shopping trips Archives

More Jewel Catalina Transactions and a New Moneymaker Idea

I think I'm done shopping the Jewel-Osco Catalina deal, which ends today. But today I did notice a tempting new item to buy: Pillsbury sweet rolls priced at $4.45 pre-card, $2.50 card price. These are the fancier sweet rolls, some co-branded Cinnabon, and look like so:


Transaction ideas and my transactions today beyond the break.
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Sometimes It Just Doesn't Go Your Way Shopping Trips -- Walgreens and Jewel

Today when I hit my small, neighborhood Jewel-Osco the Healthy Choice soups were pretty limited and they didn't have the 20% bonus packs of Angel Soft toilet paper. So after the kids were alseep tonight, I thought I'd combine a Walgreens trip wtih a sojourn over to the palacial River Forest Jewel.

Wish I'd stayed home. Everything went wrong, at both stores.

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This Week's Shopping: Catalina Fun and a Wedding



This week there wasn't much time to shop on account of my brother getting married. OK, I made multiple trips to all kinds of stores, but those were errands that I ran for the wedding and don't count.

Here's what I did for our family:

Spent 35 cents at Dominick's getting Barilla pasta, sauce and cheese. How so cheap? I used a $10 Catalina I had in my wallet -- without that my total would have been $10.35 for four jars sauce, four boxes of spaghetti, two blocks cheese and one jar O Organics baby food. The deal was "buy 2 pasta, get 2 sauce free," and the $1/1 coupons didn't work because they were for the wrong variety of pasta, but not a bad deal anyway. Oh! Also I forgot to report that I got a $1 Catalina coupon for buying Barilla products -- not sure how many I would have had to buy to trigger that, but if you count that and the $1.25/2 sauce coupon I used, I paid $5.75 for 4 sauce and 4 pasta -- not bad!

At Dominick's I also found more "Save $70" coupon booklets, with that $.50/1 any Healthy Choice coupon so useful in the Catalina deal at Jewel-Osco.

At Jewel I have done 2 rounds of the current Catalina deal. The first time I spent $5.92 on 9 cans of Healthy Choice soup ($.88/can x 9 = $7.92 - $2 in coupons = $5.92). The second time I got 9 cans soup with no coupons and some grapes. I paid with the $10 Cat from before, and I only owed the tax -- 23 cents. (And of course I received a $10 Catalina coupon for each of those transactions.)

At CVS, I spent 35 cents after Extra Bucks on some milk and a can of cream of mushroom soup.

So, my grocery spending for this week was $6.85, plus my normal $32 for the organic produce box. I donated 9 cans of soup to the Girl Scouts food drive and shared some of our produce with the babysitter, since we were going out of town and couldn't eat it all. $38.65 out of a possible $100. No wonder we hardly have anything to eat around here!

I won't detail our meals, since we ate most of them out of town, at parties and restaurants. But I am happy to report that I can add $60 to the "buy a cow 2010" fund, bringing my savings up to $95.

These Are the Groceries I Paid for ... But Look at the Groceries I Got!

You know those Empire commercials, right? "I paid for this much carpeting," showing a tiny patch of carpet in a bare room, "But look at the carpeting I got!"

Tonight I felt that way at Jewel-Osco. I paid $31 plus tax in two transactions. If I was paying full price with no coupons, I could have afforded this:

(That'd be three bags of coffee.)

But with manufacturer's coupons, a store coupon, instant savings, Preferred Card prices, Catalina coupons and even an Avenue "personalized savings" deal, I got all this for my $31:



Is it any wonder that we get hooked on couponing?

Here's how it went down:

Transaction 1:

Bounty 8 Giant Rolls $9.99 Preferred Card price/$14.99 pre-card

Tide 100 oz.               $9.99/$14.49

Pringles $1.50

Mrs. T's Pierogies BOGO @ $3.49

Starbucks 12 oz. @ $6.99 x 4 =  $27.97

Cheerios 14 oz. $2.50

cage free eggs $3


Total before any coupons or discounts (except card prices): $58.44 plus tax

MINUS $1 Avenu savings on the Bounty: $57.44

MINUS $7.50 instant savings on the Starbucks/Cheerios $49.94

MINUS $5 Jewel coupon from the mail -- spend $50, get $5 off (I was 6 cents under but it went through) $44.94

MINUS $9 manufacturer's coupons ($2/1 Tide from a magazine, four $1/1 Starbucks from the 9/12 SmartSource, $1/1 Bounty from a booklet I got at BlogHer, two $1/1 Mrs. T's Pierogies from the Save $70 booklet at Dominick's) $35.94

MINUS the $10 Catalina coupon I got for buying $30 worth of P&G products

-----> FINAL PRICE $25.94 plus tax

Transaction 2:

12 Big Roll Charmin $6.79/$9.49

100 oz. Tide               $9.99/$14.49

Mr. Clean @ $2.50/$3.85 x 2 = $5/$7.70


Total before any coupons or discounts (except card prices): $21.78

MINUS $6.49 manufacturer's coupons ($2/1 Tide from a magazine, $1/1 Charmin from the BlogHer booklet, and $3.49 for the BOGO Mr. Clean coupon from the 8/29 P&G Saver, and FYI I told her it was on sale for $2.50 but she put in $3.49 anyway.) -- $15.29

MINUS $10 coupon for my next order for buying $30 worth of P&G stuff

------> FINAL PRICE $5.29 plus tax

The sale prices, the coffee/cereal deal and the P&G Catalina all end tomorrow, so if you want to copy this, don't dawdle. Mashup Mom and her readers have more transaction ideas here.

Saved 77% at Dominick's: 50-cent Tater Tots, $1.50 Diaper Packs

I spent $13.85 at Dominick's today (after using the $5 coupon left over from the cleaning products Catalina deal). Not bad considering that usually you'd be lucky to get two packs of diapers for that much.


I found that my store still had Mom 2 Mom coupons on display at the Pharmacy, and that they are not expired, so I grabbed the two packs of diapers on clearance today, even though they are size 2 and too small for my baby. These are a nice donation item -- especially since they ended up being $1.50 a pack, with more than 40 diapers per pack! I.E., less than 4 cents a diaper!

They were marked 50% off $6.99, but they rang up at $5, so the 50% off bar code on the clearance sticker took off $2.50, making them $2.50 each. Then the $1/1 coupon brought them down to $1.50 each. Here's hoping they put more sizes on clearance!

I also got Super Coupon stuff:

4 bags Ore Ida frozen potatoes, $1.99 each after SC, minus two $3/2 manufacturer's coupons from the Dominick's/Safeway $70 off booklet (I found some by the refrigerator section this time) = 50 cents a bag

2 Safeway frozen pizzas $2.99 each after SC. The cashier tried to also scan the store coupon from the booklet but then the SC wouldn't work. So these are $2.99 whether you use the store coupon or the SC, but you can't seem to use both.

2 Smuckers and 2 Simply Jif (we normally only get organic, no-sugar added PB, but this is nice for holiday baking). $2 for the jam and $1.49 for the PB each after SC, minus two $1/2 Smuckers/Jif coupons from the 8/8 RedPlum = $1-$1.49 each

And not a Super Coupon, but we gotta pack some lunches this week:

Brownberry bread $2.50, minuse $.55/1 Q from the 8/15 SmartSource

My receipt says I saved 77%. Yay!

 P.S. I tried the Mrs. T's Pierogies from Jewel at lunch time today, and I for one loved them although like most foods they did not appeal to the kids. I'm going to buy more when I hit Jewel for laundry detergent sometime in the first half of this week.

Dominick's Trip: 50-cent Bag of Tater Tots, Great Pizza Coupon That Doesn't Work, More Updates



Today I stopped into Dominick's because I realized only after my kitchen was covered with spilled flour that we were out of eggs, which we needed for the muffins my 3-year-old and I were trying to bake. While I was there, I spent $15.56 on the above and I made lots of exciting discoveries:

1) New Coupon Book. It says "50 Coupons to Save on Frozen, Dairy and Refrigerated Items! OVER $70 in savings"



Some are manufacturer's coupons, some store coupons, and the last coupon in the book says $1 off Safeway SELECT Pizza. Well! As you know, there is a super price coupon in this week's Dominick's ad that takes $1 off Safeway SELECT pizzas, making them $2.99 instead of $3.99. Both are store coupons, but I had hope that since the Super Price coupons are really more like just a sale price, not a $X/X coupon, they'd both come off.

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Really Cheap Garbage Bags at Dominick's -- Today Only?



Did you get the "Summer Savings" coupon books at Dominick's? If you have three of these books, I just noticed today that you can get a very good deal on garbage bags -- 3 cents a bag.

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New Grocery Shopping Budget and My Frugal Grocery Shopping This Week

I've been lax about reporting my grocery spending over the summer, but now that it's the first day of fall, I suppose it's time to put the house in order. I have had a hard time sticking to the $80 per month budget while buying the weekly organic produce box and trying to pay off the two humanely-raised meat purchases we made last year. In fact, I just couldn't do it.

This year, we are planning on buying a portion of a beef and a pig again -- although our beef portion will be smaller -- and I'm still getting the organic produce box. So I'm changing my weekly shopping budget to a more realistic $100 a week.

This will include household goods that you buy at drugstores and grocery stoers -- diapers, cleaning products, toothpaste (as if we ever pay for that).

This week I spent $77: $12.18 at Dominick's, $17.30 at Jewel-Osco, $11 at Dunkin Donuts (on whole bean coffee), $4 at CVS (milk, lipstick, mainly just rolling ECBs) and my usual $32 on the organic produce box. 

Next week I'll resume cataloging the meals we make with our $100 weekly spending. This week, I'd just like to point out some bargain shopping priciples illustrated in the week's shop.



That seltzer water? Got those for $1.79 each with a rain check, and although the rain check was for five cases, the cashier let me buy 2 and just amend the raincheck so I could get the remaining 3 later.

30 pounds of white flour: Well, baking seasons's a-coming, especially with all those apples we got this weekend! (I didn't count in my shopping budget the $40 we spent on entrance to the apple picking place since that was basically entertainment.) The 5 lb. bags of flour were part of the "buy 6, get them for 99 cents each" sale at Jewel, and I didn't want any of the other stuff like cake mix or frosting right now. 20 cents a pound is the cheapest I've ever bought white flour, you?

The organic olive oil is still on sale for $3.99, regular price $10.49. Trader Joe's sells this size (17 oz) normally for $3.50, but not organic. Course, I really don't know how the quality compares or if this is a good thing to buy organic, but for $3.99, what the heck?

Campbell's tomato soup at 39 cents, minus two $.50/2 coupons = 11 cents a can. You won't normally do better than that, except right now -- because you can print and use the $1.50/3 "Great for Cooking" soups, which I didn't have handy today. Yep, you'll make money on tomato soup or get it free.

Baking soda is an all-around frugal thing to have around -- deodorizer, ingredient of homemade cleaning fluid, volcano-maker. It's one of those things you don't see deep discounts on, so even though the store brand was only marked down a dime, I grabbed one. I'm wondering: Does Costco, etc., sell the stuff in bulk?

Pearled barley: another item with tiny sale markdowns but it's a good frugal buy -- more nutritious than brown rice.

Split peas: ditto -- small markdown, but a cheap, good meal ingredient.

Elsewhere this week, I discovered that Dunkin' Donuts can be a good place to buy whole bean coffee. If you get those little booklets of coupons in the mail, look for a coupon for two pounds of coffee for $10.99. Now notice that 12 oz. of DD brand coffee is "on sale" at CVS for $6.99. Most of the time I don't see whole bean coffee in stores for less than $5.99/12 oz. bag. (Sometimes you'll get 8 O'Clock brand for $4 with a coupon, or a really good coupon deal on Starbucks coffee, but usually, no.) In case math is not your strong suit, here's how this compares: Two 16 oz. bags for $10.99 = $5.50 per bag or 34 cents an ounce. The CVS price is 58 cents an ounce.

Do you have basic frugal grocery shopping principles like this? Staple inexpensive, healthy ingredients, or surprising places to get an item cheap? Please share.

Show a Little Skin at CVS to Make Sure Those Coupons Go Through



Tonight after a whirlwind trip to Wisconsin for Packer football and apple picking, we put the kids to bed and I ran over to CVS for milk, moneymakers and freebies. The basics, you know.

I gave the (male) cashier a big smile, got my stuff, and checked out. There was some beeping with the coupons, but the cashier was very friendly and when he'd checked and double checked that I bought the right stuff, just manually put in the $2/1 Revlon coupon.

When I got home, I tried on my new lipstick right away. I wanted to see how it looked with the new haircolor I got with a Groupon yesterday. (I'll do a review of my many recent Groupon purchases soon.) Only after admiring the new color did I notice something: I'd walked down the block and into CVS with my shirt unsnapped from nursing the baby.

Hmm. Maybe that's why the cashier was so nice tonight.

In my defense, my bra might have looked like a tank top to the casual observer, rendering the outfit an acceptable-if-sloppy look. Barely.

Anyway, before I go yell at my husband for letting me leave the house like that, here's my transaction:

2 Right Guard deodorant @ $2.99 each ($2 ECB each)

1 Revlon Super Lustrous lipstick $6.99 ($5 ECB)

1 gallon Dean's milk $2.79

Total before coupons: $15.76 + tax

Coupons used: $3/2 Right Guard from, $2/1 Revlon from Facebook

Total after coupons: $10.76 + tax

Extra Bucks received: $4 ECB for deodorant, $5 ECB for lipstick

Cost to me: $1.76 + tax (which unfortunately almost doubled what I paid)

See more details about this week's CVS freebies and moneymakers on this week's Sunday newspaper ads write-up.

The Good-Enough Bargain Shopper

Two morals of today's shop:

1) Even if you don't execute every deal perfectly, you're still saving money if you get most of the discounts you're going for.

2) Mine your coupons for those high-value Qs to use at Dominick's, which is so kind as to still accept expireds.

Last night while we watched a movie from the library ("Milk," which was not as amazing as a lot of people said but interesting and compelling enough), I reorganized my coupon file and found several high-value expired coupons. Lucky for me, some of those turned out to be useful in my first shopping trip of the week, to Dominick's.



I spent $12.18, after all coupons, sales and a $5 Catalina coupon from Jewel. I also received a $5 Catalina, so that's a wash and $12.18 is my final total. I didn't execute perfectly -- now that I think of it, I might been able to get most of these cleaning products totally free instead of paying $2 for all five of them, or even make money on them. And I might have been able to make money on the Mission Tortilla chips. Still -- it's a good haul for $12.18.

The 5 cleaning products you see were the Catalina deal -- spend $15 and get a $5 coupon back. I had a $3 CRT coupon sitting around from Jewel that made the 409 free once I convinced the checker to reduce it. For the $2.50 Soft Scrubs, I had $2/1 coupons, two expired printables, one from RecycleBank. I might have been able to use the Super Coupon from Sunday to bring the price of those down to $1.99, but I was afraid that this would mess up the $15 I was supposed to spend and cause me to not get the Catalina. Anyway, I think the Sunday ad only shows regular Soft Scrub and it probably wouldn't have worked on these sprayable ones.

The two bags Mission tortillas for 55 cents each after combining store coupons and an old $1.50/2 tearpad. These were supposed to have an e-coupon but somehow I misplaced my Dominick's card again so I was using my old phone number which isn't the same as the account where I load my coupons, but who cares because other people were reporting that the e-coupon wasn't coming off anyway.

My other mistake was promising my 3-year-old that we'd be buying milk and cookies with a $1 off milk when you buy Nabisco coupon I'd found in the file, only realizing when we got there that the $1.99 Nutter Butters and Oreos was a 3-day sale, now over. Oh well, she was too whiny to deserve cookies anyway.

The DiGiorno pizza was $1 after the store Super Coupon brought it to $4 and the $3/1 coupon I found in my file took care of the rest.

The nitrate-free ham was $1.45 a pack after blinkie coupon, which by the way are still available at the Dominick's in Oak Park. I think I'm stocked for school lunches for a long time now!

Oh, and all those vegetables in the picture are our $32 worth of organic produce from Angelic Organics. So, add it up and I have already spent $44 on groceries this week -- pretty good haul though, eh?

P.S. Why no Healthy Start juice for 50 cents after coupon? I picked those up yesterday.

Shopping Trip: Free Cheese at Jewel, 60% Savings at Dominick's



Tonight I went to Jewel-Osco and did the Kraft Catalina deal for the second time and confirmed that, despite the wording in the ad, you can use the $5 Catalina coupon you get to pay for it and still get another one printed out. That is to say, it rolls. So if you have a few of the $5/5 printable coupons, you can invest $5 on your first purchase of 5 packs of cheese, then use the $5 Catalina coupon that spits out, plus a $5/5 coupon, to get more packs of cheese without paying anything but the tax.

Besides the five cheeses, I got a rain check at Jewel for Super Chill Seltzer @ $1.79 (I guess it's a good thing that my tiny Jewel is so often out of things), four 8-packs of Diet Sierra Mist, and a couple liters of seltzer to tide us over. I used the $5 Catalina I got the other day to pay and my total was $11, plus of course I received another $5 Catalina coupon for the cheese.

At Dominick's, I used the $5 Catalina and a fat stack of coupons to bring my total down to $44.56. BOGO Ball Park beef franks (They are $4.79, so if you use two $2/1 from the now-over Facebook promo, you can get them for 40 cents each. But I had a $.75/1 e-coupon on my card, apparently, so hurray, I got them for 2 cents each and am darn glad I didn't blow my coupons on "meat" franks at Jewel last week.) 

If you think there's a lot of junk food on this table, you should know that there are also 3 pints Starbucks and 2 pints Ben & Jerry's in my freezer. Also, there's a huge bottle of pre-mixed Jose Cuervo margaritas still in the car. (I used an expired $5/2 coupon for that and the little bottle of Smirnoff.)

I guess writing about how important a diet is to weight control gave me a craving for chips and ice cream. Also, we're having a little happy hour tomorrow.

Considering that the alcohol I bought alone was $32 before the coupon, I did well getting out of there for $40 plus tax. And I think I got overcharged for the grapes, so I might get $2.50 back on that the next time I go in.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Food Shopping Today


(Note: If you wanna replicate this deal, hurry! These prices should end tonight.)

Took all 3 kids and walked over to get our CSA box, stopping at Dominick's on the way there for processed food to balance out all that organic goodness.

The Good: CSA

organic carrots, lettuce, cucumber, corn, green peppers, hot peppers, onions, celery and cantaloupe for $32.


The Bad (Sorry, but I looked at the list of various sugars on those bars and teh 14 g sugar per serving. Bad.)

5 boxes "soft" granola bars for the 1st grader's lunches $7.50 before coupons

5 boxes Simply Fruit Roll-Ups $5 before coupons

My total after coupons and $6 in Catalina coupons was $6 even, and I got $6.50 in Catalinas back -- $3.50 for the granola bars and $3 for the roll-ups.

Granola bars: $7.50 - $.75 e-coupon - $2.25 in paper coupons = $4.50, got $3.50 Cat back so the cost was $1 for 5

Fruit Roll-Ups: $5 - $.50 e-coupon = $4.50, got back $3 Cat so cost was $1.50 for 5

Could always pull some Fruit Roll-Ups coupons and bring them in with receipt next time to make it even lower.

The ugly: Clearance items including 2 bags butterscotch baking chips and a bag of lentils. These didn't turn ugly until I left the groceries on the deck too long waiting to get around to photograph them. Now, I have two bags with one very large butterscotch chip each! (But, you know -- only 69 cents each.)

Speaking of clearance, they also had cans of O Organics soup at half price, making them about $1.30 -- cheap soup if you still have the $1/1 O Organics coupon.

Dominick's Trip: Accidentally Paid for Granola Bars




A moment of disorganization turned a potentially moneymaking Dominick's trip into nearly almost-free. I paid $1 for four boxes of granola bars, when I was hoping to get five for free or at a profit.


But first, what do you suppose the nice cashier asked me when he saw my coupons?

"Do you ever read that blog, Mashup Mom?"

I sighed.

"Yes. Yes I do." Then a little tear rolled down my cheek.

Now, to the oopsie shopping trip. I arrived at Dominick's at 9:45 with instructions from Epu to get some kind of liquor and bubbly water for his enjoyment. Because I am a surrendered wife, I of course hopped in the car and rushed on over there before they stop selling booze at 10.

OK, for real I wanted to do that granola bar Catalina again to stock up for school lunches. I had e-coupons loaded on my card for both regular Nature Valley granola bars and those new Thins, as well as Fiber One bars (aka "cover 'em with so much sugar they'll never know it's healthy bars"). I also had paper coupons for both kinds, plus one more $1/1 NV Nut Clusters. I figured that if I bought four boxes granola bars and one bag Nut Clusters, I'd pay $7.50 pre-coupon, $4 after paper coupons, and maybe around $2.50 or less after e-coupons because you never know what will come off there. And, I'd get a $3.50 Catalina coupon back.

Got that?

First I had to hustle to pick out my booze, of course, and then just as the manager got on the speaker to tell me to hurry up cause liquor sales end in 10 minutes, I darted into the cereal aisle to grab my granola bars. Except, all the Thins were maybe never put out yet or maybe gone. And all the Nut Clusters were just gone since apparently other people found out those were free after coupons and Catalina.

They probably read about it on Mashup Mom.

So I ended up with just four boxes granola bars along with my Sauza Tequila and bubbly water. Then, at the register, I couldn't find my Dominick's card. I dug around for at as long as I could, and then finally just gave my phone number. Problem is, I for some reason don't have a phone number linked to my current Dominick's card, or I don't know what number it is. The phone number I use at Dominick's is the one to my old Safeway card that I used in California. With no e-coupons loaded on it.

On the up side, the 3 $.50/1 Nature Valley Thins coupons I was using worked just fine on the regular granola bars. I know that many couponers think using a coupon for one specific product for any old product in the same brand is a major sin, but I chatted about this with a marketer recently and she laughed at the idea that the manufacturers would care.

"If people only knew how little time the brand manager spends deciding which variety to put on the coupon," she said.

So, anyway, $6 worth of bars, minus $2.50 in coupons, means I paid $3.50 and got only $2.50 back. So I paid 25 cents a box.

I also got the Tequila with an expired manufacturer's coupon from Jewel, prompting Epu to Tweet:

short on booze, @carriekirby offered to hustle to the store. she came back with tequila, bought with coups. what a lady!

And epu, at least, doesn't read Mashup Mom.

She Shops, She Scores


You've been wondering, I know. The Frugalista -- doesn't she ever shop anymore?


Well, summer has been hectic, but yes, I have shopped without sharing. Tonight I have a nice little trip to share, though.

I stopped into Dominick's after picking up a Freecycle thing, and spent $17.68 on all this. I also got back a $5 Kraft Catalina, making the cheese free:


Since most of these deals ended tonight, I won't go into tons of detail. The cheese was a combo of a "buy 5, save $5" offer that ended tonight, five $1/1 coupons, and the $5 Kraft Catalina offer. The pens were free due to a combo of Dominick's e-coupons, a paper coupon and a Super Coupon that ends tonight. The bread was $1.69 after a Super Coupon, the shrooms were 99 cents each after SC, the milk was $1.99 after SC and the O Organics coupon (and you can't beat that for organic milk!). The mangoes were just a regular sale of 3/$1.

I also got some of that random double-deduction love that happens at Dominick's with Super Coupons sometimes. The 40 cents for the milk came off twice. Oh, and I saved 16 cents in state tax on the pens due to the state sales tax holiday. Whoo-hoo!

67% savings, and that doesn't take into account the $5 Kraft Catalina coupon I get to use on my next order.

Still got it.

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