Saturday, April 19, 2008

Shopping Saturday

I took just one main grocery shopping trip this week, at the Kenosha Woodmans again. I spent $58 and got enough produce, dairy, eggs and misc. to last us through the week, along with the meat we had left over from last week (2 pounds chicken, a nitrate-free ham and a package of salami). Also bought cake mix and frosting for the birthday party this Sunday for my mother, grandmother and daughter.

I spent $6 on a quick Jewel run, mostly on juice bars for a sick kid.

I spent perhaps $3.50 on groceries at CVS when I forgot to use my ECBs.

I spent $2 on a grocery item at Target (strawberry preserves)

Add it all up, and I spent $70, $10 under budget! I had been meeting to spend that last $10 on wine, but now it's Friday night and I'm making do with some port that was in the liquor cabinet. I think I'll just forget about that $10, to make up for one of the past weeks when we went over budget, and try to carve some money out of next week's budget for wine and beer.

How we stayed under budget is no mystery: I didn't have to buy any meat. Also, I was able to use CVS and coupons to get FREE MILK which certainly helps. If I have time today I am going to stop by CVS one more time for a couple more free grocery items that are on sale this week.

At CVS I bought:

1) 1 blood sugar monitor $15.00 (paid $15ECB)
1 CVS painkiller $4.00
3 CVS clearance hardcover notebooks $1.50
coupons: $19
paid $1 ECB and 0.84 Out of Pocket
earned $15ECB (was supposed to be $19 but I got wrong painkiller)

2 4-packs ravioli $10 ($2ECB
3 Essence of Beauty gift bags $4.50 ($5ECB)
2-Liter 7-Up $1.69
1 CVS painkiller $4
coupons: $4.35
earned $7ECB (should have been $11 but got wrong painkiller again)

1 blood sugar monitor $15.00 (paid $15ECB)
2 gallons hormone-free 2% milk $5.80
1 gallon hormone-free whole milk $3.59
1 small bottle Perrier $1.49
subtotal $25.90
coupons: $25.50

4 packs of CVS brand diapers, 40-count (bogo) $17
2 bottles CVS brand rubbing alcohol $1
1 bottle Heinz vinegar $2 ($1ECB)
$7 coupons
PAID $12ECB and $1.04 OOP

2 softsoap body wash $10 ($10ECB)
1 EOB moisturizing gloves $4
2 EOB hand lotion $10 ($5ECB)
coupons $6
PAID $17ECB and $1.26 OOP

10 EOB gift bags $15
3 EOB nail brushes $6
2 EOB hand lotions $5 ($20 ECBs altogether)
coupon $5
paid $22ECB and $1.17 cash

EARNED $20ECB (should have been $25 but 2 hand lotions didn't pay off)

2 EOB gift bags $3
1 EOB moisturizing gloves $4 ($5ECB)
1 garden clogs $12.99
coupon $4
PAID $15ECB and $1.07 from gift card

So in total this week, here's how I did

ECBs spent: 67
ECBs earned: 89 (should have been $17 more if not for errors)
cash spent: $13.70

cash received from returns/extra coupons: $7

So, I came out about $5 ahead, not counting the $4 gift card I received for one of the returns, which I will factor into next week's spending. I am still hoping to be able to return $19 worth of merchandise that did not pay the expected ECBs.

But I did manage to bring home some important items: 4 weeks' worth of diapers, 3 gallons of milk, birthday gifts for my mother and grandmother, and goody bags for my daughter's birthday (those Essence of Beauty gift bags will be the fanciest treat bags in town, heehee). I also got 2 items, totaling $18, for other people who will pay me a little something for them.

This week was supposed to be a really good week, what with the 2 free blood sugar monitors. But due to a couple screw-ups (paying cash instead of ECBs one day and buying a bunch of stuff that didn't pay) it turned out to be only OK. As for all the painkillers that didn't pay, I called CVS and they said that I was supposed to buy the gel tabs and I just bought the regular. As for the EOB products that didn't pay, I think I bought "trial size" bottles which are excluded.

Usually this is no big deal -- you just return the stuff that didn't pay off and use the money to buy the correct items if they're in stock. But tonight I tried to return the 4 bottles of CVS painkiller and 2 EOB hand lotions, and I was told that I would only be refunded the amount of cash I had paid. That was 84 cents for one painkiller, and similar tiny amounts for the other stuff. The only thing I ended up returning was the one painkiller I'd accidentally paid for in cash.

This is a new policy at my store, and they said it was because of a new manager. I'm going to try to return the stuff at a different store over the weekend.