I'm a full-time wife and mom of two adorable boys. When I'm not busy trying to keep up with them I enjoy photography, traveling, planning parties and a little bit of reading.

In February of 2008 I was diagnosed with an incurable terminal lung illness, though God promised me a full and complete healing. While we wait for His timing, we're taking it one day at a time, and standing in awe of how God's using all of this for His glory. The tough road we've traveled has given us a new perspective on the fragility of life. Memories are more important to us than ever before. The goal of this blog is to share some of our family life - the ups and downs, the joys and probably some of the pains as well. It's mostly meant as a personal journal of sorts, but you're welcome to share in it. We'd like to take this opportunity to say ...


Sunday, February 7, 2010

#2 - shopping week ONE

Better late than never, eh?  I planneded to post this ages ago, but I wanted to include CVS and Walgreens on it also. I didn't make it to CVS this past 2 weeks, though.  Life got in the way.  So, I'll just have to do another post of shopping week TWO to show the CVS process.  I should note that I typed this post over the course of several days - most of it more than a week ago, so please ignore the "today I" comments - they were true the day I typed it - but not today.  Today I'm stranded at home because of a fabulous blizzard.

Now, for those of you just tuning in... I'm not just bragging here.  I was ASKED by several people to explain to them ON MY BLOG how I shop / SAVE.  Some of my friends have been asking me for at least a year to explain to them how I "stretch" the Feitner's dollars.  I've already done a post about coupon-ing.  This one is a recap of my real shopping trips - the past two weeks.  I think there will probably be at least 3 more posts coming on this topic - sometime this month.  So, I've numbered them as part of the title - so you can more easily recognize them.


I visited Couponing to Disney's link on this week's Target Deals - scrolled to bottom and selected to view it as a PDF.  As I read through the pdf, if there was an item I knew I wouldn't want (like dog treats since we have no dog), I clicked it once, and it automatically is deleted.  Once I had the list of potentials, I printed it out.  

Next I went back to the master Target list and clicked on each link she had for a coupon.  Once it printed (most can be printed twice per computer), I put a check mark by it.  Next I looked through my stack of coupons (which is incomplete because saving them is still a new part of my routine) and cut out the corresponding ones, and put a check by it.  On the left of the item is a check mark(s) that tell me how many of the products I can get with my coupons.  At the store - once the item was in my cart, I wrote OK.  [I also wrote diapers on it - I wanted to check out if my coupons for diapers were worth the money or not - BJs was cheaper.]

Not all newspapers actually have all coupons in them.  Not all stores carry all of the same products as all the other stores.  And not all stores have their products priced the same as all the other stores.  Here's what ended up finding its way into my cart.

I bought 14 items - spent $14.49 - and saved $33.17.  Not bad if I do say so myself.

Giant Eagle

I'm still getting used to the fact that in this area, Giant Eagle's specials run Thurs-Wed rather than Sun-Sat like Giant did back in Central Penna.  I'm also still learning how frequently (or infrequently) different items I buy go on sale.  I think I'm going to need one more month of watching the circulars.  This morning I spent about 15 minutes making out my list - based on what's on sale - and collecting my coupons.

Let me explain what my list means.  Digornio is on sale 3 for $13 - (3 in the circle means I must buy 3 to get that price). The c in the circle means I have a coupon - the "-1" beside the c means that I only need to buy one to use the coupon. [I found a pull off coupon at the store for $1 off two pizzas.] Ragu had a coupon if I bought 3 of them.  The items in the bracket with $20 written on the right - were a special being run this week - if I purchase $20 of those items, then a $5 coupon would print for my next trip.  So, I did the math (at home rather than at the store with screaming kiddos), and got 6 Ragu, 1 Skippy, 5 Knorr, etc.).  Bread was buy one - get one free.  Oatmeal was on sale last week - not sure if the sale's continuing - wanted to check ('cause some do without re-advertizing) - but it wasn't still on sale.

Now - before you see what I purchased - don't judge too harshly.  I have LOTS of fruit, vegetables and meat at home already in the fridge, freezer and pantry.  Last week's sales were better for those items than this week's were.  So, I bought extra last week, and less this week.  I went shopping with both kids, and got in and out in less than an hour.  Here's what made it into my cart.

You'll notice that the ONLY store brand item (besides ground beef) is butter.  Every other brand name item (except the pizza and oatmeal) was cheaper than the corresponding store brand one (on sale this week and with a coupon).  This isn't always true - but it was this week.  I'm NOT bashing store brands!  Generally ALL of my dairy products, frozen veggies, and pasta are store brand.

Some of my "poor prior planning" items include the cake mix (Aaron's birthday is Sunday), Oreos (to decorate his cupcakes), creamer (I ran out and it's not on sale this week).  The oatmeal was on sale last week (not this week) - but Aaron didn't ask me to buy him some to keep at work until this week.  And the refrigerated cookies are because I'm ... um ... craving chocolate this week.  Soda is much more cost effective to buy in 2-liter bottles, but that's not practical for how infrequently our family drinks it.  And I ALWAYS buy  Juicy Juice in a can (then reconstitute it with water) - because it's cheaper that way, but this week, the bottle was cheaper instead.

This week's shopping trip (plus last week's items) will make: homemade vegetable soup, grilled cheese, meatloaf, a crockpot of chilli, baked potatoes, chicken parmesean, broiled asparagus, hawaiian chicken salad, and loaded nachos grande.  The pizza and pasta packs are for whenever I have a "rough" day - easy food for me to fix.

So, now for the damage.  I bought 55 items - spent $108.29 - and saved $42.36 - 28%.  This was a so-so week.  I usually average around 35%, and my record for a grocery store is 62%.  Last week's grocery bill was $60something - so my bill isn't always as high as it was this week.

I also received $5 off my next shopping trip,

and earned 20 cents off our next fill-up.  Oh, look at that, we need to fill up our gas tank by Sunday to use the $1.20 off a gallon before it expires.

Giant Eagle - week 2

So, week one at Giant Eagle I spent $108 on my groceries.  But I've commented before that generally I budget about $75 per week.  It looks like I absolutely BLEW my budget.  However .....  Last night we finally got this week's shopping done there.  (Threw out the receipt before I could photograph it, unfortunately.)  So much was purchased the week before - that this week's grocery list consisted of: milk, apples, bananas, frozen juice, salad mix and garlic bread.  The total was approximately $15 - because after using the $5 off next purchase coupon, the we paid just over $9.  Salad mix was a BOGO, and had a coupon for the garlic bread.  So... Bought 15 items - spent around $9.50.  (I really wish I had the receipt.....)  This makes the average for two weeks of groceries for the Feitners $59.50 each week.


[EDITED TO ADD - I also utilized couponingtodisney.com as a resource for my Walgreens trip planning.]  This was my first week shopping at Walgreens - so next time I'll do MUCH better.  In fact, this was my first time EVER INSIDE a Walgreens.  So, there was a learning curve for me.  First thing I learned - at CVS you need an Extra Care Card to get the "bucks" to print off at the register.  At Walgreens, they print automatically! (YAY - this means that hypothetically I could go from store to store to store and repeat the process - because most circulars say "only good on one item" - the next store would have NO IDEA I had just gotten the sale - BOOYAAA!)  So - I went to Walgreens (with coupons in pocket) and stocked up my cart based on WHAT WAS ON SALE - not on what I needed that day.  Then I went to the register.  First transaction - I bought ONLY

Now - I don't use them. (If you do - let me know, I'll be MORE THAN HAPPY to pass them on!)  Why in the world would I spend hard earned money on something I don't use???  Because Walgreens PAID ME to buy them.  Oh yeah!  They were on sale for $7.99 - and when I bought them (one time per store) - a "coupon" for $8.00 off my next purchase printed for me.  I know a penny isn't much.  BUT - I also had a coupon for $2 off.  So - I paid $5.99 to buy them, and then was immediately given a coupon for $8 off my next purchase (which was waiting in my shopping cart) - Walgreens PAID ME $2.01 to buy blink gel tears! (And I didn't even have to pay tax on it!)

So - my next transaction was waiting in my cart.  I wasn't about to "forget" to use that $8.00 coupon! (The only problem was that I added incorrectly in my head - that's what I get for doing the math in the store rather than at home when I was looking at the circulars.  I added up the total of what the items would be - forgetting about the coupons I had for them.  So - lesson re-learned. YOU MUST USE THE ENTIRE AMOUNT ON THE COUPON at once or you lose the remaining balance.  I was caught off guard, so I grabbed whatever I saw - 3 candy bars - and added them up incorrectly once again (I only needed 2).  So ... transaction #2 purchased this...

... and spent this - $1.05.  (I have NO IDEA why this will only load sideways - the actual file is correct - sorry - you're just gonna have to turn your head.)

So - all together I spent $7.04 - and saved $18.57 - I saved 73%.  And it all started because Walgreens PAID ME to buy something. (Grrr - what is wrong with blogger today?  This is really annoying - I'm sorry!)

Oh - AND I got a coupon for $2 off my NEXT order!

Recap of Week One

Actually - this was the total of TWO weeks of my shopping (but one week of me blogging about it).

SPENT - $139.32
SAVED - $99.86


AVERAGE PER WEEK - $69.66 (just UNDER my $75 average)

This fed a family of four (granted - two of them are young) AND filled my pantry with items which will last at least three weeks.  And - the only things that happened to be "store brand" were butter and ground beef.  The way I shop (by getting more than I need just that week and) using a coupon when items are on sale makes it cheaper to use name brands than the store brand (for most items).

This type of shopping/saving CAN be done with dietary restrictions in mind - for a whole year I had to buy "no or extremely low sodium" items - and my grocery bill only went up about $5 a week.  It just takes a bit of organization - using coupons - and utilizing your internet resources (like couponingtodisney.com) - BUT IT CAN BE DONE!!!

1 comment:

Beth@The Stories of A to Z said...

Okay, again, I'll have to read this a few times through but this was soooooo helpful! THANK YOU!!! I'm getting the hang of it.