Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Appreciate What You Have: Cost Does Not Equal Value

Continuing this journey of "Appreciating What You Have" has been interesting.  It seems that over the last week things keep occurring to make me really appreciate what we have.

Monday was Valentines Day.  We'd made reservations a couple of weeks ago at a nice restaurant in town.  I'd purchased a gift certificate from the restaurant for 1/2 off a few months ago (back before we really got into cutting our budget even) and we decided we'd use it for Valentines Day. 

As I posted over the weekend, we had a really enjoyable cheap date on Friday.  For many, that would have been a perfectly acceptable Valentines celebration.  And to be honest, by the time Monday rolled around I would have been fine with it as well.  While I knew that about half our meal would be covered by the gift certificate that had already been purchased I still had a really hard time with the knowledge that we'd still be spending a good deal on this dinner out.  It really bothered me all day Monday and I had to just keep reminding myself that we had this gift certificate so it wouldn't be as expensive as my brain thought it to be and that we should just go and enjoy it.  "Stop being cheap!" is what I kept telling myself.  So by the time Paul got home from work I'd decided I was just going to go with it and enjoy it.  I got dressed up and we headed out to dinner.

The restaurant we went to (Pauli's Bistro, for those who are local) is a very nice place and the type of place where I would feel very uncomfortable walking in in jeans or simply not dressed up.  They do have an attached bar that I see as more fitting to a more casual type of dress.  I say this because while we were eating our salads a group of 4 young people were seated next to us.  When I say young, I'm guessing that at least half of them were not old enough to drink.  They were all in blue jeans and the girls looked uncomfortable.  They guys looked uncomfortable with the prices on the menu (going straight for the cheapest red meat on the menu).  But, the capper was the cap; a ballcap to be exact, that one of the guys was wearing and did not take off throughout his entire meal.  It annoyed me.

As far as the food went, I should have probably stuck to my original plan (or ordered what my husband ordered), but the Veal special sounded so good.  It was just ok, mainly the meat was tough and it just left me wanting more.  We ended up ordering desert in an attempt to fill a void that we felt our dinner left and it didn't satisfy either. 

All in all, we ended the night talking about how we enjoyed our cheap date at Chili's much more than we enjoyed this "big night out" at a fancy restaurant.

This is a big change of corner for us because it wasn't that long ago that we were discussing how we needed to go out to places like Chili' more often in order to appreciate all the nice places we'd been going.  At one point the conversation actually came up of what are we going to do for a special event do top what we do on a regular date because of the level of the places we would likely go.

I'm learning to appreciate my kitchen.  and I've learned that just because something costs a lot doesn't mean you'll really value it to the level of the cost.

Kroger Mega Sale & Why I did a Special Order

Reader Lisa asked me to explain more about the sale at Kroger and what the deal was that I got.  Kroger does what they refer to as a "MEGA" Sale about every 3 months (at least from what I can tell since I've been paying attention).  Normally, when they do these they just offer $5 off your total for every 10 participating items that you purchase.  However, the current sale is a little different.  They are advertising it as the "Daytona Mega" sale on conjunction with the Daytona 500.

This time around instead of offering $5 off for every 10 items purchased, they are only offering $3.  However, they are also giving out a $3 coupon good off your next Kroger purchase.  Effectively, this gives you $6 for every 10 items purchased.  The coupons are printed at the time of purchase and you do get 1 coupon good for $3 off your next order, for every 10 participating items that you purchase.

When we went in on Sunday we purchased 40 participating items (all Gatorade and Campbell's Chunky soup).  The deals we were getting were:

Gatorade on sale for .99 each
Campbell's Chunky Soup on sale for $1.59
-I'm using the .50/2 Chunky soup coupons (which double at Kroger to $1/2), bringing the price down to $1.09/bowl.

-Then for every 10 items purchased we got $3 off our total). 
So with 40 items, we got $12 off our total purchase.  (bringing the effective price down to .69/bottle on the Gatorade and .79/bowl on the soup.

Then we received (4) $3 coupons good off our next purchase.

Since my husband eats this soup every day for lunch I wanted to seriously stock up.   I had a choice, I could either hit every Kroger in the area and wipe them out of soup multiple times, or I could attempt to do a special order.  I decided to do the latter and am quite happy (so far) with how that's worked out.  I rolled the $12 in coupons we received Sunday into the purchase I made today (50 bowls of soup).  So after the Manufacturer Qs, Mega Sale discount and the $12 in store Qs from Sunday, I paid about $30 for 50 bowls of soup and got back another $15 in coupons to be used on my next order.

When it's all said and done I will have purchased 114 bowls of soup for about $68 (before tax) and still walk away with $15 in store coupons to use on my next purchase.  That (IMO) is a heck of a deal!

For the record, there are hundreds of items included in this sale, but there were really only the two that we really need to stock up on at this time.

Save $3 on Glade Lasting Impressions

Click here to sign up for Right@Home and print a coupon good for $3 off a Glade Lasting Impressions holder.  If you haven't already signed up for Right@Home it's worth doing as they have done some really great offers like full size cleaning wipes (I got a box of 4 different kinds) and Ziploc bags and even a Glade scented oil candle.

Use Your Stockpile to Help the Troops!

I just got an email from Mr. Coupon over at WeUseCoupons about this great program called Operation Troop Aid.  Mr. Coupon and his wife are going to be donating a huge amount of product to this charity and they've asked other couponers to do the same.  We all have stuff in our stockpile that we will probably never use and will end up getting thrown out or donated somewhere.  This is a great excuse to clean out your stockpile and help a great charity in the process.  Mr.Coupon hass posted some great info on the charity and what they (and WUC) hope to accomplish.  Please check it out and help if you can.  You should see the post about this pop up on the front page of WUC, but just in case you don't, here's the direct link.

New Coupons on Coupons.com

There are quite a few great new coupons available on Coupons.com, check out this list....

  • $2.00 OFF 12 cans of Purina Mighty Dog
  • $3.00 OFF 1 bag ProPlan Select Cat Food
  • $3.00 OFF 1 bag ProPlan Select Dog Food
  • $1.00 OFF Purina Cat Chow
  • $1.00 OFF Beneful Snackin' Slices Dog Snacks

  • $1.50 OFF 1 Philadelphia Cooking Creme
    $1.50 OFF 1 Wanchai Ferry Frozen Entrée
    $1.00 OFF 1 Hormel Always Tender Product
    $1.00 OFF 1 Simply Orange Juice 59oz Or Any Variety
    $1.00 OFF 1 Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Dinner (5-pack)
    $1.00 OFF 1 Velveeta Product (32oz)
    $1.00 OFF 1 Weight Watchers Sweet Bakery Item
    $1.00 OFF 2 Yogi Granola Snack Crisps
    $1.00 OFF 1 Pemmican Beef Jerky or Beef Brisket
    $1.00 OFF 1 Hidden Valley Salad Kit
    $0.75 OFF 1 Nature's Own Thin Sliced Bagels
    $0.75 OFF 1 Crisco Non-Stick Cooking Spray
    $0.75 OFF 1 Vlasic Pickles, Pepper, or Relish Any Size
    $0.75 OFF 1 Miracle Whip Product (30oz)
    $0.75 OFF 1 Roman Meal Bread
    $0.75 OFF 1 Refrigerated JELL-O Pudding or Mousse 6Pk
    $0.75 OFF 1 Cinnamon Burst Cheerios cereal
    $0.50 OFF 1 Smart Balance Eggs
    $0.50 OFF 1 Fiber One Cereal Bars
    $0.50 OFF 1 Bob Evans Refrigerated Side
    $0.50 OFF 1 any variety Pillsbury Refrigerated Cookie Dough

  • $1.00 OFF 1 Glade Fabric & Air Odor Eliminator
  • $3.00 OFF 1 Glade PlugIns Scented Oil Lasting Impressions Holder
  • $0.50 OFF 3 Kleenex or 1 Bundle Pack
  • $0.35 OFF 1 Palmolive Antibacterial Dish Liquid (20 oz or larger)

New Coupons from P&G

There are some new coupons available by mail from Proctor & Gamble.  Just login/signup and request your coupons. 

Picked up My First Special Order

I picked up my first special order today from Kroger.  I think I posted that while we were there on Sunday I found the grocery manager and placed a special order for 100 bowls of Chunky soup.  He called me today to tell me that half of my order came in.  He wasn't sure why the other half didn't come in but he'd re-ordered for me already.

When I went to pick up the order it was very easy.  When I got to the store I actually saw the cart sitting by the service desk with the soup in it in cartons (of 8).  I double checked with the service desk to make sure it was for me and then I grabbed the other items I needed to pick up (some milk) and checked out.

I did run into one small glitch (and learned something big).  I forgot to hand over my Kroger card at the beginning of the transaction and ended up handing it to her at the end of the transaction.  It was kinda cool to watch the total drop so much, but the final total still seemed higher than I had expected.  After getting my receipt I looked it over and found that most of my coupons did not double like they should have.  For some reason 5 rang at $1 and the others just rang at .50 with no doubling.  I took my receipt to the customer service desk and he looked it over than went and looked at my coupons.  When he came back he told me that the issue was that I'd scanned my card at the end and for some reason it hadn't doubled the coupons.  He gave me back the $10 that I'd been over-charged with no issue.

So, now you know. Hand over that shoppers card at the beginning of your transaction if you want to make sure you get all your discounts.  And yes, I did get all 5 of my $3 Catalina coupons at the end of the transaction.