My Month in Review

Well, last night I went to Publix to try to find some of that Yoplait Light yogurt, but it seems none of the stores carry the light version, either that or its always sold out. I'll have to get some rain checks for it tonight when I make my final trip for the month. So far I've spent $140, but that includes $145 in Publix Gift cards, so all my groceries (over $1000 worth) have been free. I've brought bags of cleaning products to work to reward those who give me their inserts, plus to spread the stockpile with those in my hallway at the office. People are always bringing in cookies or cakes or stuff they bake, but me - I bring in Shout and Scrubbing Bubbles.
This past weekend I found a tear pad coupon for $2/1 Dole Salads that are BOGO this week, plus yesterday I found the $0.75/1 blinkies. Together these make the salad mixes a $1 moneymaker each bag. So I'm going back to get our salad supplies a day early to take advantage of that deal. Plus we are planning our NASCAR racing trip and $50 of the gift cards are for my neighbor who will watch our house and dog while we're gone. Part of the planning is of course to bring enough beer for a couple days of drinking and racing. Since we're driving we can bring all we want of water, soda and beer. My latest frugal strategy has been to use beer as the filler for my overages, since we have enough gift cards for a while. I hate to buy beer at the grocery store since its really puts a wrench in the cost. We have a kegerator for our beer at home, and get a fresh barrel every 3 or 4 weeks, which is much cheaper and more "green".
Anyway, the keg popped last Friday so we had to use our reserve beer cans for most of the evening and now we need to replace that for our trip. Here's my plan for shopping tonight. We'll use a gift card to cover the $2.82 so it will be another free trip. .
Q details
carrots, cabbage
lettuce, romaine
cucumber, tomato
Dole Salad blend BOGO
$2/1 PQ wyb 1 fruit +1 veg+0.75/1 blinkie
Bud Light, 18 pk
Egg beaters
$1/1 blinkie or peelie
yoplait yoplus light BOGO
$1/1 print or yoplait bklt
vicks nyquil dayquil, trial 
$1.5/1 vicks 2-21pg
schick razors
$3/1 3-21ss, $2/1 4-11ss
$5/$20 competitor
All in all its been a great couponing/shopping month even though I had that meltdown around tax day (when I forgot to use my $21 worth of overage coupons), I think I've reached a new level. But I realize this can't continue forever. For one thing, I don't have many more coupons for overage filler items, and my competitor coupons are limited too. So, here's hoping Publix sends out some $5 off $50 coupons in the mail or something.
How was your month of shopping?

Submit Your Blog to Search

If you're a blogger, you want to get your wonderful work out to as many people as possible. Here's a simple way to ensure that your blog will be included in the bot crawl of the major search engines. Just click on the links and add your blogs URL address.

Publix Sneak Peek

Kelly over at True Couponing blog has the Publix Sneak Peek for 4/29 - 5/5 posted early. Hop on over there to see the BOGO deals for the week. 

When Coupons Get Others Mad

I've been thinking

One of the things that bugs me the most about being a couponer is that people (and by people I mean, cashiers, managers, other customers) think I am getting away with something, ripping off the store, cheating the system, some even say I am stealing. And it makes me furious.

This attitude comes from a lack of knowledge about how coupons work. If you're here reading my blog, you probably know how coupons work. Here's a quick reminder for all of us...

Manufacturer's coupons: When the stores submit these to the clearinghouse, they are reimbursed FULL FACE VALUE plus $.08 per coupon. So the store makes MORE money by accepting your coupon than by the average shopper handing over cash/credit.

*If a coupon is difficult to read/scan at the fault of the manufacturer/design, the store can charge the manufacturer even more for the handling of these q's.

*Most Clearinghouses are huge conveyor belts that scan coupons to tally the reimbursement value, so that cashier that agrees to "give it to you for free, shouldn't that be enough?" by marking your $1 coupon down to $.75? Just made $.25 for the store. That huge scanner doesn't pay a single inkling to that little $.75 the cashier wrote on your coupon.

*Stores even get reimbursed postage for the cost of shipping the coupons to the clearinghouse.

Doubling/Tripling coupons: A gimmick to get you in the door. The store eats the cost of doubles/triples. They consider it worthwhile if it causes you to shop there rather than at... Wal-Mart.

Competitor Coupons: This is truly a loss for a store. There is no reimbursement value for competitor coupons. Like doubling/tripling, accepting competitor coupons is a gimmick to get you in the doors to buy all your other items at their store rather than the competitor. Stores that accept competitor coupons are using a brilliant marketing strategy. They are counting on you wanting to buy all your items in one place, and hoping that if you have a competitor's coupon that you can use at their store, you'll stick around for the other things as well.

Store Coupons: Store coupons are a little tricky to define. Let's take Publix as an example. Regular Publix shoppers will notice that those Advantage Buy Flyers have coupons and sales that rotate on a regular basis. One that appears often is the $6/2 Sundown Vitamins coupon. The CEO of Publix may be a nice guy, but he's not browsing the local store looking for things to give away. I promise. :) What happens is, some head honcho at Sundown gets together with some head honcho at Publix and they strike a deal. The value could be based on number of coupons redeemed, or number of stores that run the sale. Specifically for Publix, the most recent numbers show that Publix is getting reimbursed approximately 75-80% of the Store coupons' face value. So don't let anyone say to you "Publix doesn't get reimbursed for these" "We can't give it to you for free" "We can't pay you to take it". Because that shows lack of knowledge of how these q's work.

BOGO deals (Publix): You may not be aware of this, but like the store coupons, sales like the Mega sales at Kroger and BOGO sales at Publix are also marketing ploys that are reimbursed by the manufacturer! If Publix is selling Scrubbing Bubbles BOGO at $3.99/ea, that means, you, the consumer, will pay half price for the item, or $2.00. At the end of the sale, Publix tells Johnson and Johnson, hey, we sold 100 bottles of Scrubbing Bubbles, costing us $199, now pony up. And Johnson and Johnson PAYS Publix for running the special and promoting the product. It is another form of advertising. Most recent numbers show that BOGO sales at Publix are reimbursed at approximately 70-80%.

ETA: It occurred to me I failed to mention rainchecks. Rainchecks are another loss for a store. The store is reimbursed the difference of the sale to the store, but if a raincheck is issued, the store is the one to eat the cost when you do use the raincheck. The manufacturer will cover the "deal" for the week the item is on sale, but the store is responsible for keeping the items in stock. If a store has to issue a raincheck, then the amount of discount given is lost since it is beyond the sale week. This is a reason you will have limits enforced on rainchecks.

It makes me crazy that people have this mindset that people who use coupons are abusing the system. I hate that. As long as you are an honest couponer, using legit coupons and following the store rules, then you are doing no such thing. Abuse comes from illegal photocopies, stacking two manufacturer coupons on one item, and so forth. That is true abuse of the system. Most of us? We are just honest people looking for a good deal.

And in the end? The store wins. The store wins BIG by catering to couponers. Let me show you what I mean. . .

When I shop at Publix, I use the trick of buying multiple moneymakers to build up overage to afford the items I need. This helps reduce my out of pocket expense. Do I need 10 bottles of Aleve? 8 Rolls of J&J gauze? 10 boxes of Phazyme? Not right at the moment, and I certainly wouldn't walk into Publix and pay for all of that with cash. So Publix makes a higher profit by selling to me than the average person who runs in for a few things.

My most recent shopping trip:
For Items I use regularly that I stockpiled or needed (eggs, Morningstar, fruit, etc)

Total Cost: $125.61
Total store coupons: $5
Total Mq's: $64.15 (Quantity of mq's presented: 51: $4.08 handling fees)
Total doubles: $4.50
Total BOGO: $60.49

For Moneymakers:
Total cost: $108.96
Total store coupons: $103
Total Mq's: $82

(Quantity of mq's presented: 41: $3.28 handling fees)
For this scenario, we'll go with an 80% return on BOGOs and store q's.

So, for this trip, after reimbursement, the store will have received approximately $288.50, losing $38.20 in store coupons, doubles and BOGOs.

BUT If I wasn't a couponer, and only bought the items I needed/wanted, and we're assuming I am still stockpiling... The store would have made $120.62, losing $17.60 in store coupons, BOGOs and doubles.

When I shopped, I cost them $20.60, but I brought in an additional $167.88.

Now. Which stores was it that wanted to turn away the couponers????

This is a post written by another great blogger and posted with permission. I couldn't do it justice to paraphase, plus its her content, so just visit her blog I Prefer Publix to see all the comments if you want. Originally posted Sunday, January 24, 2010

My Publix Plan

Here's my plan for this week, getting another gift card with those great scrubbing bubble coupons. So already this month, I've spent $133 but $100 of it has been gift cards, so really only $33 for product. I have 65 coupons so I hope they have aborted the 50 count rule (I've heard they have), otherwise I'll need manager override. I'm going to definitely have to warn the people behind me at the check out that I have a bunch of coupons so it'll be a while. Don't worry about my OCD, I'll be giving a bunch of the cleaning products away!
22-Apr 65   148.20 30.92 106.59 10.69 65 -92.79%
Product qty price subtl -B1G1 -Q total Q# Q details
carrots, cabbage   1.99 0.00     0.00    
lettuce, romaine 1 1.89 1.89     1.89    
cucumber, tomato 2 0.75 1.50     1.50    
onions 1 0.50 0.50     0.50    
bananas 1 0.32 0.32     0.32    
mushrooms, sliced 1 1.69 1.69     1.69    
water 2.5 gal 1 1.99 1.99     1.99    
Dole Salad blend BOGO 2 3.59 7.18 3.59 3.10 0.49 4 $1/1 PQ+0.55/1 blinkie
yoplait yoplus light BOGO 2 2.50 5.00 2.50 2.00 0.50 2 $1/1 print
windex glass cleaner BOGO 2 3.39 6.78 3.39 3.00 0.39 3 $1/1 4-11ss+$1/2 PQ
Egg beaters 4 1.67 6.68   4.00 2.68 4 $1/1 blinkie
Cascade Farm granola bar 3 1.99 5.97   5.00 0.97 4 $1/1 print+$2/3 PQ
Scotties tissue 60ct 6 0.99 5.94   8.00 -2.06 8 $1/1 print+$1/3 PQ
All detergent 50 oz 6 2.99 17.94   12.00 5.94 6 $2/1 2-7RP
Publix giftcard 1 20.00 20.00   20.00 0.00 4 Get $5 Target GC w 3 scrub
scurb bubl bath clnr BOGO 12 2.99 35.88 17.94 19.50 -1.56 16 $2/2 PQ+0.75/13-28ss
peanuts in shell, roasted 1 3.29 3.29     3.29    
Dt Mt Dew 2 liter BOGO 4 1.75 7.00 3.50   3.50    
garlic clove 1 0.09 0.09     0.09    
texas toast croutons 2 1.39 2.78   1.00 1.78 2 $0.50/1
thai kitchen (sesame oil curry) 1 2.99 2.99   1.00 1.99 1 $1/1
reusable shopping bag 1 0.99 0.99   0.99 0.00 1 free bag wyb GE CFL bulb pk
GE energy smart bulb 2pk 1 1.99 1.99   2.00 -0.01 1 $1/1 PQ+$1/1 4-18ss+free bag
vicks nyquil dayquil, trial  1 1.29 1.29   2.00 -0.71 1 $1.5/1 vicks 2-21pg 1-17pg
aleve, 6 caplets or 2pk 4 1.09 4.36   8.00 -3.64 4 $2/1 PQ GAB
schick razors 2 0.99 1.98   6.00 -4.02 1 $3/1 3-21ss, $2/1 4-11ss
Zantac 2 1.09 2.18   4.00 -1.82 2 $2/1 1-31ss
coupon   0.00 0.00   5.00 -5.00 1 $5/$20 competitor

Earth Day Events & Freebies 2010

Celebrate Earth Day today by conserving resources. I rode my bike to work today to cut back on emissions. I'll use my re-usable shopping bags at Publix when I shop tonight. I'll maybe hang dry my laundry instead of using the dryer. Skip the plastic and paper, use real plates and utensils. Here are some ways to help celebrate the day-
Tampa Bay Earth Day events - rescheduled for 04/25/2010 at Lowry Park Zoo, see more info HERE.
Busch Gardens Tampa - As part of the Earth Day celebrations in 2010, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay are hosting a Jack Hanna Weekend. On April 24 and 25 there is an opportunity to have Breakfast with Jack Hanna at the Crown Colony restaurant starting at 8:30 am. Prices start from $17 (plus tax) for adults and $11 for children. If you like the idea of a sleepover then on April 24, there is a Jack Hanna Family Sleepover. The evening starts with behind the scenes activities, overnight accommodation at an on-site venue and continental breakfast the following morning. Prices are $78 )plus tax) per person or $68 (plus tax) for Passport members. Lastly on April 23 and 24 there is a Jack Hanna Serengeti Night Safari. The evening starts with tasty treats in the Safari Club followed by a night-time tour of the Serengeti Plain where with the help of night vision monoculars you can watch hippos, lions and hyenas and concludes with a talk by Jack Hanna around the bonfire. Prices are $60 (plus tax) per person (children must be 5 years or older).
City of Tampa - Mayor Pam Iorio will be joined by business and community leaders and Captain Green Eye to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day on Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 11:30 a.m. The event will be held in Lykes Gaslight Square Park, located at 410 North Franklin Street in downtown Tampa. The celebration is free and open to the public.

Target – Mail in 5 plastic bags to "Terracycle, 121 New York Avenue, Trenton, NJ 08638″ and get $1 back to spend on a reusable shopping bag.
Disney Store – Bring in SIX empty plastic bottles or soda cans to the Disney Store on Thursday, 4/22 and get a Free Friends for Change and Disney Store youth sized baseball cap (made out of 100% recycled materials). Limit 1 per guest, while supplies last!
Hanes – Buy 3 Hanes products and you can mail in a rebate for a Free Earth Day T-Shirt. Plus, the Arbor Day Foundation will plant a tree, up to 20,000, on Hanes behalf. Offer good from April 1, 2010 – May 15, 2010.
Earthbound Farm – Take the Kitchen Quiz (click "come into the kitchen" then "take the kitchen quiz") and you could win a Free Reusable Shopping Bag if you get all the answers correct (they will let you fix wrong answers).  The next chance to win a tote is tomorrow, Thursday (4/22) at 12 pm CST.
Babies R Us – Get a Free Reusable Tote Bag with printable coupon through 4/22, plus 25% off all clothes and shoes you can fit in the bag.
Kellogg's - Free Reusable Bag with 2 UPCs from Kellogg's Cereal and $1.75 shipping & handling.
Evos: The Tampa-based healthy fast food chain is giving away their free organic milkshakes served in their new biodegradable cups on April 22 at all locations. See website for locations.

World of Beer: Offering half off all organic beers on Earth Day. See website for locations.

Publix: Print this coupon and get $1 off the purchase of energy saving lightbulbs and receive a free reusable bag. Offer valid until 4/30.

Renaissance Vinoy Resort & Golf Club in St. Petersburg: During the month of April, guests staying at the Vinoy will receive free self parking for hybrid vehicles and complimentary bike rentals to explore the city's 50 miles of bicycle trails. Unwind at their in-house spa which offers organic treatments, and dine at the renowned Marchand's Bar & Grill, serving up free-range chicken, all-natural lamb and sustainable seafood selections.

Walgreens: Walgreens is offering $1 inkjet refills on April 22 as well as launching a new recycling program for cell phones and printer cartridges at all store locations. Starting on Earth Day, April 22, customers can drop off old printer cartridges and cell phones at any Walgreens photo counter.

CVS: Purchase a "Green Bag Tag" at any CVS, attach it to a reusable bag and receive $1 off your purchase for every four trips when you decline using plastic bags. CVS will give 5 cents to World Wildlife Fund for every GreenBagTag sold.

Whole Foods Market: This promotion isn't so much a deal for us but it's a way to kill two birds with one stone by shopping and giving a charitable donation to a local organization. Whole Foods Market Tampa is donating 5% of all of their profits on Earth Day to Sweetwater Organic Community Farm — a local CSA that provides sustainable, organic food and educational programs for the public. 9 am-9 pm. 1548 North Dale Mabry Hwy., Tampa.

National Parks: It just so happens that National Parks week coincides with Earth Week, so they're celebrating by offering free admission to all 392 U.S. national parks from April 17 to April 25.

Travelocity: Travelocity if offering up to 40% off eco-friendly hotels across the globe during Earth Week, highlighting their top 40 green hotel deals, as well as offering discounts on participating hotels in their Green Hotel Directory.

Travelzoo: Get great discounts on LEED® certified hotels across the U.S.

Burt's Bees: Get a free Head to Toe Starter Kit with every $50 online purchase. Orders must be placed before 11 p.m. on April 30.

Earthbound Organic Farm: Get a $1 off coupon for any Earthbound Farm product by answering all 12 questions correctly in their online quiz. (Hint: They give you a cheat sheet you can study first.)

Environmental Booty: With every purchase during Earth Week of an Envitote reusable shopping bag, you'll receive a free EnviPal, a lead-free insulated lunch pack.

iTunes: Download the first episode of the BBC Planet Earth series "Pole to Pole" for free on iTunes from April 12 to April 26.