When Price Chopper reached out to me about their “All the Ways to Save” blogger contest, it was a no-brainer for me. I shop at Price Chopper every week for my family’s groceries, and I’ve worked with them before on other campaigns. How could I pass up the opportunity to face off against nine other local bloggers to see who could make the best use of Price Chopper’s various ways to save money? The grand prize: $1,000. And two runners up will each win $500. With 10 bloggers in the contest, I have a 30% chance of winning a prize just looking at the raw odds…adding in my motivation to save the most money and my dazzling way with words will hopefully tip the odds further in my favor. I’ve already sort of “won” anyways… Price Chopper sent me $100 gift card for participating.
Every Sunday, I bring my family (including my mother-in-law) over to my parents’ house for Sunday “dinner.” It’s really eaten at lunch time, but it’s been called “dinner” since my dad was working the night shift for GE all those years ago. After dinner, the menfolk usually head into the living room while the womenfolk gather around the ads from the Sunday paper. We take turns wrangling the children based on where the rugrats are making the most noise.
So after hot dogs and hamburgers on Mother’s Day, I took an even closer look at the 5/13 Price Chopper ad than usual…and I made a list. I also help my mom cut out the coupons each week because her hands bother her. So I had the weekly sales ad and all of the manufacturers’ coupons in front of me when I made my list. I carefully cross-referenced everything I had to make sure I didn’t miss a deal. Many of the sales in the flyer were discounts for using my AdvantEdge card, which I use every time I go to Price Chopper. (And why not? I earn gas discounts at Sunoco based on the money I spend at Price Chopper!)
During the week, I watched for more coupons. I got the Price Chopper Live! magazine in the mail and found a coupon or two I could use in there, and I printed some out from online. I got a coupon for $2 off Entenmann’s donuts off the Price Chopper Facebook page, and I found that I could get $1 off coupons from Blue Bunny by joining their email list. I had a rain check for Quaker Oatmeal Squares Cereal from a few weeks ago when it was on a BOGO deal, so it made sense to use it this week. I also had a “thank you” coupon worth $5 off my order from Neil Golub in a letter talking about changes to the gas rewards program and lower grocery prices. I used I Am That Lady’s coupon database to find more coupons to match the items on the list I’d made, as well, and found a few more ways to save there.
The way I shop, I stock up on things we use when they’re on a good sale. There are certain brands I do not compromise on, which makes it very important for our budget for me to plan things out. Both my son and I have Asperger’s Disorder, so we are very particular about what we eat – picky through no fault of our own. So if I find a healthier version of things we already like, that’s what I buy. (You’ll notice Who Nu cookies in my cart below, which are a better choice than Oreos, and Sara Lee Iron Kids Bread, with white whole wheat that’s better for you than white bread. I won’t buy regular hot dogs either, but the 97% fat-free hot dogs from Hebrew National. That sort of thing.) I’m not any sort of extreme couponer, either. I don’t buy my own Sunday paper; my mom gets The Sunday Gazette and The Times Union, and I cut coupons out for her, so she lets me take the ones she doesn’t use. She got an extra set of coupons on Mother’s Day, which made three sets. Including the time to cut those out, I spent about an hour making my list that day, and then no more than an hour looking for more deals online throughout the week… So no more than two hours of planning went into my incredible savings.
Shopping Day – May 19
I woke up earlier than usual for a Saturday. I was excited to see how well I could do on my shopping trip, although I think the maintenance guys making exterior repairs outside may have had something to do with it… We had a family game plan. I was going to go grocery shopping, and Tom and TJ were going to clean out the fridge and freezer while I was out to ensure we had enough room for all of the cold stuff. (This is a struggle each week.) Our plans were thrown astray by a family health emergency, so TJ ended up coming with me to the grocery store. My mom always shops with me, though, and she was gracious enough to let him tag along with her. (He attached himself to her, and there would have been whining and sulking if I’d tried to insist on him coming with me.) Since it was about 80 degrees outside, I’d brought along an insulated beach-sized bag for the cold stuff to make the journey home in – along with my other reusuable shopping bags. (Note: I did not get my 3 cent credit for each bag I reused. Oh well.)
I made only a few changes to my shopping list once I was in the store. I found a coupon or two I could use from the iSave kiosk, so those things were added to my list. I’d forgotten to put hamburger rolls on my list, too, so I picked up a package of rolls that were on sale to go with the Omaha Steaks burgers that Tom got with the gift card I’d given him for Valentine’s Day. I was a little upset that the Tru Moo chocolate milk was out of stock, because it was $1.99 for a 64 oz jug, and I had a 55 cent coupon. Price Chopper doubles coupons with a face value of up to 99 cents, so I would have paid less than a dollar for the chocolate milk, and my savings would have been even more impressive. I also had to walk on by the half price “we made too much” bakery rack because I already had too many goodies in my cart. I’ve gotten perfectly tasty donuts, muffins, and even a cake on bakery clearance before.
“I Have a Ridiculous Number of Coupons”
When I got to the register, I warned the cashier that I had a ridiculous number of coupons. He laughed at the fistful I handed him and told me it could be worse. It was worth it in the end, though, because the savings numbers were impressive.
- ADVANTEDGE SAVINGS: $60.80
- COUPON SAVINGS: $44.30
- TOTAL SAVINGS: $105.10
My total bill came to $145.85, which went over the $100 gift card I’d been given, but I had no problem putting up $45.85 of my own money for the $250.40 worth of groceries in my cart. That’s a savings of 42% off my grocery bill.
For my own personal satisfaction, I would also like to dispute the total savings listed. The fresh meat I purchased was on a savings-per-pound sale, so it was not counted in the amount saved on my bill. And the items that I’d purchased that were marked Everyday Low Price didn’t have a cents-off amount listed because they are a longer term sale. Everything I purchased was on some kind of a sale, because that’s just how I roll. I’m also not sure if the $8.99 I saved on my Quaker Oatmeal Squares cereal counted in my total savings either, because it was listed as a price adjustment. I bought a 24-pack of ice cream cones that were on clearance, too, but that savings was not reflected on the bill. I know it doesn’t matter one way or another for the contest, but it matters for bragging rights in my head.
The Grocery Haul
So just what did I get for my money? I stocked up, because that’s what I do. Let me break it down for you…
AdvantEdge Savings (includes Price Chopped & Price Break items)
- Price Chopper pizza dough – BOGO
- International Delights Iced Coffee – sale plus coupon
- Adirondack Water 6-Packs
- Price Chopper Roasters rotisserie chicken – sale plus coupon for buying Pepsi
- Blue Bunny Ice Cream Cones – half price plus coupons
- Hebrew National hot dogs – half price
- Digiorno Dippin Strips pizza – sale plus coupon
- Hood Cottage Cheese – sale plus coupon
- Smart Balance butter spread – sale plus coupon
- Land o Lakes American Cheese – half price
- McCain frozen potato spirals
- Charmin Ultra Soft toilet paper – sale plus coupon
- Who Nu Chocolate Sandwich cookies – sale plus coupon
- Cinnabon Bars – sale plus store coupon from weekly ad
- Hormel Compleats microwave meals – sale plus iSave coupon
- Price Chopper Pretzel Funstix – half price
- Wise Potato Chips – half price (I splurged and bought the kind only I like – salt & vinegar!)
- Crystal Lite On the Go Iced Tea – sale plus coupon from PC magazine
- Arnold Select hamburger rolls
- Sara Lee Iron Kids bread – sale plus coupon from PC magazine
- V05 shampoo – sale plus coupon
- Herbal Essences conditioner – sale plus coupon
- Pure Silk shaving cream – half price
- Hefty Plastic Cups – half price plus coupon
- Carefree panty liners – sale plus coupon
- Secret Clinical Strength deodorant – sale plus coupon
- Glad sandwich bags – sale plus coupon
- Bisquick Reduced Fat baking mix - sale plus coupon
Everyday Low Price (not counted towards savings total)
- Belgioso Fresh Mozzarella Cheese – $3 each, saved $3.68 each, bought two
- Price Chopper 8 oz Shredded Cheese – Wait, they were supposed to be $2.50 each according to the signs; I was charged $3.49 each for two. Oh dear.
- Price Chopper Steambag Sweet Corn – $1 each
- Price Chopper Lowfat Brownie Mix – $1.29 (which I prefer over Betty Crocker and Duncan Hines – so fudgy!)
- Price Chopper Toasted Oats Cereal – $2 (which I prefer over Cheerios, which is twice as expensive!)
- 6 Bagels – $3 (before they went on sale, I remember them being around $4.69)
- Price Chopper Soft Molasses Cookies – $1 each
- Joy Ice Cream Cake Cups – on clearance for $1.38 from $2.99
- Romaine Lettuce – $1
Meat Savings (not counted towards savings total)
- $1.99/lb for 4.5 lbs of boneless chicken breasts – saved $1/lb
- $2.99/lb for 1.5 lb of Certified Angus Beef London Broil – saved over $2/lb
Additional Coupon Savings
- $5 off total shopping bill
- $2 off Price Chopper brand products
- 50 cents off Price Chopper cookies
- Triple coupons for 3 of my $1 off coupons
I could not lay my hands on any competitors’ coupons for any of the items on my list, but Price Chopper would have accepted them if I did. All in all, I think my total savings should have been about $20 higher than it lists on the bill, but I’m still proud of my savvy shopping skills. If you allow me that extra $20 in savings that didn’t count on the receipt, then I actually saved 50% off my grocery bill. Oh, and by spending $100, I racked up 10 cents off per gallon at Sunoco, which ends up giving me $2 off when I next fill-up my 20-gallon tank. (Added to the previous gas savings I’d earned, I’m up to 30 cents off per gallon, which will be $6 off a fill-up.)
Thanks to Price Chopper for letting me participate in this contest. You’ve made me more aware of how to save even more money on my groceries than I normally do, so I may make a habit of this!
More about Price Chopper and me: My grandma worked at Price Chopper as a cashier at Store #20 for years. She’s been retired for at least 15 years, and people still remember her with her Betty Boop pins. I met my husband when we both worked at Price Chopper #20, as well. It’s what brought us together!
Tags: food, saving money, shopping