Thursday, December 31, 2009

Thursday Thrill, 12/31: Walmart

We AAALLL shop at Wal-Mart. In fact, I think that half of my town was at the store tonight -- and we have 5 Wal-Marts in easy driving distance, so that's really saying something! Well, I did a bit of ground work and we hit the stores with a stack of coupons in hand. Here are some things I learned from my first ever couponing adventure at Wal-Mart:

1. Leave the kids at home. It's never easy shopping with a 4-year-old, a 3-year-old, and a 2-year-old, but add in the time-intensive hunt for just the right product in just the right size and it gets a little mind-blowing. And then, you get to the register . . . . not pretty.

2. Be reallllly nice to people around you. I let two different parties go in front of me at the register: a man and a woman with just a little pile of items and a lady with just 3 or 4 items and 3 kids. I felt her pain. Our cashier was quite pleasant, and I tried to be helpful to her, too. I think it paid off in the end, because she forced through a couple of coupons that might have stopped other cashiers. She was very efficient, and it seemed to go very smoothly, but there was still a long line of people waiting by the time we finished.

3. Go during the lower traffic morning time. We enjoy shopping at 8:00am when we can - mainly because we so often can't because of work. We were there at 8:00 pm tonight, and it just was too crowded.

4. Go with a mission, and don't digress. I only bought one item tonight that I didn't have a coupon for. I'm proud of sticking to my original plan . . . well, mostly sticking.

We bought some things that, honestly, we don't need. But I learned from another, wiser couponer than I, that just because you don't need something today doesn't mean you're not going to need it at all. There's wisdom in buying something you don't need YET, especially when you can get it for free or cheap. Example: I bought a travel-size Renu contact solution. No one in my family wears contacts. But it was $1.47, and I had a $2.00 coupon. So, really, Renu paid me $.53 to take their product, and I was glad to do it. I like having that small-but-growing stockpile in my linen closet. (I'm going to have to find a better place for all my goodies, since my linen closet is not much wider than a shoe box. Not joking.)

I won't bore you with all the details of my trip, just a few highs and lows. My favorite finds:

The aforementioned Renu Fresh Contact Solution
Price: $1.47
$2.00 coupon here
Cost: FREE, with possible overage!

Klondike ChocoTaco Single
Price: $1.00
$1.00 coupon here
Cost: FREE!

Chef's Requested Beef Fillet
Price: $3.68
$3.00 coupon here
Cost: $.68!

And some of the lowlights, the items for which I'm less proud:

The aforementioned coupon-less loaf of Italian bread
Price: $1.50
Cost: $1.50

Pepperidge Farm Cookies
$1.00 coupon here
Cost: $1.98 - almost all of my items were below or JUST above $1, so this is one of the more expensive items. I couldn't resist, though, because these cookies are some of my husband's favorites.
Our total before coupons was $48 and change. After coupons, we paid $25.17.

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