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. .
 
28-Apr
38
 
75.78
18.96
54.00
2.82
34
-96.28%
Product
qty
price
subtl
-B1G1
-Q
total
Q#
Q details
carrots, cabbage
2
1.99
3.98
 
 
3.98
 
 
lettuce, romaine
 
1.89
0.00
 
 
0.00
 
 
cucumber, tomato
2
0.75
1.50
 
 
1.50
 
 
tangerine
4
0.25
1.00
 
 
1.00
 
 
bananas
4
0.32
1.28
 
 
1.28
 
 
Dole Salad blend BOGO
8
3.49
27.92
13.96
22.00
-8.04
16
$2/1 PQ wyb 1 fruit +1 veg+0.75/1 blinkie
Bud Light, 18 pk
1
13.99
13.99
 
 
13.99
 
 
Egg beaters
3
1.67
5.01
 
3.00
2.01
3
$1/1 blinkie or peelie
yoplait yoplus light BOGO
4
2.50
10.00
5.00
4.00
1.00
4
$1/1 print or yoplait bklt
vicks nyquil dayquil, trial 
4
1.29
5.16
 
8.00
-2.84
4
$1.5/1 vicks 2-21pg
schick razors
6
0.99
5.94
 
12.00
-6.06
6
$3/1 3-21ss, $2/1 4-11ss
coupon
 
0.00
0.00
 
5.00
-5.00
1
$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?

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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