We were definitely doing the Happy Dance when we unpacked all those shopping bags yesterday. It was our biggest Kroger Haul ever: A total of $477.87 worth of groceries for just $161.50! But what really made it a great haul (and what really had us doing the “Told ya so dance” was the 65 bags of FREE Bird’s Eye Recipe Ready Frozen Vegetables we picked up. Yeah, that’s right I said, “FREE!” Total retail on the vegetables alone was $140. Sale price was $96.85. But we paid “0” dollars. We got ’em FREE!
Watch the video and then we’ll tell you how we did it!
Remember how we kept telling you about that $.75 cent coupon we had and how it would actually be more valuable than the $1 coupon everybody was looking for? Especially if your store doubles? And remember how we told you to get a bunch of ’em and keep ’em handy because those darn vegetables were going to go on sale? Well, we waited until the last minute to use ’em in case somebody wanted to order ’em. They expired at midnight last night and since we still had a bunch on hand we decided to go shopping. It took a little bit of planning to put the transactions together but it was worth it. Here’s what we had to work with:
- Our Kroger store only allows a maximum of 5 like coupons in 1 transaction
- The vegetables had to be purchased in mix-and-match multiples of six. (The sale price was $1.99. If you purchased 6 participating items – mix-and-match allowed – you saved an additional 50 cents per package, making them $1.49.)
We went to 2 different Kroger stores. At the first store we only picked up the vegetables and some Dole Fruit Smoothie Shakers because we just wanted to make sure it would work. At this first store we made six transactions, each consisting of:
- 5 packages of Bird’s Eye Recipe Ready Frozen Vegetables – Sale price $1.99 – Buy 6 Save $3 price $1.49
- 1 Dole Fruit Smoothie Shaker (also included in the Buy 6 Save $3 Deal – on sale for $1.99, and if you had 6 participating items they were only $1.50 Our coupon was for $.50/1, which doubled to $1, making these $.50 each.
So we picked up 5 packages of vegetables and 1 Dole Fruit Smoothie Shaker for $.50. And we did it 6 times at the first Kroger store!
What if you don’t like Dole Fruit Smoothie Shakers?
Like I said, this trip took a little planning. We knew we wanted the vegetables. We knew we could only purchase 5 packages in each transaction. And we knew we’d need to pick up one other item that was included in the Buy 6 Save $3 deal. In two of our transactions we picked up a $.65 can of tomatoes that was included in the deal. That made our sixth item so we could get the sale price on the vegetables. We also had some of the Hungry Jack Hash Brown coupons with us. The Hash Browns were on sale for $.99, our coupon was for $.50/1 – which makes them FREE – and they were also included in the Buy 6 Save $3 deal. Unfortunately, they were out of stock at both stores so we had to improvise with some canned tomatoes.
What’s the takeaway here?
Always be prepared – We knew this coupon was out there, we knew we had plenty on hand and we knew this product would eventually go on sale before that coupon expired. If it’s a product you use all the time – grab plenty of coupons as soon as you see them in print and hang on to them until the product goes on sale. Even if it doesn’t go on sale before the coupon expires you can still use the coupons to pick up some additional savings. Sometimes smaller is better – There were two coupons out there for the Bird’s Eye vegetables. One was for $1 off and the other was for $.75 off. While everybody was frantically searching for the $1 coupon, we knew the $.75 coupon was a better deal because it would double to $1.50. Sure, Walmart had those vegies on sale for a buck – for one week only – and that made the $1 coupon a great coupon – for one week only. But from the time our $.75 coupon was printed until its expiration date those vegies were on sale for $1.49 almost every week at at least one store in our area. The more you plan, the more you save – We spent about 3 hours planning this shopping trip. That included making our shopping list, breaking up the transactions and clipping all the coupons. Two hours went into the trip to the first Kroger store. While we were there we cruised the aisles looking at sale prices. Then we went home and stashed our first 30 bags of vegies and put together our transactions and coupons for the second Kroger store where we did most of our shopping. Three hours of work for $316.37 worth of FREE groceries? Yeah – it was definitely worth it!
The mini-couponers were on Christmas break for two full weeks and then they had two more days off because of the weather. Needless to say, the snack cupboard was pretty bare by the end of their extended break and a Kroger outing to restock the cupboard was desperately needed. After the video you’ll find links to the coupons and blog posts that Jessica talks about.
$.50/1 any Colgate Toothpaste 4.0 oz. or larger (1/18/2014) $.45/3 any Snack Pack Pudding 4-packs (2/16/2014) $.55/1 any Mott’s Snack & Go Pouch 4-pack, Snack & Go Pouch 12-pack, 6-pack cups single-serve Applesauce or 6-pack cups Medleys Snack (3/9/2014) $1/1 any BIC Stationery product (2/28/2014) $.50/2 packages Dole Fruit Bowls All Natural Fruit in 100% Juice, Gels, Fruit Parfaits or Dole Fruit Crisps (3/31/2014) $.50/1 any Dole All Natural Fruit Jar (3/31/2014) $1/1 any bag of Tyson Grilled & Ready frozen product (4/5/2014) $.75/1 package Johnsonville Chicken or Turkey Sausage any flavor (3/9/2014) $.50/2 Knorr Pasta and Rice Sides (2/2/2014) $1/2 any StarKist Tuna Pouch Products including Tuna Creations (3/2/2014) $1/2 any Kellogg’s Special K Nourish Hot Cereals (2 ct., any flavor, mix or match) (2/16/2014) $1/4 6-oz. cups or any TWO (2) 4-pack 4-oz. YoCrunch products (3/15/2014)
11 Things You Can Do With Toothpaste How to Make your own Homemade Fabric Softener
Today, Jessica used 4 transactions to bring home a super Kroger Haul. Here’s how it broke down in terms of dollars: Retail value: $237.03 Manufacturer’s coupon savings: $49.53 Bonus coupons: $36.49 Loyalty card and 10/$10 savings: $53.28 Total saved: $139.30 Total spent: $97.73 69% savings Watch to see how she splits her transactions to take advantage of the 10 for $10 deals. She also has to work around Kroger’s limit of 5 like coupons per transaction and some of the coupons with their own special limitations. You’ll also see her use a lot of the fun printable coupons we share in our Top 5 “Just Because” Printable Coupon posts! And even experienced couponers make mistakes! Jessica’s strategy included being able to get a $3 Catalina coupon for Skinny Cow purchases and she was going to roll three Catalina’s over to use in her fourth transaction. But we all know what happens to the best laid plans…
It’s been a while since we posted a new haul video. Ya wanna know why? Because we don’t have to shop every week. We have a stockpile! We really didn’t even need to go grocery shopping today but there were some good deals we wanted to catch before they were gone, like the Pillsbury Refrigerated Cookie Dough and the Betting Crocker Frosting. Watch the video and see what other neat deals we picked up and have fun… we added in some Christmas music!
Coupons used in this video:
$1/1 Pillsbury Refrigerated Cookie Dough (exp. 3/1/2014) $.75/2 Betty Crocker Frosting, Supreme Brownie Mix, Dessert Bar Mix, SuperMoist Cake Mix, Cookie Mix (exp. 1/4/2014) $.50/2 Betty Crocker Boxed Potatoes (exp. 1/11/2014) $1/3 Nabisco Cookie or Cracker Products 6.5 oz or larger (exp. 12/31/2013) $.40/4 Campbell’s Condensed Soups (exp. 1/15/2014) $.75/1 Sister Schubert’s Product (1/17/2014)
2013 has been a crazy year. We jumped feet-first into the deep end when we moved our coupon clipping service from Ebay to our own website. Then, we decided we’d carry along a concrete block in the form of videos – just to make it a little more interesting. But we’ve had a blast this year and we hope you have, too.
Today, we’re sharing our two most popular Video Hauls. Oddly enough, even though most of our videos are Kroger Hauls, these two are both Walgreen’s Hauls. Go figure.
Our #1 Most Popular Video for 2013
Jessica’s Walgreen’s Haul October 12, 2013
Warning! Mathematicians may find this video offensive!
If you’re wondering: How DOES she manage to save so much money when she can barely put two and two together.? – Don’t worry. Jessica’s not really as horrible at sums as it seems. When she’s shopping she’s in the zone. But she insists that all of our videos be unscripted and real. Consequently, she has to remember all these prices and coupon values off the top of her head. It’s a cute head, to be sure, but by the time we do these videos it’s often clouded with Miller Light because we are, after all, The Happy Couponers!
In this haul, Jessica basically went to Walgreen’s just to check out their prices on Prevacid 24HR, Gas-X and Benefiber to see if that $10/3 coupon would be a Money-Maker at Walgreen’s. As so often happens, she tripped over a few good deals she couldn’t pass up while she was supposed to be doing research!
BTW — That coupon WASN’T a Money-Maker at Walgreen’s but it IS at Publix and Walmart. But then, you’d already know that if you’ve subscribed to our Daily Newsletter 😉
Our #2 Most Popular Video for 2013
Jessica’s Walgreen’s Haul August 11, 2013
Warning! This video contains the “Blurred Lines” song – one of the most hated, horrendous songs ever written! (Maybe that’s why it’s so popular?
Visit our YouTube channel for more of our infamous haul videos and stay tuned… you never know what we’ll be hauling next!
Jessica and I spend Sunday morning scanning all the ads and coupons – just like every other couponer – and we also surf blogs looking for matchups – just like you. This morning we tripped over another one of those Blood Glucose Monitor deals that other bloggers call Money-Makers and it pissed us off – AGAIN. So we thought we’d address the term ‘Money-Maker’ for a minute…
When we use the terms ‘Money-Maker’ or ‘Free’ here at the Happy Couponer, this is what we mean:
The price of the product is equal to or less than the value of the coupon. Period.
For example, we found the Progresso Recipe Starters Cooking Sauce on sale at Dollar Tree 2/$1 on Saturday. We have a $.50/1 coupon. When we used two coupons we got two cans FREE. A few weeks ago we had a coupon for $.75 off a 4.0 oz tube of Colgate Toothpaste. Kroger had it on sale in their 10/$10 deal which made them $1 each. Our Kroger doubles coupons up to $.99, so this was a Money-maker – we actually made $.50 on that tube of toothpaste and Kroger gave us $.50 credit on something else in our cart. Other coupon bloggers (and there are several – who shall remain nameless) tell you you’re getting something for free or you’re making money back if you stack a coupon with a sale, pay for the product, and end up with some type of reward points or coupons you can use on your next order. Yes, these are ‘Money-Maker’ deal scenarios, but these other bloggers are very misleading with their headlines. If you have to pay cash out-of-pocket to walk out of the store with the item and those points or coupons that are only good on your next purchase, then you did not get that item for free. You had to pay for it. Yes, you get a reward, but only after you dish out some cold, hard cash. For example, one of the bloggers we follow does a great job of finding all those Catalina deals and Rewards Points deals but her headlines always read: “FREE soup at Kroger. FREE diapers at Target. Make $3 on such-and-such at whatever store.” But she’s wrong. Or, at the very least, she’s purposely vague. If you have to pay $2 for three cans of soup and then you get a $2 Catalina coupon you can use on your next purchase, that soup was not free – you still had to pay $2 for it. Yes, you walked out of the store with $2 in your pocket, but it’s not real money. You can only spend it in that same store, on the items they carry, at their own retail prices which may be higher than the other guy’s, and you have to return to the store to spend it. If you have to pay $25 for a Blood Glucose Monitor and you get $25 in reward points, that monitor was not free – you still had to pay $25 for it – right out of your pocket – to earn $25 in points you can use on your next purchase. Sure, if you’re going to donate that monitor that’s great. But will you really? And if you don’t, why not just keep the $25 in your pocket – until your next purchase? In essence, you just wasted $25 that you KNOW you need to earn $25 that you MIGHT be able to use in the future – when products you really need are no longer on sale. We even follow a blogger who goes so far as to suggest you go ahead, use that coupon and buy that $25 monitor, get your $25 worth of Catalinas or reward points – and then RETURN the monitor to get your money back! This same blogger pulls in innocent readers with headlines that brag about saving 98% on his last shopping trip. But he skims over the fact that most of his “savings” was racked up in rewards points and rebates he wouldn’t even see for 8-10 weeks – for products the average person wouldn’t ever use. This guy makes us sick! These bloggers all do a great job of finding the deals and putting the scenarios together for their readers but they piss us off because so many shoppers are looking for real ways to save money right now. They’re stressed and they’re panicking and these misleading bloggers suck them in and then these poor shoppers wonder why everyone else is saving 98% on their weekly grocery bill but theirs just keeps getting bigger. Don’t get us wrong. We frequently go after the reward points and recommend those same deals to you. But we always stress two important facts: You have to first spend money out of your own pocket and the points can only be used on your next purchase. And the guy who suggests you buy that monitor, get the points, and then return it for a cash refund? Well, at the very least it’s unethical, but it’s also fraud. It’s no wonder some people and stores look down on couponers. I wouldn’t want this guy shopping in my store, either. Why do these bloggers piss us off so much? Because we’re coupon bloggers, too. These guys suck you in with their hype about free products and money-maker coupons but eventually you’re going to wonder why you’re still spending the same amount of money for groceries, week after week after week. You’re spending hours clipping coupons and chasing deals and you’re still not saving any money, and eventually you’re going to think ALL coupon bloggers suck! At The Happy Couponer, if we tell you you’re going to get a can of soup for free, we mean you can walk into the store with zero dollars in your pocket and walk out with a can of soup. If we tell you a coupon is a ‘Money-Maker’ we mean the value of the coupon exceeds the cost of the product and you’ll either get the overage in cold, hard cash or it will be applied to the rest of the items in your cart. And if you’re going to walk out of the store with reward points or a Catalina coupon we tell you how much those points or coupons are going to cost up front. We only hope you’ll believe us!
All told we put about 4 hours into this shopping trip which included clipping and organizing the coupons for two separate transactions, scouting the store for deals the day before the actual shopping trip, and the time we actually spent shopping. (For you it would have only taken about 2 hours because you don’t have to write everything down so you can blog about it and make a video when you get it all home!) The results speak for themselves… Original Retail: $272.96 Coupons and Loyalty Card savings: $161.34 Final Cost: $109.62 Saved: 59.8 percent When you do the math you see we saved almost $110, which works out to more than $25 per hour. Like I said in the video – Show me a part-time job that pays $25 and hour and I’ll eat YOUR hat! Here’s a list of the coupons we used: Nature’s Own Honey Wheat Bread -$1.99 unadvertised special – coupon $.75/1 doubled to $1.50 for $.49 per loaf Betty Crocker Mac & Cheese – $1 each unadvertised special – coupon $.25/1 doubled Barilla Pasta Sauce – $1.99 unadvertised special – coupon $.75/1 doubled to $1.50 for $.49 each Barilla pasta – On sale 10/$10 – coupon $.55/2 – $4.50 for 10 boxes using five (5) coupons Ultimate Hamburger/Chicken Helper – unadvertised at 2/$5 – coupon $.50/1 doubles to $1 – Buy three and get a $2 Catalina good toward next purchase Marie Callender’s Easy Sides – unadvertised at 2/$3 – $.75/1 coupon doubles to $1.50 which makes them free Progresso Recipe Starters Cooking Sauce – Dollar Tree 2/$1 – coupon $.50/1 – use two coupons to get both cans free Eggland’s Best Eggs – $1.69 regular price – $.35 coupon doubles to $.70 – Final price $.99 Campbell’s Skillet/Slow Cooker Sauces – These are HOT right now. We always find them on sale at Kroger and Target, so we keep these coupons in the binder at all times. Campbell’s Skillet Sauce and Campbell’s Slow Cooker Sauce.
Last week she said she wasn’t going to go Krogering this week but you know Jessica – she’s always thinking ahead. Jessica has been on vacation from her job this week which means next week’s pay check will just be at her standard rate with no overtime included. So, instead of waiting until next week when money might be tight, she shopped this weekend while she has a few extra bucks. Plus, since she’s on vacation, she had the time to re-con the store and then plan a shopping list that included the coupon deals she found. The coupons she used… Nature’s Own Bread – $.75/1 exp. 11/15 Barilla Pasta Sauce – $.75/1 exp. 11/23 Green Giant Vegetables – $.60/3 exp. 12/7 Fruitables – $.75/1 exp. 11/7 Blue Diamond Almond Breeze Almondmilk – $.55/1 exp. 12/13 Mott’s – $1/1 exp. 11/17 Marie Callender’s Sides – $.75/1 exp. 11/17 Campbell’s Go Soup – $.75/1 exp. 11/30
Here’s the video…