It was an extremely busy Wednesday and I think I did more grocery shopping in one day than I have done in my entire life up to this point. I ended up with 190 boxes of cereal (a retail value of $758.10) after spending $5.50 out of pocket — a 99% savings (the pile of boxes was so much that I had to place them in 2 different areas of my room — the two photos are two separate piles, not the same pile from a different angle):
Before I detail this buy, there are two things that I want to get out upfront.
1. All these purchases were done with the approval of the managers of the stores (since I tend to buy in quantities than for someone buying for their family, I find talking to the manage before I do it makes everything run much smoother) and I always left enough cereal on the shelves so that if someone else wanted to do this, they had the opportunity to do so. There is nothing that I hate more than when I find a great deal, but can’t get it because someone has stripped the shelves and bought up everything.
2. I realize that this is not the most nutritious food in the world (believe me, nobody is going to get on my back more than my sister who constantly reminds me that I should be buying the most nutritious food possible for Penny Experiment). When I have a choice in the food I buy, I always opt for the most nutritious of the food available. In this case, there was not a healthy option. While I do want to provide the most nutritious food possible, I’m not going to refuse what basically came to as free food for food banks.
With that out of the way, I spent most of Wednesday running around to every Safeway I could find to take advantage of a deal for free cereal. It was the last day of a Catalina (those coupons that come out of the cash register with your receipt when you pay) where if you purchased 5 boxes of specific Kellogg’s cereal, you received $4 back. The boxes were marked at $1.50 when you bought 5, so the price came to $7.50 for the 5 boxes.
Then there were “blinkie coupons” (these are coupons on the grocery store aisle that you can take from a machine — they are called “binkies” because they have a small light that blinks) for $0.70 off of Corn Pops, Froot Loops and Apple Jacks. Using 5 of those coupons gave a $3.50 discount, reducing the price of the cereal to from $7.50 to $4.00. I then used the $4 Catalina coupon (you had to pay $4.00 out of pocket on the first transaction) to bring the price to zero and I would receive another $4.00 off Catalina. Wash, Rinse, Repeat for free cereal. Doing this I came away with 190 boxes of cereal for $5.50 (and I have a coupon for $4 on mt next purchase still).
I could have gotten a lot more — the only things limiting me were the time factor (it was only possible to do this yesterday because the Catalina offer ended yesterday) and finding Safeway stores. Since I refused to deplete shelves, I also left a lot of cereal that I could have gotten, but I think it was the right thing to do.
Even at this price, I actually made a mistake that cost me an extra $1.50. The reason that the price was $5.50 out of pocket and not $4.00 was because I didn’t realize that the blinkie coupons were available right away and I was using some online printable coupons that meant that I had to pay $0.50 for the 5 boxes — I did this three times before I realized the blinkie coupons were available making the cereal free.
There are some other great deals out there, so I will be doing more shopping this week, but I know that opportunities like this don’t come around very often. I was glad I was able to take advantage of it and get a lot of food for not much money.
All of this will be added to the Penny Experiment food purchased master list. Penny Experiment couponers have been able to purchase $3019.31 worth of food for $259.46. This is another small step toward the goal of buying $1 million worth of food for food banks (only $996,980.69 worth of food to go…)