January 23, 2011
Analysis of a Grocery Shopping Trip
We have two grocery stores in our community and we also have a Super Wal-mart. Both grocery stores are less than 1 mile from my house and they are only two blocks from each other. It's convenient to shop at both stores when they are located near each other.
When the grocery ads came out last Tuesday, I braced myself for several trips to one of those stores. Why so many trips? This store, Hy-Vee, had four separate sales for the week.
There were two local sales. These are sales that are only for the Hy-Vee here in our town. One was an 8 hour sale Thursday beginning at noon. One was a Thursday, Friday, Saturday sale. Then there was the company wide sales. On Friday beginning at 8:00 a.m. there was a 12 hour sale and then there was the regular ad that runs from Wednesday through Tuesday.
First of all, I love sales and usually the local sales have phenomenal low prices so it is definitely worth the trip. What I hate about these sales is the majority of the time they have coupons you have to clip from their newspaper ad and you have to remember to use them on the appropriate sale day. It can be confusing and I have been in the checkout line more than once when the person in front of me thinks that that day is the sale for the newspaper coupons that they have clipped only to be told that sale either ended the day before or begins the next day.
The other grocery store in town, Fareway, has a regular corporate ad and usually a special local Thursday through Saturday ad also. They did not have a local sale this week.
This is not an unusual sales week as these type of sales happen about once a month.
So how do I keep my grocery list organized?
When I look through the sales ads, I immediately make a list. This is what this week's list looked like:
Hy-Vee - 8 hour sale - Thursday - noon to 8: p.m.
French's mustard - 20 oz. - 49 cents (limit 1)
1 lb. loaf of bread - 59 cents (limit 1)
Shaved smoked turkey - $1.69 lb. (limit 1 lb.)
Bologna - 12 oz. - 79 cents (limit 2)
Hy-Vee - 12 hour sale - Friday - 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Chicken quarters - .39 lb. - (limit 4 pkgs @ 3 lbs.)
Crest toothpaste - 6.4 oz. - 99 cents (limit 2)
Purex Laundry Soap - 33 load size - $2.00
Hy-Vee - Thursday through Saturday sale
Pillsbury Crescent Dinner rolls - $1.50
Ham Loaf - $1.69 lb. (limit 10 lbs.)
Hy-Vee Regular Ad
Clementines - $4.99 for 5 lbs.
Fareway - Reg. Ad.
Store brand Peanut Butter 18 oz. jar - 98 cents (limit 2)
1 dozen large Eggs - 99 cents
Nature Valley Granola bars - 3/$7.00
Dawn Dish Soap - 24 oz. - $2.00
After making my list I look to see if I have any manufacturer's coupons for the sales' items. I had two 75 cent off coupons for the Crest toothpaste which made my cost only 24 cents for a 6.4 oz. tube. I also had a 25 cent off coupon for the Dawn dish soap, I had four 25 cents off for the crescent rolls and 50 cents off coupons per box of granola bars.
I love Nature Valley crunchy granola bars and when they are on sale, I stock up as I enjoy having them for breakfast. I didn't have a lot of manufacturer's coupons to use this week but what I did have I teamed up with sales.
On the sales that begin at a particular time, I get to the grocery store 15 minutes before the sale time. By the time I have picked up everything and am ready to checkout, the sale's time has started. I learned this a long time ago when I went to a Saturday sale that began at 7 a.m. and people were leaving the store with carts loaded with sales items. I found out from an employee that they will start giving the sales prices out 30 minutes before the time actually begins. Now I get there early.
On Thursday I headed to Hy-Vee shortly before noon. I picked up the 8 hour sales items along with the sales items for Thursday through Saturday and the regular ad that ran Wednesday through next Tuesday.
On Friday I was out the door at 7:50 a.m. to go to Hy-Vee for their 12 hour sale that began at 8:00 a.m. The temp was minus 5 degrees when I started my car. When I got to the store there were only 5 cars in the parking lot. I knew it was worth getting their early because with the weather being so cold I knew there would be few people in the store. On Thursday when I went to Hy-Vee at noon the parking lot was packed and the checkout lines were long.
Getting up early is worth it to me to get 24 cent toothpaste.
As to the Fareway ad, when I shopped there Friday afternoon I also picked up produce and milk.
I saved a lot of money on chicken and ham loaf this week. As we have been using the meat in our freezer, we have freed up more space for meat sales.
It can be a challenge when there are multiple sales' days at one store. But with a little organization I not only saved some money, but I also saved my sanity.