Price Chopper has been my default grocery store for years. It’s close to home, so it’s convenient and I don’t waste money on gas. Since schlepping my son to multiple stores on multiple days is my idea of a nightmare, I’m glad to have a nearby location with a good selection of products where I can pick up all of my grocery needs for the week. I love that Price Chopper doubles manufacturer’s coupons up to 99 cents, and they also accept competitor’s store coupons. I am happy to team up with Price Chopper to walk you through their many ways to save and to show you how I save on a typical shopping trip. I’ll show you how I save money (typically 30 to 50 percent, but sometimes more) on everything I need for the week’s meals, as well as a few bargains for my stockpile that I will use later.
First, a little background. I call myself a “casual couponer”. I do use a coupon binder which I fill with coupons from my Sunday newspaper subscription as well as a few internet printables, but in general I don’t spend a lot of time clipping, sorting and planning. I grocery shop weekly (ideally just once per week!) because I like to use fresh produce. I know the coupon policy, abide by it, and I don’t have any special friends at the grocery store who bend the rules for me (as far as I know, nobody there knows about my blog and that’s fine by me!).
My weekly shopping trip begins with menu planning, which is the hardest part for me because I always overthink it. I feel victorious when I have a game plan for the whole week. The meals for this week are:
- Salad with Chicken Cutlets and Honey Mustard Dressing (needed to buy lettuce)
- Spinach and Artichoke Lasagna (needed to buy spinach, artichoke hearts, ricotta, mozzarella and lasagna noodles)
- Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken with Rice (needed to buy honey, chicken thighs and broccoli)
- Toad in the Hole with Peas (needed to buy peas)
- Oven Baked Fajitas (needed to buy bell pepper, diced tomatoes and tortillas)
- Homemade Pizza (needed to buy yeast, mozzarella, bell pepper and mushrooms)
I usually plan my menus based on what sounds good to eat, not what’s on sale. However, since I’m flexible with the brands I buy, I usually find many of the ingredients I need on sale. Once I’ve established my plan, I double check my pantry to see which ingredients I need to buy, and write them on my shopping list. Next, I carefully peruse the weekly Price Chopper circular to find items at stock-up prices to add to my list, especially if I have coupons to bring the prices even lower. By the way, did you know that the weekly ad that you receive in a weekend newspaper or in the mail is slightly different from the one you can pick up at the front of the store? For example, this week the front page featured three “tripler” coupons that the store version does not have. Don’t miss out!
Starting on May 13th, Price Chopper officially rolled out their latest money-saving promotions. I will admit that I wasn’t happy to hear that they increased the threshold for the Fuel Advantage program from $50 to $100 in order to earn 10 cents off per gallon of gas. However, over the past few weeks I have been snagging some fantastic deals that more than make up the difference, and I’m happy they didn’t ditch the program altogether. On Monday I headed to Price Chopper with my shopping list in hand, eager to use my tripler coupons that were in this week’s ad, and see how much I could save! I found examples of Price Chopper’s new price tags throughout the store, and I’ll walk you through each type.
Once I enter the store, my first stop is always the iSave kiosk. I scan my AdvantEdge card and it spits out a sheet of coupons. They recently installed a new machine that gives more coupons than before, providing a good mix of manufacturer coupons and store coupons (which can be combined with manufacturer coupons).
I found a $2 off four boxes of Special K cereal store coupon that I could combine with a $1 off manufacturer’s coupon that I had. I was also pleasantly surprised to find a manufacturer’s coupon for $1 off my favorite shampoo (on sale this week), and a store coupon for $5 off a purchase of $75 or more.
I start with the produce section, and I took advantage of a deal on fresh blueberries this week. There was a “Lower Price” deal that cut $1 off the usual price of $3.99, but with a store “Bonus Coupon” that I printed from Price Chopper’s Facebook page (where they offer different printable coupons each week), I paid $1.50 for a pint of blueberries.
I also picked up a bag of lettuce on sale and a few other produce items that I needed for meals this week. Produce can be a budget-buster when you just plain need it and it’s not on sale, but I knew that the savings on other items on my list would help pay for the veggies that weren’t on sale.
Next it was over to specialty cheeses where I found one of the new “Price Chopped” signs advertising 8-ounce fresh mozzarella balls for $3. A 16-ounce package of the same cheese sells for $7.99, so I picked up two of the smaller packages for my recipes this week and saved $1.99. Never assume that the larger package is a better deal!
We go through a lot of cereal in our house, so I’m always happy to snag a good deal on the particular brands we eat. This week there was an AdvantEdge deal on Special K cereal. At $3 per box, I would already save $1.39 on each one I purchased just by using my AdvantEdge card, but I also had coupons to use. An iSave coupon gave me another $2 off if I purchased four, and I had a manufacturer’s coupon for $1 off with the purchase of three. I picked up four boxes for $9, or $2.25 each.
BOGO and Half Price Sales
Buy One Get One (or Two!) and half price sales are always great opportunities to stock up on items I use often. I particularly love the 1/2 price deals because I can use a manufacturer’s coupon for each item purchased; on the other hand, Price Chopper’s coupon policy currently allows one coupon per BOGO offer, since you’re only paying for one of the items. This week 50-ounce containers of olive oil were on sale 1/2 price. I also happened to have two internet printable coupons for $1.50 off each bottle. I was able to get two 50-ounce bottles for $5.99 each! We go through olive oil quickly in our house, so I’m always thrilled to find a bargain.
Everyday Low Price
There are many items throughout the store that have an “Everyday Low Price”. It’s nice being able to purchase certain items that I use frequently without worrying about whether they’re on sale or not. Canned mushrooms (which I love on my pizza) were one example, and I also save money by purchasing Price Chopper brand frozen vegetables. Being flexible with brand names is key to saving money. While I’m super picky about some items, many times the store brand is just fine with me.
I need a fantastic deal in order to buy something like hair products at a grocery store. This week the stars aligned and there were some great sale prices that corresponded with coupons I’ve been hanging onto. Finding an unexpected clearance deal to go with a coupon was icing on the cake!
Larger bottles of Pantene shampoo and conditioner had a “Chopped” price of $5.99 each, and I picked up two. Next, I picked up a smaller bottle of shampoo on clearance for $2.68 and paired it with a small bottle of conditioner on sale for $3.33. I had two great Pantene coupons from the paper–one was a Buy One Get One free, and the other was $3 off two. I made a silly mistake here, because I was thinking the BOGO coupon would be great for the larger Pantene bottles, but forgot that the cash register would choose the lower priced bottles for that deal. Oh well, c’est la vie–it was still a great deal. I also picked up four bottles of Garnier products on sale 2 for $5. I had a $1.50 off 2 coupon and two $1.00 off coupons, which meant I paid $6.50 for the four bottles. It will be nice not running out of shampoo or conditioner for a while!
Whenever I head to checkout with a thick stack of coupons, I know it’s going to be a great transaction. This trip was no exception. I was a little bit nervous when I saw the pre-AdvantEdge card total creep up to $200, but a swipe of my card brought it down by $47.64, and my coupon savings totaled $39.67. I spent a total of $112.94 and saved a total of $87.31, or 44 percent (tax included)!
I bought everything I needed for meals this week, and I also stocked up on cereal, olive oil, canned tomatoes, shampoo and conditioner. Here’s my 53-item haul with details on how I saved:
- Frozen Price Chopper brand peas, broccoli and spinach
- 2 lbs chicken thighs
- 1 bunch “junior bananas”
- 2 boxes Jones sausage patties (saved $1.50 each with card, used internet printable coupon for $1.00 off two, paid $2 for two)
- 2 packages Hormel Natural Choice lunch meat (used $1 manufacturer coupon combined with tripler coupon, paid $5 for two)
- 1 pint blueberries (used Price Chopper “Bonus Coupon” from Facebook, paid $1.50)
- 2 six-packs of single serve Mott’s Medleys applesauce (saved $0.30 on each with card, used $1 manufacturer coupon with tripler, paid $1.38 for two)
- 1 Dole salad blend (on sale $1.99)
- 2 green bell peppers
- Fleischmann’s yeast packets
- 1 container of store brand honey
- 3 8-ounce bricks of Heluva Good cheese (saved $0.99 on each with card, used $0.50 internet printable coupon and $1.00 off 2 coupon from newspaper, paid $4.00 for three)
- 2 gallons store brand white milk
- 1/2 gallon TruMoo chocolate milk (saved $0.80 with card, used $0.55 internet printable coupon, paid $0.89)
- Sorrento ricotta cheese (saved $0.49 with card, used $1 manufacturer’s coupon from newspaper, paid $2)
- 2 8-ounce Belgioiso fresh mozzarella balls (paid $6 for two, $1.99 cheaper than 16-ounce package)
- 1 can store brand mushrooms
- 1 can Campbell’s gravy
- 4 cans Furmano’s tomatoes (saved $1.20 each with card, used manufacturer’s coupon with tripler, paid $1.76 for four)
- 1 bottle Hellmann’s mayonnaise (used $1.00 “peelie” coupon found on chicken, paid $3.89)
- 1 box Barilla lasagna noodles
- 1 bottle Apple & Eve apple juice (saved $0.69 with card)
- 1 carton of Florida’s Natural orange juice (saved $1.11 with card)
- 1.25 liter bottle of Coke (FREE with Catalina coupon from previous purchase)
- 2 50-ounce bottles Filippo Berio olive oil (saved $7.50 each with card, used $1.50 internet printable coupons, paid $11.98 for two)
- 1 jar DeLallo artichoke hearts (saved $0.10 with card)
- 1 package Ortega whole wheat tortillas (saved $0.30 with card)
- 1 box Blue Bunny ice cream sandwiches (saved $2.70 with card, used $1.00 internet printable coupon, paid $1.69)
- 4 boxes Special K cereal (saved $1.39 each with card, combined $2 iSave coupon and $1 manufacturer’s coupon, paid $9 for four)
- 2 large bottles Pantene shampoo and conditioner (saved $1.30 each with card, used $3 manufacturer’s coupon, paid $8.98 for two)
- 2 small bottles Pantene shampoo and conditioner (saved $0.96 on one and $1.61 on clearance shampoo with card, used BOGO coupon, paid $2.68 for two)
- 4 bottles Garnier Fructis shampoo and conditioner (saved $0.99 each with card, used one $1.50 off two coupon and two $1.00 off coupons, paid $6.50 for four)
- Used a $5 off $75 purchase coupon from the iSave kiosk
As an added bonus, I earned 10 cents off per gallon of gas, bringing my current discount to 20 cents off.
It doesn’t take a lot of time and effort to save money at Price Chopper. Follow these tips, and I bet you can save 30 to 50 percent on a regular basis like I do:
- Sign up for an AdvantEdge card and use it every time. You’ll save quite a bit just by swiping your card at the register, and you’ll earn a fuel discount. You might occasionally get great coupons in the mail, too. Don’t forget to stop at the iSave kiosk on your way in get some high value coupons when you scan your card
- Find a free paper in your community that includes the weekly Price Chopper ad, or purchase a weekend newspaper with the ad inside–you’ll get the best store coupons, like doubler or tripler coupons, which usually aren’t in the in-store flyers. Check each page for store coupons that will help you save extra on items you need
- Consider subscribing to a Sunday newspaper to get manufacturer coupon inserts that you can clip and combine with great sale prices at Price Chopper. Remember, you can use a manufacturer’s coupon in combination with a Price Chopper store coupon for the same item
- Join AFullCup.com (it’s free) and use their searchable coupon database to check for internet printable coupons to match items on your list. To cut out some of the legwork, you can also search for deal bloggers who assemble “coupon matchup” lists applicable to your region
- “Like” the Price Chopper Facebook page and check the Price Chopper website for great printable coupons that change weekly. You can also load paperless e-Coupons onto your AdvantEdge card online
- Try store brand products if you can’t get a cheaper deal on a brand name item–you might not be able to tell the difference, except when you see your receipt
Keeping it real
Just in case this blog post gives you the impression that I am super organized and on top of things, I must mention that as I was beginning to write this blog post at 9:30 p.m. on Monday, I realized that I hadn’t seen my phone (with all the pictures on it) in a while. In fact, I hadn’t seen it since I returned from the store early in the afternoon. After a frantic search I realized that I must have left it in my wallet, tethered to the shopping cart by its wristlet strap. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to whoever turned it in! I was able to go right to the store and retrieve it from Customer Service later that night, feeling like a relieved idiot. I’m so grateful that there are honest people in the world.
Update: 5/23/2012 shopping trip
Even though I already completed my sponsored Price Chopper shop (as explained above), I did so well shopping this week’s sales that I wanted to share. Once again I purchased everything I will need for meals for the rest of the week, and I also stocked up on quite a few items that will contribute to future meals. I lucked out and found chicken on clearance, which I will freeze and use for at least four meals. I also added some laundry detergent to my stockpile and bought trash bags that I needed for super cheap. It’s so nice when the brands you like best are on sale, and you have coupons to boot! This week I spent $98.49 and saved a total of $83.61, or 46 percent. I also earned $0.10 off per gallon of gas, and a $1.00 off my next order Catalina coupon. Here’s what I bought and how I saved:
- 3 packages Mama Lucia’s frozen meatballs (on sale BOG2 free, paid $5.49 for three)
- 5.57 lb chicken thighs ($3 off clearance peelie on package, paid $5.86)
- 4.94 lb chicken thighs and drumsticks ($3 off clearance peelie on package, paid $4.85)
- 2 packages Sorrento homestyle mozzarella (saved $0.49 each with card, used two $2 off manufacturer coupons, paid $3 for two)
- 1 loaf Sara Lee honey wheat bread (saved $1.49 with card, used $1 manufacturer coupon and $0.50 store coupon, paid $1.00)
- 1 loaf Price Chopper Italian bread (saved $1.49 with card, paid $0.80)
- Toufayan whole wheat pitas
- ChiChi’s corn tortillas
- Price Chopper brand light sour cream
- 1.47 lbs bananas
- Price Chopper Roasted Red Pepper Hummus (used printable store coupon from website to pay $2.00)
- 2 avocados
- Feta cheese
- Dole salad mix (saved $1.00 with card, paid $2.99)
- 20 oz jar Kretch Wheat Germ (saved $2.65 with clearance markdown, paid $4.34)
- Ortega Taco Sauce and Ortega Refried Beans (saved $0.20 on sauce with card, used $1.00 off two Ortega products coupon, paid $2.48 for both)
- 2 jars Skippy Peanut Butter (saved $1.49 on each with card, paid $5 for two)
- Wishbone Greek Vinaigrette (saved $0.99 with card, paid $2.00)
- 1 bottle Juicy Juice Apple Juice (saved $0.99 with card, paid $2.50)
- YoBaby toddler yogurt 4-pack (saved $0.49 with card, paid $2.50)
- Dannon Light and Fit yogurt 4-pack (saved $0.59 with card, paid $2.00)
- Campari tomatoes (paid $2.00)
- 3 packages Alexia frozen sweet potato fries (saved $1.89 on each with card, used two $1 internet printable coupons and one $1 iSave coupon, paid $4.50 for three)
- 4 packages Hormel Natural Choice lunch meats (saved $1.49 on each with card, used two $0.50 internet printable coupons and two $0.50 iSave coupons (one saved from previous week), paid $8 for four)
- 2 packages Hillshire Farm smoked sausage (saved $1.49 on each with card, used two $0.55 internet printable coupons, paid $2.80 for two)
- 1 rotisserie chicken (decided to cheat on dinner, paid $4.99)
- 1 half gallon Garelick fat free milk (saved $0.44 with card, paid $1.50)
- 1 half gallon Garelick 2 percent milk (saved $0.54 with card, paid $1.50)
- 2 bottles Simply Orange juice (saved $1.29 on each with card, paid $5 for both)
- 3 28-load bottles All Free & Clear detergent (saved $3.29 on each with card, used one $1 off coupon from paper, two $1.00 off internet printables, $1.50 off $7 laundry purchase Catalina from previous purchase, paid $6 for three)
- Lindsay olives (saved $0.10 with card, used $0.75 off store coupon printed from Price Chopper website)
- 55-count Glad ForceFlex trash bags (saved $1.00 with card, used $1.85 internet printable coupon and $1.00 store coupon from Cheers! magazine, paid $5.14 for 55 bags)
- Used $2 off $10 meat purchase coupon printed from Price Chopper website
- Used $1 off $10 produce purchase store coupon from Cheers! magazine
Although I typically shop just once per week, I plan to take advantage of Price Chopper’s 4 day Memorial Weekend sale to buy mayonnaise at a steal (I have a manufacturer’s coupon to combine with their store coupon, making it just $1), and to use an in-ad coupon to get Buy One Get Two Ball Park franks and a bag of charcoal for $4.99. I may also purchase some new plants for my garden to help reach the $15 threshold needed in order to use the mayonnaise store coupon. With all the items I have stocked up on recently, I should be able to coast through a few weeks without spending a lot on groceries!
If you’re new to couponing or just want to improve your game, I hope these examples have helped show you what to look for. With just a little effort and organization, I saved almost 50% each time!