My friend Misty is a coupon-clipping maniac. She is super savvy when it comes to getting groceries on the cheap and has recently blogged a lot about how she does it. She uses competitor coupons, double and triple coupons, and takes advantage of Publix’s weekly BOGO deals and amazing sales… among other things. Being the penny-pincher that I am becoming, I wanted to start doing this for myself.
A few months ago, my mom and I started working on the way we buy groceries and beings ure we’re watching our budget. But, Misty’s recent saving sprees have encouraged me to work even harder to help my mom save money on groceries. So, today I did a little shopping experiement. Last week, I bought groceries solely at Publix and took advantage of sales and BOGO and spent $35 while saving $15…. not bad! But, today I went a little crazier. I visited four different stores and noted the prices of the items on my list at each store and also looked at some of the items I buy most frequently to see who had the best prices. So, here’s what you’ve been waiting for…
8 gal. trash bags
peanut butter (I only eat Smart Balance PB)
toilet paper (I only use Cottonelle… expensive!)
WHAT I BOUGHT
Pop-Tarts (Publix, BOGO)
Trash bags (Wal-mart, reg. price)
Spent: $3.74 for 72 bags
Sara-Lee speciality breads (Wal-Mart, 2 for $5)
Saved: $1.98 (although Publix’s brand of specialty bread is regularly priced at $2.49, so…. really nothing “saved”)
Salsa (Publix, store-brand)
Saved: $2.00 (I normally buy Newman’s Own which sells for $3.99, though part of the money goes to charity!!)
Ground sirloin (Publix, on sale for $3.99/lb)
Saved: $0.90 (though this technically evens out because I’d planned on buying ground round instead of sirloin, which is about a dollar cheaper than the sale price of sirloin)
StarKist Tuna (Wal-Mart, on sale)
Spent: $4 (4 cans for $1/ea)
Smart Choice Peanut butter (Wal-Mart, reg. price)
Saved: $0 (I generally buy this brand at Wal-Mart… it’s $2.99 at Publix)
Shaving cream (Wal-Mart, reg. price)
Saved: $0.90 (switched brands, plus I got 2.5 oz more than what I normally buy)
Tostito multi-grain chips (Wal-Mart, on sale)
Saved: $0.49 (Publix’s store brand is $2.59, just an FYI)
Half-dozen eggs (Publix, reg. priced)
Saved: $1.24 (I generally buy a dozen organic eggs for around $1.99 or more at Wal-Mart)
Cottonelle Toilet paper (CVS, on sale) – my favorite purchase of the day!
Spent: $5.49 for 12 double rolls
Saved: $2.00 (Reg. priced at Wal-Mart for $7.49, at CVS for $11.99 so to CVS, I saved $6.50!)
Total Spent: $35.80 (w/o tax)
Total Saved: $13.18 (w/o tax)
I feel like I did pretty well! Just in the past two weeks, I’ve saved just under $30 just from paying more attention to what I’m buying, evaluating and reevaluating what we really need, and really sticking to my list. Now, as I said, I went to four stores though I only made purchases at three. One gem of a store I often forget about is the Family Dollar. When I lived in Montevallo, I would HIT UP the FD for all of my cleaning supplies – they are often so much cheaper!! They had some really great deals on the cleaning supplies we use most plus a better deal on trash bags. I ended up regretting the bread purchase from Wal-Mart because I generally just buy regular sandwich bread for about $2.18 a loaf. However, bread does last quite a while at my house and the two loaves we bought will more than likely last a month or more… plus it’s fancy bread which is always more fun. I also bought some ibuprofen at Publix the other day for $4.49 for 50 tablets only to find a 2 for $4 pack at Wal-Mart (with 100 tablets in each bottle). That was a rip-off, but I was in desperated need for ibuprofen, so… I’ll just suck it up for now.
Anyway, this has been a fun morning. I love learning about new ways to save money on groceries – even “mistakes” I am making are learning experiences and I feel like I can only get better at it! I’m getting better about looking for sales, deals, coupons, and offers…. though I have to be careful not to buy items just because they’re on sale. The Pop-Tarts were my only non-list item, but I traded them for cereal and actually ended up saving money by doing so. Saving money isn’t just about what I can do with the leftover money, but what the Lord can do with it instead. Currently, most of my thrifty shopping is out of necessity but as I get older and begin my career, I want to be able to use the money I save for greater purposes than just keeping myself fed and clothed.
Now… my next post will be on why I still shop at Wal-Mart…….. that’s a whole ‘nother story.