Friday, May 27, 2011

Want Thanksgiving dinner for FREE???? Shop in MAY!!!

Did you know, if you start shopping now, you could avoid all the hassles and crowds in the grocery store leading up to Thanksgiving and have almost everything on the table for free or next to nothing?

Don't think so? Read on. It's easy - no catches, except a little planning and discipline.
SHOPPING ALERT: Reynolds Aluminum foil $1.99 at Walgreens starting Sunday. There was a $1 off coupon at Piggly Wiggly.
There have been a number of 75 cent coupons in the newspaper recently also. This is for a 75-foot roll of foil. Grab two, that will be more than enough for cooking, and wrapping leftovers.

What could you do with $470 in coupons?

These pictures are just a two trips from the three weeks of shopping

Wow a three week run. I posted my first two weeks in previous posts. Now a catch up for the next three, where the savings, thanks to a triple-coupon run at Harris Teeter, soared into orbit, and left me a little brain taxed. Not to mention miffed at the inability of stores to plan for major events and keep shelves stocked.

Think I'm buying something not on my list? Oh I don't think so. I'll hit all the locations in town, I don't mind coming back the next day. Too much? Burning too much gas? NOPE, not when I'm saving way more than I would use to fill my tank for a week.

Over two weeks of food for under $17

We followed that first week of shopping -- See 7-foot receipt post -- with more shopping trips. And, thanks to better planning, the addition of my mom and the reappearance of my girlfriend (she didn't bail from embarrassment after the first few trips - dedicated I'll give her that much) we posted four huge receipts and never spent over $17 total.

To be honest, there is no time for embarrassment. We spend the trips, laughing, smiling, digging through coupons, cussing those slips of paper that disappear faster than a sock in a dryer, and proclaiming this is going to be the 'best trip ever,' all while comparing it to previous trips.

So here is the damage of the end of that first week: receipts that totaled:

Here's what we got - and split amongst the three of us:
10 Hidden Valley salad kits - 10 Ken's salad dressing - 9 Minute Rice steamers - honey mustard dipping sauce - lysol bowl cleaner - glade carpet cleaner - 4 boxes gordon fillets - 6 boxes danactive yogurt - 4 boxes Taco shells - 6 kraft home-style mac-n-cheese - 2 bottles taco sauce - 2 tubs sour cream - 2 cans refried beans.

If we had paid retail, (something I did for the first decade and a half of my independence) I would have paid $132. Instead I spent less than $17.

What the ....... was I thinking before? Need I even point out how many car payments I could have made, shoot, how many months of rent, vacations, ohhhh I mentally kick myself every time I think about how much money I have wasted not knowing the power of coupons.

Coupon Shopping - a 7-foot, 9-inch receipt

I used to complain about half my salary (after rent) going to food. But did little about it. True to my ego of trying to help teach others everything I know (whether they want to know it or not), let me explain how I ended up with a receipt taller than myself.

So here it is. The beginning of coupon shopping -- well not the official beginning, that was some time back in October of 2010, but I had no idea what I was doing. I had a few good coupons on that trip, and got a free $20 cook book. Thought I was pretty good.

Flash forward to April 2011. After reading other people's blogs, a few forums and LOTS and LOTS of help, pointers and where-to-go (both good and bad) from my girlfriend - not to mention her impeccable ability to remember every coupon in our stash and 'spidey' sense for knowing exactly where it's located; I digress: Now I know what I'm doing. Well, I'm doing a pretty good job of faking it anyway.

The first official beginning to couponing - where I knew what I was actually doing, not just bumbling my way through it, came in mid April when I found myself the fortunate owner of 19 Degree deodorant coupons. I proudly drove then marched into the Lowe's Foods store 35 minutes from home and scooped up 19 bottles of anti-stink. When I finished at the register - I owed only the tax. Yes, all 19 bottles were free after coupons. That was my official "I'm Addicted" moment. Call me a coupon crazy, coo coo clipper or just plan nuts, but I was and still am hooked. What on earth will I do with 19 bottles of deodorant? Well not stink for a couple years. No, you won't see me on an upcoming episode of Hoarders. I was smart enough to get several female deodorants as well. I shared with my girlfriend, her mom, her grandmother, saved some for my mom and shared with my dad; and I still had enough left to keep myself smelling unfunky for the next year.

 The addiction depended on April 27. I'm uploading a photo of one of three receipts from that first "official" shopping trip. Why? You may ask. Because the receipt is taller than I am, YES over 6 feet long: 7-feet, 9-inches to be exact - yes I measured, at the tisk-tisk remark "this is why we are not getting married, you're such a nerd" from the afore-mentioned girlfriend.

What did I pay for such a lengthy, tree-killing expedition?  A grand total of $85.89 the register displayed. Before swiping my Lowe's Foods card and handing over my coupons. A the poor lady manning the self-check out. Every 10 coupons she had to come over and override the system as it beeped and cussed my confounded attempt to foil it's efforts of draining my wallet.

Once all the little paper slips had been deposited, and silenced the infernal beeping, the flashy screen displayed $31.35. Wow, I thought, I saved over $54. I must admit, even for my self re-assured attitude, I was even at shock myself.

But that was only part of the shopping trip. Over the next four days I made several more shopping runs.

What did I get?
2 boxes of White Castle burgers - 2 bags Folgers coffee - 6 bags of shredded cheese  - 75 packs of Kool-Aid - two boxes of tampons (girlfriend) and 6 boxes of Honey Nut Cheerios --

The remaining shopping runs amounted to:
1 pound of flour - 2 packs extra gum - 2 boxes of pasta - 2 box of mac-n-cheese - a bottle of ken's salad dressing - 6 bars of soap - 30 packs of Kook-aid - 2 Hidden Valley Salad Kits - 2 bottles of Sunkist - 2 tubes Colgate toothpaste - 2 Birdseye frozen veggie bags - Minute rice - frozen asian veggies - 28 yogurts - 2 bottles nail polish - 2 bottles Gain detergent - Reynolds aluminum foil - two cans of Pringles - Febreeze spray - Cheemo Perogies - and a bottle of Pepto.... whew. The register $152.63. After savings cards and coupons I paid $43.21

Two years ago I would have spent over $238. Now I paid under $75.....Yes I saved over $163 in three days.

Addicted? YOU BET!!!!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Getting started

This is just to get me started. I have written for years, but this is my first time blogging. I promise not to mindlessly post about every little nothing that happens. No "i just went to the bathroom and...." posts. Mostly you'll probably hear about my shopping trips, great coupon savings, and ends and outs of what is happening/ has happened in eastern North Carolina.