Budget Boot Camp Week 6: Coupons and Sales

by Allison @ Alli 'n Son on August 9, 2010

I’m Budget Boot Camp Challenger!

Some how, it’s week 6 in the Budget Boot Camp. We’re like, half way through people.

I of course felt like I was breezing through weeks one, two, three and four. Week five was a bit of a stretch, I’m not really an organized person, but it was a much needed task.

But this week had me stumped. And I’m exactly sure that I followed through.

The challenge was to only purchase items that were on sale and you had a coupon for it, with the exception of meats, dairy and produce. For these products, we could only buy what was on sale.

This challenge involved browsing the local grocery store ads (or in my case, finding them on line since the ones I needed were sadly missing from this week’s paper), going through those newly organized coupons, clipping more coupons and printing new ones from on line.

It was an undertaking. And when it came right down to it, I only used three coupon. One coupon for white whole wheat flour {shhhh, it wasn’t even on sale} and two coupons for Greek yogurt. But I needed both of these items. So I bought them anyway.

Please don’t tell.

I honestly didn’t see a difference in my grocery budget this week, or the overall way that I shopped. I compared all of the prices for produce, and found that Aldi still had the best prices in town. $0.89/lb for grapes? $0.99 for cantaloupe? Bananas at $0.39 a pound (not even on sale)? The other grocery stores in town, including WalMart, just couldn’t beat or match the prices.

When it comes to buying meat, we usually buy in bulk from Sam’s Club, or a couple of times a year we stock up at Aldi on things like fish, turkey tenderloin, ground turkey, things like that. So for the most part, we usually have it on hand. This week I did have to purchase ground turkey, which was $2.49 for a 1.2 lb package. That’s the normal, everyday price.

So for me, stacking sale items and coupons just didn’t work out. At least for food purchases. Or maybe I just didn’t have the right pairing of coupons to the sales available. But I am keeping my eye out for some up coming sales on hair products, deodorant, body wash and lotion. I have some mega coupons that need to be used up by the end of the month. I think that it is this type of item where I will really seem the most savings.

But the challenge wasn’t a total loss. I did learn how to look through the ads, find the best deals, and pair them with coupons. It was time consuming, I’m not going to lie. But, I think that it will pay off sometimes, especially with seasonal items on sale.

Did I learn anything, even though I didn’t 100% complete the challenge? Of course. Clair at Mummy Deals had some good pointers for planning and shopping around sales and coupons.And I figured out a few things along the way too. Here are the top 10 things I learned with this week’s challenge.

  1. Shop the sales from your local news paper, or follow a blog or two that tells you which sales go best with which coupons. I did find a new blog, specific for my local grocery stores, Pocket Your Dollars. I was thrilled about this.
  2. You need to buy according to the sales ads.
  3. Plan your meals around what is on sale.
  4. No impulse buying, no brand specifics. Unless of course they are on sale and you have a coupon for it.
  5. Shop the Loss Leaders: those low priced items on the front and back of the sales fliers. And then, do the rest of your shopping at this store, so you don’t have to store hop. The best Loss Leader store may change from week to week.
  6. Shop seasonally. Don’t buy grapes in the middle of the winter for $2.49 a pound (or more). Instead, watch the price tag and buy fruits that are more in season, and therefore have a better price tag.
  7. Learn what a reasonable about to pay per pound for a product is. Clair suggest $1.00/lb for fruit and $2.00/lb for meat.
  8. Don’t spend too much time and energy searching through ads, and then trying to find coupons to match with them. In the end, for me, it just wasn’t worth it. especially once I realized that I’m still getting a better deal at Aldi.
  9. Shop smart. Just because an item is on sale and you have a coupon for it, doesn’t mean that it’s the best deal. Don’t forget to compare the sale/coupon price to the generic price. You may be surprised to learn that the generic is still the better deal.
  10. Don’t feel like a failure just because you didn’t complete the challenge to a T. I still bargain shopped. I still learned. And I’m still having fun. :-)

Grocery Budget Update: My total grocery budget for this week will be about $70, including a new box of pull ups. This kid is still in potty training mode.

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Do you shop sales and coupons? How many grocery stores do you visit each week, just to get the best deals? What is the best deal that you have ever found? Have you ever lost sleep because you couldn’t find coupons/sales with better prices than what your normally pay?

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This post is proudly linked up with Top Ten Tuesday over at Oh Amanda.

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Muthering Heights August 9, 2010 at 10:07 pm

That sounds understandable…I still think coupons are confusing!

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2 staci August 10, 2010 at 2:19 am

That was a great list. Who needs coupons when you can buy it cheaper at aldis. Although I like the catalinas at meijer.

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3 Allison August 11, 2010 at 10:01 pm

Exactly, must easier that way. But you are right, there are just somethings that you can’t get at Aldi and only a grocery store will do.

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4 Andrea August 10, 2010 at 7:24 am

Do you know about sites like Hot Coupon World or We Use Coupons that have databases for finding coupons? If there is a coupon out there for a product, they will have it in their database. This really only helps if you are a crazy coupon collector.

I think Southern Savers blog does Aldi coupon match-ups. You can just visit her and she takes the entire sales flier and tells you what coupons are out there. If she doesn’t, and you want to see what I’m talking about, email me and I’m sure I can find another site that does for you.

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5 Allison August 11, 2010 at 10:03 pm

I didn’t know about those sites. I will totally check them out.

I don’t think that Aldi accepts coupons. But if I’m wrong, that will make me one happy lady.

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6 Elizabeth Barrett August 10, 2010 at 8:05 am

Okay, you had me at the post you shared with Scary Mommy, all the snark and sarcasm, but the ones that truly do sound housewifey? Coupons? Uh, honey? I think you need a girls night out.

Elizabeth
http://www.afacebookstory-oneclickaway.blogspot.com

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7 Allison August 11, 2010 at 10:04 pm

Yes, yes I do. See what I’m saying, I’ve totally become a homemaker. Sigh.

But check out some of my other posts. Much more snark and sarcasm. Trust me.

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8 Beth @ In Good Cents August 11, 2010 at 9:29 am

It is hard at first! After a while, when you manage stockpiling product that are on sale with a coupon, and you don’t have a list of specific things you “need”, then you can use sales and coupons to replenish your supply. That’s the trick.

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9 Allison August 11, 2010 at 10:04 pm

I’m slowly figuring that out. I love Target for stacking coupons and combining them with sales. I’m much more successful there than I am at the grocery store. Although those extra trips do eat up my budget rather quickly. :-)

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