Thursday, December 9, 2010

Grocery Shopping & Review of Coupon Organizer v3.1

It's official, I hate Organizer 3.1.  It's just too big and bulky to easily use while shopping.  It's easy enough to find things in it when I'm home and planning ahead, but pretty much impossible when I'm at the store.  It's too small to sit on top of the cart seat without falling in, and once it's sitting in it, it's too big to page through and find a coupon easily.  Add to that, that it's just bulky in general, which makes it hard to pick up.

Overall, my most recent grocery trip did not go well.  Between trying to find coupons for items that were unadvertised and then getting to the register to have the cashier debate with me over my coupon usage.  It just sucked the fun out of couponing and made me dread using this organizer again.

So what happened with the cashier?  I had 2 different coupons for Kraft Homestyle Mac & Cheese (the new stuff in the blue bag).  One was for $2/2 and the other was a BOGO coupon.  I'd done this exact scenario last week, purchasing 3 bags and using both coupons without an issue.  It just made logical sense to me that I would need to purchase 3 bags.  Coupon 1 ($2/2) would attach to the first 2 bags.  Then in buying those two bags I would be able to use coupon 2 (BOGO) to get the third bag for free.  This cashier didn't see it that way, telling me I had to buy 4 to use both coupons.  I explained to her why I didn't and eventually she relented with the old "well I'll do it this time" line.  Then another woman came up to help bag, so the cashier decided to get a second opinion.  The new lady agreed with the cashier that I needed to buy 4.  I should have just put the original 3 back and tried the scenario again later with one of the more agreeable cashiers (the guys in this particular store), but I was already frustrated at that point, so I told them to grab me another bag.  I think I'm going to take that 4th bag back, since the woman who grabbed it grabbed the wrong one anyway.

From now on I will stick to my usual Friday shopping at Publix and look for my guys.

Another thing I noticed that she did, which kind of annoyed me (and seemed to slow things down A LOT) was when I handed her the coupons (with the BOGO on top, because that's what one of the guys had told me to do), she went through separating them all and laying them out, ringing each matching coupon immediately after she rang the item it went with.  For some reason I feel like in doing this she likely forgot a few coupons.

Overall, I was disappointed with my savings on this trip.  Granted I bought A LOT, and I bought quite a few items that weren't on sale because I wanted to make a specific dish.  In the end, my savings were only about 50% (having spent $80 and saved just under that amount).  That said, there were quite a few items on the BOGO sale this week that were good deals.  My hubby was still proud of the savings (he helped me unload the groceries so he saw just how much I got for that amount).

I told him about the new organizer and how much I disliked it and showed him the My Coupon Keeper that I was considering as my next organizer. He pointed out the one failure it has, which I have to agree with and feel like it will be the failing that will keep me from liking it as well... the lack of a handle.  I think I'm going to end up just making my own (again), thinking I have a better chance of getting something that will work for me if I do that.

Turning Coins Into Cash

Is getting harder and harder. My hubby told me earlier this week that our bank will no longer take rolled coins. They have a coinstar machine and you have to run your coins through the machine and pay the fee to cash them in AT THE BANK!

So how do you get money for your coins without paying almost 10%?

Trade them in for a gift card. Coinstar now allows you to trade your coins in for gift cards to a large number of online retailers and as of this week, they are even giving you a bonus for doing so (on top of not paying a fee). As of today, you can trade it $40 worth of coins for an gift card to one of the following merchants and get an extra $10 (so not only do you not pay a fee, you actually make money).

The current merchant list is, Itunes, Lowes, Regal Cinemas, Ritzy & Borders!

Of course, you can trade in your coins for gift cards to quite a few other merchants as well, without the bonus money, and still pay no fee. These include, Starbucks,, Gap, Old Navy, JCPenney & others.

One thing I'm not sure of (and haven't been able to find info on) is if there is any limit to this. Can I drop in $40 get a certificate for $50, then drop in another $40 and do it again? Or is it limited to one time? If you know / can find the answer please post a reply.

Living Social Huntsville Deal

Better than 50% off Shea's Express with Living Social. If you aren't familiar with Shea's Express, you should be. While they are only open for breakfast and lunch, it's one of the best places in town for a great brunch. Saturday is their "Live Jazz Brunch". Or if you'd prefer they have some great items to pick up for your holiday meals, including their wonderful Spiced Orange Cranberry Relish.

$12 for $25 worth of food. Get the Deal

Jello/Cool Whip Coupon

If you are getting ready to make some fun treats for the holidays (or if you just enjoy some pudding with cool whip on top), here's a great coupon for you.

Save $1 when you buy both (1) Cool Whip and (1) box Jello. I believe there are some Target coupons still out for both of these items, as well, that you could stack with this coupon for even more savings (remember Publix accepts competitor coupons - ie. Target)