Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Slim Pickings

I have a theory that due to this never ending recession more and more people are turning to coupon use as a way to save money on their grocery bill. The manufacturers and marketing people are onto us. They know we look for BOGO(Buy one get one free) sales, and match two coupons with our purchase to get the items for a third of the original price or less. There have been less and less usable coupons each week in the Sunday newspaper. I've looked online for coupons as well and haven't found one worth printing for months. With the shorter expiration dates they usually expire before a good sale comes along.

I don't put all my time into chasing sales but I am determined to pay the least amount possible for those items we use in our home every week. If eggs are $2.00 in one store but $1.00 in another, I will pick them up for $1.00 when I go past that store unless it is out of my way. I will stock my pantry with non-perishable items that I use when they go on sale. The money I don't spend on household and grocery items at full price can go towards car repairs when needed, or savings, or debt reduction.

I really like a certain brand of stain remover for my laundry. It sells for $2.99 a bottle. I ran out but I knew it goes on a BOGO sale regularly. Sure enough the following week it went BOGO. I also had two store coupons for $1.00 off and one manufacturers coupon for 50 cents off. It would have cost $11.96 for four bottles. The BOGO sale saved me $5.98. I also had $2.50 in coupons. My final price was $3.48 for all four. That's only .87 cents per bottle. That was worth it.

On another note, I gave away all my large cooking pots, thinking I wouldn't need them in my empty nest. My largest pot was three quarts and that was fine for the two of us. On one of my previous trips I stopped by the Le Creuset outlet store in South Carolina and bought one pot to try. It is now my favorite piece of cookware. I've made the best soups and bean dishes ever in my little green pot. I just received a postcard from them advertising my green color on sale for 30% off. I just had to go, I love that store.

My daughter and grandbaby went to visit youngest daughter and my husband and I went to Orlando to find the Le Creuset outlet store. I love the one in South Carolina. It's in a quiet stand alone store with big trees all around and a gas station nearby so I can browse while my husband gases up. The Orlando store is located in the Orlando Premium Outlets on International Drive. It is a bustling metropolis of it's own. There are places for currency exchange everywhere, buses and trolleys, and a train ride and games for children. It took forever to find the store I wanted.

There were people rushing about everywhere with massive amounts of shopping bags from all the upscale boutique outlet stores. Some were dressed in the latest fashions and others were dressed in workout shorts, tennis shoes, and fanny packs ready for a full day of it. I noticed one major thing. We were the minority. I heard lots of voices, and heard many snippets of conversations but very very few were in English. I can't imagine shopping on holiday. I hate shopping. There were large groups of people from France and Brazil and Japan but very few from America. Is this a sign of our continuing recession or just a coincidence?

I returned home with a five quart oval pot in blue. It had a bigger discount than the green and my husband liked it. When my daughter saw the receipt she gasped. I said, "Hey, we're older and we can afford to splurge occasionally on items we really like and these pots will last forever. We'll probably pass them on to the grandbaby one day."


  1. I've noticed there are less good manufacturer's coupons too. I try to stack printable and manufacturer's coupons with a sale when possible too. Grocery prices are rising and every little savings helps.

  2. My experience with coupons is that they want me to use products I would never buy for any reason but I save every one from the Sunday paper for someone who uses them like nobody's business.

    I'm no shopper but your trip to the cookware store makes me want to shop with you. I could never work in a housewares store, for I'd never carry home a paycheck. I would have great goods, though!

    I love when you pop up with a new post. Your routine must really be different now that you have a house FULL. God bless you all.. Those kids picked out TERRIFIC parents.

    Mother Connie

  3. When the travelers compare the value of the dollar to their currency, they often can buy cheaper in the US than their own country. So, they bargain shop while here.

  4. Jan, if they phased out coupons and just lowered prices I'd be fine with that.

    Connie, you're right. I do still work a lot and when I get home there is a baby to play with and cook for. You should see him popping blueberries into his mouth with his chubby little fingers. :)

    Practical parsimony, I just don't enjoy shopping and have never had the time and money for proper travel. The two don't mix in my opinion. However, there are many other people who really enjoy shopping so I can understand their bargain hunting.

  5. I don't particularly enjoy shopping unless I'm in the mood for it. I especially dislike shopping for clothes, probably because if I find something I really like that fits properly, it costs more than I want to/can spend.
    I'm glad you got such a great deal on cookware. I'm just now starting to realize that high-quality cookware makes cooking faster and easier. I'm all for that!

  6. I have noticed the same thing about coupons...and recently have only clipped the ones for coffee, but I am in the market for a good saucepan...

  7. I have that same Le Creuset--it's my favorite pot. I've had it for about 15 years and it's perfect for gumbo.

    I can't handle coupons! Do you have a Big Lots? That's where I tend to score my best food deals. (And they don't take coupons--so no guilt)

  8. I'm not big on coupons because the staple items we tend to buy the most of tend not to ever have a coupon. BOGO, yes, but not coupons. Like you, I look at who has what where for what price and stock up when I can (or do without).

    No question, though, food is going up and up. We have been holding the line darn close to $200/month in groceries (household items--toilet paper, soap--add another $25 or so). February, we went over $200 for the first time in months. I am grateful we still have food from last year's garden in the freezer. (I am also planning this year's garden.)

  9. Catseye,like you, I buy clothes when I need them. It's not a sport or hobby for me.

    Terri, I've found no food coupons recently. Nothing for frozen vegetables or anything I will actually use. I still save a bit on a few items so I'm not giving up yet, but I'm almost there.

    Frugal Scholar, there is a Big Lots in my county but not close. I haven't been there in years. I'm glad you understand about the LeCreuset. My family laughed when I had to plan what time we would be driving through South Carolina so I could stop in when the outlet was open.

    April, I see the prices rising every week. You tend to really be aware of it when you work in a grocery store. We don't have enough staff to keep up with the price changes in a timely manner. I end up giving a lot of refunds for the customers that notice the tag said $2.99 but the item was sold for $3.79.

    I think we are just going to do a few plants in pots this year because our garden did so poorly last year. It is difficult to grow anything in Florida sand.

  10. Has anyone noticed that there are less and less grocery coupons? There's lots for make-up and pet food and cold medicine but less food. I'd prefer to eat before looking good.