Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Buying Gasoline for 18 cents a gallon makes me smile

Since Jeff has our family on a strict budget these days I have little if any disposable money. I have found some creative ways to save us some green. Don't worry about me, I am fine, really I am. I am just challenged to curb my shopping trips and I have eliminated getting massages and pedicures- TEMPORARILY!

In helping us find cost cutting measures I have to tell you about my latest hair-brained scheme. Cue the game show themed music, please....Our local grocery store (Giant Eagle) has coupons in their circular that offer $1 off of a gallon of gas when you fill a new or transferred prescription to their pharmacy. This coupon is ONE DOLLAR off per gallon when you fill the tank. My thirsty van can take up to 22 gallons when empty. This means that if I redeem this coupon I save $22 at the fill up! But wait. The discount accumulates so that if I fill a second script before using the gas perks I get $2 off per gallon. And a third medicine would make it $3. Obviously no one likes the thought of needing meds but in our case we have 9 people and some take medications regularly. Giant Eagle has a loyalty program that also helps you earn the fuel perks, for every $50 you spend in the store, you get $.10 off per gallon.
Last week I bought some groceries and I filled up the van and after my accumulated discounts I paid EIGHTEEN CENTS a GALLON for gas! I love it!

Our Giant Eagle Pharmacy also accepts comepetitors' coupons for prescriptions. CVS and Walgreens sometimes offer an in store gift card for a new or transferred script. The recent ones at CVS offer a $25 gift card for new or transferred prescriptions. Since Giant Eagle takes these coupons I can save $25 per pharmacuetical and I get our medications and 25 bucks to use on food in the grocery department. When I redeem the Giant Eagle gift cards for groceries I earn another .10 per gallon on every $50 since the method of payment does affect the perks you earn. Some of the recent prescriptions have been for pain medication (Jeff's surgery) and antibiotics (Mitchell's acne)- these cost $4 each to fill and earn us a net of $21 in either gas or food. Not bad- it is all in a days work my friends.

For those who are not local, or don't have Giant Eagle in their neighborhood, check to see if your pharmacy honors competitors coupons- it may be worth it to investigate it. Also I should point out that I do not drive out of my way to shop there (using more fuel) and I clip coupons for things when possible to save additional money at the check out. Giant Eagle doubles manufacturers' coupons that are valued at up to $.99, so a $.75 coupon saves a buck and a half. My average manufacturer coupon savings is usually over $20 per shopping trip.

Be sure to watch the prices on the shelves and then again at the register. There are often mistakes that end up costing you more than you initially thought. Fortunately this is also and area of concern at Giant Eagle. Their policy states that if an item rings up incorrectly, you get it for free! Obviously this is just an awesome bonus if and when they screw up. For example a few weeks ago I bought an 18 pack cardboard case of Horizon Organic Chocolate Milk in the individual serving sizes. The shelf stated it was $13.55 which is a fair price. However, when the clerk scanned it, the price on the register said $14.88. I alerted her to the discrepancy and sure enough, I was right and got the milk for free. Sometimes they screw up big time and it takes them a few days to correct it in their system. On my visit a few days later I bought another case of the milk for Mitchell and the same problem happened again. Live and Learn Giant Eagle!

Tough times call for tough measures and there are some things I am not willing to sacrifice for the sake of a few bucks. Toilet Paper, Shampoo, Bed Linens and Shoes are non-negotiable and Jeff knew that when we got married. No matter how broke we get you won't find me with single ply sandpaper, split ends, percale sheets-(eeek gasp!) and tacky footwear. Thanks to Giant Eagle I can still afford to fill up my rockstar minivan, and buy my own personal luxuries with the leftover cash. Now Jeff on the other hand is on his own. Afterall, we are in saving mode.

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