Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A Day Late and a Dollar Short

or Too Many Mouths part 2
Yeah, I know, I missed Monday--give me a break it's campaign season and I was busy posting and waving Dooley signs.
Today is TUESDAY; my favorite day! Dave thinks Sunday is my favorite day but he is not around on Tuesday so he doesn't know. (No, it's not BECAUSE he is gone that it is my favorite day. Tsk, tsk, that was a rather rude thought.) Sunday is coupon day and Tuesday is (drum roll please) GROCERY AD DAY!!!!

Every Tuesday I have a lunch date with my grocery ads. I sit down at the table and spread them all out. I grab my coupon accordian holder and my grocery notebook and enjoy the next 30 minutes as a savings sniper.

As I said before I only shop one store a week and that store is Albertsons. But that does not keep me from looking at other store ads. I check the other stores' prices and see if they have any rock bottom prices and then I tear out all their coupons. Did you know that Albertsons accepts other stores coupons? They do. Fred Meyer,QFC, Target, Safeway, and even mom and pop groceries like the Saars that we have here in Lakewood. Some Albertsons will even take Walgreens and Rite Aid coupons. They also take the grocery coupons that are in the Entertainment Books, you know, the ones that say $5 off your $50 purchase, they take 'em!

Once I've gathered all the coupons from other stores I quickly decide which ones are good enough to use. I am very picky. It must meet 2 qualifications: 1-It must be something I want to use 2-It must be a rock bottom price. I throw the non-qualifiers in my recycle pile and then I scour the Albertsons ad for more rock bottom prices and circle them.

You may think that this is it, I write down those items and I'm done. Wrong. So far I've spent about 5 minutes on the other stores and 5 minutes on Albertsons. I've got a small handful of competitor coupons and I've circled all the best prices in the Albertsons ad. Now it is time to cross-reference. Do any of my coupons work with the albertsons specials? Do I have any manufacturer coupons to combine with the specials and competitor coupons? YES--Albertsons accepts one store coupon and one manufacturer coupon for each item.

For example 1: This week Fred Meyer has a Post cereal coupon 5 for $10. I have 2 Post manufacturer coupons $2 off of 2 (essentially $4 off 4). So, I buy 4 Post cereals and pay $4!

For example 2: This week Albertsons has Cinnamon Toast Crunch 10 for $20 and when you buy 10 you get $5 off. I've got coupons from general mills for a total of $4 off of 9 boxes. So, I buy 10 boxes of Cinnamon Toast Crunch and pay $11.

These are both good prices but sometimes you get great prices like a few months ago when a competitor and Albertsons overlapped on a sale similar to the above.

For example 3: Safeway had a coupon for general mills cereal 4 for $6. Albertsons had GM cereals on the same sale as in example 2 and I had similar manufacturer coupons. So I bought 10 boxes for $15 (safeway coupon) reduced by $5 (albertsons discount with purchase of 10) and further reduced by my $4 in manufacturer coupons, for a grand total of $6 for 10 boxes of GM cereal!

That's a great price and it works for more than just cereal.

So now that I've cross referenced and found some deals I write them out on my grocery list. I write the quantity, the description and size, the price and the total for the item like this:

4 24oz. Grape Nuts or Raisin Bran $2 each -$4 $4
10 17oz. Cinn Toast Crunch 10/$20 -$5 -$4 9

And add in any other sale items that I've found. If it isn't on sale I don't buy it. If it is on sale I buy as many as the store will allow me to buy.
I always write it down and I always total it at the end to make sure I'm not going over my budgetted amount. Don't forget to use your $5 off coupons from the entertainment book or other sources (this week Kmart has a $5 off $50 on the back of it's ad). Time to go shopping!

A few final tips:
  • Putting the prices in writing will help you as you compare over the weeks what prices truely are rock bottom and which ones are deceiving.
  • Unless you have a stocked pantry and freezer to start with you'll have to buy non sale items for the first few weeks until you have built up a small stockpile.
  • Plan your meals according to what is on sale and in your pantry/freezer-not what is on your mind (I know it's tough when you want steak - but your saving money! Just remember to buy when it's on sale and freeze it for the next time you have a craving for a nice, thick, juicy steak.)
NEXT ISSUE: Cheap meals Aka meal math


  1. Awesome tips, Dani! Obviously you've been doing this for a long time because you sound like you have this system down... and to me it sounds like a lot of work! I'm sure once I got it figured out and got used to it, it wouldn't seem like such a big deal. I'd love to follow you around one day and see how it's done. I'm still sitting here in shock at some of the savings you mentioned! Thanks for sharing these awesome tips!

  2. Dani..wow! For someone who probably has less time on her hands than I do, that is amazing! Maybe I will get that organized someday, cause I too LOVE a good deal!

  3. hi Dani-would you be interested in teaching your coupon tricks to the sisters in my ward sometime next year at an enrichment activity? We are all in a crunch with the economy and I know it would help a lot of people to know how to do this. Email me at riccardoward@juno.com Thanks


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