Sunday, April 5, 2009

Frustrating But Informative Trip to Jewel

We didn't have the best Sunday today. We stayed in a hotel downtown last night because I'm reviewing it for a Web site, and no one slept well. Note to self: No matter how nice and how kid-friendly the hotel, if the kids don't have their own room, they're probably not going to get to bed at a decent hour.
And then I wasted a couple of hours trying to get good deals. You know, there are lots of weeks when I pull off couponing and money-saving without spending much time at all. Sometimes it even saves time, like when I am able to whip up a few meals from our stockpiles and don't have to take the time to shop. But then there are days when I spend way, way too much time pursuing some deal, and I don't want to quit because I've already sunk in so much time. Today was one of those days.
Late this afternoon Epu returned from the office store with a new $85 printer cartridge*, and I of course immediately began printing out coupons. I'd been unable to print coupons for a couple weeks now because the cartridge had stopped printing a strong enough barcode even after I shook it harder than I shake the baby when she's naughty. (That's a JOKE! A terrible child abuse joke. I never shake the baby.)
I had just read on Hot Coupon World that Trail Mix Crunch** is included in Jewel's Post cereal deal, and that there are $2/1 coupons for it on their Web site. That info meant a great deal on cereal could become a MONEYMAKING deal. I got three of the $2/1 Post Trail Mix Crunch Qs with my laptop, but Epu's computer just would not print them. The site kept saying there was an internal error. I looked online and found advice to use Apple's Safari browser if you have this problem.
Well, downloading and installing Safari on the hubs' computer took forever. I think maybe the firewall was blocking it or something. It didn't help that Nutmeg, overtired from the hotel, was shrieking complaints because she wanted to type on the computer.
When I finally got Safari running, it didn't help at all. The damn coupon still would not print.
But I wanted to run to the store for some cornmeal for dinner (veggie chili with cheese/cornmeal dumplings, mmm), so I took my 3 printed coupons and dug up an expired $1/2 so I'd be able to buy 5 boxes of Post cereal and get the $5 Cat.
Except, my Jewel apparently doesn't carry Trail Mix Crunch. I kind of had expected that all along, so I thought, I'll just do that Kellogg's/milk deal so the trip isn't a waste. I THOUGHT I had a whole bunch of 70 cents/1 Kellogg's cereal coupons I'd paid for.
But get this. The Kellogg's coupons I'd ordered aren't for cereal. They're for Special K protein products. I wasted $3 on those things! Grr.
Finally, I thought I'd try one more thing while at Jewel: The "spend $25 on Kraft, get $8 off your Easter ham" promo. I wanted to see if it would work off the pre-card price, so I got 10 Philly cream cheeses, $2.50 pre-card, $1 with card, and a ham.
Well, I checked with the staff, and they thought the savings would come off at the register, not as a coupon. So I scanned the items at the self-checkout, but no $8 came off. I scanned the $7 off any ham coupon from the flyer just fine (even though the text says you have to spend $30 besides the ham, it still scans if you don't).
My conclusion would be that this deal works on the sale prices only. The folks on Hot Coupon World say the same thing. But here's the good news: Those who have tried it say you don't actually have to buy a ham in the order. The 8 bucks just comes off your total.
Naturally, I just stocked up on several boxes of Philly cream cheese earlier this week, but no matter. I'll probably get some more of those and some of the bacon and Triscuits that are part of the Kraft deal next time I'm in. Oh, and apparently Seattle's Best Coffee is on Avenu right now so if you include that in your deal you'll do better.
In the end, all I bought was my $2 bag of corn meal. That's the first time in a long time I've walked out of Jewel with just one little thing.
* Is it worth it to even print out coupons if your printer takes such expensive cartridges? I'm not sure. We can't even remember when we first got this printer, and it came with the cartridge that just died. I think it's been more than a year, maybe more than 2 years. And I've been nagging the hubs to figure out if the cartridge can be refilled next time, saving us some money. It can't be refilled at Wags, that much I know.
** I thought I would really like this cereal, but when I got some last time they had the $2/1 Q, I realized that it contains Grape Nuts, which are of course as hard as gravel. But hey, a moneymaker is a moneymaker.