Yesterday was a HUGE accomplishment for me! I conquered a FULL shopping adventure ON MY OWN! I was out for 5 hours from the time I left my apartment at 11:30am and by the time I got back at 4:30pm. Now I know it doesn't sound like much, but it really was something I needed to do on my own just to prove that I was capable. Yes, I've hit a supermarket once or twice and just picked up necessities in a basket, but I've never done a shopping trip where I hit both supermarkets with a LONG list by myself. I was determined! I did sprinkle in some extra fun by hitting the mall and Target too, so I was looking forward to the adventures. Just to document this momentous occasion, I took pictures along the way, so come along and see what I did all by myself!
I had plans to wake up early in the morning so I could start when there were fewer people in the supermarkets, but my alarm was wacky or I accidentally turned it off, so I didn't wake up until close to 9am. Whoops! I guess it worked out anyway because the fog was so thick that I wouldn't have driven in it and would have had to wait for it to burn off. I texted Howard throughout the entire day even when I was in the elevator, haha. I took a selfie when I was waiting, but I'm totally not a selfie person so I'll spare you the awkwardness and start with this picture instead.
With a full tank of gas, I was ready to head on out! Despite the fact that there are stores much closer to our apartment, I still prefer to shop at the stores near the mall. The reason for that is because some of the stores near us don't seem as clean and tidy. In fact, some of them seem a little shady! Plus, the parking lots are broken up or really small, so I prefer driving a bit farther to feel safer and have space. Besides, it gives me an excuse to hit the other stores that are in the area all in one shot.
I went to CVS first. This is the one that I used to go to when I first started minor couponing. I actually prefer the one closer to our apartment, but I have gotten my prescriptions from this one for years, so I didn't switch that over. I have to say that the pharmacists here are AWESOME. They're very friendly with answering questions, and there's one girl in particular who was extra helpful when I had insurance issues too. It's definitely enough to keep me a customer here. The only downside is that the store itself is small, so they run out of stock a lot faster or don't even have certain products available. Anyway, the reason I went there was to pick up a prescription of one of my daily medications.
I browsed the seasonal aisle in the off chance that they had some of the things that people have been getting on clearance. No such luck as all the Valentine's Day merchandise was already out including this Mickey and Minnie tumbler! I'm fascinated by tumblers for some odd reason. I have 2 of them from students, so I don't need any new ones, but I still like seeing them anyway. Instead of purchasing, I take pictures!
They did have these dog treats on a shelf nearby, so I took one to scan because I had seen people get them super cheap. Instead of being $10.49, they were only $1.05! Such a deal! I texted Howard to see if his sister would want them for her dog Smaugie, and then I went to pick up my prescription. I ended up leaving the store because I forgot to wait for his text back, but then I just went back in to pick them up when I got the green light. I purchased all 4 bags that were there. Isn't it awesome that it was only $4.57 including tax when the products themselves are worth $41.96? Love it!
With CVS done, I headed to the mall. My intention was to stop by Payless to pick up some flat sneakers with a 15% coupon for our upcoming trip, but alas, it was CLOSED for remodeling! Oh well. Maybe they'll release a higher percentage coupon for MLK Jr. Day so I can save more (yay, I just texted to get a 20% coupon so at least that's a little more)! Or maybe I'll just decide to go with my old jeans and wear my New Balance sneakers; I haven't yet decided. By the way, I have become a HUGE fan of Payless over the years. I can get a bunch of shoes for the price of ONE elsewhere. I did that at the end of the summer with some sandals and slip ons and then I placed another order just two months ago to get 4 pairs of boots for the price of one elsewhere! And they wear very well. They've really stepped up their game as compared to what they had available when I was a kid. I even purchased my heels and my flats for my wedding from Payless. Haha, just a little endorsement from me.
Well, since I was at the mall already and missed out on Payless, I headed to the Disney Store. There is never a time where we skip this place. If we're there, it's a must even though it's in the middle of the mall. It's worth it! The funny thing is that we also always go into the store the same way. When we walk through the Mickey ears door, we go to the right and glance at the plushies, dolls, or costumes depending on the current display.
Then it's off to the back right corner where they usually have a clearance section. They had a few cute things for kids, but nothing super cheap. Plus, there are no kids that age in our lives to shop for yet. I saw this hat on clearance, and as much as Howard likes Cars, I don't think I'd want our kids to wear it. It creeps me out a little!
The next stop is to check to see whether these adorable baby onesies are on sale. They never are though. We've only seen Winnie the Pooh on sale at one point, but it was still $8 or so. We didn't get it because it's not even the cutest ones that they have. That Tangled one? Ahhh, uber cute.
We pass by the television screen at the center back wall and move to the Vinylmation with hopes that they clearance those out! I don't think we'll ever be as lucky to get those boxes of the Spooky Series with both Goofy and Pluto in them for just $2.99. That box is still selling at such a high price on ebay! I'm glad we decided to clear the shelves twice so that we have plenty to trade. It's how we build up our collection, so that's why we go back to the store time and time again to trade! Anyway, nothing was really on sale. Even the holiday clear boxes were still $5.99. They only had the Villains Series 4 tray and the Pixar Series 2 tray, but they did have the new Aladdin Vinylmation Jr. set!
The Villains box looked untouched though, so if I wanted to risk it, I could've looked up the placement of the boxes if I was searching for something in particular. But there's nothing there that's worth paying full price for. We already got 2 of them just in trades!
The Jr. ones are cute, but there are only 7 that I like. The first four that would be great would be the Aladdin and Jasmine ones. Then there's Rajah, Genie, and Abu. But for $9.95 each? No thanks. I'd rather use Disney money on a delicious counter service meal!
Look, more Disney tumblers! These new looks are super cute. I think the Target Disney merchandise also looks like this. Howard mentioned something to me about a cartoon or something that's being released where they look like this. I love the slightly retro look.
With nothing to purchase, I went to stand in line to trade. The TV screen at that time was playing one of the songs from Frozen, which Howard and I have yet to see. I texted the hubs because I thought it was funny when it ended with "the cold never bothered me anyway." He had posted a Facebook status recently saying that we were getting hit with the freezing temperatures because everyone kept saying that over and over again!
I noticed they had a section for The Jungle Book, so I guess it's coming out again on DVD? I really don't follow the releases and when movies come out of the vault because I know the hubs takes care of getting the ones we will want in our collection.
I was on line for a long time. There was a slew of moms with their kids and strollers who were waiting to pay. As we stood there, the little baby in front of me dropped his pacifier, and it rolled behind the mom's feet. I tapped her to let her know, and we laughed at how he got it so far from the stroller! I guess the little girl though I wasn't a stranger anymore or something because I was talking to the mom, so she started talking to me too about her wand and her magical abilities.
I got to the counter and traded with the CM that I've seen many times before. At this point, we "know" maybe about 3-4 of the employees there because of how much we've traded. There's one younger girl who now says, "It's you again!" Anyway, Emile from Ratatouille was in the top clear portion of the trading box, but the CM was like, "You can trade for the top portion and there are mystery ones underneath, but I can't tell you what they are. But there is a good one!" I was like, "Really? I'm debating about Emile ..." She then decided to pull them out anyway and show me what was there! The good one was Dot, but I got her in a recent trade already, so Emile it was! Even if we don't want to keep him, I recently saw a picture of a trade box in the Frontierland Trading Post that you can only trade with using any from the Pixar 1 or 2 series, so we'll definitely trade him for something else if we see it. Sorry, Emile. I'd totally trade you for Mr. Pricklepants from Toy Story 3!
No purchases made at the mall yet, so I figured I had some money to spend at Bath & Body Works since the semi annual sale is ending on the 20th. Yes, I went back. I was so sure I wouldn't go back, but I was at the mall! Plus, I still had a little over $20 left on the gift card I got from my student since I had only used part of it on my Michaels haul.
I saw that they still had all the returning scents restocked. I can't believe they just kept restocking it over and over. I really thought that they were going to be out the first time I purchased Capri Seaside Citrus and Rome Honeysuckle Amore. I'll know for the next semi annual sale in June because it really is the BEST time to purchase products. You can definitely buy enough to last you until then too. I did purchase some items from the 75% off bin, but I'll include that in a haul post. By the way, I have to say that the employees at this store have been nothing but nice and inviting! I love it when you can go to a store and feel welcome. It clearly helps boost sales!
I saw that they were putting out some new candles, and I've seen the buzz about them online and wanted to smell them for myself even though there was no way that I was actually purchasing any of them at full price. I just wanted to see what all the hype was about, so I checked out Honeysuckle Bouquet, Garden Strawberry, and Lilac. Nothing was inviting on cold sniff.
I also had a chance to smell the candles from the Destination line. There were some that were good but nothing too special. The two that I did like, however, were London Calling and Mahalo Maui. London Calling is a repackage of "Tea and Lemon." It really does smell like tea and lemon! It's such a calming scent, and being a tea drinker, I understand why this is a popular one. I like that you can pick up on the lemon without it being overpowering.
Mahalo Maui is fruity and slightly floral. It really smells tropical to me. I don't remember it too clearly, but I just took a picture of this one because I wanted to remember that I liked it. The others were decent although I did not like American Boardwalk, which was too sweet-smelling for me. It's supposed to be reminiscent of caramel popcorn and taffy apples. That's just a personal preference though because I've found that I do not appreciate any of the sweet food scents even though BBW does a great job capturing them in the candles and body care.
When I brought my items up to the counter, I asked the sales associate if she could ring it up slowly so that I could track how much each item was. I had a survey coupon for $10 off $30 (there are none of those coupons out right now; there's only a $10 off $40), so with all the deep sales, I didn't want to go over it too much. She was so helpful, and I even ran back to get one more thing since I was off by a dollar or two after I eliminated something that wasn't worth the money. Like I said above, stay tuned for a future post about what I got!
I left the store and headed to JCPenney's, which is where I always park because it's the lot that has the most parking available and now I get some kicks by opening the Shopkick app in that particular department store too so might as well (more details further down)! On the way, I passed by Yankee Candle, which I typically dislike because the smell is just so overbearing at times. However, I saw online that they just came out with their spring line candles that included some citrus ones, so I went in to check it out! They also are having their semi annual sale with 50 and 75% off, but they were mostly Christmas scents. I did take a look around, and the sales associate there was very informative with prices and sales. Nothing enticed me as much as the newer candles (Citrus Tango, yum!), but there are no sales on those at the moment. I left my email address to hopefully get some coupons and such. Too bad Swagbucks doesn't offer gift cards for that because I can totally get a $25 one now!
As I left, I saw colorful socks in JCP and took a picture because I'm such a girl. You could probably get me to buy anything just because of the colors or packaging! I don't need socks though, haha. I have plenty of short socks from Costco and now I have longer socks for my boots from this past Christmas when hubs put them in my stocking! And most of the year, I don't wear socks at all. But look! Colors!
My shoulder was starting to hurt at that point because my bag was heavy. I have a crossbody bag that I use now from Kohl's, but it's pretty big. I saw this small one for about $11 after the extra 25% off, but there's no way that I could use such a small bag to run errands because running errands means I need my coupons! I'm happy I kept my water bottle in the car and drank in between locations as opposed to carrying it around with me!
Moving on to the next store! I went to Michaels just to check Christmas clearance items in the off chance that they went cheaper. I'm also holding out hope that one day I'll catch items and be able to do a penny haul! Well, I checked the aisle that had stuff in it including the ribbon I purchased and it was EMPTY! Haha, it was kind of funny to see that it was already cleared.
I browsed the aisles for a bit and sniffed some of their candles too. It's clear as to why they are only $5.99 while the ones at Bath & Body Works and Yankee Candle are so expensive. These do not smell nearly as good! They're kind of one note scents, and they're not even pleasing. Some of them are even a little harsh on the nose. There were maybe two of them that were decent, but even with a 50% off coupon, I still think it's more worth it to spend more money and get a better candle. None of them even come close to the BBW Peach Bellini candle I'm burning right now.
The only things I purchased were two packs of 50 cupcake/muffin liners because they were just $0.25 each. I paid in change. I was pretty sure I gave her $0.54, but she said I gave too much and handed some back to me. Haha, okay. Either I can't count (not surprising because I typically use coins to pay for CVS hauls, which are rung up on the self checkout machines that deduct the cost for me as I load each coin) or she miscounted and gave change back to me because she did pause at the register after she had put coins in. Oh well! I'm not complaining! Besides, I still had a few more stops on my adventure. The next one was Stop & Shop. I'm happy that Michaels and S&S are right next to each other so I only have to park once. The same goes for Target and Pathmark. It's nice just parking in the middle and not wasting gas between stores.
When I walked into the store, two male employees were putting carts away, and there was one out, so he asked if I wanted it. I thanked him and took it, but that was a bad move because it was the loudest cart EVER. It was so bad that I even texted Howard to tell him specifically!
I had my carefully planned out list with me, but it still took me a little bit longer. Stop & Shop is always a little bit longer, but we get the majority of our groceries there. It just happens to be that the weeks we shop, their prices are better. Plus, sometimes coupons.com has S&S exclusive coupons, and I like the few coupons they have in the circular that I get in advance thanks to my parents. I did pick up new salad dressing since we're using our final 3 small bottles. These Kraft bottles were on sale buy one get one free. I did the math to check to see how much it cost per ounce compared to the last time we got small Wishbone bottles for $0.98. The price was super close (maybe off by $0.02), which was okay by me because I sometimes prefer some flavors. I texted Howard, and he picked Thousand Island, and I chose Italian. I'm currently using a creamy Italian bottle and before that was regular Italian. What can I say; I just like Italian dressing!
These things would definitely be impulse buys. I'm so lured by crunchy things in packages. I took a picture because I had never seen the Nathan's snacks before. I've had the Friday's potato skins, so it was interesting to see another restaurant chain release bagged snacks. I was good though and did not purchase these.
I'm almost out of Tetley decaf black tea, but there's been no sale and I didn't know which store was cheaper. I snapped a picture so I could compare since I still have plenty of green tea. It's kind of crazy to see that you can get a box of 72 teabags for a little less than $4 when the Twinings costs so much for a lot less even when it's on sale. I'll use one teabag the entire day too since I'm not able to share it with my mom, so I really make these last. Oh nice. I just checked the Tetley website, and they have $1 coupon off a new "Black & Green" blend. I should try that. Printing now!
I had coupons for these new snacks from Special K, but when I saw just how small the boxes were, it just wasn't worth it. No, I did not drop that box on the floor. Yes, I did pick it up and put it back where it belonged. That's the one reason why I think I'd be great in retail. I like everything to look presentable and have fun making it so! Of course, our apartment is a mess but whatever ... haha.
In the produce section, I grabbed two more Cara Cara oranges because they are my FAVORITE. I can't even describe why they're better than whatever other oranges are out there. Are they worth the $1? Yes. Howard and I split one since some are pretty gosh darn big and I can't have that much acid at once, so it's a $0.50 snack!
I picked up some romaine hearts too. I know this is cheaper in Costco, but that means you have to buy a ton. This provides salad for us for 3 different meals since we only use one romaine heart each time. I haven't eaten a salad at a restaurant in so long because it's just cheaper to do it yourself. Too bad I don't get all fancy with ours like they do at chain restaurants! I also thought it was "funny" that there was a bigger bag there. Someone probably was going to buy that and saw the sale and switched it for these instead. And it must've been so difficult to walk the 8 steps to where the bigger bags were located to put this back. Sheesh.
I did purchase Special K Pastry Crisps and cereal bars though with a coupon making each box only $2. We aren't going to place a Garden Grocer order when we go on vacation, so these will be our quick, simple breakfasts since we like to eat early lunches anyway. This will be much cheaper than just one breakfast plate that costs about $8. And that's just one person for one day!
I knew the General Mills cereal bars were also on sale, but they were farther down with the sweeter, "unhealthier" options! I remember having those when I was in college. They were a perfect snack between classes.
My total came out to be $51.41 because I did stock up more this week like I did last week. We won't be doing any shopping next week or the following one, so even though our supermarket bills have been high during these past two trips, it's because we don't go often. Besides, the original price of everything I got was $91.48, so I saved about 44% on my groceries because of store deals and coupons. It was also higher because I bought those things for our trip, stocked up on shredded cheese (we freeze the bags), stocked up on Campbell's chicken noodle soup at $0.22 a can (I like having it when I'm sick), and I "splurged" on packages of Goldfish (sale, but no coupon!).
You'd think I'd be done now, right? Nope, it was off to Target! My main intention for going to Target was to look for the clearance Disney onesies. I posted a picture I saw on Instagram a few updates ago, but despite looking everywhere, I couldn't find them. Too bad! I did see these adorable outfits though!
It's going to be difficult not buying EVERYTHING when we start having babies in our families!
This adorable dress was on clearance, and I absolutely LOVED it. It's interesting that you can buy ALL your baby's clothes on clearance because he/she doesn't care about fashion, haha.
I also checked the price of the Kraft Recipe Makers. We LOVED this Verde Chicken Enchilada, but I didn't buy it this time since there was no $1 Target coupon. I only had the $1 manufacturer's coupon. I did read that they have these at the Dollar Tree, so if that's the case, we'll be able to get them for free! We'll have to check because free is totally better than $0.99 (or $0.79 in this case).
It definitely wasn't a waste of a trip to Target though because I picked up 2 jars of Nature Made Fish Oil Adult Gummies because they were on sale for $5 and there was a $2 Target coupon and a $3 manufacturer's coupon. Stacking is your friend, my friend! It's totally worth getting free products! Target is also great because of their mobile coupons and Target Cartwheel. I love Cartwheel even if it's only saving me $0.10 at a time. It adds up!
Since a lot of the things that I was looking for weren't available at my store (I wanted to do the cereal deal of buying 3 boxes, using coupons, and then getting the $5 gift card back making each box less than $1, but they only had one option that we'd eat), I took the time to scan things in on my Shopkick app. Yes, I have downloaded yet ANOTHER shopping app! The first was Ibotta (you get money back for groceries, restaurants, and now movies, and I'm saving up for iTunes gift cards to get Top Chef, haha), then Target Cartwheel, Receipt Hog (saving for Amazon gift cards), and now Shopkick (saving for Target gift cards). You can click them to sign up through my referrals because I benefit if you do or let me know and I'll send you the invite! As mentioned above, you get "kicks" (basically, another word for points) when you go to certain stores and open the app so that it registers that you're there. Then at certain places, you get more kicks when you scan the UPCs of certain products. So I went around Target and scanned products in the grocery section, the toilet paper section, the medicine section and more. Just from two trips to Target of scanning and the one trip to JCP, I now have 651 kicks. You only need 500 kicks to get $2 for Target, so I'd say that's a pretty awesome app! And as a random sidenote, I finally got over 2500 Swagbucks, so I just cashed them in for a $25 iTunes gift card so that we can finally get Top Chef season 4! I love these opportunities to get fun money!
But now it's back to reality where you need to buy food and not watch a TV show about people cooking food ...
My final stop was Pathmark for some more groceries. There's such an advantage to having both supermarkets and now a new Target all within the same shopping area. I can compare prices so it's actually worth it to go to both to buy what's on sale. If we only go to one store, it's usually S&S, but this was one of those times where it was definitely a necessity to go to Pathmark as well. I was able to pick up some potatoes, onions, and apples from the produce section. I don't usually like apples, but I've been craving fruit recently and wanted a nice Fuji apple dipped into melted peanut butter. Delicious!
I happened to pass by the teas, so I snapped a picture of the Tetley for $3.88. Gonna head back to S&S to get tea when I run out!
The reason why I wanted to go to Pathmark was to buy Chi-Chi's tortillas. They were on sale for $1.48 a pack, but the great thing was the coupon for $0.55 off of two packages! Since the coupons doubled, that meant I only had to pay $0.93 per pack! I love them for breakfast burritos and quesadillas and such. Plus, they make really easy "chips" when just baked in the oven. And the great thing is that they freeze perfectly. I read that people put wax paper in between them so that they don't crack when you try to separate them when needed, but I've only had issues with it cracking one time because they come apart pretty easily. It's just not worth the time to separate them or worth the money to buy the wax paper because I bought 8 packages. Yes, 8. We will be stocked on tortillas for months.
There were two younger guys at the register. One of them was training the new employee, so he scanned pretty slowly. I didn't mind because I hate how Pathmark shows their prices. On the screen, you see the full price and then the amount that was deducted, so when someone scans quickly, I can't check to make sure everything is the right price. Stop & Shop rings up with the sale price, so that's never an issue. But everything came out correctly, and just like I did in the past trip, I hand my coupons to the cashier in sections and I fan them out. I listen for the correct number of beeps and watch the screen before handing the next group of 3 or 4 coupons.
I saved $7.20 with coupons because every single one of them doubled. Isn't that insane? Even if they didn't double, saving $3.60 is still a lot. With all the Bath & Body Works sales, that can get you a full-sized lotion AND a Pocketbac or two! I say it often, but I really do mean it when I write, "If you're not couponing yet, what are you waiting for?" It all adds up! Yes, it does require work as I told Howard the night before that I was still working on my "homework," but you don't have to make it as complicated as I make it. Every penny counts!
With my shopping trips finally done, I was ready to drive home. I purposely parked somewhat close to the cart returns because I hate it when people leave them all over the place. Not only is it inconvenient for the workers who have to go collect them all, it's also dangerous for drivers especially when there's wind.
I had to be super careful driving back because the fog was ridiculous once again. If I didn't drive this route over and over again, I'd be really nervous about it! Even so, I was super cautious and went really slowly just in case.
It was crazy not being able to see very far! I'm so thankful that I got home safely. I texted Howard to tell him I had parked, and he said he had just gotten off the bus and was walking to the apartment.
I got the cart to unload all the groceries, and by the time I locked the car door, Howard was there. I told him I wanted to push the cart all the way through the lobby and on the elevator and then to our door and then unload everything by myself because I had expected to get it all done solo. I wanted to make sure that I could do it if I really was on my own. Boy, that cart was heavy, but I made it! I was running on some adrenaline as I unloaded the groceries and put everything away, but I felt a huge sense of accomplishment.
I'm sure it sounds completely silly to be 29 and happy that I was able to go grocery shopping by myself, but because we live farther away and can't just walk the groceries into the house from the car, I was always a little nervous attempting it by myself. Finally completing the task makes me feel a little independent because I went from living in my parents' house to living here after getting married. I didn't dorm in college or live on my own, so this truly was an experience. I'm happy I took the time to document it so that I can look back on it if we have kids and go, "I was nervous about that? I do that now with the twins in tow!"