Monday, April 11, 2011

Trying to use Coupons

I'm a little scared to return to the grocery store.  The last time I did a major grocery run for staples, the check-out clerk asked whether I had heard of food hoarding, and then started a discussion of some show he had seen on TV where people could not open doors or use their kitchens because there was so much stuff in there.  I'm pretty sure he just meant "Hoarders", but besides 10 boxes of whole wheat pasta, I'm not sure what was so strange about my grocery purchase that would merit comment.

Okay, I do know - I bought over a hundred dollars worth of food for $30.  That's right, I'm a couponer.

Sadly, since mid-March (when this happened) and now, a little show has begun called "Extreme Couponing".  And, yes, I have had a grocery run where $50 of food cost me 99c, plus I had a $10 mail-in rebate (getting paid to shop!).  However, I don't really agree with what these people are doing in the stockpiling sense, but I also do not agree with a lot of the criticism that coupons are only for foods comprised of empty calories.

It happened that the episode I watched took place at Kroger, during one of their Buy 10 Items, Get $X Off.  It this case, it was $5.  So, while the show was making it sound like this woman was buying 62 bottles of mustard at 39c each, in reality, with the extra discount, Kroger was paying her 11c each to take the jar off the shelf.  Or, was giving her $6.82 to use on other groceries, depending on how you look at it.  I know - I bought a bottle myself with that sale.  My major coup was the 10 boxes of whole wheat pasta... each on sale for 99c, with a 50c coupon that doubled, and an extra $5 off all 10.  A grand total of  negative $5.10 for 3 months of whole wheat, whole grain pasta for all of my Meatless Mondays and homemade chicken noodle soup etc.  Sure, every coupon isn't going to be for something useful, but don't pooh-pooh the whole system because the majority of coupons are for Hamburger Helper and Kraft Singles.  If you hunt around the brands, there's usually ONE or TWO of the 30 varieties which doesn't suck (ex: Mott's makes an all-natural apple juice where the ingredients are seriously: Water, Apples.)  Living in the Midwest, fresh produce doesn't really happen around here until June, so unless I want a tomato that's been trucked half way around the world, a can of tomatoes processed an hour down the road is a pretty acceptable substitute.  If I can get that can for 29c, all the better.

So, at some point, I'm pretty sure I'm going to have an in depth discussion about this show at the check-out counter.  *sigh*  At least I don't need pasta any time soon.

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