Well, I ended up waiting to go to the grocery store until tonight. So I could go ALONE. Without the two warring monkeys, AKA the children. I swear, being in a grocery store reduces my children to two-year-olds. Why? It's not THAT boring. I mean, I am buying Pringles and ice cream.
So anyway, tonight I got to go alone. Now, I don't exactly have a rockin' good time in the grocery store myself, but I do look at it as a contest of sorts. I want to see how much I can save, and if I can beat what I saved the last time. I use a refillable gift card (for Scrip...the program that gives a % of what you spend back to your church and/or school) so I have to guess before I go in there what I think the groceries will cost. 90% of the time, I'm off by about ten bucks, and that makes me nuts. I'm competitive, LOL, even with myself.
Well, today I got it right. And I had quite the list. On this week's menu is blue cheese encrusted steaks, pecan crusted salmon, the pork loin roast that is a hit on the blog, chicken supreme, and some other undetermined chicken dish. At some point we'll have a walnut and gorgonzola salad with apples, too. So I had all that, plus the regular stuff--milk, eggs, toilet paper, yada-yada. Add in the dogs, the cat and the kids calling me and clamoring for the "necessities" (meaning more ice cream, chocolate syrup and Pringles), and I had a VERY full cart. Literally not a square inch to spare.
To make my system work, I have a rule, and the kids have learned that it's a hard and fast rule. All my menus are planned by it, all my purchases are run by it. I won't by it if it's not on sale and/or I don't have a coupon (in most cases, I want it to be both). I will stock up then, too. For instance, tonight I bought four packages of Birds-Eye Steamfresh veggies, even though my freezer is full of veggies (I have a second stand-up freezer, which I think is indispensable) because they were on sale and I had coupons for all four packages. Practically got them for free--I think they worked out to fifty cents a bag.
I also maintain loyalty with one store, and that's paid off in regular coupon mailings from the store that they mail out, things like $2 off a $10 meat purchase, stuff like that. On top of that, I clip coupons from http://www.boodle.com/ (the site was down for me today, if you have trouble with the link) and http://www.smartsource.com/. And, the online edition of a paper in a nearby city has a coupon section that you can print coupons from online. Also, I go to places like http://www.boxtopsforeducation.com/ to get coupons for things like crescent rolls.
Oh, and the Taste of Home menu newsletter, which comes in your e-mail also has printable coupons. All a nice bonus :-). Yeah, the coupons are a bit of a pain, but they take me maybe an hour a week to do, and I set them up in a box (actually an old Chubs diaper wipes box) so it's easily portable. I made my own categories, so that I know where everything is, and I go through them every couple of months and take out the expired ones.
I just look at the coupons as cash, really. And it is. When my grocery bill came back tonight with $75 in coupon savings, well, hey, that was a whole lotta money in my pocket instead of the grocery store's (well, they do get the $ in the end, from the manufacturer, so I'm not worried about them :-).
Anyway, probably WAY more than you wanted to know about my trip to the grocery store, LOL. While I was there, I surreptitiously signed the copies of Miracle on Chirstmas Eve that I saw in the store. I can just imagine the folks watching the security camera going, "What the heck is that woman doing with that pen? And those stickers? Oh my gosh! Is she WRITING IN THAT BOOK?" No one's ever stopped me, but I figure one of these days...
I used to track down a manager and ask about signing the books but it got to be such a time-consuming thing that I just started signing them. No one ever says anything. Shrug. As long as the books sell...
Even without a coupon :-)