Friday, March 11, 2011

The Coupon Gods Are Smiling At Me

Here is yet another "brag on me" post. Cue the music, "It's my blog and I'll brag if I want to, brag if I want to, you would brag too, if this happened to you!"

I recently made the executive decision to overhaul my grocery shopping experience. With the coupon craziness that is my life, with Edgar moving in, and bringing our household total to 8 or 9+++ at every meal, it was time for a change. I went ahead and created the new and improved coupon BIBLE.

Oooooh, Ahhhhhh, lookie here! I have now organized,
filed and cataloged my system for more savings. If you can even imagine, I am now scoring more deals than ever before because I can find what I need, when I need it. I am practically high from the fumes of the money I am saving. Like I need another drug in my routine? As if.

With my three ring binder, baseball card holder sleeve inserts, tab pages, and pocket folders, and clipboard storage for the one to be redeemed at checkout, I am able to visually see and find all the coupons as I go through each section of the store. The aisles are in sync with my pages so that I am not wasting time shuffling through the pages of clipped coupons. This is my new coupon bible and I am praying to the coupon gods for mercy at the check out lane.

My system is working. I am proud of the actual money I am able to save. With in store specials, double couponing up to .99, buy one get one free offers and some mail in rebates, I am working over time just to keep us flush with non-perishables and household cleaners, beauty supplies and frozen foods. I am buying the Sunday paper just for the coupons, and I am downloading and printing coupons from the internet too. All of this fills the binder and accompanies me on my adventures in grocery store fun.

I adore the shopping carts that hold a coffee beverage and the coupon bible. Note to self, bring tumbler of coffee along next time.

Is it really worth my time? I would ask that too, and yes, it is. I spend about 30 minutes of uninterrupted time clipping, printing, organizing and planning each week. It takes me a bit longer to calculate purchases as I plop items into the cart, sure. The savings are clearly worth it as you will see. I could not afford to invest thirty minutes of my time if I was only saving a few bucks.

Take for example this week. I ventured to the Market District store to take advantage of the meat and seafood specials. I bought a whole beef tenderloin, had it trimmed and sliced into inch and a half steaks, freezer wrapped half of it and grilled the other half. Normally filet mignon is about $16.99 a pound there, and with the special I was able to get it for $9.99 a pound. The butcher even ground the ends and trim into high quality hamburger meat for me. There was absolutely no waste in the purchase of an entire, whole tenderloin. Since this was my monthly stock up trip, I redeemed my bonus 20% off discount off of my total purchase and really hit the jackpot with those filets at a final price of $7.99 a pound.

Keep in mind-- I am not a coupon hoarder(yet?) nor do I buy anything processed, with HFCS, MSG or food dyes- for my family, even if it is a steal. I know this goes against the extreme couponing mission statement, but I am a rule breaker like that. I buy ingredients to make meals. I rarely if ever, buy boxed dinners, canned soups or pastas because we do not eat that way. I prepare our meals from fresh or frozen, all natural ingredients. We have to observe the whole gluten free, dye free, nut free, kosher thing for the school lunches, which adds another dimension and challenge. Yes, I accept the challenge!

I do take advantage of food items that are free with all my discounts and coupons. When I do the simple math in the aisle, if the item is free, or if after the coupons the store pays me to take it, then YES, Yes, I put it in my cart. I have an area in our garage pantry for these finds, and when the kids have a food drive at school, or if I collect a sizable haul, I donate these to the food bank. Just because we won't eat it, doesn't mean someone else won't. I am not that big of a snob. (yet)

This week my coupon bible and I worked it. I filled two of the ginormous shopping carts with bargains. No one ever wants to be behind me in the check out lane. Most of the time, they look at my two carts piled high, see my coupon bible, and they instantly flock to a different cashier. I am one scary, crazy, coupon toting momma! I would not want to be behind me in line either.

Here is the before totalat a staggering $707.22, and the after total of $468.21.Impressive, huh? It was such a high percentage of discount to item ratio, that the cashier's register would not let her complete the transaction without the manager's authorization. I tripped the trigger that says, something is fishy here. You know that is when you have rocked the couponing to the max. Now, I have set the bar just a little bit higher. Next time, if the manager does not get alerted to my presence, I have not done my job.

The Market District promotion with fuel perks is still available. For every fifty dollars in pharmacy and groceries you spend, you get a ten cent discount on up to 30 gallons of gasoline. I blogged about this before, but with my double dipping on fuel perks, I earned $.80 off each gallon of gas from the days work. I bank this until I have enough to cover the cost of the fuel, and then I pump the remaining ten gallons of free gas into the cans. Now that gas is sky high, I have to do what I can to save us the green.

Even the most fancy grocery shopper can see value in my work here. It is nothing to sneeze at. In fact, I do believe the coupon gods are still smiling at me. Hopefully, we will be laughing all the way to the bank!


Lori said...

Great post. I've been looking for a new, better coupon system. With reduced income and a new house that seems to be bleeding us dry with all the extras that are needed, it is becoming more important to save on food. I might need to make a little trip to an office supply store.

I also like to live vicariously with your Market District posts. I'm still going through huge selection, fuel/food perks withdrawal!

Helene Eichenwald Slutsky said...

Lori, I would die. See if you can find a decent double coupon store for the basics. Go when your trio is in school. Congrats on the new house. How exciting.

Lori said...

I have been going to double coupon stores when the kids are in school. Some of the stores have strange coupon policies. They only allow up to 20 coupons at a time. One only allows 5 internet coupons. Just stupid.

One nice thing is they periodically have super double coupons when they will double up to $1.98 instead of 99 cents. I love those days!

Amy Thompson said...

No one doubles coupons where I live! So frustrating! Your savings was incredible!!!!

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