Monday, January 21, 2008

Latest Obsession

Recently when I was reading a personal finance blog, I read about The idea is that stores have a very predictable sale cycle (starting new again every 12 weeks), and by using sales and coupons together you can get fabulous deals on brand name items. They help you do this by showing you when the best combination of the deals is - each week they publish a list for various grocery stores and drug stores, with the deals shown for you. Green means an item is free (after coupons/rebates), blue means it is the ROCK BOTTOM price (it never goes lower than this), and black means that it's a decent price, get it if you need it, but it will go lower so wait if you can! You're supposed to stock up when you see a blue item you use... enough for 12 weeks worth, so you can get yourself through until the next sale cycle. At first you might not see a ton of savings because you're still in "stock up" mode, but after the first cycle you get through, you should see quite a bit of savings! They have a trial membership for $1 for 4 weeks, and I read that the best thing to do is save up coupons from the Sunday papers every week for a few weeks beforehand, so that you're ready to go when you start. I've been saving coupons since January 6th, and I started yesterday. This is how I did:

Safeway: spent $1.95, saved $1.30 (40% savings)
Rite Aid: spent $7.14, coupon savings $1.85 (21% savings - plus I have a $2 mail in rebate, and the savings on the Rite Aid receipt doesn't tell you the sale savings, JUST coupon savings - so it's really better than that)
Walgreens: spent $8.07, saved $14.19 (64% savings)
Albertsons: spent $58.08, saved $51.10 (47% savings)

I got tons of food, health/beauty, and household products for that... I won't list it out here to bore you though.

Today I am going to go to two stores and get the following things: 14 cans of petite diced tomatoes, 6 cans of black beans, 8 cans of chicken broth, and 8 cans of tomato sauce. And the total for all of that is going to be $14! Which I figure is pretty good… tomatoes and black beans are generally $1 each on sale (at stores that take credit cards, maybe 60 cents each at Winco but that's cash/debit only), so right there that'd be $20… without the chicken broth and tomato sauce. I am SO EXCITED. (these are ingredients that are in a lasagna soup that Geoff and I love)

This game is definitely NOT FOR EVERYONE. You can get decent deals on a lot of this stuff just by buying your paper towels / TP / etc at Costco, and for a lot less effort. However, overall you do save more playing this game than you would at Costco and I LOVE the "game" part of it. Clipping all of the coupons, organizing them, waiting for the papers to come and the lists to come out, picking out the items you want, etc. Plus I want beautiful stockpiles like these (don't worry, I realize that these are for families of like 7 people... I hope mine will be this pretty, just on a smaller scale! - also before you freak out, think about why these people have so much stuff. If they have 5 kids who eat 3 boxes of cereal a week, that's 36 boxes they need to get themselves through a 12 week cycle. So buying 40 boxes of cereal isn't as insane as it looks on first glance!). I was having trouble yesterday morning figuring out what I wanted to buy, figuring out how to read the list, making sure I had all the right coupons, etc - but once I did it was GREAT! I felt so guilty walking into my first store and handing over the coupons... but no one even batted an eyelash. It is so weird to me to hand over stacks of coupons, but it works so well! I love it. If you DO decide to try the game, I'd appreciate if you'd use me as a referral - kelly94942 at hotmail dot com. I'm having a blast... and can't wait to go shopping today! I know, I am a huge freak. But at least I'm having fun!

1 comment:

marisa said...

fun! we did the grocery game for a while, but i was bad about stocking up because we had no storage in our apartment. that's awesome, though - the friends i heard about it from were definitely saving a bundle on it.