Most people don't like to grocery shop...it's on the top of my list. I love to cook and have had a love affair with eating for as long as I can remember. And, any chores necessary to achieve the end result are no problem at all for this gal.
When the boys were babies, as sad as it may sound, grocery shopping was my out. I went to the store and they stayed home with Dad. Grocery time always equaled ME TIME. Although I refused to wear the "big girl shoes" most of the ladies sport as they clickity-clack up aisle six and down aisle seven, I always brushed my hair and applied some sort of make-up for the big weekly event.
And over the years it has remained the same. I maintain my sanity by pushing a cart up and down the aisles ALONE.
About six or seven years ago, long before it was as cool and accepted as it is today, we had our own economic down-turn that forced us to re-evaluate our spending practices. One of the first things to go was the convenience, scrumptious smells, and exorbinate prices associated with shopping at Jewel.
I did the Aldi thing for about two years--one day I'd had enough and blew my top. "I want to buy spices" was about all I could muster before sobbing and convulsing like a complete jack-ass.
Keep in mind four or five years ago, Aldi wasn't quite as advanced as it is today...way back when it had lots of processed crap on the cheap...and yes, they still do, but they have many other things that are pretty good, along with the best fresh produce and chocolate ice cream I can find...p.s. their frozen pizza is to die for.
I wanted to make my own meals and that store at that particular time was not conducive to that end. Microwaving a meal is not cooking in my book.
I'd written off Dominick's years before our bottom line put the kebash on Jewel. Dominick's infuriated me. It blew my mind when they'd have eggs on sale for .29 a dozen and then have the nerve to charge $6.99 for a pound of bacon.
Yeah, yeah, I remember learning about bait and switch in Speech Class--while this wasn't technically an example, I still felt taken advantage of.
Equally irritating is their practice of jacking prices up to double the shelf price just in time for the over-advertised BOGO sale. Look how much you'll save...my ass.
After my "no spices at Aldi" melt down, the main office caved on the Jewel grounding. The following Friday after I picked him up from the train he suggested we stop and shop since it was on the way home. I'm sure part of him thought I was headed off the deep end--so he threw me a line.
His caring attitude changed six full shopping bags later (none of which contained meat) along with a receipt that registered at $175 that shook in Stash Stapinski's clenched fist, that was attached to his now cold arm, that attached to the shoulder and neck that held up his very pale face that housed his mouth where the breath coming out of seemed very labored, we made our way out the doors. He suggested I take a good look behind me because as he so matter-of-factly barked out, "we're never coming back".
Over the years our bottom line has some extra cushion, but I never returned to Jewel to do my weekly shopping. I run to Berkot's for my meat, Eurofresh for my lunchmeat, Walt's for fresh fruit and veggies, and Aldi for staples. Jewel is reserved for fried chicken when I'm undecided about dinner and I'm headed toward Sandburg to pick up the boy.
And, if there is a great sale, then I'll grab a few things...but only if it's at rock bottom price. I refuse to even take a number at their deli case--the price they charge for a half a pound of any lunchmeat is almost enough to send me into cardiac arrest.
I don't think I've ever walked out of that place with a receipt less than $25 and that is usually for about two bags of goods.
All that changed this week. I've been introduced to the wonderful world of couponing. I won't bore you with all the details, I'll be sure to include some cool sites where you can get all the info on this type of thing if you're interested. I'll just let you know what I spent/saved this week.
In eleven transactions that took place over the span of four days--I'll admit I screwed the first outing up royally on Saturday and was chaperoned by a seasoned-pro on Monday and Tuesday, but today I did three transactions on my own--I spent $23.92 total.
What will $23.92 get you, you might be wondering.
Here is the list:
- 2) twelve packs of quilted northern toilet paper
- 22 boxes of Orville Redenbacker Pop Corn
- 10 four-pack Hunt's Snack Pack Pudding
- 4 six pack Danimal Liquid Yogurt
- 6 four pack Activia Strawbery Yogurt
- 2 packs of Hebrew National Hot Dogs
- 2 eight-roll cases of Brawny Paper Towel
- 37 cans of Healthy Choice Soup
- 2 bottles of Hunt's Ketchup
- 8 bottles of Lawry's Marinade
- 4 cans of chef-boy-ardee ravioli
- 2 bags of Meatballs
- 5 two liters of Diet Coke
My register receipts tell me my savings were $325.76. I'm not sure what I saved, as I'm a firm believer that most shelf prices at the place are way too inflated. But what I do know is I'll never pay full price for anything...ever again. And, if there is a sale... I can stock up on things, store them in the six-shelved closet and the end of the hall, and shop there when I need things--I refuse to pay more than a dollar per transaction.
The magic to this particular sale was a $10 coupon printed following a $25 purchase on most of the items I purchased this week--your first transaction is always the most out-of-pocket. But if you plan, use coupons, and take advantage of those register rewards it's really not that painful.
Then, you work out another deal using the $10 generated from previous sale in order to generate another $10 coupon. And, then just keep rolling it.
After eleven transactions, I still have a $10 Jewel store coupon, along with about seven other register generated coupons based on my purchases. These range from $1-$4...all to be used during next week's sale. It's a doozy--P & G...buy $20 get $10 back. I hope to have enough Tide and Downy to last me through football season and enough Swiffer refills to clean these floors throughout the summer. There is also tissue, dish soap, Crest and Febreeze to score.
I get all jittery before a sale and completely satisfied following the success of a $10 catalina coupon printing following a transaction--along with all the other printables that follow. I've heard someone refer to it as "Coupon Crack"...if that's what it is, no wonder I'm "jonesing" each morning with thoughts of what to get that particular day.
If you're really interested, check out one of these sites, they offer possible shopping scenerios, along with all the nitty-gritty regarding coupon gathering and building a stock pile of register reward savings.
It takes time, and, definitely a lot of patience. I can't believe I've put off learning this for over a year.
This week I officially became a Jewel Shopper again. Getting all this stuff for less than twenty four bucks made me feel like I'd better high tail it out of the lot before I got called back.
But I realized that for every manufacturer coupon I surrendered, Jewel would submit for face value plus .08 cents. And I do know the Jewel computer system is on to me as after the tenth transaction at a highly discounted price, in addition to the $10 catalina coupon, $3 Lawry coupon, the $1.25 meatball coupon, and $2 Dannon coupon that printed following my sixty cent transaction, another printed as well--this one promised $4 off my next purchase of $40 or more--I had to laugh, not again, not in this life time...unless of course $40 reflects the bottom line after 90% savings.
As I left the store after the eleventh transaction tonight, I remembered that Friday from all those years ago, Stapinski's clenched $175 receipt holding fist, and of course the .29 cent eggs and $6.99 a pound bacon and over-priced BOGO sales.
And, as I pulled out of the parking lot, I raised both fists with my favorite fingers in salute to the sign, thought of all the times I paid full price, this weeks haul for $23.92, not to mention the $325+ savings and screamed... Suck It Jewel--I won this time!!