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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Highs and Lows in the Checkout Line

On my never ending money to save money where saving money is possible (/ telling people how I am trying to save money without feeling like I am really saving any usually) I have gotten into coupons.

Hardcore.

Manufacturer’s coupons.
Online Coupons
Store Coupons

You name it, I clipped it and organized it into my dollar store coupon organizer. What what?

Now clipping coupons is very different from USING coupons. For one thing, it’s really easy to get suckered into buying something you would never normally buy because you have a coupon. Oh cool, $1 off those $8 granola bars I have never wanted to try. Let’s do it! But there are some things I continually am in need of (hummus, salsa, tortilla chips, canned accoutrements, frozen vegetables, fiber one bars etc).

And then there is also to consider, is the store brand still cheaper even when I use a coupon on the name brand item and if so is the store brand as good (which it is, lets say for frozen vegetables but not so much for fake fiber one bars).

So you see there is all this mental prep involved in using coupons. I can’t use a coupon on the fly. I make my shopping list, and if I have a coupon for the item I make an asterisk next to it. There is a process, people!

Which is why I flipped out a little at CVS last night and missed out on some sweet,sweet savings.

I had checked out my Extra Care Coupons before making my trip and determined I couldn’t use any of them since I was not in any need of CVS brand anti diarrhea meds (CVS likes to always remind you of worse times in your life) and I wasn’t going to spend close to $50 so the $10 off $50 wouldn’t work either. So I made my list of the usual suspects (face moisturizer, TP, clear nail polish, shower gel), went to the store, filled my basket and waited in line to pay. Ho hum. As I was being rung up I was thinking I had spent about $25 so when she told me “$48 is your total” I was a little aghast. Say what? How could that be?

OH yeah there was that hand cream I picked up. And the hair spray. Oh and the lip gloss. The hand sanitizer. The candy corn (what?).

Crikey! That stuff sneaks up on you.

So the clerk nicely tells me “you know you could spend $2 more and save $10” and a smart savvy shopper would have said YES I AM ON IT. But I, still mentally trying to figure out how I was $20 off on what I thought I would be spending said “No, that’s ok”.

What an asshole.

Then as I sat in my car after looking at my purchases, dazed. I couldn’t believe I didn’t just go grab a nail file or something because I would have had MORE stuff for LESS money. Jeez Luiz.

Fresh from that abomination, I went food shopping this afternoon.

I have probably mentioned before that I am on a constant mission to get our weekly food shopping budget down to $50. It used to be close to $150 but over the past year I have managed, through list making and sale stalking, to drop it to around $70. But not much below that. So this week I took a different tactic. I decided that for at least 2 of our meals we will be using the crock pot (and crock pot meals somehow are always cheaper to make), and we would have pasta at least once. Then I hit the cookbooks hard for easy, healthy and inexpensive to make recipes. Then I hit the store circulars. Then I checked my coupons.

Which is why, I believe, my grand total for food shopping for the week was $56! A new all time low! And that includes breakfasts and lunches and dinners and snacks (but not Liquor. We are savvy but we are not Puritans). I was so impressed with myself it was all I could do NOT to turn to the lady behind me and demand a high five.

And that certainly took the sting off of my defeat at CVS last night.

Now if only they had coupons for wine, I would really be all set!

9 comments:

Mikey T. said...

MMmmmmMMmmmm hummus!

Also keep in mind how you are paying for purchases, a rewards credit card can save you dough on groceries!

Amanda said...

"We are savvy but we are not Puritans."

Hahahaha I love it!!!

CVS definitely sneaks up on you. I have the same trouble at Target (oh how I love Target and CVS...)

ryssee said...

"We are savvy but we are not Puritans." LOL!
Liquor goes under "entertainment," not "groceries," so you're covered. ;-)

Sarah said...

HAHA ryssee i like how you tnhink!

Lea said...

I dont' think I've ever purchased lotion/shower gel/hair products without it being on sale AND having a coupon. My mom drilled that into me at a young age. Got Pantene shampoo and conditioner this week at Target for $3.50! (On sale for $3.29 each and I had a $3 off of 2 coupon).

Jennifer said...

sarah!
That's so funny, I was just talking (More like whining) about how much grocery bills are last night, and how I wanted to try to get our bill down to 100 (try 75) dollars. And then Blair was letting me know how inrealistic I was being about how food costs. Anyway, I know it can be done! Also, last night I literally mentioned using the good 'ole crockpot at least one a week ( or twise!) for dinners. I also found a template for meal plannning and I'm trying to use that to write out my plans one week at a time. That way, I can grocery shop accordingly. I am a slow only child who never had major responsibilities in the household so this technique needs to work for me! Ahhh! If he asks me "what's for dinner?" one more time!

:-)

Sarah said...

Yeah!! It can definitely be done! The key is really the meal planning. You know what's helpful too is to make a list of stuff you know you need every week (like hummus, salsa, whatever you guys eat on a daily basis) and then see how you can save money on that (by a cheaper brand, stock up when its on sale, etc). I know it's nerdy but I actually think it's fun. I love a challenge!!

Jenny said...

Nicely done!! I am very impressed.

preciousandpriceless said...

I am looking to use coupons and stuff, but they aren't that easy to come by up here in Vancouver. It's very frustrating especially after hearing of your spectacular success! Congrats! *high five*!