Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Shopping the Savvy Way

I have never, ever in my life been a fan of coupons. I’d heard how much money you can save on them, but every time I went to use one, I found that the generic brand was cheaper anyway, so why bother? For years I’ve been a generic brand shopper and thought I was doing pretty well. Then I saw the light!

A friend of mine introduced me to the Savvy Shopper website (thank you, Lisa!) and I must say, I’m duly impressed.

The Savvy Shopper is a woman named Amy who goes through all the ads from the various local grocery stores and matches them up with coupons in the Sunday newspaper. Then she sends out an e-mail and says, “Pssst! On such and such date, you got a coupon for a dollar off on that cereal. Macey’s has it for $1.50. Go use that coupon, and get it for only fifty cents!” She sends out e-mails featuring each of the different stores, and all you have to do is pull out your coupons and find the ones she’s talking about. The paper makes it easy, too – the coupons come in these little folders with the date they came on them, so when Amy says to get the coupons from September 10th, you just flip through your stack until you find the one that says September 10th on it. Really, it couldn’t be any easier.

What are some of the deals I’ve gotten, you ask? Well, since you were so polite about it, I’ll tell you.

Last week, Albertson’s put their ready made Pillsbury cookie dough on sale for a dollar. I had three coupons for $1.00 on cookie dough, so, presto, I got three cookie doughs for free. Correct – they were free. On the same sale, I got boxes of Hamburger Helper singles for .50 a box.

The week before, Walgreen’s was having a buy one, get one free on their flax seed oil. (For those of you who haven’t heard me lecture on flax seed, I take it religiously for my carpal tunnel. I’ll blog about that sometime.) Anyway, I had a coupon for a dollar off on any nutrient from this particular brand of flax seed. So I went in, picked up two bottles, bought one for $5.99, got the other free, and got a dollar off the first, so I got two bottles of flax seed oil for $4.99. I also got some other screaming deals, but that was the most memorable.

And this morning – ah, I have saved the best for last. Albertson’s is having a Quaker Oatmeal sale. (I almost just typed Quaker, all by itself, but I couldn’t have you thinking that a Quaker can be bought so cheaply.) I got the e-mail from Savvy Shopper, pulled out my coupons, and away I went.

To begin with, plain Quaker oats were $4.29. The store had them on sale for $1.00 when you buy ten, mix and match. So there I’m getting them for a dollar, which is $3.29 off. Then I had a coupon for .50 off, so I paid .50 for a huge 42 container. I actually got three of them, because that’s how many sets of coupons I get.

Then, there were granola bars. Ordinarily $3.29, on sale for $1.00, and I had a coupon for .75 off when you buy two. So I got six, and paid .62 per box.

Let us not forget the breakfast cookie, also on sale for a dollar. But I had a coupon for .75 off two. I got three boxes of breakfast cookies for .62 each, when they usually sell for $4.15.

And of course there was the instant oatmeal that came out to .30 a box, and we must never, ever forget the instant oatmeal crunch that was free. Yep, you heard me – it was on sale for a dollar and I had a dollar off coupon.

I also picked up some diaper wipes and some milk, so this total isn’t 100% just the sale stuff, but down at the bottom of my receipt it says that my bonus buy savings were $53.55, my Preferred savings were $10.39, and my coupon savings were $11.10, bringing my savings to a total of $75.04, and my bill came to $19.54. That was for six bulging bags of food, people!

So how do I do it, you ask me? Ah, such politeness! Of course I will tell you!

First, call the Daily Herald and order the Sunday newspaper. You can get up to three, which I recommend, because you get three sets of coupons. That comes to just over $12 a month. Then go to the Savvy Shopper website and sign up for the e-mail, which is free. Then, when your papers come, pull out the coupon inserts. There are usually two, one from Smart Source and one from Valassis, but a few weeks ago, Smart Source sent out two, so be on the lookout. When your e-mail comes, it will say, coupon code, S9/10. You know that means the Smart Source insert that came on September 10th. Keep your eyes out for sales on things you need, and you’re all set!

I didn’t think at first that I’d save enough to justify the purchase of the newspaper, but I really am saving quite a bit of money and it’s definitely worth it.

Okay, I’m done gushing. I just think that when you find something good, you should share it. I’m not even been paid to tell you about it!

4 comments:

Keith Fisher said...

Now if we could just get them to pay us to buy their products . . .

thank you for the help

Tristi Pinkston said...

Hey, now that would be cool! Getting paid to grocery shop. That's a career I could do.

AnnieFanny said...

I have to admit that in my younger days I was an avid coupon user. I saved a ton on groceries. It became a job to cut and organize the coupons, but there was such a 'rush' when the cashier handed me my reciept baring all my savings! Its worth the effort. I haven't saved coupons for a while now -- but after reading your blog, I'm going to get back into the groove!

Tristi Pinkston said...

Way to go, AnnieFanny -- save that money! :)

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