Tuesday, December 14, 2010

My love of coupons

So, I am a cheapskate at heart, I admit it.  It's not that I don't want to pay money for things, though.  It's that I hate to pay a large amount of money for things that I *know* I can find cheaper!  For instance, when P-Daddy calls me on the way home from work and asks me to pick up diapers, I really honestly cannot do it.  I cannot walk into a store and pay FULL PRICE for diapers!  That's about $10 for 30 diapers, and since I'm constantly on the lookout for good deals (and have found some excellent one!), I just cringe at the thought of paying that.  Not because we can't or don't have it, but because if I only pay half that price, then that's $5 to spend on something more important, more meaningful, or more necessary (not to say that diapers are unnecessary, except they ARE, since we have a full stock of cloth ones!)  Plus, if I can buy my diapers on sale cheap most of the time, then when the real emergency happens, we will be able to afford full price, even if I cringe while I pay it.

The same is true for me with coupons.  I love getting a great deal, and pairing a sale with a coupon can often net super-low prices, making it possible for us to spend more on things that may never go on sale or have coupons out.  While a grad student, I really got into couponing and had a great system, as well as a couple stores where I cherry-picked constantly.  Since moving to Texas, I've been so busy that I have simply not organized my coupons and set up a working system.  This is partially because the store I shopped at in Fort Worth was not a major chain, and nobody online was listing deals for it.  Plus, there was NO space for storing things, so stocking up when things were cheap was simply not possible.  But we're in a new house, with 2 major chain grocers super-close, so this past week I revisited my coupon bag, got things a little organized, and headed out.  Oh, it was fun!  I had completely forgotten the thrill of a great deal!  But part of the joy of a good deal is sharing it, so here goes...

Tom Thumb is running daily specials this week.  Monday, it was all-purpose flour for $0.59 for a 5-pound bag.  P-Daddy loves to bake, and Pooh and I love to eat bread, so we stocked up.  We now have 40 pounds of flour, for which we paid less than $5!  In addition, Imperial Sugar was on sale for $1.99 for a 4-pound bag, which I don't consider to be a great deal.  But I had a $0.50 coupon, which doubled, bringing the price to only $0.99 - again, not a bad deal, so I grabbed 2 bags.

Then today, the daily deal was chocolate chips for $0.99 a bag.  Maybe not the greatest deal, but Pooh has 4 teachers in his Mothers-Day-Out program that need gifts, so I grabbed 3 bags (one semi-sweet, one milk, and one butterscotch).  P-Daddy's been asking for decaf coffee, so I strolled over to the coffee aisle, where he was out of luck. I'm not paying 4.57 for a tiny bottle.  No way, nu-huh.  BUT I did find the 20 packs of Taster's Choice sticks for only $0.99!  Since these are typically about $1 for 6 to 10 sticks, I was thrilled!  I'm devising a gift involving instant coffee and chocolate chips...maybe I'll share it later this week.
Tom Thumb = $16.75 total
We also needed nutmeg, so I grabbed some, which was priced $1.29 on the shelf.  Not a bad price, but then when I checked out, it rang up at only $0.90!  Wahoo!  And, I had a coupon for 1.50 off any Kandoo, and they had some for 1.74, so I grabbed that as well, paying .24 for some handsoap that Pooh will think is totally cool.  All told, at Tom Thumb we spent $16.75 for 8 bags of flour, 2 bags of sugar, 3 bags of choco chips, 1 canister of nutmeg, 1 bottle of soap, and 6 boxes of instant coffee sticks!  I was hyped, feeling the thrill, and wanted more.

So, I headed to Kroger.  They have been running a deal where if you buy 10 of a certain set of pre-selected items, you instantly save $5.  I checked this deal out online before going, and spent some time looking for just the right coupons, and I must say, I am pretty proud of how I did!  I did 2 trips, and got more than just the 10 items, so I'll outline them separately.

Trip 1:
Buy 10 save 5 items (price in parens is after .50 is subtracted due to the $5 off):
1 - Bumblebee tuna packet (.50) - .55 q = free!
1 - Barilla Plus pasta (1.49) - FREE q = free!
2 - Ziploc freezer bags (1.99) - 1.25/2 q = 1.37 each (plus, get a catalina for 1.25 off your next order)
2 - Carnation evap milk (.69) - .50 q (doubled) = .19 each
3 - Kleenex tissue (.99) - .50/3 q (doubled) = .66 each
1 - Mom's cereal (.99) - .75 q = .24
Other items:
1 pack Oroweat Sandwich Thins = 2.99 - free q = free!
1 container Cottonelle wipes = 2.79 - free q = free!
1 bottle Star balsamic vinegar = 2.19 - free q = free!
1 package turkey pepperoni = 3.00 - .35 q (tripled) = 1.95
1 pack of mushrooms = 1.19 (produce markdown)
2 packs of orange/yellow bell peppers = 1.50 ea (produce markdown)

Kroger Trip 1 = $11.59 (and in front, Starbucks Via samples, which were waiting in my mailbox when i got home)
Trip 2:
Buy 10 save 5:
2 - Ziploc freezer bags (1.99) - 1.25/2 q = 1.37 each (and got the catalina again)
2 - Carnation evap milk (.69) - .50 q (doubled) = .19 each
1 - Mom's cereal (.99) - .75 q = .24
2 - Nabisco saltines (1.49) - 1.00 q (X2) = .49 each
2 - Emerald peanuts (1.49) - 1.50/2 q = .74 each
1 - Krusteaz cookie mix (.99) - 1.00 q = free!
Other items:
1 bag of ww flour = 2.19 (you'd think that with 40 pounds from Tom Thumb, we would not need more, but we all love whole wheat, and we are almost out.  and since i paid so little for the other - we mix 1/2 ww, 1/2 all-purpose for bread making - i don't feel bad paying this much for the whole wheat)
1 pack of plastic spoons (for the previously mentioned coffee/chocolate gifts) = 1.00
1 6-pack of instant decaf = $1.19 (see?!  that is about .20 a stick, while the other non-decaf on sale were only .05 each!  But, I love my P-Daddy...)

Kroger Trip 2 = $8.91
All told, after using the 1.25 ziploc catalina on my second order, we spent 20.50 for both trips combined.  Plus, I still have my second catalina from the Ziplocs to use next time I shop.  Wow!  that's a lot of stuff!

I love saving money!  Cause I love spending money, and saving money in one spot allows me to spend it on something else (like P-Daddy's Chinese takeout tonight, while Pooh and I went to our foster agency's Christmas party).  Do you share my love, or is couponing way too much hassle for you?

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