There are new coupons for Kroger (and Kroger affiliated) shoppers at Cellfire, that you can add to your shopper card. These coupons are great because once you add them you don't have to think about them, so long as you have your shopper card (or look it up via phone number) you'll get credit for your coupon.
There have been some really great ways to get Itunes money lately. The latest is via Coinstar. If you cash in $40 at Coinstar and opt to receive an Itunes eGiftCertificate, not only will you NOT pay any fees but you'll get an additional $10. So cash in $40 and get $50, now there's a way to make your pennies work for you!
Lately, I've been emailing the companies whose products I enjoy to let them know that I like their products (and why). It all started with this one. I mean when your first attempt nets you an actual check, that's some good motivation to keep contacting companies. So far, in every case, they've at least sent me a coupon for the product I was complimenting.
Last week something different happened. We had a bad experience at a restaurant; a restaurant that we both enjoy and that I know normally gives both great food and great service. In the past I have emailed this company to compliment them on how great our service and food has been and how our servers have gone out of their way to make our experience good. In one other case I have emailed them to let them know that I was let down by the food we were served. In that instance, they not only replied (quickly) but they sent us a gift card in the mail that more than covered what we had for dinner. I'll be honest in that I expected no less this time around, and I got what I expected. Again, they were quick to reply and let us know that what we experienced was far below their expectations as a company and that they would be sending us a gift card. They did and I received it today.
That was not my only complaint for the week. As I reported earlier I picked up 15 jugs of Gatorade for my hubby at Rite Aid. I got home to have him tell me that it was not the right kind. We had both made the same assumption initially... that if the bottle had a 2 on it, it was G2. We were wrong. There is Gatorade 02, and then there is G2 and they are two completely different products. He likes the G2 since it has a lot less sugar (imo, it's just watered down Gatorade). After this discussion, I emailed Gatorade to let them know that their marketing/ labeling was confusing and what it had resulted in for me. They replied that they would be sending me some coupons for free product. I haven't received those yet, but I have no doubt they are on their way. So, now you know it's only G2 if it has the giant G2 on the front, not just a giant G and a little 02. And, you also know that if you have an issue with a product or service, it's probably not going to be a waste of your time to complain to the proper place (and usually that just means sending an email to the company).
Hmm... yeah so February is not going so well. I've saved a good bit, but I've spent way too much. Mostly, (as I reported in my last post) due to poor planning.
So here's what I've got so far:
Publix - $33.56 (for $110.54 worth of groceries)
Kroger - $34.89 (for $74.88 worth of groceries)
Rite Aid - $15.83 (for $29.85 worth of groceries)
Rite Aid - $39.34 (for $114.77 worth of drugstore items) - left with $30 in +UPs
Walgreens - $13.34 (for $16.98 worth of drugstore items) - left with $17 in RR
CVS - $11.67 (for $47.72 worth of drugstore items) - used a $10 gc that I paid $5 for
Total Cash Used: $143.63 Total Value of Items: $394.74 Total Savings: $267.44 (or 67.75%)
So, I am definitely over budget for the month. I've been taking money out of my personal envelope to fund the extra groceries. This means that when the envelopes get filled again at the end of this week, there will only be about $50 going into the grocery envelope to last the next two weeks.
The good news is that I have a good amount of RR and +UPs that should last for the rest of the month. The other good news is that from what I've seen there's not really anything in next week's ads that we need to stock up on, so we can just get basic staples that we need.
Had I rolled my +UPs and RR on my Rite Aid and Walgreens trips I would have landed in much better shape, and I'd probably be just where I needed to be budget-wise.
I've also realized two things in the last week or so. 1. I pay less in tax shopping at Publix because I shop at one that is in the county rather than in the city. 2. I tend to save a lot more shopping at Publix, in general. One one hand, it's easy to think that it's because Publix regular prices are higher so the sale price savings is greater. But, overall I think that's not the case. I actually leave Publix with a lot more for the money I spend than I do Kroger. I think it's a combination of sale savings and the coupons (since they accept competitor coupons AND double manufacturer Qs).
These two realizations are going to have me shopping at Publix that much more and really evaluating whether or not the sales at Kroger are worth while.
So, I think I'm finally figuring out the value of rolling ECBs/+UPs/RR at the drugstores. When I first started couponing our grocery budget was higher so it was really easy to just buy everything in one transaction and take the rewards I received and use them the next time I visited the drugstore. In January, it worked out really well for me at CVS as I did a transaction early in the month that was almost free but gave me $20 in ECBs. I used part of those on another transaction which earned me another set of ECBs and so on. I continued that through January and finally used them all up at the end of the month.
However, I started out February with only a few +UPs at Rite Aid and no rewards anywhere else. If only Rite Aid had been the only store with good deals at the beginning of the month. OR, if only I'd been smart enough to roll my rewards and do multiple transactions.
What I did: I did two transactions at Rite Aid on my first trip of the month last week. I knew I'd be spending a bit out of pocket but I hadn't really calculated how much. Mistake #1. So I did two transactions, the first was to purchase the 15 jugs of Gatorade which would produce another $5+UP to go with the stack I already had. In the second transaction I put everything else. That second transaction cost me $40 OOP, and gave me back $30 in +UPs.
What I should have done: I should have broken that second transaction down into several smaller +UP producing transactions. Had I done so I would have spent less than half of what I spent out of pocket and still walked away with a few +UPs.
So, why didn't I do it? Because it's a lot of work and it takes a lot of time. As if my transaction didn't already take a good bit of time and create a lot of work since some of the product didn't ring up correctly. Another point for doing smaller transactions is that it's easier to identify mistakes (on the part of the computer). We often just assume that if it says it's on sale that the computer will get it right, but that's often not the case.
I'm still learning and I doubt I'll jump into doing 10 different transactions on my next drugstore visit, but I will start trying to break it down a little more to cut my out of pocket spending. While my husband keeps telling me we can raise our grocery budget back up to the level it was in Dec (basically $100/mo more than it currently is), I know we can do just fine on the current budget - I just have to learn better spending habits. And, sometimes the only way to learn is to make yourself do something.
Mamapedia is another hot new Daily Deals site. Recently, they had a great deal for a $10 CVS gift card for just $5.
Today's Hot Deal is $40 worth of Natural Beauty products from OrganicBeautyNow for just $20. Check it out and be sure to sign up for each new daily deal. When you join they will instantly give you a $5 credit just for sharing the site.