I know you know that I have other hobbies besides dieting. For example, I love to watch TV. Plop me down with some dinner/dessert, and I’ll watch any reality show Bravo can dream up. Flipping Out, Real Housewives (all of ’em), Kathy Griffin, Thintervention, Top Chef (p.s. thought Ed should have won) – it doesn’t really matter, I’ll watch it. Ok, dieting and TV – pretty exciting. Well, take a look at this:
No, my other super exciting hobby isn’t grocery shopping- it’s saving money, and it goes so well with sitting at home watching TV because you’re on a diet and can’t afford to drink your Points, problems and $$ away. Besides all the cash I’m saving not going out (Chicago’s expensive), I save money on groceries by being a crazy coupon lady. That’s right, the kind that shows up with fist fulls of coupons, hogs the self checkout lanes and will return an entire cartful of groceries if my deals go south.
Let’s examine the merchandise above. This grocery haul included:
- 2 Lean Cuisines
- 2 Michelina’s Lean Gourmet meals
- 2 boxes 90 cal Fiber One Bars
- 2 Pillsbury Sweet Moments (O….M….G these are good)
- 9 boxes Green Giant boxed vegetables
- 3 cans Green Giant veggies
- 9 Chex Mix bags
- 1 Bisquick Shake n’ Pour
- 2 boxes Fiber One yogurt
- 1 box Yoplait Delights yogurt
- 1 box Golden Grahams Treats granola bars
That’s 34 items, and I paid $19.19 for it all. What’s even better is that this particular batch of groceries spit out a $3 off my next purchase coupon, PLUS 3 coupons for FREE 12 packs of pop up to $3/each. So, if we add that loot into the equation, the above grocery trip really only cost $7.19.
I know what you’re thinking – who the hell eats THAT much Chex Mix? And what’s up with those Pillsbury Sweet Moments, fatty? Aren’t you supposed to be on a diet? Well, yes, that is QUITE a bit of Chex Mix, but I’ve already donated 2 bags to my roommate, and plan to distribute the rest at our super classy wine and cheese Friday parties at work (b/c nothing is classier than Labatt’s Max Ice in a paper cup) and as emergency snacks to feed a crowd of 41 at my grandparent’s 65th anniversary party this weekend (congrats, Grandma & Grandpa!!). As for the Sweet Moments, lay off – I can eat 2 miniature brownies for 3 points.
So, how did I pull this off? I shopped at Jewel and read my favorite couponing blog, Mashup Mom (I’ve got a lot more, but Mashup Mom is the best). By reading Mashup Mom I found out that 1) for every 10 General Mills items purchased, a $5 discount would be activated at the register and 2) for every 3 Chex Mixes purchased a coupon for a free 12 pack of pop would print (these are called catalina coupons, and print at the register). Mashup Mom also tells you where you can print a bunch of coupons (usually Coupons.com, Smartsource, RedPlum and from manufacturer websites). Additionally, I subscribe to the Chicago Tribune on Sundays and save the coupon inserts. I had 3 $5 General Mills instant discounts triggered ($15 savings), plus I handed over $20.70 in coupons. That’s $35 in real savings alone, and Jewel claims I saved $68.28 all together.
The thing about couponing is that you have to be ready to stock up, because for any given sale, buying A LOT of items will probably be how you save the most money. It’s not for everyone, but I’ve saved a TON of money the past few years I’ve been extreme couponing. Plus, I’m able to buy things I actually eat on a regular basis. The Green Giant veggies, Fiber One bars and Fiber One yogurts are all staples when I’m watching my Points.
Couponing doesn’t stop at the grocery store. Walgreens and CVS both offer types of cash back programs that add up to lots of free stuff. Razors, toothpaste, tampons, body wash, shampoo and deodorant – all stuff that you dread putting in your cart because it adds up so quickly – you can easily get for free if you watch the sales and know how to use Walgreen’s Register Rewards and CVS’s Extra Bucks programs. For more information on Walgreens and CVS, visit I Heart Wags and I Heart CVS. Also, if you have any questions, leave me a comment and I’ll answer!