Saturday, March 6, 2010

Shop with Mrs.Smith - US trip, March 2010

I went across the border into Bellingham, WA yesterday with Marcy on an informal test of my Extreme Shopping USA Edition class, and we had a blast as she followed me along as I hit up some deals. The whole point of the trip was to introduce Marcy to a few US stores, to introduce her to some lingo and programs that only exist in US and which are not available in Canada. We talked about store policies (even had an example to show her in real life), and I shared some secrets and tips that can extend the coupon value, or enable her to get more items for free. I had Marcy print some coupons as well, so she was able to follow along with some deals as well.

Note: Each week's deals are different, this week's purchases are representations of deals available this week and mostly to act as aids to show Marcy how to work some deals, and may not reflect MrsSmith's regular weekly purchases. That means, sometimes I actually buy fresh stuff and not just sugary treats! :)

We hit Target, Albertson's and Walgreens while we were there. I also usually like to go to Walmart, Safeway and RiteAid/CVS but there was no time, and also, we were happy with what we'd gotten.

Looking at the picture above, I got 69 items for $11.22 - although I forgot to add the last item to the photo - it was a Starbucks Frappucino bottle which I got for $0.25. The regular price from Walgreens was $2.19!

So, 69 items for $11.22 - that is less than 16.3cents per item! That is fabulous savings! Here's what I got:

From Target:
- 2 4-packs of GE lights
- 4 SOBE drinks
- 13 individual Kashi cereal cups
- 5 boxes Kashi crackers
- 3 boxes Kashi cereal
- 1 box Kashi frozen Chicken Pasta Pomodoro
- 1 24-ct Excedrin
- 1 Degree trial sized deodorant
- 2 J&J Soap Buddies

From Walgreens:
- 1 Starbucks Frappucino bottle (not shown)
(everything else I wanted was out of stock)

From Albertsons:
- 4 boxes Cheerios
- 1 loaf of bread
- 1 10-piece Oreo Cakesters
- 25 boxes of Roll Ups, Stackerz, Gushers
- 5 rolls of Starbursts

At Target, I had an opportunity to show Marcy how important it is to
1) know your store policy
2) know exactly how much you are going to spend before going to the till

We had a cashier who did not know that if you have a coupon for $1, you can use it on an item that is less than a dollar. She said I could not use the coupon and called over her supervisor who agreed with her. I knew this was not the correct policy and since I had a printed copy of Target's coupon policy with me, I showed it to them and was able to use the coupons. However in all the mix up, the supervisor accidentally deleted my entire purchase and had to restart over, and in the end instead of paying $2 I ended up paying about $5, and I didn't fight it because I didn't want to go through all that again and we had spent a bit extra time there because of them not knowing their own policy. They had wanted to charge me $14 but because I knew the policy, I ended up paying $5. My savings at Target totalled $54.69 and I spent a total of $5.32.

On to Walgreens, where although they were out of everything I wanted, I got a chance to show Marcy how to work the instore specials with the monthly coupon booklet and manufacturer coupons. I showed her moneymaking scenarios and we perused the weekly ad for deals.

Lastly, we headed to Albertsons where I knew they were running rolling catalinas (see, that US coupon lingo again), and we went crazy there. The Betty Crocker Roll ups, etc were on sale for $1 each, and for every 5 that you purchased, you would get a $3.50 catalina back. On top of that, there were doublers available and we had coupons to double! Here's what my deals looked like at Albertsons:

Transaction #1:
5 Betty Crocker Rollups at $1 each = $5
2 .50/2 coupons, doubled
OOP: $3
Got back a Catalina of $3.50 which meant I made .50!

Transaction #2 and #3:

5 Betty Crocker Rollups/Gushers at $1 each = $5
2 .50/2 coupons, doubled
Total cost: $3
Used a Catalina of $3.50 which would have meant everything would be free, but I bought 2 Starbursts, using a BOGO coupon ended up paying .19cents total for each transaction.

Transaction #4:
5 Betty Crocker Rollups/Gushers at $1 each = $5
1 .50/2 coupon, doubled
Total cost: $4
Used a Catalina of $3.50, paying .50.

Transaction #5:
5 Betty Crocker Rollups/Gushers at $1 each = $5
no coupons used
Total cost: $5
Used a Catalina of $3.50, paying $1.50

Transaction #6:
1 Oreo Cakesters at $2.99 each
used 1 FPC = $0
4 Cheerios at $1.77 = $7.08
used 2 $1/2 Cheerios, doubled
1 Starburst, .69cents
Used a Catalina of $3.50, ended up paying .27

Received a free loaf of bread as a Thank You from Albertson's!

Total spent at Albertsons: $5.65
(NOTE: If I had chosen not to purchase the Starbursts, I would have paid $0 for Transactions #2, 3 and #6.

Total SAVED at Albertsons: $92.00!

Total spent: $11.22, for 69 items.
Total saved: $148.63.
Total savings of 93%!!!!
PLUS, I came home with a $1.50 Catalina for cereal that doesn't expire until April 30!

Want to know how to save 93% off your groceries just like I did yesterday? You might be interested in the Extreme Shopper US edition, please read this post for more information.

NOTE: Currently I do not have access to any US coupon inserts, so if you are worried that you can't get great deals without these inserts, I hope this post shows you that you can still get coupons and a 93% discount rate without them!


  1. is there a limit to how many times in a row you could have done the catalina thing?? I'm looking for stuff for my kids fun night at school and wonder how many boxes of roll ups they'd let me buy!

  2. as long as the catalina is a rolling catalina there is no limit, unless the store figures you are a competitor there to clear their shelves. Not all catalinas roll, though so you have to watch that.