Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Resolved: Spend Less

Can you remember the last time you bought a candy bar for a quarter? That was the going rate for candy when I was a kid. And if you were lucky enough to have a quarter, there was a tiny shop in town called Jimmy's that had shelves upon shelves of candy and you could squeeze in there with your friends and pick out a treat.

Ah, memories! But guess what? I bought two candy bars today for 25 cents each! And I got a bottle of dish washing liquid for 55 cents. Two 100-count bottles of Exedrin cost me $6, but I received a $5 coupon in exchange. I'm finding the deals!

It's all part of my New Year's Resolution to cut our grocery bill by 30-40% this year. I'm feeling the need to cut costs, what with the economic uncertainty and my own bent toward thrift. It won't be easy, since I've always been one to shop the sales. But I'm feeling armed with the right tools to really make a difference. This year I'll be "Super-Couponing".

What's that you say? No, it's not cutting and cataloging all the Sunday coupons. That's too much work for nothing. I used to do that and was happy when I could save 10% using coupons at the discount grocer. Nope, Super-Couponing is much more savvy than that. It involves matching coupons to sales in order to cut costs or even earn money shopping. And I'm doing it with the help of some great web sites.

For starters, shoppers in Chicagoland can benefit from the Super-Couponing Queen, Jill Cataldo's advice. Then there's Coupon Mom who has lists for different stores in different states (plus the big Chains like WalMart & Target) that match up the current coupons and sales and show the percent savings on items listed in the current ads. To do your own coupon matchup, check out Coupon Tom's searchable database.

Two quick examples to show you the savings:
This week Jewel grocery store has a promotion going on where if you buy $30 of specific products you'll get coupons back for $15 on your next shopping trip.
I bought:
1-100 oz. bottle of Tide for $11.47 (rings up as $15.99 toward the $30)
minus $1.00 coupon
8 rolls of Bounty Paper Towels for $10.00 (rings up as $14.99 toward the $30)
minus $2.00 in coupon savings
Total Out of Pocket $20.03 plus $15 in savings on my next trip (in theory, the same as spending $5.03)

At Walgreen's I got:
Fructis Hair Styling Mousse (my favorite) for $2.99
less $2.00 Walgreen's coupon
less $1.00 mfr. coupon equals FREE
one box of Quaker Oats Instant Oatmeal for $3.59
less $1.60 Walgreen's Coupon
less $.70 mfr. coupon
one box of Electrasol tabs (20-ct) for $3.49
less $2.50 mfr. coupon
with $1.50 rebate coming (hence they "paid" me 50 cents for this one)
Colgate Toothpaste for $3.49
less $.75 coupon
take off the $5 coupon I had from a previous trip where I spent $14.85 & got $20 in coupons for future trips.
add one Christmas clearance glitter pen for 12 cents to bring me up into the positive before tax
Total out of pocket: $.71

Just on those two transactions I bought $50.97 of groceries for $20.74, with $15 to spend later.
I'm hoping this all brings me closer to that resolution (and closer to prices not last seen since the 1980's?).

1 musings:

hellolittlepeepers said...

2nd blog in a row that discussed shopping for less, making me feel even more convicted about my shopping habits. I was a much better shopper when i worked full time and "wasted my time" at work figuring out the grocery plan.