My most dedicated friends know I am a power shopper when it comes to Publix. A year ago at our women's conference at Church of the Highlands I sat in on a session about how you win at the coupon game, and it changed my life. I'm serious.
I have always been frugal, ok maybe even to the point of utterly indecisive, when it comes to spending money. Don't get me wrong, I can drop a dime or two when in the mood. But I will also wear a pair of jeans for 5 years, until there are holes in the butt and my underwear show through (would have been nice if someone had tipped me off on that one when it first happened, there is no telling how long I walked around with my arse peeking out at everyone!) rather than spend the $15 a year it would have cost me to replace said favorite jeans - which I just did, see facebook post from a month ago.
However, those 45 minutes of learning the tips and tricks to saving money - saved my sanity! And a nice wad of cash every month too. I have dropped our monthly household spending amount on grocery, cleaning supplies, diapers, wipes, beauty needs, etc. a minimum of $300. All by shopping at Publix, and doing it the right way. And bonus - HAVE NOT BEEN TO A WALMART IN 6 MONTHS!
That's right. Of course, I am a little bummed I don't get to gawk at the interesting clientele at the local supercenter, however I know I can always get my fix at the evermore popular People of Walmart, when I need a good OMG! Are you seriously out in public in that and in the BABY AISLE?!?!
The thing about Publix, it's not just the savings, it's also the fact the baggers always ask me if I want them to take my groceries (including the 2 very active children in the cart) to my car for me and if I need help any time I look remotely confused or lost or am in search of an item that should absolutely be right in front of me. It's the fact it reminds me of Willie's Sentry in Racine, WI where we shopped when I was a kid and every employee new me, my sisters and my mom by first name.
So I figured I would finally post an example of just one weekend trip to Publix and show you what I'm really talking about when it comes to savings. I so wish they would open a store up north so my sisters could take advantage of all the deals they offer. Buy 1 Get 1 Free (on stuff you actually use and which you only have to buy 1 of to get the special price), Doubled Manufacturer Coupons up to .50 - that means $1!, use of competitor store coupons (in addition to any mfg coupons and including the $5 off $50 grocery purchase coupons that Target often sends out or you get at the Target register), plus their own store coupons - and hey, if you have a mfg coupon, a competitor store coupon and a Publix coupon for the same item - JACKPOT - you can use all three on that one item!
The whole process has catered to my competitive edge at getting the most for my buck. I stock up on what we buy when it's on sale and I rarely if ever spend more than $100-125 a week now on what we need to run our house and feed our family, which I consider pretty darn good considering I still have one in diapers and the other one is still going through a Pull Up each day and I do about 6 loads of laundry a week.
Here's what I bought:
Gallon of Milk
Baguette of French Bread
Bag of Romaine lettuce
3 Tombstone frozen pizzas
2 pkgs of Pillsbury Savorings Artichoke & Cheese App Bites
2 bottles of ALL Small & Mighty (50 loads)
3 Sixpacks of Mott's Applesauce Cups
5 lbs of Idaho Potatoes
Starbuck Coffe (10oz)
2 cans Pringles (Mega Pack)
4 cans Chef Boy R D Ravioli/Beefaroni
Spice Islands Crushed Rosemary
Excedrin Back & Body (I'm getting old!)
2 cans of Planters Mixed Nuts (Chex Mix Season coming!)
4 boxes of Quaker Chewy Granola Bars
40 ct Pullups ($15.99)
132 ct Huggies ($33.99)
Total Bill before coupons/savings: $166.94
Vendor & Store coupons: $31.40
Store Ad Savings: $42.89
Total Saved: $74.29
You may not consider this great, I didn't have any meat on the list (because I had just stocked up on chicken breasts at 1.99/lb and we have venison burger in the freezer already) and don't have a lot of staples, since I have the pantry pretty built but wanted some fun things as the holidays are coming and we will be home this year. Just consider Pullups and Huggies alone would have cost me $50, so all and all it was a pretty good day. (I got the ALL for .99 a bottle after using a Publix $1.00 off and a Mfg $1.00 off when they were on sale at $2.99 each...when's the last time you could do that?!)
I have also learned a great deal and find excellent tips and links on a website I visit a couple of times weekly Southern Savers. Jenny posts each Wednesday the specials at Publix (she also does Kroger, Harris Teeter, Harvey's, Walgreen's, CVS) and even on Sundays will post the Penny Item so I can check it to see if it's worth getting the last $10 of specials that week. (Publix offers a mystery item on Sundays and Mondays at their stores - buy $10 in groceries and get the mystery item for a penny, and it's usually a good item - this week it was a 4 roll pack of toilet paper - who doesn't need toilet paper for goodness sakes! I usually hold back on buying about $10 worth of products during my regular trip that I need but don't have a chance to have a coupon against (think meat on sale, milk, eggs, etc.) so if the mystery item is worth it, I have $10 worth to buy and can get it without buying junk I wouldn't need. Plus she pre-posts the weekend Sunday coupon inserts on Fridays, so I can check out quickly if anything on my list for Saturday I might want to hold off picking up until Sunday/Monday with the penny item since I would have a coupon to use toward it from the Sunday paper.
Finally I have a few vendor sites that I have subscribed to (and have a separate email address for to receive all the emails) such as Betty Crocker, Kraft, General Mills, Conagra, Pillsbury (some of these are redundant since they are owned by the same company but if you sign up for their brand newsletters you get multiple prints of coupons - really handy for B1G1 free items when you want to stock up) which Jenny also links to, but that I have signed up for to get their regular monthly coupons. Oh! And don't forget Upromise - great site for ecoupons if you shop at Publix, Winn Dixie or CVS - am sure there are more stores- which you can earn $$'s toward an investment plan for college for you kids - and if you join be sure and reference me so I can get some extra savings from it!
So for all of you wondering, how to do it? Sunday coupons, vendor internet coupons, Southern Savers, competitor direct mailers and Publix. Put em together, spend about a total of an hour a week at different times, and you feel a little less guilty about indulging once in a while on that Starbucks Grande No Foam Skinny Vanilla Latte.