Author Topic: Why I play the grocery game  (Read 15843 times)

Gin1984

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Why I play the grocery game
« on: March 16, 2014, 03:42:01 PM »
There was a post asking why couponer sometimes buy what they don't need and I now have a lovely example of why I did at CVS:
A few months back there was a sale for free cake m&ms, buy one for .75 get .75 EB.  I got there late and therefore got a raincheck. 
Therefore when I got a save $5 when you spend $25, I knew just what to do.  I had already planned to buy some shampoo and conditioner for .77 each because we were low and some toothpaste for $4.99 minus a $1 coupon and receiving $4 EB.  But seeing the $25 ideal I added up how many conditioners/shampoos I needed plus I grabbed two dish detergents for .99 (a normal sale price) to get as close as I could to $25.
I bought:
12 shampoos 9.24
4 conditioners 3.08
2 Gains: 1.98
2 toothpastes 9.98
1 Raincheck .75
This totaled $25.03
So I had a $5 EB from a previous sale, the $5 coupon, the $2 toothpaste coupons and the rain check.  The cashier felt lazy so instead of giving me the .75EB she just gave me and additional .75 coupon. 
Total after all of that was $13.35 plus I got $8EB back.
I spend less than $100/year for toiletries because of these kind of deals, but things ebb and flow and you have to take advantage of what is going on at the time.

Exflyboy

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Re: Why I play the grocery game
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2014, 04:11:37 PM »
Awesome.. I really must get to grips with coupons now I'm retired

Frank

Gin1984

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Re: Why I play the grocery game
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2014, 04:14:40 PM »
Awesome.. I really must get to grips with coupons now I'm retired

Frank
I started with a free $10 cvs gift card from my points, then went on to iheartcvs.com and started buying needs when there were EB or good sales.  It took about a year to get down this low though.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2014, 02:07:39 PM by Gin1984 »

Willbrewer

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Re: Why I play the grocery game
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2014, 04:20:20 PM »
I don't play the game like that right now, but found a great deal last year at Safeway. I was on a sunflower seed munching kick and when I grabbed a bag of David's seeds from the rack I noticed a $1 off coupon stuck to the bag. And the bags were on sale for $1. Guess how many bags I bought for zero cost. All of them!

When I dropped 15 or so bags in front of the cashier, she said "You must really like sunflower seeds!". I said, "Well, kind of, but I really like free shit much better!" She rang 'em up, credited out the coupons and I walked out with my stash of free seeds. Felt kind of like a thief, but I got over it.

 

reginna

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Re: Why I play the grocery game
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2014, 05:21:46 PM »
I don't play the game like that right now, but found a great deal last year at Safeway. I was on a sunflower seed munching kick and when I grabbed a bag of David's seeds from the rack I noticed a $1 off coupon stuck to the bag. And the bags were on sale for $1. Guess how many bags I bought for zero cost. All of them!

When I dropped 15 or so bags in front of the cashier, she said "You must really like sunflower seeds!". I said, "Well, kind of, but I really like free shit much better!" She rang 'em up, credited out the coupons and I walked out with my stash of free seeds. Felt kind of like a thief, but I got over it.

Love it!!

spoonman

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Re: Why I play the grocery game
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2014, 05:56:53 PM »
I spend less than $100/year for toiletries because of these kind of deals, but things ebb and flow and you have to take advantage of what is going on at the time.

That's awesome!  I hope we can pull that off when we leave our jobs.  I think the important thing is knowing how to keep your finger on the market pulse so you can move in and take advantage of great sales.

pipercat

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Re: Why I play the grocery game
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2014, 06:27:56 PM »
Gin, I wondered if you were the same Gin from the GG message boards!   I thought I recognized your screen name!

George_PA

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Re: Why I play the grocery game
« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2014, 06:29:56 PM »
Interesting discussion about coupon use.  This is definitely relevant for the mustachians to think about.

Personally I don't like coupons and rarely use for a couple reasons.

(1) Many coupons are issued by companies specially designed to alter your buying habits long term.  For example, they want to get you hooked onto a more expensive toothpaste by issuing a coupon for it once and hope you raise your produce standards permanently buy it full price for then on out.  This often works whether we want to be honest with ourselves whether to believe or not.

(2) Many coupons require that you buy an unusually large quantity of products that you normally would not consume.  Thus, the extra often goes to waste months later.  Often this quantity is more than you reasonably need or want.

(3) Often the coupons are for a name brand product, but even with the coupon the name brand product just cuts even with price of the generic brand or is still more expensive than the generic brand. 

(4) Coupons are design to get you to consume more in general, i.e. branch out and try new products.  Often the best coupons are issued for the most expensive products that bring the manufacturers the most money.  Notice that you rarely see them for useful products.  For example, how often do you see a coupon for money off 1G of milk?  Most of the time the coupons are for the exotic crap that nobody buys.  Again this is similar to item 1, they are to get you to raise your standards of spending and consumption.  For example before you were content to drink water straight out of the faucet.  However, if we issue a coupon and maybe a matching ad campaign and get you hooked on expensive britta filters (just one example), then we can raise your standards for life, and have a new repeat customer.  After all, once you have convinced yourself that you need filtered water, you will never go back to drinking straight from the sink again

(5) Money back, repeat customer programs, or rewards-type programs are designed to get you to spend more money and 99% of the time result in a net loss for you the customer.  Yes, you can get a reward of $5 back by spending, i.e. $25, but if you original intent was only to spend $7, then you become the sucker because you are simply handing more of your money over to the store.  You had to spend above and beyond what you originally planned for.  There are reasons that these programs exist, it is because companies have done studies and found that it gets more money out of your pocket, otherwise the companies would not do them in the first place. 

(6) Other times, the store issues a big sale or really good coupons one just one item that you really need.  This is designed to draw in the people.  But then, they make up for it by raising the prices just for that week on everything else you buy in the store.  Stores have done research and found that people hate to grocery shop in more than one store for a weeks groceries.  They know if the put the bananas on sale for a killer low price, that you are not going there to just buy bananas, instead you will do your entire shopping trip there.   


Thus, this is the "game" and in general it is being played on us as the customers, and the companies are holding all the cards and carefully crafting the rules in their favor.   I could go on with additional examples, but I don't want to make this post too long.

For me personally, I try to judge and find value based upon my own needs and situation without any outside influence by stores, coupons, ads or manufacturers.  I am not loyal to any store or product.   
« Last Edit: March 16, 2014, 06:33:25 PM by George_PA »

Gin1984

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Re: Why I play the grocery game
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2014, 06:32:28 PM »
Gin, I wondered if you were the same Gin from the GG message boards!   I thought I recognized your screen name!
Yes, I am.  I also have a frugal blog at frugalstudents.blogspot.com.  I am all over the place.  :)  I like saving money and my ultimate goal is work for fun and fun money but support myself through investments.  I've been lucky to find great people who have taught me a lot, like the grocery hounds, so I like to pass it along.  There is always so much more to learn. 

Gin1984

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Re: Why I play the grocery game
« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2014, 06:40:35 PM »
Interesting discussion about coupon use.  This is definitely relevant for the mustachians to think about.

Personally I don't like coupons and rarely use for a couple reasons.

(1) Many coupons are issued by companies specially designed to alter your buying habits long term.  For example, they want to get you hooked onto a more expensive toothpaste by issuing a coupon for it once and hope you raise your produce standards permanently buy it full price for then on out.  This often works whether we want to be honest with ourselves whether to believe or not.

(2) Many coupons require that you buy an unusually large quantity of products that you normally would not consume.  Thus, the extra often goes to waste months later.  Often this quantity is more than you reasonably need or want.

(3) Often the coupons are for a name brand product, but even with the coupon the name brand product just cuts even with price of the generic brand or is still more expensive than the generic brand. 

(4) Coupons are design to get you to consume more in general, i.e. branch out and try new products.  Often the best coupons are issued for the most expensive products that bring the manufacturers the most money.  Notice that you rarely see them for useful products.  For example, how often do you see a coupon for money off 1G of milk?  Most of the time the coupons are for the exotic crap that nobody buys.  Again this is similar to item 1, they are to get you to raise your standards of spending and consumption.  For example before you were content to drink water straight out of the faucet.  However, if we issue a coupon and get you hooked on expensive britta filters (just one example), then we can raise your standards for life, and have a new repeat customer.

(5) Money back, repeat customer programs, or rewards-type programs are designed to get you to spend more money and 99% result in a net loss for you the customer.  Yes, you can get a reward of $5 back by spending, i.e. $25, but if you original intent was only to spend $7, then you become the sucker because you are simply handing more of your money over to the store.  You had to spend above and beyond what you originally planned for.  There are reasons that these programs exist, it is because companies have done studies and found that it gets more money out of your pocket, otherwise the companies would not do them in the first place. 

(6) Other times, the store issues a big sale or really good coupons one just one item that you really need.  This is designed to draw in the people.  But then, they make up for it by raising the prices just for that week on everything else you buy in the store.  Stores have done research and found that people hate to grocery shop in more than one store for a weeks groceries.  They know if the put the bananas on sale for a killer low price, that you are not going there to just buy bananas, instead you will do your entire shopping trip there.   


Thus, this is the "game" and in general it is being played on us as the customers, and the companies are holding all the cards and carefully crafting the rules in their favor.   I could go on with additional examples, but I don't want to make this post too long.

For me personally, I try to judge and find value based upon my own needs and situation without any outside influence by stores, coupons, ads or manufacturers.  I am not loyal to any store or product.   
That is why I use such sites like iheartcvs.com and http://triciasfrugalfinds.com/category/tops-spot/ for one of my grocery stores.  I am willing, also, to buy multiple brands and multiple items to get the best deal (as long as it will get used).  Most couponers are not brand loyal (for many things) though they may have brands they avoid.  If I spend $25 at a time occasionally to be able to spend less than $100 per year on average vs $200-500, it works for me.  Yes, it takes a while to learn but not one item on that list will not be used.  Why would I spend full price on those items over a few months when I can do one trip and buy it for cheaper?
Honestly, I rarely go to cvs more than once a month, and most often spend a few dollars if that.  But sometimes you buy in bulk to save. :)  I will say that the reason I used cvs instead of walgreens is because walgreens required you to redeem your rewards too quick for me.  I am a student with a child, I don't have time to waste running around.  The grocery game takes me about an hour and half per month and saves me hundreds.  Yes, I work within the rules of the company but if I don't like the rules, I move companies. 
« Last Edit: March 16, 2014, 06:46:30 PM by Gin1984 »

lexie2000

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Re: Why I play the grocery game
« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2014, 05:52:39 PM »
Interesting discussion about coupon use.  This is definitely relevant for the mustachians to think about.

Personally I don't like coupons and rarely use for a couple reasons.

(1) Many coupons are issued by companies specially designed to alter your buying habits long term.  For example, they want to get you hooked onto a more expensive toothpaste by issuing a coupon for it once and hope you raise your produce standards permanently buy it full price for then on out.  This often works whether we want to be honest with ourselves whether to believe or not.

For me personally, I try to judge and find value based upon my own needs and situation without any outside influence by stores, coupons, ads or manufacturers.  I am not loyal to any store or product.   

I guess it depends on the person.  I have used A LOT of coupons in my day and tried many, many different brands and have not fallen into the trap you describe with any of them.  For example, between Tide, Gain, All, Purex, and Wisk (all purchased with high valued coupons), I really have no preference whatsoever.  I will buy whatever brand issues the highest coupon and buy it at the store that offers the product at the lowest sale price.  If a sales price does not hit my price point for a product and I have a high valued coupon that is going to expire, I won't buy.

lexie2000

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Re: Why I play the grocery game
« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2014, 06:19:08 PM »
Interesting discussion about coupon use.  This is definitely relevant for the mustachians to think about.

Personally I don't like coupons and rarely use for a couple reasons.

(5) Money back, repeat customer programs, or rewards-type programs are designed to get you to spend more money and 99% of the time result in a net loss for you the customer.  Yes, you can get a reward of $5 back by spending, i.e. $25, but if you original intent was only to spend $7, then you become the sucker because you are simply handing more of your money over to the store.  You had to spend above and beyond what you originally planned for.  There are reasons that these programs exist, it is because companies have done studies and found that it gets more money out of your pocket, otherwise the companies would not do them in the first place. 

You are absolutely correct that repeat customer/rewards-type programs ARE designed to get MOST PEOPLE to spend more money, but the smart couponer will use them to their advantage.  They will put $25 worth of products in their cart and use a combination of coupons (stacking)  to drastically reduce what they pay at the register.  They "roll" their rewards.  In other words they use rewards to pay for other items that are giving rewards.

You are absolutely right about all those studies.  That's why the milk is ALWAYS at the back of the store.  They are hoping for several impulse purchases as you travel to the milk and then back to the register.  You just need to be smarter than they give you credit for.

lexie2000

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Re: Why I play the grocery game
« Reply #12 on: March 17, 2014, 06:24:22 PM »
Thus, this is the "game" and in general it is being played on us as the customers, and the companies are holding all the cards and carefully crafting the rules in their favor.   I could go on with additional examples, but I don't want to make this post too long.   

This sounds like victim mentality.   You can learn to use THEIR rules to YOUR advantage.  This is what people who play "the grocery game" do to save a lot of money.

socaso

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Re: Why I play the grocery game
« Reply #13 on: March 17, 2014, 08:00:28 PM »
I had to lay off the CVS deals for a while because I had so much free toothpaste, body wash and toothbrushes that I was running out of room. I haven't bought toothpaste in 2 years. I'll probably start up again soon because I'm down to my last 5 tubes but the break has left me energized for a new round of CVS deals. I also like the beauty club or whatever they call it. Certain toiletries like face wash, lotions, body wash and cosmetics add up and once you've spent $50 towards them (or not spent it because you used your ECB) you get $5 ECB.

George_PA

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Re: Why I play the grocery game
« Reply #14 on: March 18, 2014, 11:04:37 AM »
look i am not saying that you cannot save money with coupons, in theory, if you used a coupon to buy something that you were going to pay full price for, and that coupon in no way altered your judgement or buying habits, then yes it is a harmless discount and will save you money.  That much is pretty straight-forward.

Also this is not victim mentality, in fact it is exactly the opposite, it is empowering to know how stores get you to spend more money.  It is about learning the economic theory behind it.

My point is that many coupons are designed to cloud your judgement and create new needs for purchases.  Which is a big reason I avoid them in the first place.  For example, if I were getting toiletries or something that will last a long time like canned goods, I would probably buy them in bulk at the warehouse buying the warehouse club's generic brand. No coupon is needed to get this discount.  This is almost always the lowest price you will find.  It is at least 90% better than the other deals in regular stores across the span of a year.  Thus, to calculate any true coupon savings, you have to compare the couponed item discount price against this warehouse bulk purchase as the baseline price to see if you are getting a discount, not the full price name brand item you can buy in CVS or another store.  If you do this, the coupon savings do not appear to be as much as you think.

Also you could go to a store spend a bunch of money and earn rewards to get "free stuff" but it will probably cost you because you are confined to buy other products in that store whether those products are the cheapest or not; again there is the pressure to spend; Maybe your are or are not strong enough to find the urges to spend more, but you are putting yourself in at risk of being tempted every time you play this game; at a minimum be honest with yourself, and put some checks in place (, i.e. if you want to spend $50 on items, don't buy that day and wait two weeks and see if still want to spend that money on those items).

also this sets up a system where you are being rewarded to spend money (or subtly being trained by the stores to spend money) and find ways to come up with products to reach certain spending threshold levels where you get these rewards which is the exactly the opposite of MMM's philosophy. 

Don't believe me, read his articles more closely:

For example, in http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/08/25/groupon-never-heard-of-it/

It seems that many of the webs personal finance sites (like this list on Wisebread.com) are actually shopping sites disguised as benevolent dispensaries of financial advice. I checked out the websites like Deal Seeking Mom and Money Saving Mom, and various others from the top ten. Then I checked out another service that has become popular among people with the desire to save a few bucks: Groupon ... The thing I noticed about these sites is that they seem to focus on buying things, rather than not buying things.

This is another key concept and so important.  Focus on not buying things.  You may get a coupon for $5 off a new shirt, however the shirt costs $15 new.  The better option is to throw the coupon in the trash and change your buying habits.  Either you become content and realize that a new shirt will not improve your lifelong happiness (the excitement will fade in a day or two).  Also even if I wanted a new shirt, I would go down to the local goodwill or community aid and pick up a lightly used one for $2.  Even though I did not use the coupon, I still saved more money.  Thus, the $5 coupon is clouding your judgement, because you are not thinking as much about the alternatives.  It is attempted to initially frame your buying decision.

Also see what else he says:
Even though Im Mr. Money Mustache Himself, I must admit I was immediately tempted. Hmm, I do like Sushi. Maybe I should go out tonight? I wonder if they have any deals on tools or bikes? And I am down to zero pairs of jeans without major holes in them, perhaps I should look for Old Navy or Target coupons as well? ... See, while the deals presented on these sites are indeed good deals, the problem is that they are creating wants and perceived needs inside me, where only contentment existed before. ... I believe one of my biggest advantages in the battle to maximize happiness while buying less stuff than most people, is not even knowing what stuff is available to buy ... I would suggest that while coupons do actually get you discounts, the most profitable route is still to keep yourself off of as many mailing lists and deal websites as you can


MMM's says "not even knowing what stuff to buy".  But to get the coupons in the first place you have to thoroughly look through in store ads and produce catalogs.  You may be looking for coupons in the store catalog and see that summer is coming up and say "oh look that at awesome inflatable pool with matching deck chairs, that would be perfect for the kids!" "Oh and look, I can get the pool and use it with my rewards program to get free detergent as well", do you get the point?

Thus, maybe before you were contend to go into a store and buy the one item you need.  However, instead you saw the ad about the rewards program.  Now you are no longer content to buy the one item you came for but instead you want to buy more stuff, then they justify by saying that they saved money because they are earning a reward.

« Last Edit: March 18, 2014, 11:07:36 AM by George_PA »

Gin1984

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Re: Why I play the grocery game
« Reply #15 on: March 18, 2014, 11:15:38 AM »
look i am not saying that you cannot save money with coupons, in theory, if you used a coupon to buy something that you were going to pay full price for, and that coupon in no way altered your judgement or buying habits, then yes it is a harmless discount and will save you money.  That much is pretty straight-forward.

Also this is not victim mentality, in fact it is exactly the opposite, it is empowering to know how stores get you to spend more money.  It is about learning the economic theory behind it.

My point is that many coupons are designed to cloud your judgement and create new needs for purchases.  Which is a big reason I avoid them in the first place.  For example, if I were getting toiletries or something that will last a long time like canned goods, I would probably buy them in bulk at the warehouse buying the warehouse club's generic brand. No coupon is needed to get this discount.  This is almost always the lowest price you will find.  It is at least 90% better than the other deals in regular stores across the span of a year.  Thus, to calculate any true coupon savings, you have to compare the couponed item discount price against this warehouse bulk purchase as the baseline price to see if you are getting a discount, not the full price name brand item you can buy in CVS or another store.  If you do this, the coupon savings do not appear to be as much as you think.

Also you could go to a store spend a bunch of money and earn rewards to get "free stuff" but it will probably cost you because you are confined to buy other products in that store whether those products are the cheapest or not; again there is the pressure to spend; Maybe your are or are not strong enough to find the urges to spend more, but you are putting yourself in at risk of being tempted every time you play this game; at a minimum be honest with yourself, and put some checks in place (, i.e. if you want to spend $50 on items, don't buy that day and wait two weeks and see if still want to spend that money on those items).

also this sets up a system where you are being rewarded to spend money (or subtly being trained by the stores to spend money) and find ways to come up with products to reach certain spending threshold levels where you get these rewards which is the exactly the opposite of MMM's philosophy. 

Don't believe me, read his articles more closely:

For example, in http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/08/25/groupon-never-heard-of-it/

It seems that many of the webs personal finance sites (like this list on Wisebread.com) are actually shopping sites disguised as benevolent dispensaries of financial advice. I checked out the websites like Deal Seeking Mom and Money Saving Mom, and various others from the top ten. Then I checked out another service that has become popular among people with the desire to save a few bucks: Groupon ... The thing I noticed about these sites is that they seem to focus on buying things, rather than not buying things.

This is another key concept and so important.  Focus on not buying things.  You may get a coupon for $5 off a new shirt, however the shirt costs $15 new.  The better option is to throw the coupon in the trash and change your buying habits.  Either you become content and realize that a new shirt will not improve your lifelong happiness (the excitement will fade in a day or two).  Also even if I wanted a new shirt, I would go down to the local goodwill or community aid and pick up a lightly used one for $2.  Even though I did not use the coupon, I still saved more money.  Thus, the $5 coupon is clouding your judgement, because you are not thinking as much about the alternatives.  It is attempted to initially frame your buying decision.

Also see what else he says:
Even though Im Mr. Money Mustache Himself, I must admit I was immediately tempted. Hmm, I do like Sushi. Maybe I should go out tonight? I wonder if they have any deals on tools or bikes? And I am down to zero pairs of jeans without major holes in them, perhaps I should look for Old Navy or Target coupons as well? ... See, while the deals presented on these sites are indeed good deals, the problem is that they are creating wants and perceived needs inside me, where only contentment existed before. ... I believe one of my biggest advantages in the battle to maximize happiness while buying less stuff than most people, is not even knowing what stuff is available to buy ... I would suggest that while coupons do actually get you discounts, the most profitable route is still to keep yourself off of as many mailing lists and deal websites as you can


MMM's says "not even knowing what stuff to buy".  But to get the coupons in the first place you have to thorough look through in store ads and produce catalogs.  You may be looking for coupons in the store catalog and see that summer is coming up and say "oh look that at awesome inflatable pool with matching deck chairs, that would be perfect for the kids!" "Oh and look, I can get the pool and use it with my rewards program to get free detergent as well", do you get the point?

Thus, maybe before you were contend to go into a store and buy the one item you need.  However, instead you saw the ad about the rewards program.  Now you are no longer content to buy the one item you came for but instead you want to buy more stuff, then they justify by saying that they saved money because they are earning a reward.
Most hardcore couponers have a price book, for example tomato soup (including generic) costs 50 cents in its lowest sale, in my area.  Therefore, my goal with coupons is to stack to get below that price. 
I am not saying sales or coupons cannot convince some people to spend, but just like credit cards, some people can take advantage of this and financially benefit from it.  I know of a woman during the hey day who gained $9000 in a savings account over one year because of rebates, and the overages from sales and coupons combined. 
And, I need shampoo, conditioner, soap etc, so I am buying it no matter what so I'd rather spend $100 instead of $250-$500/year and I can do that by sales and coupons.

Elaine

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Re: Why I play the grocery game
« Reply #16 on: March 18, 2014, 11:51:59 AM »
I see what George_PA is saying to an extent, but I think MMMers tend to be more savvy than the general population. As mentioned, most of us hardcore deal shoppers have price books- so the idea that you're spending more for certain brands doesn't really apply (as long as you're not brand loyal, which most of us aren't). This means that I already know the lowest price at costco, versus the lowest generic price at Rite Aid (it's like CVS), versus the brand name with the coupon at Rite Aid, versus the price at the dollar store. This kind of comparison is pretty much deal shopping 101.

As for pharmacy coupons, I actually find that costco is NOT a good place to buy most toiletries, I spend much less by shopping at dollar stores or using coupons at the pharmacy. I beat costco razor prices by more than 50% every time I buy them, and those aren't things I'm buying because of a coupon- they are things I would buy anyway because they are socially necessary. On the other hand, tampons tend to be cheaper at Costco- so while I look at the coupons for them, I don't usually end up using them.

Also, any time you go into a store you are testing yourself with purchases. This isn't suddenly amplified because you have a coupon. Groupon is totally different, because $20 off a dinner at a fancy restaurant is still an unnecessary expense. Whereas $1 off something you had to buy anyway is just a win. And while I agree that a focus on not buying things is more important than, say, getting $5 off of a t-shirt that you don't need- there are life necessities that you sometimes have to buy. I make all my own cleaning products and most of my beauty products, but I can't make a bar of soap or a razor, so I buy them. (cue person who says they make their own bar soap...)


You say "My point is that many coupons are designed to cloud your judgement and create new needs for purchases.  Which is a big reason I avoid them in the first place." But if you know how the system works, don't you think you'll be less likely to fall into the trap? I find I actually go to the store less often because I use coupons and Costco. I buy most of my pharmacy goods about once a year, it has been months since I set foot in a pharmacy. In a way I'm decreasing the likelihood that I'll get tricked into spending money because I'm cutting down my number of trips by taking advantage of lower than average price deals.

And yes, to coupon you have to look through lots of advertising crap. That's true, but what better practice for your frugality muscles? I loooove looking through pages of coupons and thinking, "nope, nope, I don't use that, I make that myself, I've never bought that, oh look- $1.50 off deodorant- score!"




ritchie70

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Re: Why I play the grocery game
« Reply #17 on: March 18, 2014, 01:24:30 PM »
I'm not very good at coupons to be honest - I tend to forget about them - but the store I mostly grocery stop at, Meijer, has an mPerks program that's all electronic coupons and rebate earning, and I like that quite a lot.

On my last grocery order I got $15 off the total order because I clicked on some stuff a month or two earlier and told them to "let me earn" a rebate.

Gin1984

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Re: Why I play the grocery game
« Reply #18 on: March 18, 2014, 02:49:23 PM »
I'm not very good at coupons to be honest - I tend to forget about them - but the store I mostly grocery stop at, Meijer, has an mPerks program that's all electronic coupons and rebate earning, and I like that quite a lot.

On my last grocery order I got $15 off the total order because I clicked on some stuff a month or two earlier and told them to "let me earn" a rebate.
I like savingstar for ease.  During the beginning of the month I go load all the coupons on my cards.  Then, I forget about it.  Occasionally, I'll get an email saying, you used a coupon.  When it get to $5 I move the money to paypal.

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Re: Why I play the grocery game
« Reply #19 on: March 19, 2014, 11:04:51 PM »
As for pharmacy coupons, I actually find that costco is NOT a good place to buy most toiletries

True, sometimes they are the best but it is not guaranteed so it is good to note if there is a different.  In particular, I have noticed that if the warehouse club is stocking only name brand items of something and the warehouse club does not have their own generic brand for that particular item, often another store, i.e. a grocery store or another store may have their generic brand at a better price.

lexie2000

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Re: Why I play the grocery game
« Reply #20 on: March 20, 2014, 09:51:18 AM »

True, sometimes they are the best but it is not guaranteed so it is good to note if there is a different.  In particular, I have noticed that if the warehouse club is stocking only name brand items of something and the warehouse club does not have their own generic brand for that particular item, often another store, i.e. a grocery store or another store may have their generic brand at a better price.

The pricing exercise that you did for the warehouse club vs other available stores is exactly what couponers do for almost everything that they buy on a regular basis and what Elaine described as a price book.  The goal is to spend as little money as possible to purchase the products that you use on a regular basis.  Most savvy couponers even know the "savings point" of the coupons for the various products that they use and wait until they get the highest valued coupon possible on any brand before they buy.

You are absolutely right that coupons will entice some people to buy products that they wouldn't normally buy.  The savvy couponer might try a new product line (for example when Gain came out with a line of dish liquid) especially when a coupon allows them to do so for free; but as stated by another poster, the name of the game is saving money.  The savvy couponer might avoid certain brands for various reasons (allergies or they really dislike a scent or flavor of something), but very few ever become brand loyal.  They will usually buy any brand that will get the job done at the lowest price possible.

I realize that Mustachians are into consuming less; savvy couponers are into buying what they will consume and stocking up - purchasing in advance of need at the lowest price possible to save money.  I found that the best bet was to use all of my unused storage space (cuz like a good Mustachian, I am not a collector of "stuff") and fill it with products that we use on a regular basis that would never expire when I could get them for free.  Some examples include bath tissue, foil, Ziplocs, soaps of all kinds (laundry, dish, dishwasher, bars/body wash, etc.) razors, shampoos, toothbrushes, floss, etc. 

Couponing is not for everyone.  To save the most money it does take time and effort to go through the ads, make your list, and clip the coupons.  It also helps to have a resource or resources to get extra Sunday coupons for free as a lot of the best offers require multiples of the same coupon. 

That said,  I don't use nearly the number of coupons these days that I used to.  I had accumulated a fairly large stash of free products from the drug chains and gradually, fewer and fewer products were available for free, until it slowed to a trickle.  It was silly to pay any amount of money for what I already had in abundance for free, so the time had come when couponing at the drug chains no longer made sense.....for me.   I am also lucky to have some excellent discount grocery stores in my area that allow me to purchase food for less than I can at the major retail chains, even if I have coupons.

unix_kung_fu

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Re: Why I play the grocery game
« Reply #21 on: March 20, 2014, 02:59:08 PM »
I don't bother with couponing because for groceries/food anyway, it's entirely for processed crap that will end up costing you a lot more in healthcare costs later on. I'm fortunate enough to live in a state where Amazon doesn't have a presence - and sales tax is like 10% here, so no sales tax and free shipping on Amazon I just buy in bulk dried goods (lentils, brown rice, dried garbanzos, etc) and take my instant 10% return with my remaining grocery budget towards fresh produce, make everything from scratch and I'm good.

When they do start charging sales tax online everywhere, I still believe I will come out way ahead eating a whole food, plant based, non-processed diet (healthcare expenses and above all else, longer life span).

edit: that being said, excellent job. didn't mean to come off as rude, for those who have the constitution to pound the pavement and come away ahead, my hat is off to you.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2014, 03:09:50 PM by unix_kung_fu »

Gin1984

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Re: Why I play the grocery game
« Reply #22 on: March 22, 2014, 11:37:19 AM »
I don't bother with couponing because for groceries/food anyway, it's entirely for processed crap that will end up costing you a lot more in healthcare costs later on. I'm fortunate enough to live in a state where Amazon doesn't have a presence - and sales tax is like 10% here, so no sales tax and free shipping on Amazon I just buy in bulk dried goods (lentils, brown rice, dried garbanzos, etc) and take my instant 10% return with my remaining grocery budget towards fresh produce, make everything from scratch and I'm good.

When they do start charging sales tax online everywhere, I still believe I will come out way ahead eating a whole food, plant based, non-processed diet (healthcare expenses and above all else, longer life span).

edit: that being said, excellent job. didn't mean to come off as rude, for those who have the constitution to pound the pavement and come away ahead, my hat is off to you.
Oh no, I am lazy.  I don't pound the pavement, I just use sites that do it for me and then when I find something cheaper than normal, I grab it up in bulk so I don't have to shop.  I've already gotten normal grocery shopping down to every other week so I don't have to shop much.  We do buy certain things on amazon (like diapers/wipes) because they are cheaper.

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Re: Why I play the grocery game
« Reply #23 on: March 23, 2014, 02:10:51 PM »
I don't bother with couponing because for groceries/food anyway, it's entirely for processed crap that will end up costing you a lot more in healthcare costs later on.

This, at least in Canada.But...  I once facetiously posted on a coupon site, "I don't see many coupons for fresh spinach." Damned if the site host didn't go out and find one for me!

Gin1984

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Re: Why I play the grocery game
« Reply #24 on: March 23, 2014, 03:02:03 PM »
I don't bother with couponing because for groceries/food anyway, it's entirely for processed crap that will end up costing you a lot more in healthcare costs later on.

This, at least in Canada.But...  I once facetiously posted on a coupon site, "I don't see many coupons for fresh spinach." Damned if the site host didn't go out and find one for me!
LOL, yes they are very hard to find but they do pop up occasionally.  Our two grocery stores put out useful coupons once in a while.

Everything in Moderation

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Re: Why I play the grocery game
« Reply #25 on: March 26, 2014, 01:38:14 PM »
I coupon and use my brain and will power to only buy what I need and to only buy healthy things (no processed food) for my family.  If the coupon does not give me the lowest price possible, compared to a generic brand, I don't use it.  I do not drive around town from store to store, and I usually only buy 1 or 2 times of a product at a time, therefore I do not have a crazy stockpile.   Even though I work, I have some free time each week, so it is not a big deal to spend 1-2 hours doing this. 

There seem to be a lot of people strongly against couponing, and I don't really understand it.  Saving money is saving money.  In fact, I saved $2,000 last year along coupling for my family.  That $2,000 when straight to my Roth IRA!  My grocery bill has dropped significantly since starting this. 

Do anti-couponers feel threatened by someone else saving money in a way that they are not willing to do?  Do they then come up with all of these ridiculous reasons why couponing is bad (i.e. the companies are forcing us to buy things we don't need and taking our free will away, you can only buy junk food with coupons). 

Help me understand why some people get on their soap box about why coupling is evil. 

toodleoo

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Re: Why I play the grocery game
« Reply #26 on: March 26, 2014, 06:59:12 PM »
I had to lay off the CVS deals for a while because I had so much free toothpaste, body wash and toothbrushes that I was running out of room. I haven't bought toothpaste in 2 years. I'll probably start up again soon because I'm down to my last 5 tubes but the break has left me energized for a new round of CVS deals. I also like the beauty club or whatever they call it. Certain toiletries like face wash, lotions, body wash and cosmetics add up and once you've spent $50 towards them (or not spent it because you used your ECB) you get $5 ECB.

Haha, I can relate. I have enough toothpaste to last me probably 2 years at this point. Also razors, hair ties, deodorant...it's hard to turn down free stuff!

lexie2000

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Re: Why I play the grocery game
« Reply #27 on: March 26, 2014, 07:15:09 PM »
I coupon and use my brain and will power to only buy what I need and to only buy healthy things (no processed food) for my family.  If the coupon does not give me the lowest price possible, compared to a generic brand, I don't use it.  I do not drive around town from store to store, and I usually only buy 1 or 2 times of a product at a time, therefore I do not have a crazy stockpile.   Even though I work, I have some free time each week, so it is not a big deal to spend 1-2 hours doing this. 

There seem to be a lot of people strongly against couponing, and I don't really understand it.  Saving money is saving money.  In fact, I saved $2,000 last year along coupling for my family.  That $2,000 when straight to my Roth IRA!  My grocery bill has dropped significantly since starting this. 

Do anti-couponers feel threatened by someone else saving money in a way that they are not willing to do?  Do they then come up with all of these ridiculous reasons why couponing is bad (i.e. the companies are forcing us to buy things we don't need and taking our free will away, you can only buy junk food with coupons). 

Help me understand why some people get on their soap box about why coupling is evil.

Quite honestly, I was shocked that on a forum like MMM, that there would be even one poster that was anti-coupon. 

Based on what I have read, I have to believe that most anti-couponer sentiments are suppositions rather than facts based on actual experience.  I have seen anti-coupon posters (on other forums) that have been downright hateful and rude.  There is absolutely no reason for it.

I think you might have hit the nail on the head - they just don't like the fact that others are saving money that they could be saving too, but they're not.

FrugalZony

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Re: Why I play the grocery game
« Reply #28 on: March 26, 2014, 07:39:37 PM »
I coupon too and I buy a lot of fruits and veggies a lot of them organic.
The prejudice that it's only for prefab crap is there and apparently people who never tried couponing, just keep rehashing it.
I brought a lot of friends on to couponing, even the ones that shop at "Whole Foods aka Whole Paycheck".
It can be done, but it takes time!

Currently I have coupons for
- tomatoes
- spinach
- bagged salad
- pineapples
- mushrooms
- store brand organic items non specific (can use on carrots, tomatoes, salad, celerie, apples, etc. everything with their store organic brand)
- other brand organic ( can use on carrots, tomatoes, salad, celerie, berries, apples, herbs, even their frozen fruits and veggies)
- cantaloupe or watermelons
- onions
- mandarins

I may have forgotten some...but you get the drift...
In addition to that, I usually get store coupons for 3$ off 15 in produce or 1$ off 5

This works really well for me.
AND yes I do buy processed crap to donate, when the store has catalina offers. Pretty much they pay me in "store money" to remove processed stuff from their shelves and I use that store money for fruits and veggies....
A couple of weeks ago, they paid me $3 for each set of 4 boxes sugary cereal I removed from the store.
12 boxes of cereal to donate to the homeless youth shelter (high on their wishlist). $9 in store paper money for me to spend on goodies ;), Zero complaints!

Does it take a bit time? Yes
Does it take a bit of effort? Yes
Does it take a bit of smart planning? Yes
But my hourly rate of return is pretty good. I save a lot of money on stuff I use and I can donate ;)

lexie2000

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Re: Why I play the grocery game
« Reply #29 on: March 26, 2014, 08:16:31 PM »
I coupon too and I buy a lot of fruits and veggies a lot of them organic.
The prejudice that it's only for prefab crap is there and apparently people who never tried couponing, just keep rehashing it.
I brought a lot of friends on to couponing, even the ones that shop at "Whole Foods aka Whole Paycheck".
It can be done, but it takes time!

Currently I have coupons for
- tomatoes
- spinach
- bagged salad
- pineapples
- mushrooms
- store brand organic items non specific (can use on carrots, tomatoes, salad, celerie, apples, etc. everything with their store organic brand)
- other brand organic ( can use on carrots, tomatoes, salad, celerie, berries, apples, herbs, even their frozen fruits and veggies)
- cantaloupe or watermelons
- onions
- mandarins

I may have forgotten some...but you get the drift...
In addition to that, I usually get store coupons for 3$ off 15 in produce or 1$ off 5

This works really well for me.
AND yes I do buy processed crap to donate, when the store has catalina offers. Pretty much they pay me in "store money" to remove processed stuff from their shelves and I use that store money for fruits and veggies....
A couple of weeks ago, they paid me $3 for each set of 4 boxes sugary cereal I removed from the store.
12 boxes of cereal to donate to the homeless youth shelter (high on their wishlist). $9 in store paper money for me to spend on goodies ;), Zero complaints!

Does it take a bit time? Yes
Does it take a bit of effort? Yes
Does it take a bit of smart planning? Yes
But my hourly rate of return is pretty good. I save a lot of money on stuff I use and I can donate ;)

I also like coupons for pantry staples and condiments (coffee, tea, sugar, mayo, mustard, peanut butter, jam, etc.) and for dairy (cheese, sour cream, yogurt, cottage cheese, etc.). 

Frugalite

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Re: Why I play the grocery game
« Reply #30 on: March 27, 2014, 12:30:33 AM »
I have recently started couponing and I love it. I don't even live near a store that doubles coupons and I get lots of stuff for free every week. Since I started I now have a list of things that I will never pay money for again because I know I can get it free:

Deoderant
Shampoo/Conditioner
Soap
Toothpaste

Many medicines and household items like detergent and cleaners I can get for free or almost free with rebates and also Walgreens register rewards and CVS bucks. The prices I will pay for food items has gone way down since I have started stockpiling. Now I never pay more than a dollar for a box of cereal, for example.

I round out what I can't coupon ( it IS harder to get cheap produce but it can be done) by dumpster diving! You wouldn't believe what stores like Aldi's throws away! One bad apple in the bag and off to the dumpster it goes. Dented box? Trash. And then into my trunk it goes.

The combination of couponing and diving has made a huge difference. As long as you don't let coupons convince you to get crap you don't need, they can really save you some green. (Disclaimer: But if it is free and I know someone I can donate it to, I am getting it anyway!)


Everything in Moderation

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Re: Why I play the grocery game
« Reply #31 on: March 27, 2014, 07:36:03 AM »
"Quite honestly, I was shocked that on a forum like MMM, that there would be even one poster that was anti-coupon. 

Based on what I have read, I have to believe that most anti-couponer sentiments are suppositions rather than facts based on actual experience.  I have seen anti-coupon posters (on other forums) that have been downright hateful and rude.  There is absolutely no reason for it.

I think you might have hit the nail on the head - they just don't like the fact that others are saving money that they could be saving too, but they're not."

Amen to that!!!

OldDogNewTrick

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Re: Why I play the grocery game
« Reply #32 on: March 27, 2014, 10:15:02 AM »
I'm an easily discouraged couponer because I can only find coupons for processed food, toiletries, household cleaners. Where do you find coupons for produce and staples?


FrugalZony

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Re: Why I play the grocery game
« Reply #33 on: March 27, 2014, 12:03:07 PM »
I'm an easily discouraged couponer because I can only find coupons for processed food, toiletries, household cleaners. Where do you find coupons for produce and staples?

here's the Pinapple one I mentioned (if they are out, keep checking back, they release them on a regular basis)
https://www.facebook.com/DelMonteFreshProduce/app_1447344782168845
I say pineapple, because that's what I had them earmarked for, but it's actually of any Del Monte fresh produce item

sign up for Earthbound Farms here:
https://www.ebfarm.com/organic-bound/
they release prints on a regular basis, I also have tearpads I found in store, so keep an eye out for them
I love them, because they are an organic brand and the coupons can be used on their frozen items, their salads, berries, apples and anything else that says Earthbound Farms ;)

If you have a Safeway/Vons/Tom Thumb kind of store, they have a produce magazine (free) in the produce section, called Tony Tantillos
it often has coupons for Fresh Express bagged salad or the clamshell
If you cannot find it, you can print the coupons from here http://www.tonytantillo.com/newsletters/index.html
They also have organic produce under their O-Organic store brand and often issue both Ecoupons or special deals for their store brands
(sign up here: https://auth.safeway.com/opensso/UI/Login?realm=consumerportal&arg=newsession&goto=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.safeway.com%3A80%2FShopStores%2FJustforu-PersonalizedDeals.page)

Vidalia Onion prints are out, but should probably return in April, when in season again
http://www.flavors-of-summer.com/special-savings.html

For berries you can sign up with Driscolls, if those are sold in your area. You can also find codes in the little clamshells, that you
can input in a website for more prints www.driscolls.com

The mandarins were insert coupons from the sunday paper. We have also received salad, tomatoes, melons and other produce coupons in the sunday paper in the past.

Most other produce coupons, I have from the store or from previous purchases (were on package) or by trading with other couponers
You can also write the some of the companies and they will send you coupons.

The $off coupons I usually receive in the mail from the grocery stores I shop at or as an ecoupon (see safeway link above)

I hope that helps, please feel free to ask questions!


JPinDC

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Re: Why I play the grocery game
« Reply #34 on: March 27, 2014, 12:08:41 PM »
Thanks, FrugalZony!

lexie2000

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Re: Why I play the grocery game
« Reply #35 on: March 27, 2014, 01:13:54 PM »
I'm an easily discouraged couponer because I can only find coupons for processed food, toiletries, household cleaners. Where do you find coupons for produce and staples?

Coupons for pantry staples and condiments can be found in the coupon flyers that come in most Sunday papers.  Sometimes they are seasonal - baking products around the holidays, hamburger/hot dog condiments in the summer, etc.   If you don't want to pay for a newspaper subscription, find a friend, relative, neighbor, or co-worker that subscribes but does not bother with coupons and ask them if they would mind giving them to you. 

You might also try googling "coupons for brand x" if you don't mind printing coupons at home.

Everything in Moderation

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Re: Why I play the grocery game
« Reply #36 on: March 27, 2014, 01:19:01 PM »
I find coupons in my Sunday paper for lunch meat, oranges (cuties), flour, sugar, milk, eggs and other staples.  As far a veggies, I get some from Earthbound Farms as well, but most of them come from Catalinas, the print offs at checkout. 

I went to various veggie producer companies and signed up to receive coupons.  They send me a lot.  Good luck. 

OldDogNewTrick

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Re: Why I play the grocery game
« Reply #37 on: March 27, 2014, 01:28:57 PM »
Thank you FrugalZony!!!!!

unix_kung_fu

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Re: Why I play the grocery game
« Reply #38 on: March 29, 2014, 07:31:18 PM »
I coupon too and I buy a lot of fruits and veggies a lot of them organic.
The prejudice that it's only for prefab crap is there and apparently people who never tried couponing, just keep rehashing it.
I brought a lot of friends on to couponing, even the ones that shop at "Whole Foods aka Whole Paycheck".
It can be done, but it takes time!

Yeah, Whole Foods has a monthly newsletter online and in store and has some pretty valuable coupons for produce or some of the items there that I buy (almond milk, some canned good for the pantry, etc). The trick is walking out of there without spending $200!

OldDogNewTrick

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Re: Why I play the grocery game
« Reply #39 on: March 30, 2014, 07:20:51 AM »
Yesterday I visited the roadside stands we have dotted here and there in about a 3 miles radius. These are typically just folks with the back of their van or pickup filled with produce. Prices are incredible! I'm ashamed I haven't been taking advantage. I've visited a few of our more popular Farmer's Markets... the kind with heirloom stuff, tamales, hand made soaps and music....those prices tend to be the same or more than Publix.  Cheaper than the coupons, even. BUT I like that the veg coupons I found were mostly for organic.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2014, 07:23:20 AM by OldDogNewTrick »

lexie2000

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Re: Why I play the grocery game
« Reply #40 on: March 30, 2014, 11:23:02 AM »
I coupon too and I buy a lot of fruits and veggies a lot of them organic.
The prejudice that it's only for prefab crap is there and apparently people who never tried couponing, just keep rehashing it.
I brought a lot of friends on to couponing, even the ones that shop at "Whole Foods aka Whole Paycheck".
It can be done, but it takes time!

Yeah, Whole Foods has a monthly newsletter online and in store and has some pretty valuable coupons for produce or some of the items there that I buy (almond milk, some canned good for the pantry, etc). The trick is walking out of there without spending $200!

That's easy; make a list and stick to it (maybe you were kidding and maybe you were not).  People have complete control over how much money they spend based on where they shop, whether they buy on sale (or not), whether a coupon can give them a cheaper price (or not), etc. 

Grocery retailers count on all those impulse buys that people are likely to make on their way to the milk and bread.

Gin1984

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Re: Why I play the grocery game
« Reply #41 on: March 30, 2014, 12:06:24 PM »
I coupon too and I buy a lot of fruits and veggies a lot of them organic.
The prejudice that it's only for prefab crap is there and apparently people who never tried couponing, just keep rehashing it.
I brought a lot of friends on to couponing, even the ones that shop at "Whole Foods aka Whole Paycheck".
It can be done, but it takes time!

Yeah, Whole Foods has a monthly newsletter online and in store and has some pretty valuable coupons for produce or some of the items there that I buy (almond milk, some canned good for the pantry, etc). The trick is walking out of there without spending $200!

That's easy; make a list and stick to it (maybe you were kidding and maybe you were not).  People have complete control over how much money they spend based on where they shop, whether they buy on sale (or not), whether a coupon can give them a cheaper price (or not), etc. 

Grocery retailers count on all those impulse buys that people are likely to make on their way to the milk and bread.
I have found that stretching my major shopping out to every other week and just deal shopping saves me a lot of money, even with a list.  I find ways to stretch if I am not going but would buy if I was running low.

lexie2000

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Re: Why I play the grocery game
« Reply #42 on: March 31, 2014, 07:26:29 AM »
I coupon too and I buy a lot of fruits and veggies a lot of them organic.
The prejudice that it's only for prefab crap is there and apparently people who never tried couponing, just keep rehashing it.
I brought a lot of friends on to couponing, even the ones that shop at "Whole Foods aka Whole Paycheck".
It can be done, but it takes time!

Yeah, Whole Foods has a monthly newsletter online and in store and has some pretty valuable coupons for produce or some of the items there that I buy (almond milk, some canned good for the pantry, etc). The trick is walking out of there without spending $200!

That's easy; make a list and stick to it (maybe you were kidding and maybe you were not).  People have complete control over how much money they spend based on where they shop, whether they buy on sale (or not), whether a coupon can give them a cheaper price (or not), etc. 

Grocery retailers count on all those impulse buys that people are likely to make on their way to the milk and bread.
I have found that stretching my major shopping out to every other week and just deal shopping saves me a lot of money, even with a list.  I find ways to stretch if I am not going but would buy if I was running low.

Hey, any system that someone finds works for them sounds like a good system to me.

My goal is to never pay full price for anything.   Every week, I make a list of the items we'd use that are offered for a good price in the ads.   If the ads suck, I don't shop at all and meal plan based on what we already have.  I'll stretch anything (or do without) until I can find it at a good price.

FrugalZony

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Re: Why I play the grocery game
« Reply #43 on: April 22, 2014, 04:37:48 PM »

Vidalia Onion prints are out, but should probably return in April, when in season again


Quoting myself ;) I wish I could predict the markets as well, as my coupons ;)

Vidalia onions just released a 0.50 coupon, you can print two per computer,
many stores double these, so depending where you live, they may be worth more
https://www.facebook.com/VidaliaOnions/app_1384619911820197

caherriman

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Re: Why I play the grocery game
« Reply #44 on: April 23, 2014, 11:21:44 AM »
I also play the grocery game. I rarely use coupons for grocery items since we started buying mostly fresh produce and meat, dairy etc. I do coupon for H&B items, Paper products. I use paper towels. I know I could save money by not using them, but regardless I use them. This past month I could have spent the $4 to get 4 rolls for the month. Instead I used coupons/sale and got 15 rolls for .63 total.

I get free tooth paste, toothbrushes, floss, spices, razors, .50 for shampoo/conditioner, .50 cleaning supplies, .50 lotion. I do not use coupons just because I have them. Right now I can get a large bottle of Dawn dish soap for .99 which is a decent price. But why would I when I have a bunch of the smaller ones I got free?

Brands do not matter to me. If store brand is cheaper then name brand with a coupon, I go with store brand. I have a pretty large stockpile of non food items. The $3.50 I am saving on not buying toothpaste, $2 on toothbrushes, $3 shampoo for me, $3 conditioner for me, etc is that much more money I have to spend on fresh produce.