Saturday, March 08, 2008

It's OK to Call Em Coups

Lately I have been getting into bargain shopping. Those who know me know that when I first get into something new, even something as dull as this, I get giddy and spend a lot of time plotting my next move and celebrating my victories. (Just ask Epu about my AA miles period, when I nearly filled our 750-square-foot apartment with cereal and waffle boxes with miles coupons on them.)

In that spirit, I bring you 16 boxes of free cereal:



This was my haul at Dominick's this morning, a store I normally don't go to just because Jewel is so much closer. But they were having a cereal sale, 5 boxes for $5 of certain brands, $2 a box for others, and you better believe I had coupons.

It actually should have come to $4.50 for the 16 boxes (full price would have been $68.50), but in reality they paid me 50 cents to take them off their hands. I ended up getting the extra $5 off my bill because of a cashier error -- I had a coupon clipped from the paper saying I could get 5 boxes of Life for $5. I think it wouldn't scan properly because you didn't really need the coupon for the deal. But she thought it meant $5 OFF of 5 boxes of cereal, so she manually deducted $5.

I didn't figure that out until I got home, or I would have told her. I'm not out to defraud the Safeway corporation, maker of those lovely O Organics products that will have me going back to Dominick's in the future.

I've been reading this blog, Money Saving Mom, obsessively. The woman (who also publishes a blog called Biblical Womanhood, with links to, among other things, modest swimwear) feeds a family just like mine (except for the biblicality) on $40 a week*.

I can't do that -- partly because of the difference in prices in the Chicago area versus Kansas City where she lives, partly because I am not willing to cut down on our milk consumption like she has -- but she has inspired me to look at my monthly grocery budget. Our budget is definitely tight each month since we went down to one income and bought a home, and with the increasing grocery prices and the high-for-awhile gas prices, well, it's even tighter.

I'm thinking about a weekly grocery budget of $60 to $80 to start with. Maybe $80 including alcoholic beverages. I have a feeling that Biblical womanhood does not include stops at BevMo to stock up on red wine, hard liquor and beer.

Watching what you spend sounds time consuming and boring -- lately I keep asking my mom to save her coupons for me, which makes me feel about 100 years old. But in reality you can make a pretty big difference in household spending with a few changes in habits and a few extra hours a week.

Also remember that money saved is tax free. Another way to look at that: When you pay $3 for a box of cereal, remember that if you are taxed at 30 percent, you actually have to earn $4 to pay for that cereal.

The biggest part of my bargain shopping obsession lately has been shopping at the CVS very near our home. I found out, also from Money Saving Mom, about the instant rebates program they have there and how it can be used to get merchandise for free. I was lucky enough to download a $5 off any $15 purchase for CVS (it's no longer available online but I can email a copy to anyone who wants one), which can be printed and used again and again until the end of March. Because of this coupon and, well, my craziness, I have stopped into CVS with the girls every single day this week.

I won't repeat the mechanics of CVS "shopping" here, because Money Saving Mom explains it perfectly well. For me, this week was the first one when I spent ZERO dollars out of pocket. (I have spent $40 cash this year so far at CVS, most of it on photo prints for Pebbles' birthday party but some of it on the original items I bought that generated the CVS money I've been using ever since.)

Below is the stuff I brought home from CVS this week. The stuff I starred is the stuff I got because we really needed it right now, other stuff I bought because they generated rebates or were on clearance -- but they were still things we could use. I started with $15 in CVS money, and ended up with $8 in CVS money that I can spend in the future.

- 12 double rolls Charmin*
- 2 3-packs Mach 3 disposables ($10 rebate)
- 1 Venus women's nondisposable razor ($5)
- 3 bottles Excedrine ($10)
- 1 deodorant*
- 2 large bottles kids' sunblock (clearance)
- 6 bags Easter candy (gave to parents) + Whoppers, Cadbury egg ($5)
- 1 bottle Neutrogena makeup (clearance)
- 1 lipstick (clearance)
- 8 Duracell size C, 8 AAs ($5)
- 2 fancy-ass toothbrushes ($10)
- disposable cups*
- Trail Mix Crunch cereal
- gallon milk*

Yes, I may be insane. But I really like cereal, heehee. And as Nutmeg just said, as she counted up the cereal boxes on the table, "It's like we live in a cereal store!"

In a good way, though.

* Believe it or not, she even buys organic milk and eggs.

3 comments:

Heidi @ GGIP said...

Great job! I hope you like those cereals too!

Notta Wallflower said...

I like the CVS commercials. When Jellybean was just born, I cried at their commercials because of their "ordinary miracles" song. What a dork, huh? Anyway, I don't think they have CVS around here - it's either Walgreens or Longs. /sigh

I'll have to take a look at that one mom's blog. I'm all for saving money when I can. :-)

Văn Sát said...

Công ty vận tải hàng hóa chuyên nhận vận chuyển nội địa tốt nhất hiện nay. Hãy đến với chúng tôi sanvanchuyen.vn bạn sẽ được tận hưởng những dịch vụ vận chuyển tốt nhất hiện nay. Có thể kể đến dịch vụ vận chuyển hàng hóa bắc nam giá rẻ, vận chuyển hàng đông lạnh, vận chuyển hàng tươi sống, vận chuyển hàng đi Sài Gòn, vận chuyển hàng hóa đi Hà Nội... Và còn rất nhiều dịch vụ đang chờ đón bạn. Nếu như bạn có thắc mắc haay cần sử dụng hãy liên hệ với chúng tôi nhé.