Sunday, January 8, 2012

Grocery Shopping - Victory & Defeat

I did my big grocery shop yesterday.  Victory is that it is done and all put up.  Defeat is that I spent about twice what I had planned on.  On the up side of that, I am pretty sure that looking over my list I shopped for four weeks instead of two.  I will see how long I can go before going back to the store.  Well, will have to go back for milk and bread, but not much else.  Actually, this is the first time in a really long time, that I have been sitting this well prepared on the meal front.  It feels pretty darn good.  I was also pleasantly surprised to find that when I copied my purchases in to my new spread sheet grocery money tracker that very little of the groceries were processes (or what I considered processed or pre-packaged) items.  Straight forward products for cooking meals (canned goods, baking supplies, meat, produce) and a smaller portion than I thought was for household items (paper goods, cleaning supplies) so that was good thing.

The second defeat was in trying to use coupons and store loyalty cards.  I have seen it done several times, so thought I would give it a try.  You know, on that totally unhonest, bordering illegal, show "Extreme Couponing".  Those women swipe their loyalty card which has preloaded coupons, then hand the clerk a big bale of coupons to bring the total down even further.  This was the first time I have gone online to download coupons to my loyalty card.  I did this at the Von's store.  They had the items on sale, so I thought I would get the added savings of a manufactures coupon.  NO...NOT HAPPENING.  First of all, it seems that the sale price in the circular is with the coupon (had to read the little fine print for that info) so am wondering why bother to pick the offers I want to go on the card.  I really think that this is just a bit misleading to the public.  At any rate, to boil the whole episode down in a nutshell (which included a conversation with the manager) if you have loaded coupons on to your card (which you don't have to do because just using the card gives you the discounted price) you cannot use paper coupons.  So in other words, I can't use any other coupons on items that are on sale that week.  He explained that I couldn't get double savings, the manufacturer only reimbursed the store one time, so I could use either the store card, or the printed coupons.  Also he explained that the companies were opting to go with the online loading to the card to reduce their cost of printing thousands of coupons that aren't used. (Guess he hasn't seen "Extreme Couponers" where they dumpster dive for those unused coupons) At any rate, he further explained that it works well for all, the customer gets a little savings, the store isn't out any money, and it forces, I mean urges, the customer to use their store.  I politely explained that I understand the policy, but that the cashier kept my paper coupons, so had now lost them for a future purchase.  He came back with that I still had the card savings.  To which I replied that I could use the printed coupons at other stores.

So, lesson learned.  Once again, couponing just doesn't work in real life the way it is set up for the show. No big surprise their.  And, will not be using the online card system any more.  If I can get the same savings by just running the card, why bother.  Besides, Von's is so much more expensive than the other grocery stores that I will just go back to shopping only the loss leaders there.

Now, here is the other little defeat.  I was making dinner last night, which was really good.  I cooked a whole chicken in the crockpot, then heated up left over fried okra and potatoes augratin.  Meal cost next to nothing and have just enough chicken left to repurpose in another dish, plus about 2 quarts of wonderful tasting broth. I pulled out a can of crescent rolls and started preheating my oven while I got the rolls ready on a pan.  Went to put them in the oven, it was still heating.  Thought I must be moving faster than normal so gave it a little more time.  I then opened the oven to see how warm it was, ice cold.  My oven has quit. I have all these menu plans, groceries bought just for those dishes, and no oven.  I know, I can cook with the crock pot, the microwave, a toaster oven, and of course all the burners are working.  But I use that oven a lot.  Hubby is pretty sure he can fix it today to work until we can get the part (about $70) so am keeping my fingers crossed.

Well, got to go get the crew up for church.  Thanks for stopping by and come again soon.

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