Thursday, November 15, 2007

Triple the fun

I forgot to mention that last week, inspired by all the talk about saving money on groceries, and informed by Amanda of triple-coupons at Harris Teeter, I jumped into the fray. My only goals were to use up some of the coupons that Mom is always giving me and to stock up on things we use all the time (various cream-of soups, canned vegetables, etc.); I didn't go with a month's worth of menus or anything like that.

I also bought several household items that we were going to run out of by the end of this month (laundry detergent, all-purpose cleaner, bathtub cleaner, toothpaste) because I refuse to make a separate trip to Wal-Mart for them even if it would save a few dollars. I figured I could at least buy them during triple-coupons to somewhat assuage my guilt.

Only coupons with a face value of under $1 were eligible for tripling, so I didn't even take the $1+ ones with me since I can use them anytime. Besides, there was a limit of 20 coupons tripled per trip through the register and I didn't want to waste any spots on non-tripling-eligible coupons. (Pause for air.)

Once I got to the store I decided to buy only items for which I had a coupon and that were on VIC special as well, with a few exceptions: loaf bread, pimento cheese and produce for making vegetable soup that night.

The store was a ZOO. It took easily twice as long as usual to do my thing. I bet I stood in the check-out line for 20 minutes. When it finally was my turn I asked the cashier when was the best time to avoid the crowds. She said there was no such time during triple-coupons. (I got there around 3:30 on a Thursday.)

In fact, it was so crowded that all the regular shopping carts were taken so I had to use one with a baby seat. I saw two people I knew who did double-takes, but it turned out to be a handy place to keep the coupons organized.

The Quaker Oats were out, which was really disappointing because they would have been free after the VIC savings plus the tripled coupon. That's another brand I prefer over store brands, and I make oatmeal after every cold, long morning run. And yes, I know there's some way of getting a raincheck, but I didn't feel like dealing with it by the time I checked out -- I decided to just save the coupon and use it next time Lowe's triples them.

After only a few minutes I started to feel competitive with the other shoppers and realized how easily I could get addicted to this. However, hassle is a major negative to me. I am willing to pay (a little) more if I can zip in and out of a store. So I'm going to work on figuring out a less-peak time to shop. Or maybe dealing with the crowds is as simple as drinking a beer first, a la Lib. But Harris Teeter last Thursday felt eerily like Wal-Mart.

Anyway, drumroll ... My bill before coupons was $81.78 but I saved $26.26 in coupons and VIC specials so I paid $55.52. I was happy with that but I know I could have done a lot better with planning.


Lauren Greaves said...

I struggle with trying to be thrifty and that is terrible to say. It just takes so much energy and I wish I had the patience to be a super shopper like Lib. Maybe someday?!

Libba Lemon said...

I'm so proud of you! It is a hassle, and it's not always fun, but for us it's the only piece of our budget that we have tons of control over, so I force myself to do it. With a smile.

One day when I have money to burn, I'll probably go back to ordering online from Lowe's Foods. I really loved doing that last year.

Amanda said...

congratulations!! I missed triple coupons by coming home late from the beach. So I'll see you at Lowe's triple coupons in a couple of weeks!

kloyd1953 said...

It's great that you have enough thrift-related articles to designate "Thrift" as a category.
Love, Dad

jennifer said...

Mom just told me that Thursday is Senior Citizens Day at Harris Teeter, so that probably explains a lot of the crowd.

Libba Lemon said...

What kind of discount do they get? Maybe I should drag Nana along with me when we're in Greensboro next week.

Amanda said...

Oh yeah, P.S., we did our triple coupon shopping at Harris Teeter last Saturday after Boone - we saved $57 on that trip!