Saturday, January 5, 2013

Frugal Challenge - Shopping the Loss Leaders

Remember the term "loss leaders?" It referred to the items grocery stores would put on their front page of sale ads to lure shoppers in knowing they would not make money on those items but the other items you would pick up while in the store. Well, I am not sure if there are any items they will loose money on but the stores all still have those bargain items to lure you in. The reason I bring this up is I am doubling down on lowering my grocery budget. Seems impossible but I want to closely track my spending and see if I can achieve this.

I used to be a big coupon shopper but have really cut back as we no longer have any stores that double coupons in our area. (Thanks Extreme Coupon shows) The value of the coupons is so much lower than before and I could not justify the rising cost of the Sunday paper so I cancelled it. I also would spend hours cutting and listing my shopping deals to find most items already bought out or out of stock and felt it was not worth my time.

So now I am going to try a new approach. In my daily travels of running the kids around I pass all the markets in our area. I will keep track online of any good deals and if it is worth a stop, I will pop in to snag the deals. Keeping to my list and not picking up extra items unless needed.

Here is what I have picked up so far this week and what I spent:
At CVS two lotions I really needed. Spent $6.85 with a prescription to get $6 back in extra care bucks (ECB) plus a $5 ECB for my last quarter shopping so I have $11 to spend next time. Good day to me.

At Albertsons they had the large packs of toilet paper and paper towels for $4.88. You can buy two a day for three days. Eight rolls of paper towels for $4.88 is a good buy in these parts when you can easily spend a dollar per roll or more.
I also bought:
Large beef roast (two meals will come out of this)
box of turkey burgers
3 boxes cereal
granola bars
large pack paper towels 8 rolls
large pack of toilet paper 16 double rolls
Used $1 coupon
total: $40.49 Not the best deals but worth buying

Next time I will share what I think is worth buying at the 99cents Store.
Sunny Simple Sunday will be up this afternoon.


  1. Sounds like you found some pretty good deals.
    It's nice that you were able to combine your shopping with your errands and save on gas also.

    When our kids were young, we always shopped the ads, and made up our menus according to what was on sale.

    I think I'm going back to that again :)

    Thanks for sharing, and enjoy your weekend.

  2. First off let me tell you that I wish you a Happy New Year, and that I love your frugal challenge posts. I have never relied on coupons much as I buy a great deal of organic stuff and unprocessed stuff, which you rarely find in a coupon. Shop Rite, in NY, has currently a "can-can" sale twice a year, they offer the large canned tomatoes at 50 cents each, dog food, pasta, other items cheaper than I have ever seen anywhere else. They are similar to loss-leaders. I find that if I stock up when these sales are going on I can save lots of $. Thanks again for your frugal tips - keep'em coming!

  3. I agree with you about coupons. They aren't "big" here in Canada, never have been, certainly not the way they have always been in the US. BUT...stores are getting more and more creative in getting us inside and to get our dollars...We get flyers every week in the Thursday community paper and I go through those, mark who has products I use at the best prices and I'll stock up where I can on the every day products (paper, beverages, laundry products etc.) I don't travel out of my way for deals (that's a waste of gas) but if something is on my route I'll stop in. Great post and a great reminder that we can do this if we pay attention!

  4. I found that coupons took too much time and weren't worth it for me anymore also. So now I shop the sales and try to cut corners that way. I really enjoy your frugal posts!
    hugs, Linda

  5. I don't shop with coupons either because most of the coupons are for things I don't use. Thanks for the advice.
    blessings to you.

  6. I find grocery shopping and couponing to be the most challenging aspect of reducing expenses & saving money!

  7. I don't do coupons either. Since you're lucky to stay home full time, you might consider starting to bake from scratch- breads, rolls, cakes, etc. It's much cheaper, and healthier, than boxed mixes. I make a lot of dishes with my eggs too- quiches, fritattas for dinner, etc. Much cheaper then meat. A hotel trip to the beach- what could you spend that $$$ on? Buy a bread machine and books on making things from scratch- soaps, lotions, shampoos. It all adds up! Start planting more food in your front yard and expand your gardens. You're so lucky to live in a mild climate! It's 5 degrees right now!
    Little Homestead in Boise

  8. I highly recommend "Independence Days: A Guide to Sustainable Food Storage & Preservation" by Sharon Astyk. It really changed how I look at having a pantry and saving money of foods, etc. I saved a huge amount of $ by not wasting food or buying what we really didn't like or use....

    Little Homestead in Boise

  9. I do use coupons still, but they seem to be making you buy 2 of everything etc. I started shopping last year at Aldi and have cut our grocery bill by about $40 week.
    Speaking of FREE, come visit me, my neice's are having a handmade necklace giveaway!

  10. I was never a coupon queen, I would cut them out and then leave them home! I also wouldn't find items I had them for, in the stores I shopped at! I use them rarely, but I do have individual stores' loyalty cards, which makes it easier to get the discount. xo

  11. I shop the loss leaders every week to stock up - they are particularly good for meat sales. I only buy what is on sale now - really trying to lower my budget that way. I used to use far more coupons (Canada has never doubled coupons and has way less than the USA) but found I was buying things I didn't need. I still use some of them - but only for items I would be buying already. Thank you for adding me to your blogroll! Have a great weekend.

  12. I'll be watching to see how you do...I find that simply listing what one buys is a good thing simply by itself. I wish you success!!

  13. We just started keeping track of all we spend with a book we're keeping in the car, it's amazing the things we were spending that we didn't realize. We try to buy items for the two for one sales and that has really been saving us a bundle. I'll be curious to see what you have to say about the 99 cent store, I find many items may be less but the size is also less so not really a bargain.

  14. Thanks for sharing, Elaine!
    I can't help but think more and more bloggers are going to be following you in the coming days. Times are going to be getting tighter with higher taxes for us middle income folks, I'm afraid.
    I'm enjoying a sunny Saturday here in So Cal..Hope you are, too!
    Carolynn xxx
    Still waiting for grandbaby...

  15. I know that we spend way too much on groceries. I may start keeping track and trying to save...I know that staying home from the store will cut my costs. Too many trips to town for one thing...and then I can fill a bag or two.

  16. Good luck, Elaine. I've never really used coupons because we don't have much space for storage and I eat a lot of things from the health food section. But I sure want to save money this year, too. I'll be keeping track of how you do!

    Thanks so much for joining in this week!


  17. No stores double coupon where I live and sadly, most things that are double are mostly processed and or junk food. I still would love to be in an area that doubles to save some money.

    I also shop loss leaders and am trying to save all the money we can since groceries are so expensive. I've just made my own laundry detergent and am willing to try anything else to save some money.

  18. Hi Elaine,
    I hear you with the coupons, I have
    clipped them and then by the time I use them they are out of date, so I have given that up
    Our Publix grocery store over different items every week for buy one get one free, so I always check in and stock up on those deals if it is something we use, and sometimes If I have too many I can give the other away as I am paying the same price for a lot of times I share them with my grown kids. They really have had some great deals, and they do this every Thursday. Also no one sells cereal cheaper than Wally world most of the time anyway, so always buy that there, as well as any can goods, and stuff. I really like to keep
    giving the reg. grocery stores my
    business too tho, because if one store (like Walmart) puts everyone
    else out of business, those prices
    want be so what I
    Am enjoying these posts hon.

    Hope you are having a good weekend,
    blessings, Nellie

  19. I use to do coupons all the time- but no time now-- I just grab and run!! You've done well!

  20. I went to the Fresh Market today because they're running $6 deals.

    I'm trying not to cook too much food, and we're eating out of the freezer at least twice/week. I wish I could quantify "savings" from not "wasting." (Does that make sense?) It's harder to do with only three of us at home. I'm having to really think about portion sizes and recipes/serving amounts before I plan menus and grocery lists.

    I live in a terrible area because there are 40 banks between the two highways where we live and only two grocery stores: The Fresh Market and Publix. Both are expensive! There is a Target and a Whole Foods a little farther away. Since there's no competition, there aren't many great bargains. I do have a flower market close by, and a farmer's market half the year which helps.

    Keep these posts coming, because we could all use help in saving money!


  21. I'm with you, my next major project is cutting the food budget. We have to do it, Elaine!

  22. I had forgotten all about the term "loss leaders"! That's something my mom used to mention to me and probably went in one ear and out the other. She was a very good shopper, having gown up in the Depression. I tried using coupons years ago but for me, it added stress (to an already stress filled life) and it was so time consuming for me that I gave it up.

    Wishing you much good luck and I'm eager to hear how you're doing.

    Happy new year to you!

  23. I will be staying tuned! I do pick up a lot on sale at Walgreens and cvs
    See you Friday!
    XO Kris

  24. Sounds like you have found a method for saving at the grocery stores that really works for you. And I know you grow a lot of your own veggies too. You're doing a great job of saving money for your family.

  25. I think you did well with the deals. I love the Aveeno in the winter for my cracked hands.

    I am not using many coupons any more either unless I can get something free or very cheap.

  26. Elaine,

    First of all, thanks for joining me today for Pinned it Made it Monday.

    Like you, coupons just don't typically work out for me. We have been watching our food bill grow and grow and are trying to cut the grocery budget in any way we can! I think it's great for us all to share ways to do this. We have a points system like you do with CVS through Walgreens here. It saved us during Christmas time! :) I'll be watching for more tips!

    Have a great week!

  27. I used to be a super couponer but now, not only do we eat a bit differently but I simply do not have the time to run around and get all the bargains every week.

    I still follow the sales and get things we need when they're at a good price--it's just not as much as all that clipping and running here and there!

    My challenge this year is to stay within my grocery budget each month. So far, so good for the first half of January!

    Good job on the deals!