Our grocery store circulars arrive every Wednesday along with our community newspaper (as long as our young carrier actually leaves a paper at our house that week!). I love to flip through and see what's on sale and look for those really great buys (if there are any that week).
On my last few shopping trips, I've realized how important it is to look at the ad before (or at least during) shopping. While stickers on the shelves should reflect sale prices, sometimes they do not. For example, I went to Target a few weeks ago to pick up Camelbak Kids Water Bottles--advertised to be 20% off. Yet, when I found the items in the store, there was nothing there to indicate that they were on sale. Had I just been shopping through the aisles, I would have totally missed the sale (and probably never would have bought the items).
The same thing happened to me at Safeway, although I can't remember what it was now that I was buying--just that it was a great buy in the ad and not marked on the shelf. This caused me to double check the ad to make sure the item I wanted to be was indeed on sale.
Another benefit to checking the ad is that some of the grocery store circulars contain coupons that you can use, usually along with a manufacturer coupon. But when you find Prego spaghetti sauce on the shelf, for example, although there may be a tag advertising the sale price, there will not be a tag screaming, "Grab the ad! On page four, there's a coupon for me, for an even better price!"
Lately, our Smith's (Kroger-affiliate) store has been advertising in the weekly circulars additional digital coupons available on items. But you won't find this information by the product in the store. It's only in the ad.
Looking through your grocery ads each week only takes a few minutes. The pay-off is it allows you to gain valuable, money-saving information. Don't go to check out without them!
(linked to Frugal Friday).