Tuesday, December 13, 2011

My Part-time Job

Last night I went grocery shopping.

While that may not seem to be a Stellar Blogging Event for most people, trust me when I say it took over the categories of both Most Dreaded and Most Procrastinated in our little household.  Mostly because I have become a price-matching mama and a coupon queen.

Oh yes, you read it right.

I shop with ads and coupons and SPREADSHEETS (for goodness sake) at the local Wal-Mart.  They do the dance with me where I get the same prices in all the other ads, PLUS they honor competitor coupons.

It warms the cockles of this penny-pinching heart, it does.

So I print off my coupons from Coupons.com and all those other places you can print coupons.  I especially print coupons from Target, because not only do I get manufacturer's coupons off of items, but Target's coupons off in addition.  So if I purchase Oreos at the HyVee price of $1.99, then I have a manufacturer's coupon from Nabisco for .50 off one package and Target gives me one of their coupons for .25 off, I can get a slam-bang bargain price.

Of course, these are totally healthy, organic, good for you, nutritionally sound, flour-salt-lard type products that we all know are part of the food pyramid and necessary to the basics of sound eating.

Or not.

I think the reason I dread this trip so much is that it takes a sweet FOREVER to do it.  I can't take anyone with me, because they do nothing but gripe about how long it takes and when are we going home and MY FEET HURT WILL YOU PLEASE CARRY ME? 

And that's just Hubster.

By the time I get finished it's usually two to three hours after I walk in the door, and I've crammed everything I can possibly cram into, on, around or through the shopping cart I push.  It's piled high as I head toward the cash register, and I have to stop regularly to pick things up that have fallen to the floor.  I make the most of creative loading.

Of course, the checkers all act busy as I approach, hoping against hope I won't get in THEIR line.  Usually I apologize to the person unlucky enough to score my basket, and we begin.

I hand them my coupons, the spreadsheet and the ads.  Without fail, this is how it goes...

"How would you like to do this?  I can read off the spreadsheet to you and you can look up the ads, or..."

"You know, I can tell you're an experienced shopper, so I'll just take your word from the spreadsheet.  I don't need to see the ads."

And off we go.

I don't know how much I would have spent without price matches, but with them the total was $420.00.  After coupons it went down to $370.00.  I was happy with that.  I only shop once every four to six weeks for a family of four, other than essentials like bread and milk.  With price matching and coupons I figure I probably saved around $125.00 total off of our food bill.

I think I'm about average for the REAL couponer.  If you look at the Extreme Couponing shows you'll see people who buy 110 lipsticks or 47 cases of sports drinks.  I don't do that.  I buy what we use, and we use what I buy.  I just take advantage of what I can with the sales and coupons. 

But I will say this...it's WORK.  I think that's one of the reasons I dread it so much!  At heart I'm lazy and disorganized, and this takes a lot of time and organization.

Is it worth it?  For now, yes.  Later, after the kids leave, maybe not so much.  We'll see.

Until then, I'll be the one shoving the cart with all the items falling to the floor in your local Wal-Mart.

Run away.

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