Grocery Geek Reporting: Simplification and a Whole Lotta Sugah Watah

This week I found myself running around and feeling exhausted in my efforts to “nab the good deals.” I only went to two stores on Wednesday, but I came home wondering if this is all worth it. FishPapa and I had a great conversation about it, and we realized that while my grocery geekiness pays off major big time in our checking account, it’s not worth it if it costs me energy and joy.

We are not throwing frugality out the window, but we are going to search for ways to simplify. One of those ways is to shop at Costco more frequently. As my husband put it, “We’ll make Costco our pantry.” That is, we’ll build off the main items available at Costco, rather than chasing all over town every week. I’ll visit other stores when the sales are really worth it. Here is our rationale:

** Costco has the best deal around on many of our staple items, such as cheese, butter, milk, and bread. Their meat department can’t be beat for quality. This is not true for everything they sell. But, our basics have been coming from Costco for a long time now.

** Going there is “an event” for our family. The kids love the samples, and we all enjoy eating dinner at the food court. By all of us going for dinner and shopping one night a week, I won’t have to feel pressured for time. “Gotta get back to make dinner, relieve my husband, help with bedtime, etc.” In some ways having all eight of us on the shopping trip serves our family better than if I go alone.

** We love the specialty products they sell. We’re food snobs, and therefore, enjoy picking up wierd cheeses once in awhile. Costco has also been increasing their availability of organic products for low prices which is something we desire as well.

I’ll still be couponing and you can bet that CVS and Walgreens will still be my favorite haunts, but I hope I will be doing it all a little more joyfully and not feel so pressured. Check back next week to see what happens.

In other news, Walgreens really wants our business on Fridays and Saturdays. I was pleased to find another $5 coupon in my email on Thursday night. And was surprised to see their coupon also on some of my regular coupon sites. They really want our business. Last week I mentioned that Kraft deal. Well, the CapriSuns have an instant win game, so the FishBoys have been requesting more CapriSuns. I rarely buy these things, honest. But, since the whole household has been sick for almost two weeks, I figured what the heck. And once I found the coupon, it was a done deal. Here was the transaction:

3 CapriSuns @$2.50 each = $7.50
1 Ritz Cracker = $2.50
3 Pepsi 12 packs = $11.00

Subtotal = $21.00 + tax
Minus $5 coupon
Paid $16.00 out of pocket
Received back Register Rewards for $2 and for $3
Total “cost” $11.00 for a whole lot of sugar water.

Seeing as the price on 12 packs at the grocery store and Walmart is locally $4.50, I figured this was an exceptional deal. We don’t go through pop super quickly, but with the holidays coming up, I figured it was a good thing to stock up on.

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  1. I am with you on the stealing your joy bit! My husband and I had a similar conversation not to long ago. I was running ragged trying to score the deals (and we live 20 miles from shopping!). We too use Costco for our staples. I shop there and Safeway every two weeks. And then fill it at Trader Joes once a month. It is working for now. I may pay a bit more but I am sane! We use Costco as a family night too! To me it is so much easier for us all to go and enjoy being together than for me to run and rush alone.

  2. I’m so glad to hear I’m not alone on this. AND that you’ve come to similar conclusions that we have. We must be on the right track. 😉

  3. Me too!! Especially now, with this awful morning sickness kicking my rear all day. I just can’t get excited about coupons anymore. And like the previous commenter, we live pretty far away from the stores…so it’s really an ordeal. We don’t have Costco so we shop at Sams for most of our meat and a few supplies. I’d love to get more there but it’s such a huge amount of money to come up with at once! So we do what we can there and fill in with sales and weekly grocery trips. But I am definitely cutting back on the “deals” I grab. I just don’t have the patience for it right now!!

  4. Christy@MercyEveryMorning says:

    I’ve been feeling the same way about my shopping. It takes so much time and energy away to be running all over town! We have a Sam’s membership and are using it for stocking up on butter, bread and meats. I may try Costco when this runs out. And Walgreens and CVS are still favorites here, too! 🙂 I was feeling guilty that I haven’t been running around getting the absolute cheapest price on everything, but I’ve also been sick most of this year, so something had to give! I’m sure with your big move you feel the same!

  5. Oh please update us on how this turns out for you. This is the exact thing I’ve been trying to figure out lately, except that we have no Costco in our new town (I miss it dearly!).

    The closest warehouse club is a Sam’s about an hour away. I’m trying to decide if making a once-a-month trip and doing some OAM cooking stuff and then just hitting ALDI for weekly produce would work.

    Of course, I’ll still be doing all the toiletries at CVS and Walgreens.

    I’m just not enjoying couponing, especially for food. We want to eat healthier and I’m not finding coupons for healthy foods too often. It just seems like more work than its worth for the food coupons. Now, toiletries coupons are worth it because I know exactly which ones to keep based on the brands that we use and that doesn’t take as much time!

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