I have mentioned this many times before, but the more organized you are when you shop, the smoother your deals will go. And you will be less likely to impulse buy, spending money on things that you don't need. When I go shopping I have a very strategic plan in mind of what I am getting. I make a list, have all my coupons ready to go and go with a mind set of getting only what is on my list. I also shop specific store locations where I know how to navigate them easily and can avoid the really tempting sections (if I am not intending on shopping there) ie. the snack food and chips aisle.
I actually have come to enjoy seeing how quickly I can get out of a store.
Yesterday afternoon I decided to venture on one of these types of trips after my son got home from school. Yes I know having both my kids with me on a shopping trip is a bit crazy but I planned well for my trip and that helped. Living about 20 minutes from any of the stores I wanted to go to; I was suprised at how fast we accomplished our trip. We went to 3 stores (Albertson's, Staples, Toys R Us) and stopped at the bank and did it in under 2 hours. It was also during the evening rush hour (it took us 30 minutes to get home). So not too bad. Here's what we accomplished: (side note: my camera is broken so no pictures).
First Stop Bank:
Deposited $22.00 in Checks I got from Staples Rebates. Also got two suckers. (a going to the bank essential for my kids)
Second Stop: Staples
2 Hammermill Paper reams $6.79 each
Staples Brand Tape $2.00
Package Bristol Board $3.99
Crazy Band $4.99 (my son is obsessed with these)
Play money $1.00
$10.00/$25.00 Office Depot Coupon here (they take competitors coupons)
$10.57 in Staples rewards from previous purchases
final: $3.99 including tax (I know the math doesn't add up, I looked at my receipt and still couldn't figure it out)
Plus I can submit 2 rebates for the paper and get $11.58 in rebates back. Yay! I love a moneymaker.
Third Stop Albertson's:
4 Angel Soft Toilet 24 pack toilet paper $5.99 each
2 Pillsbury Brownie mixes $.88 each
4 $.50/1 angel soft coupons (not sure what insert) each was rounded up to $1.00
Paid: $21.72 plus tax (this is why I deposited the Staples checks so it wouldn't come out of my weekly budget)
Got back $10.00 catalina.
6-Fleichmans Yeast 3 Strip packs $1.69 each
6- Bounty paper towels $1.25 each
4- Campbell's Kids Chicken noodle soup $1.00 each (princess and sponge bob)
1 gallon milk $2.29
1 bag gummie bears $1.00(for a science experiment the kids and I are doing, will tell you about it later)
6- $.40/1 yeast from 10/2 SS (rounded up to $1.00 off each)
6-$.25/1 Bounty from 9/26 PG (rounded up to $1.00 off each)
2- $.40/2 soup from 10/2 SS (rounded up to $1.00 off each)
I also paid with the $10.00 catalina from previous purchase.
final: $1.98 (tax included)
I then got back 6-$.50 catalinas ($3.00 worth) from buying the yeast to use on my next purchase.
Stop 4 Toys R Us:
1 Beauty and the Beast Blue Ray combo pack $22.99
used $10.00/1 coupons from here
and paid with a $5.00 gift card from buying a some legos for my son last week (birthday present)
1 mild headache from looking at all the toys with my kids price free
Then I am going to submit for a $5.00 rebate here because I bought the soups and movie.
So if you are still following all the craziness, I spent $15.34 out of pocket ( I am not counting my first Albertson's transaction because I used my "free money" from rebates on it). I will then get $16.58 back in rebates and have $3.00 in catalinas to use next time at Albertson's. Even if you deduct the cost of two Tylenol that I had to take after the toy store (j/k) then overall it was like I got paid $4.34, a very thrifty trip.
Would it have been so great and short if I had just gone to the store unplanned and unorganized? The answer is simply no. I couldn't have done it without being prepared. The short amount of time it took to plan the trip, about 20 minutes, was as you can see very very well worth it!