I set out the other day to tackle some stores. I had coupons for a few items that I got at great prices, but I also intended to shop sales.
Specifically, I was looking for meat and produce that was marked down because it was either on sale, bruised but still edible, or about to go bad if not purchased and eaten soon (can’t beat those quick sale prices).
I was happy with my haul and with the price I paid for it. First let me show you what I brought home.
Here are my non-edible items:
My foods that were neither meat nor produce.
And my produce.
All of that rung up to a grand total of $247.18. No, I didn’t waltz out of there after only paying $15 like some of the extreme couponers you see on tv, but that’s still pretty darn good.
I DID walk out of there with meats and produce galore, which they don’t tend to focus on in those shows since there aren’t usually coupons on them.
I also was shopping by myself with some hormonal cravings going on. In other words, I saw a few items (ahem, Krispy Kreme? Star Crunch? To name a few…) that I wanted but hadn’t planned to buy.
And Tom wasn’t there to stop me. So I bought them. (Not that I heard any complaints, let me tell you. Homeboy can put away some star crunch…)
I paid full price and sacrificed what could have been a more impressive total. But that’s okay. I’m not on tv doing a couponing show, and I’m human. And pregnant.
Now, you may be wondering why I bought approximately 2 billion pounds of food for our small family. That is coming tomorrow, and I promise, I will let you know exactly what I did with it.
But until then, let me remind you of a few things:
1. Shopping for the items that are on sale is key. If you have a coupon, but the item is full price, you are not going to get a great deal.
2. Store brand is almost always the same quality as your favorite brand. So, when you don’t have a coupon or a major sale for certain things (chips, for example, which Tom and I both-admittedly-love), buy the store brand if it’s a bit cheaper.
3. Buy enough of those items that are on sale to get you through to the next time it goes on sale. But don’t take the whole shelf. No reason to be greedy.
Now, those were reminders. Here are some other tips from my shopping trip that I didn’t cover before in my couponing guide.
1. I went to the meat department at both Publix and Kroger and asked them when they mark down their meats for quick sale. Did they have a specific day that they did this?
Turns out, Publix told me that they NEVER reduce the price of their meats. I stared at the lady in confusion. I mean, surely if something is about to go bad, they would rather sell it cheaply than have to throw it away?
But she said that she had worked there for years and never seen the meat get marked down. This might just be my Publix, but there it is.
At Kroger, they said they don’t have a specific day. They look at the date the package is marked to expire, and a few days before it does, they mark it down for quick sale.
Since different packages have different dates, they check them each day and have mark downs daily. So if you don’t find what you need, you can always check back.
You also don’t have to feel as bad about grabbing most of the reduced meat because there will be more for the other shoppers each day. Woo!
With that in mind, I will be shopping at Kroger for my meat from now on, unless there is some incredible sale plus coupon for meat at Publix.
Too bad for my shopping day, none of the organic meats were reduced. And since I was looking to buy a lot, I went for the cheaper prices.
2. The other thing that’s good to know is that some stores offer “rainchecks.” You know how sometimes couponers can clear out an item before you get to it? Well, Publix, if they realize this has happened, kindly puts up a raincheck notice where that item was located.
For example, I had a coupon for a $1 off of KC Masterpiece BBQ Sauce. Then they marked it down to $.99. WOO! Except it was all gone. BOO!
Since they realized this, I took a photo of the raincheck on my phone (made remembering all the raincheck items much easier), and after checking out, I went to customer service.
I told them the item and how many ounces it was, as well as how many I had planned to purchase. They wrote me a raincheck that I can use on that item to get it at the same $.99 price for 30 days.
That’s good service.
I didn’t run into that problem at Kroger that day, so I didn’t think to ask if they offer that to customers. But I was really glad to find out that Publix does.
If you find yourself shopping for items that have all been taken up already, at any store, I would recommend approaching customer service (or even the manager) about a raincheck for when the item comes back into stock.
SO. That is all the advice I have for today. Tomorrow, I get to show you what I did with all the meat and produce. Fun times!