Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Coupon Experiment - results

Well, after a much longer than I'd like grocery trip, I came home with bags of groceries and a crew of tired helpers. I then had to find time to fill in all the little blanks on my spreadsheet - deciphering the receipt was the first challenge - thankfully I'd had the foresight to take a copy of the spreadsheet w/me to write in prices - yay me!

I had cut out coupons for things we usually get (granted sometimes we got the store brand of these items, but for that day we were getting what the coupon said as far as brand goes and making a note of prices on comparable store brands when they were available).

The receipt was about a mile long after all the coupons went in and were doubled and/or tripled (mostly doubled) as well as all the "Kroger Savings" from using my Kroger card. Just a note on that...apparently if I hadn't had my card with me, my bill would've been $29.42 greater than it was...why this is necessary, I don't know. Brand loyalty is the answer I suppose - come to our store, get our card, use it, save money. Whatever. The card is free, so it's not a big deal, just seems a tad silly.

Ok, back to the groceries.

There are only a few things that felt like "really good deals". I did not get toothpaste for a penny or anything like that, so don't get too excited.

One example of a "good buy" (I think) was a coupon for any Suave product, Buy 1, get 2nd $1.00 off. So, I looked at the shampoo and the size that is not the "family size" was on sale at Kroger for $.88, so I picked up 2 and used the coupon on them which made the shampoos 2/$.76 - pretty good, I thought.

The only other one that really stood out was for Fleischmann's yeast strips (3 packages on a strip) - coupon was for $.45 off 1 strip. The price for the yeast was $1.89/strip. The coupon was doubled = $.90 so the resulting price was $.99 instead of the $1.89. Of course, this felt like a good deal until I looked at the regular price for the Kroger brand of yeast and it was regularly $.99 - not a big deal after all, eh?

So....the results.....I bought about 18 different products in varying amounts depending on the coupon and quantity of coupons for each item.

The total for all items using the coupons was $98.36
The total for all items if I had NOT used the coupons would have been $129.75
The total using coupons for all items that were name brands and buying the store brand for those that had a store brand would have been $115.90

I think that about covers it. I may have missed something here or there, but I think it's fairly accurate.

The moral of the story (for me, anyway) appears to be - if you're going to buy a name brand of something and you have a coupon - use it.

If you don't have a coupon and it's something on your list of things to get, buy it - unless there's a store brand you haven't tried that's cheaper, then you might want to give it a chance. If there isn't a store brand and you want/need the item, go for it.

If you're buying a name brand of something AND it's on sale AND you have a coupon - yay for you!

One of the only things I've really noticed a big difference in with store brand vs. name brands is canned corn. The store brand I tried had cloudy water and the corn just didn't look good and fresh - the Green Giant or whatever name brand had nice clear water and the corn looked appetizing. Just an example. This would be different for everyone, of course.

Do I plan to go crazy with coupons in the coming days, weeks, months? No. This was a lot of time for one little trip in which I didn't even get all the things we typically need in a milk...anyone ever see milk coupons? :) Anyway, this trip was all about the coupons I had and this little experiment. The rest is for another trip.

Do I plan to sign up for the Grocery Game again or some such list? No.

Do I plan to visit 15 stores to get all the "best deals" and free toothpaste for life?

Do I plan to at least flip through the coupons and cut out ones for name brand items we do typically purchase and TRY to remember them when I go to the store AND to get them out of my purse once I get there? Yes.

All things in moderation - if y'all get free toothpaste for a year - well, I'm thrilled for you and only ask that you think of me and all my kiddos whose teeth are dropping out (for natural reasons of growing up, mind you!) - then send us a tube ;)


Jessica said...

Not too bad! :) I should be getting my mini tutorial up this weekend (fingers crossed!) ~Jess

Lok said...

Well done. And I agree. IF you have time to cut out the coupons AND you remember to put them in your purse AND you remember to use them at the store AND you can actually find them when you are checking out, then you deserve a giant cookie. Because that's a lot of work when your brain is working feverishly on raising and educating almost FIVE children!