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Calling all shoppers! Would you like to see what you can do in an emergency with less than $40 at the grocery store?

Welcome to my world this week! We had some other things going on, and our budget for groceries was, frankly, nonexistent. Lucky for me, I’d already done plenty of shopping this month so I was good with that.

But I didn’t want to let an opportunity go to waste. I’m still working on my year’s supply of food after all, and my plan does not allow for just taking “time off”. So, I split my budget between my two grocery stores and I hit one today.

This week Shoppers Food Warehouse has their big doubling/tripling weekend going on. It is the ONLY time I go to SFW. I don’t particularly like SFW. I find them expensive and there’s something just a little too “Walmart” about the place. I suck it up for their special coupon week though, because that’s when I find the good deals.

So check it out. Here’s my haul!

Great stash of food, right? You ready for the numbers? Sit down, they are coming right up!

What did I buy?
4 boxes of cereal
4 bottles of Fruitsense Juice (50 cents each for a large thing of juice? Rock on!)
2 packs of Dannon Activa yogurt (free!)
2 packs of DanActive yogurt (Free, too!)
1 package of Electrasol
2 Betty Crocker potato pouches (one free, the other only 25 cents!)
2 Warm Delight microwavable treats (45 cents each)
2 Carnation Evaporated Milk
1 Betty Crocker frosting (nine cents! Woot!)
1 Mrs Dash seasoning mix
2 Quakers Rice cake Bites (FREE! Wish I had more coupons!)
4 Ken’s Salad Spritzers (75 cents each)
4 Ken’s Marinades (Woot for grilling season coming!)
4 V8 soups
2 Soups at Hand (FREE!)
1 Hormel Complete (49 cents)
2 Yakisoba Japanese Noodles (Free!)
1 Tuna salad kit thing (Free!)
1 Hormel Chili Master
15 boxes of Minute Rice Success (19 cents each!)
1 Jasmine Rice Success (Also 19 cents)
1 bottle of French’s Mustard
1 can Rotel Diced Tomatoes
3 cans Del Monte Diced Tomatoes
2 Sargento Artisan cheeses (1 dollar each)
Chicken Nuggets
3 packs of Pringles Select (Just shy of 1 dollar each)

And here’s the numbers:
Pre-coupon total: 145.73.
Post-coupon total: 39.51.
On free Visa Gift Card I have: 3.97.

My Cost: 36.54!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Not bad since I went in with a $33 budget (and some spare change) with plans to try for that dish detergent. I knew if that took me over I had the gift card. Really I COULD have used all the gift card, but I decided not to. I wanted to see how I could do.

I’m left with $30 for CVS, Walgreens, and Bloom this weekend. I plan to use my gift card for my OOP at CVS and Walgreens (though you know how often I have real out of pocket costs there – haha) so that’s about $30 at Bloom. They should be tripling so here’s hoping!

I really wish I had more coupons for some of those freebies. My kids LOVE those Quaker’s rice cakes and soup at hands!

Most of this goes straight to my food storage. I’m still working on building it up and I’ve done an amazing job over the last few months! Some of it will go into the meals for the next week and a half or so.

We eat such a mix of things through the day. I tend to make some sort of soup for lunch at one point during the week. The kids will get a kick out of the soup at hands. They are special treats for us. Maybe we’ll find ourselves on the go for those! It breaks up the humdrum of leftovers and sandwiches!

Best of all, I’m well on my way to prep for grilling season. Mmmm, four marinades? Oh yeah, the grill is gonna be working hard this spring and summer! (Though if we get a hankering, we’ll grill in snow and rain, we’ve done it before!)

I figure my savings were maybe 72% or thereabouts. Not bad, right?

I used my new coupon box. This sped me up greatly! I love it! It is working like a charm! My biggest problem was that I ended up with so many coupons the thing was overstuffed. Yikes! That came from getting my coupon bargain weeks mixed up. Cleared some coupons out though so hopefully I won’t have that sort of problem at Bloom this weekend if they finally do their triples!

In the past my shoppers trip generally came in at five hours. That store is just crazy. And they are set up a little different than I would. I found snack foods on four different aisles today. No the aisles were not next to one another. I’m not sure what their deal is, but it is NOT shopper friendly in that aspect.

By having all my categories, I was easily able to find items based on where I was. Sure I had to pull out the stack for snacks a zillion times, but that’s OK. I knew right where they were in the box!

Today came in at three hours. And that was with an extra half hour due to some annoying confusion.

Shoppers caveat to their coupon week is: Only 4 of one coupon. Ok, I understand that. People like me with 15 of one coupon can’t wipe them out. Makes sense. Here’s the thing, I had fifteen coupons for “Any Minute Rice”. There’s three different ones. This led me to the question of, “Well if I get three different ones, will that count? It’s not going to wipe them out.”

So I asked. And was promptly and cheerfully informed that my thoughts were correct. The four limit was so nothing would be wiped out. I was also informed that the manager might be willing to do a special order for me should I ever have some crazy kind of coupon count. BUT that yes, I could buy four different items four times over, thous using 16 coupons. Freeing me of the need to do multiple transactions. The employee even looked at my rice coupons and at the items on the shelf.

Yay! I grab up rice. When I got to the register, the cashier refused to do it. I explained what had been told to me. She called over someone. The lady manning the self checkout came over and backed up the cashier. I once more explained what I’d been told earlier. No dice. So they gave me back my coupons and took off 7 rices. What a pain. It’s OK, they had a huge stock and I had minions.

We took the items to the car. We then went back to the rice aisle and got seven rices. I split up the rice between the boys and myself, along with some pocket change, and the coupons. We went to the self checkout, the lady said nothing. We purchased our rice and left. It added an extra half hour arguing with staff and then having to go back through the lines.

Note to all: The self check outs are slower than molasses in January and very high on issues. Oy!

Thank goodness I’m only in Shoppers once a month.

Out of curiosity I plan to go back through my spending and see how much I’ve been spending, on average, each month. I have ballpark amounts, but no real numbers. I’d like to know for my upcoming coupon class.

Did you find any good deals? I’d love to hear about them! How do you think I did? The grocery game is definitely fun this week!

–Lady O
PS Should I post like this for Bloom this weekend (if they do coupon days)?