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Thursday, December 2, 2010

thursday shopping 12-02-10 (& shopping link-up)

I couldn't resist popping into Walgreens yesterday to take advantage of the Friends & Family 15% discount.  Unfortunately I had to take both girls with me, which was, to put it mildly, an unmitigated disaster.  Princess, who insisted on wearing her "sparkly princess" shoes (although I told her not to), slipped and fell on the shiny floor.

Normally she probably would've just laughed it off, but because it was late afternoon and she was tired and hungry and not at all in the mood for a trip to the drugstore, she decided to cause a hugely melodramatic scene, crying hysterically while artfully collapsing several times, insisting she was far too injured to walk, and forcing me to carry (all 38 pounds) of her around the store, all while I pushed Trouble (who by this point was also screaming hysterically, not to mention standing up and dangling precariously over the front) in the grocery cart.

If you took advantage of the special discount yesterday, you may have noticed that the coupon specifically required checkout at either the photo counter or the cosmetics counter, requiring me to abandon my "regular" friendly cashier, Maggie, and venture into uncharted territory, to a new (to me) cashier who loudly declared to the customer in front of me that she hates coupons and thinks they should be outlawed.

Oh boy.

I shouldn't really complain, because when it was my turn to check out she was perfectly nice, despite her obvious disapproval.  She may have just been taking pity on me, though, on account of the two screaming children, one of whom was desperately trying to get out of my grasp, and one who was clutching on for dear life.  I nicely said something like, "I know it is a lot more work, but I do save a lot of money this way," to which she snapped, "coupons don't save people any money, you just end up buying things you don't need."

I knew I was beaten.

But at least I made out with a great haul.  Here is what I got:

At Walgreens I spent $5.67 for $74.16 worth of drugstore merchandise, a savings of 92%, which means I pretty much paid nothing but the sales tax.  And yet my coupon-hating cashier was not even a little bit impressed.  Sheesh.  I guess if this didn't sway her, nothing will.

Transaction 1
Bought: (1) Salonpas Patch, (4) 3M Command Hooks, (4) Scotch Tape, (2) $0.29 candy fillers
Coupons Used:
(1) 15% off entire purchase Walgreens Friends & Family coupon (printable on Walgreens.com, valid 12/1 only)
(4) $1.50 off 3M Command Hooks (Publix Winter Family Savings booklet)
(4) $1 off Scotch Tape (Publix Winter Family Savings booklet)
(1) Buy 1, Get 1 Free Scotch Tape (Walgreens in-ad coupon, automatically doubles)
$2 RRs from last week
Total OOP: $2.68
Got Back: $6 RRs

Transaction 2
Bought: (4) bags M&Ms, (2) Scotch tape, (2) 3M Command Hooks
Coupons Used:

(1) 15% off entire purchase Walgreens Friends & Family coupon (printable on Walgreens.com, valid 12/1 only)

(2) $1 off 2 Holiday M&Ms (Red Plum insert, 11/14)
(2) $1 off Scotch Tape (Publix Winter Family Savings booklet)
(2) $1.50 off 3M Command Hooks (Publix Winter Family Savings booklet)
(1) Buy 1, Get 1 Free Scotch Tape (Walgreens in-ad coupon)
$6 RR from Transaction 1
Total OOP: $2.10
Got back: $5 RRs

Transaction 3:

Bought: (1) Salonpas Patch, (1) $0.29 candy filler
Coupons Used:
(1) 15% off entire purchase Walgreens Friends & Family coupon (printable on Walgreens.com, valid 12/1 only)
$5 RR from Transaction 2
Total OOP: $0.36
Got Back: $6 RRs

Transaction 4:
Bought: (1) Pampers Diapers, (1) $0.29 candy
Coupons Used:

(1) 15% off entire purchase Walgreens Friends & Family coupon (printable on Walgreens.com, valid 12/1 only)

(1) $1 off Pampers (Proctor & Gamble insert, 11/30)
$6 RR from Transaction 3
Total OOP: $0.53
Got Back: $1 RRs

At Publix I spent $12.91 for $68.60 worth of groceries, a savings of 81%.  This trip was thankfully much less stressful.  I have been fighting a cold for the past week and a half, and today it moved into my sinuses, so I was really not up for another big coupon fiasco.  I forgot my free avocado coupon (again!), which bugged me, and I also forgot to grab my Eggo coupon from the printer, which cost me an extra dollar.

Coupons Used:
(8) $3 off Sundown vitamins, 120 count or more (Publix green advantage flyer)
(4) $3 off 2 Sundown Natural Vitamins (printable here)
(1) $1 off 2 Nestle Toll House chips (printable here)
(2) $1 off Farm Rich snack product (All the Trimmings Publix booklet)
(1) $1 off Stouffer's family-sized meal (printable here)

After grocery shopping this afternoon, I decided postpone posting my shopping adventure in order to treat the girls to an afternoon of playing at the mall followed by dinner & playtime at Chick-Fil-A.   The Christmas cow was a big hit, at was the ice-cream cone for the ride home.  Trouble has never been so content.  You know, it's really just the little things that matter.

Altogether, today I spent $18.58 for $142.76 worth of groceries and drugstore merchandise, a total savings of 87% for the day.  Combined with my totals from Sunday, this week I spent a total of $43.54 for $309.37 worth of groceries and drugstore merchandise, an average savings of 86% for the week.

Now if I could just shake this cold....

So now it's your turn.   Link up your shopping results below (leave a comment after linking up) or simply leave a comment below.  Did you find any great deals or have some frustrations?  Interesting stories? Questions?  It is always helpful to learn from others' experiences!

And finally, if you are popping in from Southern Savers or I Heart Publix and are new to my blog, welcome!  Please feel free to stay a while and check out the rest of my blog.  Besides shopping results and coupon advice, there is always something fun going on.  Right now we are celebrating 30 Days of Holiday Cheer.  Here is a list of all my current giveaways:

Choice of "Pennies from Heaven" Necklace from Wired Whimsey (ends 12/4)
Click here to enter.

Choice of Stampin' Up product package or assortment of 12 Handmade Greeting Cards (ends 12/6)
Click here to enter.

Source Toothbrush & Cranberry Silk Floss from Radius Toothbrush (ends 12/8)
Click here to enter.  (low entry!)

Scrabble Tile Pendant from TKI Designs (ends 12/10)
Click here to enter. (low entry!)

4 Handmade Cards from Kimono Cards (ends 12/12)
Click here to enter. (low entry!)

Retro Christmas Apron from Nissa Lynn Designs
Click here to enter (ends 12/14)

Handmade Designer Makeup Clutch from Punk Rock Momma
Click here to enter (ends 12/16)

Did you vote today? click here!


  1. You did wonderful job saving even throughout everything! And what cuties!!!

  2. I linked up! And did pretty good at CVS this week getting actual things I really needed!

  3. I love reading about your trips to the store with your kids! It is very inspirational to me because my children are the same way! I had a terrible shopping trip experience to the drug stores on Thanksgiving with my kids, and at one point I wanted to throw in the towel. But I didn't and in the end I saved a lot of money!!!

  4. She is wrong! I love coupons and manage to feed a big family using them.

    Do you think your daughter will sue Walgreens for the slipper floor? :)

    I hope you have a great weekend!

  5. I love reading your posts too and laugh at your stories about your girls - because I know what that's like!! You are a trooper - keep on keepin' on. ;) GREAT deals today btw!

  6. Oh wow, you got some incredible deals!! I can't believe the cashier wasn't impressed. And what's the deal with the christmas cow? lol!

  7. Ruth--I went to Walgreens tonight specifically to buy Command hooks and tape, which I also purchased few days ago without any problem. Since then, I picked up a few more Winter Family Savings booklets and decided to make another trip to Walgreens. When I went to check out, the cashier was adament about not taking the "Publix" coupons. Flustered, I didn't know how to respond and ended up making errors in the purchasing of other items. What would you have done?

  8. When I was new to using coupons, I probably would've done exactly the same thing--gotten flustered and ended up spending more than I intended. Sometimes confidence just comes with time.

    If I were faced with that situation today, I would probably just very nicely say, "I know they have say Publix on them and you are just trying to do your job, but if you look here you will see they are actually manufacturer's coupons, and if you read the fine print, it doesn't specify a retailer." When that failed, I would then very nicely ask to speak to the manager, perhaps also explaining that you used the same exact coupons without issue just a few days before. If the manager refused to honor them, I would at that point leave the store and either a.) go to a different Walgreens nearby, b.) call Walgreens customer service (1-800-Walgreens) on my cell phone (I have done that once before and it was very effective!), or c.) give up.

    I'm sorry you had a bad experience. Don't let it get you down--sometimes that just happens, even when you are doing everything right.

  9. Oh, and Katie-the cow is the Chick-Fil-A mascot! (their slogan is "Eat More Chicken" because they're cows. Get it?) :-)

  10. I went to two different Publix and the attitudes were so different. I only bought 16 items and the first one (8 of each different item) and the girl asked if I was going to eat all of it (I guess she thought I should be donating my pototoes and beans). Um no. Those are basic staples in my diet and I go through quite a bit of both. Whereas the guys at the second Publix were totally nice and had a great conversation with me about coupons and such.

  11. Thanks, Ruth. I did call the 800 number today just to see what "corporate" would say and the woman on the phone was less than helpful or knowledgeable. She actually said she was no expert on couponing and yet insisted the manufacturer's coupons wouldn't work if they are Publix coupons, which she insisted they were just because they say "Reddem at Publix" on them. Then she said store managers have the final say anyway, so she would get the store manager on the line and I said oh, there's no corporate policy, it's just whatever the managers decide? Then I said that if I wanted to speak with the store manager, I would have called the store.

    This conversation was partly my fault, as I assumed the person I apoke with would clearly agree that the coupons should be valid and that's not at all what happened. I should have read the fine print first. I did finally and it is clear, looking at the booklet, which coupons are Publix coupons and which are manufacturers' coupons. The cashier actually said to me that they couldn't be reimbursed on any of those coupons. (I do have to say she was very pleasant after that, as I made some mistakes and she was extremely patient and helpful, even getting her assistant manager to void a transaction where I accidentally used a RR for the same item and didn't get one back.)

    I didn't have time to go to a store today or I would have considered going to speak with a manager, just to clear up what should have happened before I spend time clipping and going to that particular location again. Regardless, I am happy to be better aware of what to look for and how to respond when coupons are questioned and I very much appreciate your advice.

    Sorry I'm long winded. I'm really trying to say that despite this happening, I am over the bad experience part of it and I truly appreciate your advice, knowledge, and willingness to share both.

    Also, I have to say that at Publix, everyone has always been nothing but nice and usually complimentary when savings are large. I have gotten to the point where I place my coupons on the belt with the items they are for and it seems to work very easily and quickly.

    Thanks again, Ruth, for the advice and this great blog.


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