November 17, 2010 § Leave a comment

$10.76 – Junk Food Heaven

Hello, folks.  I descended on Shaw’s this week with a $20 bill and high hopes to have at least a five and some singles coming back to me with my plan.  I knew I had to pick up red pepper and broccoli for dinner items, and while I was at it bought a sauce mix that looks kind of questionable but was only $.88 and really all ‘Szechuan’ is good, no matter how dehydrated.  The Nasoya Tofu I purchased was $2.99 and I had a $1 off coupon from the paper.  So all that din-din stuff (about two nights worth) was $5.10.

Now:  let the fun begin.  The back page of the Shaw’s flyer this week featured items you could mix and match – if you bought any combination of 10 of them they were insanely low in price.  Here’s what I did:

Starting off responsibly, I bought four cans of Progresso Soup on sale for $1.50 each.  However, if you bought ten of the mix and match items they would go down to $1 each.  I had $1 coupon off four Progresso from the Sunday paper.  Total:  $2 for 4 cans, or $.50 each.

Then, let’s be honest, the holidays are coming and there will be no one stopping me from indulging in cupcakes, brownies, cookies, cake, etc. etc.  So I felt a little less silly buying all this swag.  Observe:

I bought one package of Betty Crocker frosting (yum Coconut Caramel!) and a package of Betty Crocker Super Moist Triple Chocolate cake mix.  This will not yield the most mouth watering cake experience but it will be great for making cupcakes to bring to a holiday party.  German chocolate cake, yes oh yes.  My coupon was for $1 buying these items combined.  The frosting was on sale for $1.50 or $1.00 if you bought 10 mix and match.  The cake mix was $1.29 or $.79 if you bought 10 mix and match.  Total for these?  $.79 + $1.00 – $1.00 coupon = $.79.  Awesome.

My mom makes really quick and delicious chocolate croissants around the holidays for us to snack on while we make the big guns (buche de noel!) so I know have stockpiled 5 of these tubes.  They’re gross, I know.  But if you’ve been eating something since you were 3 it’s really hard to kick the habit.  Croissants were on sale $1.50 each or $1.00 each further reduced with mix and match.  I had a coupon for $1 off 3 packages, so $2 for 3 croissant tubes.  Thrifty.

I had some pretty high value coupons for these Sweet Moments things you’ve been looking at in your peripheral vision while you’re trying to be well-behaved in the dairy aisle.  I will test these for you.  They were $2.50 each on sale, further reduced to $2 after 10 mix and match.  I had two coupons for $1 off of 1 box, so $2 total for 2 boxes.  This might be dessert tonight.

Betty Crocker cookie mixes were a good deal because these will be easy to make with my niece without totally destroying the kitchen.  They were on sale for $2 each, further reduced to $1.50 each in the mix and match.  I had $1 off of 2 pouches coupon, so I paid $2 for two packages.

The tabasco sauce sitting amongst all the goodies was kind of impulsive.  We already have tabasco sauce but we go through it quickly seasoning chicken salad and jerk sauce so I just picked one up anyways.  The smaller size is $1.89 and I had a $.75 off coupon on one jar of tabasco.  Shaw’s doubled it so I only paid $.39 for another month of spiciness.  Ay carumba.

There’s this feeling of panic when you approach the registers at Shaw’s with a cart-full of free food.  Maybe it’s similar to how people feel when they’re about to shoplift?  Something for nothing… really?!  I always scope out what line looks the most dead, what cashier looks the most forgiving, and I keep an eye on other approaching customers so I don’t blast in front of someone with a cup of soup and a soda on their work break.

The girls who rang me out today were so funny, had lots of questions about my coupons and I told them how crazy I am but it’s ok, because I really don’t make that much money so it’s better being crazy and self-sufficient than relying on the gov’t to give me free things.  When all was said and done, the total check rang up to $40.16.  I watched as she scanned my Shaw’s card at the end of ringing everything up and the prices melted before my very eyes.  I handed over all my coupons and the max allowed 4 ‘dollar doublers’ that were in the flier this weekend and the numbers continued to dwindle until the marquee read:  $12.76.  I handed over my $20 and a $2 off ANYTHING coupon came out of the little machine with my receipt.  So I’m counting that towards an additional $2 off even though I’m not using it today.  I totalled $27.40 in Shaw’s card, coupon and dollar doubler savings, almost three times the amount I handed over in cash.

“Wow!”  the friendly cashier said as I walked away, “My mom would be proud of you!”


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November 1, 2010 § Leave a comment

The Spread! $12.28 after tax.

It is the opinion of miseenplacemaine that paying full price for anything is not the preferred method.  Observe:

This is week 2 of taking Shaw’s for all their worth.  Rather, my second week of wandering around the aisles trying to find the brand and size of the thing I’ve got a sweet coupon for, my second week of watching the numbers tally up (groceries) then tally down (coupons!), and most annoyingly my second week of enduring cashier comments about my future happy cats (9 Lives, Whiskas, etc.) and what a good couponer I am.

Maybe they don’t realize this – but this is a “I don’t qualify for food stamps but I still can’t afford to eat properly in my late 20s” mission.  I also happen to really like applied math and when it has gastrointestinal benefits I am alright with that.

Let’s not make this too hard:

Shaw’s doubles coupons. This means that for every coupon under $1.00 that you have (including .90 cents!) they will double that coupon’s value.  So, say, tonight I got instant soup with a .50 off coupon and basically got it for free because that turned in to $1.00 off and …I don’t think there’s a kind of instant soup that exists that goes over $1.00.

Sometimes Shaw’s has ‘dollar doublers.’ Some Shaw’s flyers get extra coupons attached to the cover that will double $1.00 off coupons.  Like today when I got three 4-packs of 9 Lives (they were 2/$3.00 so $4.50 for 3) with $1.00 off coupon which then was $2.00 which ended up being $2.50 for 12 cans of cat food, just over 12 cents each.  Hell yes.

Don’t talk about your coupons. People are either going to be really impressed with you or really annoyed.  Personally, I am a little impressed AND annoyed at myself for being obsessed with this.  So at the check out, just put them nicely at the end of your groceries and wait patiently as the cashier struggles with the compound fractions and subtle nuances of what you’re getting away with.

Keep an eye on the crowd. Obviously you’re just as good a customer as any non-couponing stiff.  But it really sucks if there’s only one lane open, you’re just trying to buy a candy bar and some cat litter and the girl in front of you dressed in pajamas as a stack of coupons high as a deck of cards…just annoying.  So if you can let any normal people go ahead of you before using 5 minutes of the only available cashier’s time…then do!  Karma.

So this week at Shaw’s I paid $12.28 for what originally rang up as $30 and some change.

For more thorough (and less sarcastic) information about all this jazz, visit the Money Saving Maine-iac for some schooling in what made me as crazy as I am today.

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