Coupon craziness!

August 15, 2010

Well I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by my newest obsession. After all, I have always LOVED grocery shopping. I enjoy catching a good sale and since I stock up on my favorite foods, I am always able to get good prices and almost never buy anything at full price. Lately I have been trying to watch the sales flyers and plan to go to more than one store and choose which ones depending on my shopping list and the sales. I thought I was doing good! And opposed to some, I guess I probably was.

But then. I discovered. SUPER COUPONING!!!

It’s funny really that I haven’t gotten into this before. It so suits me….my love of the grocery store, my innate desire for a deal, my deep satisfaction of penny-pinching.

I wandered into it almost by accidently. I was aimlessly browsing on MSN Money when I came across an article titled something like “Eating Well on $1 a Day”. And I wandered over to Reading Jeffrey’s daily posts about his adventures in super couponing (amazing!) and meal management (good for his obvious lack of ability in this area) I was inspired to make a little more effort to use coupons and save more money.

Between and (another couponing/savings site) I was able to easily access all of the coupons, special offers, and great sales at my local stores (Safeway, Albertsons, Top Foods, RiteAid mostly). Even better, both sites explain and show you how to combine various types of coupons (stacking) in order to get the best deal. Each week they have bloggers who go through their store’s sales flyer and the varying sources for printable coupons, e-coupons, and newspaper inserts to find the most money-saving (or making!) deals out there and then lay it out exactly how to do it so that you don’t have to start from scratch.

Not that it is a quick and easy thing even with that. E-coupons are loaded directly onto your club card and there are 2 websites to get them from. Printable coupons are “clipped” and printed from about 4+ different websites. Each coupon can usually be “clipped” 2 times but you have to go onto the website and clip them separately, there is no option “clip twice”. Gathering the Sunday inserts and paging through them to find the manufacturer coupons takes time — keep them organized as these coupons are often good for 2+ months and future sales flyers combo deals will reference past inserts (not just the current week) so if you let everything get all messed up you will have to page through EVERY insert you have….in my case I screwed this up and now I have about 7 sets of inserts from varying weeks, some repeats that i get to page through everytime a deal says “xdate xxinsert”. And of course, just keeping track of the coupons is a huge deal once you have printed and cut out everything! I got a coupon organizer (surprise on clearance at Safeway for 1/2 off = $2!) And then once you GET to the store with your shopping list and separated coupons and other coupons (just in case there are any deals you didn’t realize) you have to look carefully to find peelie coupons on the products themselves, blinkie and pad coupons near their products, and special clearance items.

But when you come home with a car full of groceries that you have bought for insanely low prices it is so worth it. At least it is if you are me and you know that the several hours you just spent clipping coupons, organizing the shopping plan, and doing the shopping were far more enjoyable than what I would have been doing — sitting in the recliner watching TV.

So loooong story short, here is a quick summary of my best deals of the day and a picture of what I bought:

Total regular price: $178.22
Total sales price before coupons: 120.52
What I paid: $71.31
Coupon savings: 41%
Savings off Reg. price: 60%

Great deals at Safeway:
A $4 off 4  sale combined with a large variety of printable and e-coupons made this insane deal possible:
5 Fruit Rollups snacks
1 Nature’s Valley nut clusters
3 Fiber One bars
3 Nature’s Valley granola bars
Total sale price before coupons: $15.38   What I paid: $0.13 TOTAL for all 12 items!! (Most of this is going my friend or a food bank)

1 22oz Mayo and 1 22oz Miracle Whip, normal sales price: $7.38 for 2
Coupons: (2) $1/1 from grilling booklet found in store!
                 (2) $1.70/1 from ad in sales flyer
                 (1) $1.50/2 from some insert
Total that I paid: $0.48 for 2 ($0.24 each!!)  One will be donated.

Pillsbury has a huge coupon promotion going on…..
PB Cinnamon rolls & Crescent rolls (reg: $2.49) sale price: $1.99
I bought 2 of each (4 total) w/ a mix of coupons:
(1) Sales flyer store coupon .50/1, limit 4
(1) .40/2 crescent rolls
(1) .50/2 cinnamon rolls
For a total of $5.06 for 4 ($1.27 each (1/2 off!))

There were lots of other nice deals that I did at Safeway. Basically almost everything that I bought had at least one coupon, usually 2 coupons on top of the sales prices. But the three deals above had the most significant savings ratios.

Top Foods:
Total regular price: $41.67
Total sales price before coupons: $26.68
What I paid: $14.48
Coupon savings: 46%
Savings off Reg. price: 65%

Great deals at Top Foods:
Kiwi were on sale 4/$1 so I bought 8. Kiwis keep for a long time so that is nice!

Yoplait yogurt was on sale 10/$6, but w/ coupons:
(1) Sales flyer $2/10
(1) .40/6 printable
(1) .55/8 blinkie coupon! I took 3 more as these are good through September.
Total paid: $3.05/10 ($0.31 each —  over 2/3 off!)

And select Kellog’s cereal had a $5 off when you buy $15 promo. All the selected cereals were also on sale for $1.99 already (reg price $2.79-$3.59). Which meant that you needed to buy 8 to make $15 ($15.92 to be exact) which brought the total to: $10.92 without any coupons. But oh yes, I did have coupons….
(1) .75/1 printable
(1) 1/3 from an insert
(2) 1/2 one from insert, one printable
Total paid: $7.17/8 ($0.90 each! 2/3-3/4 off!) Most of these are being donated as well.

And then I picked up a couple of things at Rite Aid:
Visine eye drops ($4.99)
$3 store rebate
$1/1 sales flyer
Total paid: $0.99

Garnier had a great promo on too:
(1) Garnier mousse & (1) Leave-in conditioner (sale 2/$6)
$2 store rebate
(2) 1/1 one insert, one printable
Total paid: $2/2 ($1 each! About a 2/3-3/4 savings off regular price!)

I also got a raincheck for a Crest toothpaste that after store rebate will be free. I will pick that up in the next couple of weeks.

So the total for the day:
Total regular price: $233.66
Total sales price before coupons: 159.14
What I paid: $89.73
Coupon savings: 44%
Savings off Reg. price: 61%

And besides stocking up on some staples and taking advantage of some great deals, I am donating to a food bank and/or sharing with a friend 2 bags of stuff:
4 boxes of fruit rollups
2 Fiber One bars
3 Nature’s valley granola bars
1 bag of Wacky Mac
2 Cornflakes
1 Cocoa Krispies
1 Corn Pops
3 Apple Jacks

Which has a total regular cost of: $52.43 but in combination with other items I bought, I paid: $7.09. A savings of 86% and some paying it forward!!

I am excited to see what next week will bring. Now that I know all the websites to access the coupons and I have a good load of printed & gathered coupons as well as a gathering of past inserts and an idea of what I am doing, it will hopefully not be too time-consuming! Today I spent about 5 hours prepping at home and 3 hours shopping and 2 hours sorting afterwards at home and logging receipts. Obviously it should be better from here on! I’ll keep you posted on the highlights.

Oh yeah, and on other news– I am moving. I will tell you about it next time but I am not moving far, just to a different apartment. And it is AWESOME!! The details and pics to come soon.

And vacation last week in Wilmington, NC to see my friend Robyn and the Dawson’s Creek/One Tree Hill sites was amazing! More on that front soon also 🙂

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