix Cooking School

If you've been looking to improve your cooking skills, consider taking a cooking class. You may be surprised to find out that Publix actually offers a cooking school where its customers can build on their skills in the kitchen while having a lot of fun learning about cooking. There are 11 different Publix Cooking Schools. They can be found in Florida, Alabama, Georgia, and Virginia and are conveniently located inside a Publix grocery store at each location.

There are a few different types of cooking classes you can choose from. These include couples cooking classes, family cooking classes, kids, juniors, and teens cooking classes, hands-on cooking classes, and even cooking demonstrations where you'll get to watch an expert chef prepare foods and then sample them. If you don't live near one of the many locations, you can still benefit from the Publix Aprons Cooking Schools by registering for a virtual class.