Not much shopping this week

I’m not as thrilled with the deals at Bi-Lo this week, there aren’t enough fuel perks bonuses or good combinations of store and manufacturer’s coupons (perfect storm!) to get excited about. At this point in the year, the house is really well stocked, and for several more weeks I will only be shopping for fresh food and cherry-picking some deals. Now that fruits and vegetables are starting to get in season, it’s much more competitive to shop the fruit stands around town too, for some fresh local produce and great deals. The closer to home the stuff was grown, the better it is probably going to taste. There’s of course a few exceptions to some items that I don’t really find locally – bananas, avocados, oranges, plantains, limes. But all the basic salad vegetables and cooking vegetables are going to be found locally at great prices for the next several months. Of course, no coupons for those, and very little opportunity to get in that 50-90% savings range, but it’s great food while it lasts. This time of year, we have salads with lunch and dinner, fresh fruit for breakfast, and fruit snacks like apples and bananas. Cooked meals are supplemented with vegetables, and I make spreads and dips from fresh herbs, avocados, fresh tomatoes, instead of buying the canned items. Its easy to stay within budget because the first several weeks of the year I stocked up so much on frozen foods, pasta and rice, pantry items, spices, cooking basics, and breakfast cereals that there’s very little to buy. For the next two or three months, I’m only going to get jazzed up for a good shopping trip if there are some Perfect Storms or overages to collect on.

Actually, I do have a couple. I’ll cover them in some detail, the first one is detailed below.

Publix has several store coupons available, check the back page of the circular this week, and hopefully you saved your coupons that were handed out in the store last week. You’ll see one jump right out at you.

Hellmann’s mayonnaise – there’s a store coupon for $2 off a fresh chicken purchase with the purchase of Hellmann’s mayonnaise, and last week there was store coupons for $2 off a jar of Hellmann’s mayonnaise. There is also a currently active manufacturer’s 50 cent coupon off a jar of Hellmann’s mayonnaise (which will double to $1), and a manufacturer’s coupon for $2 off a fresh chicken purchase with the purchase of Hellmann’s mayonnaise that was in the aisle at Bi-Lo that I told you about when it was available. Add that up, and you’ve got $3 off a jar of mayonnaise and $4 off a fresh chicken purchase. Packages of 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts run around $3, and Hellmann’s mayonnaise is around $5 a jar. That’s $7 off an $8 purchase.

This is why it is important to GRAB the coupons while they are offering them and SIT on them until you have the right moment!

I end up throwing a lot of coupons away because they expire before the right combination comes along. That’s just how it goes. Each coupon is a possibility, and when you are trying to save money, give yourself as many chances as you can.

If it was actual MONEY they were handing out for free just for walking into the store and bothering to hold your hand out, you’d do it, right? Well, this is money! Unless you have all the money you want, and have no need to worry about what groceries cost, don’t miss the chance to just make a little effort and save money.

If you had passed by those coupons in Publix last week, or never bothered to get them at Bi-Lo when they had boxes of them sitting right out for grabs because “well, this week I don’t need chicken or mayonnaise”, now you understand why you need to change your way of thinking. Have a place to keep your coupons, anything from a shoe box to a highly organized file folder system, and they’ll be there when the right time comes. But if you didn’t do it when you had the chance, you’re the one paying $8 for chicken and mayonnaise and I’m not!

And I have one more level of savings I am adding to this. Remember when Bi-Lo had the Buy One Get One Free sale on Hellmann’s mayonnaise just a few weeks ago? A few of the stores ran out of the Light mayonnaise. I asked for rainchecks (which don’t expire). So here’s what I have:

  • A raincheck for 10 jars of Hellmann’s Mayonnaise at Buy One Get One Free ($2.60) x 10 = $26
  • 10 store coupons for $2 off a jar of Hellmann’s Mayonnaise -$2 x 10 = -$20
  • 10 manufacturer’s coupons for 50 cents off which will double to $1 off -$1 x 10 = -$10
  • If you are keeping track, that means that just in mayonnaise, I have an overage of $4…
  • But it gets better – store coupon for $2 off fresh chicken -$2 x 10 = -$20
  • And 10 manufacturer’s coupons for $2 off fresh chicken -$2 x 10 = -$20
  • That gives me $44 of FREE CHICKEN with the FREE mayonnaise!

That ought to fill up the freezer nicely with at least 10 chicken meals and enough mayonnaise to last … well … a long time.

This ought to illustrate a very important tip – don’t buy things when you need them, buy them when they are at their lowest price, then you’ll have them when you need them, and spend/save your money on other things!

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