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Third week of grocery budget tracking + couponing for charity FAIL

April 30th, 2011 at 05:58 pm

I'll relate the sad tale of my couponing for charity first:
I tried to get free dog treats using a sale and double coupons, but our prices must be higher than Couponmom's store, because it would have come to $1 per bag of treats. Not good enough, so I left the coupons for some dog owner to be pleasantly surprised.
Then I went to Walgreens to try the Splenda moneymaker, free maxi pads, bandage moneymaker and super-cheap Colgate. Here's where things went really wrong.

I used a $3 register rewards and 2 coupons, and my total was $8-something. Seemed high but I knew I was getting a $3 rebate and $3 register rewards, so I thought $2 for 2 tubes of toothpaste was an OK deal. (I forgot I'd actually paid $11-something if you counted the register rewards.)

So I was rooting through my bag and realized I didn't get the register rewards. I went back and it turns out if you use a register rewards for the same product, you don't get another one. (That was the maxipads deal.) So I got a $3 refund and returned the maxipads.

After I walked out, I started thinking that I'd ended up spending $5 cash and $3 register rewards, and that I'll get $3 back in rebate. That meant my two tubes of toothpaste cost $5. They were supposedly 2-for-1 AND I had a $1 off coupon, so that means they're ordinarily $6 each? Maybe, but that seemed high. I was going to check the receipt, but then I realized THEY'D TAKEN MY RECEIPT. Not only could I not check to see if I was overcharged for the toothpaste, I also couldn't send in the rebate for the bandages. SO I started out the day with $21.01 and ended it with $12.15. I spent almost $9 for a pack of bandaids and two tubes of toothpaste! Man, couponing is HARD.

It's still going to charity, so it's not that bad. But I was expecting to spend about 80 cents after rebates & coupons, so it's kind of a shocker.

Anyway did much better with the household grocery shopping. We'd had to get more milk and soymilk during the week, so we only had $109 to spend this week if we want to get caught up. I knew we were going to have to buy compostable diapers later this week, which is $16.50, so we only had about $92.50 for our regular weekend grocery trips.

Grand total? $66.40! There were hardly any good coupons, and the website for our grocery store was out-of-date on some of the deals, so I didn't think we'd do that well. But between sales and coupons we saved $19.98.

Here's how it breaks down by meal:

Pasta with vodka sauce
Fresh basil $3.40
1/2 cup almonds $1.10
(already have pasta, canned tomatoes, vodka, bread)
Total: $4.50

Vegan buffalo wings, potato salad, eggless salad sandwiches (picnic for May Day festival)
Scallions $0.59
Tofu $1.49
Vegan mayo $4.39
(already had potatoes, bread, wheat gluten, panko breadcrumbs, etc.)
Total: $6.47

Tofu sandwiches, roasted cauliflower
Tofu $1.49
Bread (C) $1.19
Cauliflower $1.99
Total: $3.18

Pasta w/broccoli & zucchini
1 zucchini $0.29
Broccoli $1.49
(already have pasta, herbs & spices)
Total: $1.78

Veggie burgers & sweet potato fries
Hamburger buns $0.79
5 sweet potatoes $4.44 (will have extra)

Tacos & salad
TVP $1.40 (will have extra)
2 pkgs taco shells/tortillas $2.50 (will have extra)
2 bags salad $4.00 (will have extra)
Lime $0.55
2 avocados $1.69
2 mangoes $2.00
2 tomatoes $1.73 (will have extra)
Taco seasoning $0.29
Total: $14.16

General Tso's mock duck
Scallions $0.59
Ginger root $0.64
(already have mock duck, rice, other ingredients)
$1.23

Other food/drink we'll use this week:
2 green bell peppers $1.00
7 bananas $1.69
2 pears $1.35
6 apples $3.48
4 eggs $1.28
Milk $2.29
Cheddar $3.29
2 cartons soymilk (C) $3.00

Other food/drink staples we may not use immediately:
Garlic $0.42
Apple cider vinegar $0.79
2x salsa $3.00
Cayenne $0.16
Club soda $0.75

Total of all food spending: $60.54

Nonfood/cat items:
Toilet paper $1.79
Paper towels $2.29
Aluminum foil (C) + tax $1.56
Tax -bags credit $0.22

Total nonfood spending: $5.86

3 Responses to “Third week of grocery budget tracking + couponing for charity FAIL”

  1. jeffrey Says:

    I feel for you. I have had many experiences like that as I have learned how to do the couponing. There seem to be days when the couponing gods are not looking after you. Don't be discouraged -- what you ahve learned is that it's important to check your receipt right after you do a transaction to make sure everything is correct (it is amazing how many times it will be wrong) While this is a mistake, it is a good learning experience and will ultimately help you get a lot of deals for your local charity down the road! Smile

  2. ndchic Says:

    I do some couponing deals but not that many because I have a tendency to have the same luck that you had. I would also find it frustrating to go to the store and they would be out of stock with what I was going to buy.

    Is $1.28 for 4 eggs the correct price? That seems really expensive.

  3. ceejay74 Says:

    I'll keep trying, but it is really frustrating that there are so many ways you could mess up--and I did so on every possible level this time!

    Yes, they are free-range organic eggs, and we don't use enough to buy a dozen, which would make it a bit cheaper. But they are just really expensive. We're trying to reduce our grocery bill in other ways so we can keep our commitment to the environment & humane treatment of animals as much as possible.

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