My Dillon’s Shopping Trip (apparently, I’m pretty out-of-practice when it comes to using coupons!)

Yesterday’s Dillon’s Shopping Trip

Bag of Tyson Chicken Breasts — $6.99
6 boxes of Hefty OneZip Bags — $0.99 each after the Buy 10, Get $5 Off Promotion — used 6 $0.55/1 coupons here and here = free after coupons and promotion
4 bags of Nabisco Oreos/Animal Crackers — $0.99 each after the Buy 10, Get $5 Off promotion — used 2 $1/2 coupons = $0.50 per bag after coupons and promotion
2 bags of cheese — $1.79 each
1 dozen eggs — $2.50
7 boxes of Nature Valley & Fiber One Bars/Thins — $1.99 per box after the Buy 10 Get, $5 Off promotion — used 2 $0.40/1 coupons (doubled), used 2 $0.50/1 coupons (doubled), used 1 $0.50/2 coupon (doubled) = $9.33 total + got back a $3 catalina for buying 6 boxes of GM bars = about $0.91 per box (would’ve been less if they would have had all the boxes in stock that I had $0.50/1 coupons for — I’m going to check another store!)
1 SmartBalance Butter — $1.99 after the Buy 10 Get, $5 Off promotion — used $1.75/1 coupon = $0.24 after coupon
1 BirdsEye frozen veggies (not pictured) — $0.99 after the Buy 10 Get, $5 Off promotion — used $0.35/1 coupon (doubled) = $0.29 after coupon
1 Dial hand soap — $0.88 — used $0.35/1 coupon (doubled) = $0.18 after coupon
1 package of Goldfish crackers (not pictured) — $0.99 after the Buy 10 Get, $5 Off promotion

Total plus tax: $27.59 + got a $3 catalina back for purchase six boxes of General Mills cereal bars

If you’ve noticed, I haven’t been doing much coupon-shopping recently. I took the summer “off” from many different normal activities — including using coupons. I was feeling rather burnt out after a busy winter and spring and a laid-back summer was the perfect antidote.

But when my friend emailed me yesterday and told me about the really hot Buy 10, Get $5 Off deals at Dillons, I knew it was time to get out my coupon box again. So I consulted Frugal Fritzie, revved up the printer, and made my list.

After Jesse and Silas headed to a men’s meeting yesterday evening, I finally got my shower in for the day (yes, I know, that’s terrible, isn’t it?!) and headed out to Dillon’s with the two girls in tow and my envelope of coupons.

I was excited to get some smoking hot deals again! And I did get some great deals, but I ran into a few snags along the way…

Problem number one: By the time I got around and go out the door, it was pushing 8:30 p.m. No sweat, I figured. My list wasn’t too long, the store should be deserted, and I’ll just run in and run out really quickly.

Problem number two: The shelves were empty of some of the best deals. Again, I just re-worked my plan and figured out how to pull it off so that I was

Problem number three: Somehow I thought the Dial soap was a part of the Buy 10, Get $5 Off deal. So, while I counted and re-counted to make sure I had 20 participating items, one of the items wasn’t participating — which meant I only had purchased 19 items. But I didn’t realize this.

The shopping trip took me quite a bit longer than I was expecting and long gone were my visions of getting home before 9 p.m. so I could get to bed by my bedtime. Oh well, life happens sometimes, I told myself.

But since we were running late, I called Jesse who was on his way home from the meeting. He said he’d meet us at the store since he wanted to pick out some ice cream for an evening snack.

I went through the lane, had a very coupon-friendly cashier, and paid for my groceries. But the total just didn’t sound right. I waved off the feeling at first while we met up with Jesse and Silas.

The nagging feeling of having paid too much was still there, so I pulled out my receipt and immediately figured out the problem: the $5 hadn’t been taken off for one of the Buy 10, Get $5 Off promotions. I really didn’t want to pay an extra $0.50 for each of those nine items, so I headed back to the checkout lanes and two really kind cashiers helped me look over my receipt.

We couldn’t figure out what went wrong where, but we counted and re-counted the items and realized I had only gotten 19 items. They graciously offered to let me purchase one more item in order to get the $5 off.

I ran over to pick up a package of Goldfish crackers and went back to the checkout lane where the helpful cashiers were waiting for me. One of them started ringing up the Goldfish crackers and then I realized that Jesse had already taken my other groceries and the kids out to the car — along with my wallet and Dillon’s card.

We stopped the transaction and I ran out to the car to get the Dillon’s card. The cashiers were so patient and amazing about all of this. I kept apologizing and they kept saying, “Don’t worry about it; it’s no big deal. It happens all the time!”

I finally got everything squared away and walked out with my groceries — only to realize that Jesse had already gone back into the store with all the kids and he had the keys! So I stood at the entrance for what felt like a very long time (in reality, it was only about 10 minutes) while they picked out ice cream, checked out, and finally met back up with me again.

So much for my quick shopping trip — and my bedtime. But I did get some great deals and the cashiers were amazingly helpful, so it could have been a whole lot worse! :)

Mostly, it just cracked Jesse and me up. Apparently, I’m pretty out-of-practice when it comes to using coupons and scoring bargains at the grocery store. And I hope to rectify that over the next few months as I really want to get my coupon mojo back!

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Comments

  1. says

    Ha, dear sensei, it looks like you need to work out your couponing and bargain hunting muscles! No doubt, that’s not good for me since I learn your tips and tricks to get good deals, but at least you’re starting your little work out regimen. I’m still trying to get the hang of things, too, so I feel a little better now that you’re a little rusty. It’s almost like I’m training with you! At the very least, everything worked out just right in the end – it might have taken a little more time, but at least you saved the money. It won’t take you long, I’m sure, to get back into the groove =)

  2. Meredith says

    You made me smile today! I have to say though, you took the summer off and I’m getting ready to take the Fall off!!! I have couponed so much this summer I’m about to go crazy. I just used up some Extra Bucks because I just need to stop for awhile. I have decided to do just Aldi and one grocery store a week. I love seeing your trips though!

  3. Krystal says

    Oh the forgotten Dillon’s card! Ours is always “I’ll run I while you sit in the car with the kids” with the keys (and thus the Dillon’s card.) Not sure if your Dillon’s has this or not but if you push the Alt ID button the the card reader and type in your phone number that is linked to your Dillon’s card you do not need them to scan your card. I also have family from out of town do this with our number since there really is no reason for them to carry a Dillon’s card for the two to three times they shop there in a year. (and of course you get the fuel points ;)

    • says

      They asked for my phone number, but of course, it was a phone number from three houses ago and I couldn’t remember that number!

      • Erin says

        Oh, that’s me, too! I added Keyring to my phone, so I always have all my rewards cards with me . . . as long as I have my phone . . . and it’s not dead . . . and the store scanner can read the barcode. :)

      • Cris says

        Maybe if you go online (if you are registered on their website) you can change the phone number on record. I lost my card a while back and have used my phone number as alternate ID for a long time time at kroger.

  4. Laura says

    Our kroger receipts at the very bottom will say “+>30″ meaning I bought 30 mega deal items. So if it said “+>29″ I’d know I missed just one item and customer service is very happy to help fix it! See if yours says anything like that for future reference :)

    • LVSquared says

      This! Next to all the items that qualify is a sign that lets you know it qualifies. The really nice cashier at our King Soopers prints it out if I feel I’m short. Quick and easy to count them up.

  5. Holly says

    I love seeing your shopping trips! I’m happy your back into couponing shopping again. Did you still stick to your budget during the summer or did you find it too difficult without couponing?

    • says

      We did stick with our budget — but we traveled some and food for that usually comes from our vacation budget, so it was somewhat ambiguous. And we ate from the freezer/pantry quite a bit. Other than that, we mostly just shopped at Aldi — which is a huge help in keeping with the budget.

      Things are pretty bare in freezer & fridge, so it’s time to get back to coupons! :)

  6. says

    I had been very diligent about couponing during the spring and summer. Now that I am home on maternity leave I’m going to eat through the stockpile and really clean out the pantry and freezer. Because I am home so much more I am eating lunch here and also have time to pull items out and meal plan. When I was working we just ate what ever was easiest to fix.

  7. says

    That made me laugh…because I’ve been there. I’ve taken the summer off also, we’ve just had such a busy summer. It was nice to be able to to put couponing on the back burner. I’ll need to ramp it up soon though. As my oldest son was packing this morning to leave for college he informed me we no longer have any back up toothpast.

  8. Angie D says

    lol!! I love it! I recently had a gal at customer service joke that I’m there as much as she is! (I’m pretty sure she meant the customer service counter) gulp!

    • Erin says

      That’s funny–that’s what I say to the nice girl who works the customer service counter. She always seems to be there when I’ve got some bad produce or forgotten coupons or mischarges . . . or maybe I wait til she’s there because she’s always sweet and helpful :)

  9. Alysia says

    Even though you had a rough time, this makes me miss our Dillons! It got blown away in the Joplin tornado and they haven’t rebuilt :(

  10. says

    That is so nice to hear the cashiers were so helpful! All of the Dillons on the west side by me close their customer service at 9pm, so if you have an issue like that, they will tell you to come back the next day and talk to customer service, the cashiers will not try and fix it for you :( Which has always been a huge bummer for me, since I tried to do all of my shopping after the hubby was home and all the kids were in bed!

  11. Terra says

    I took a couple weeks off from couponing because our summer schedule was so crazy. I didn’t get any papers during that time either since I was usually on the road on the weekends traveling for softball tournaments. Now that I am trying to get back in the swing of couponing, it seems like I am way behind since I didnt get papers during that time. When you took that time off, did you still get the Sunday papers? I’m beating myself up trying to get back in this since I’m basically starting from scratch.

  12. Erin says

    I’m sorry it was such a chaotic trip, but it’s so reassuring to me because chasing my own tail seems like the story of my life lately! It’s nice to hear that it happens to the best of ‘em!

    Even so, can I say “wow” on the Hefty bags? They doubled .55 coupons and accepted six like IPs? Wow. Wow. Wow. Kroger doesn’t double .55 for us, and we’re limited to two like IPs (otherwise, five non-IP like coupons). They are gradually cracking down on coupons across the country, which will make mega sales not quite so mega in the future! Almost sat this one out; it’s tough to find ten worthwhile items (based on what we buy) that are actually in stock when limited to two like IPs, though I completely understand the reasoning behind those restrictions.

    • says

      I’m always afraid to use that many like IP coupons! I’m afraid they’ll accuse me of fraud or something. I know the worst they can do is reject me… but after using my ink, taking the time to go to the store and find the items, then checking out, it seems like it could turn into a big waste. I usually just limit it to 2 like IPs in order to avoid rejection. ;)

      • Cris says

        I’ve had once (or maybe a few times) a cashier say “we can’t take those because they are copies” since I had 2 of the same IPs. I then pointed out to her (them) that they had different numbers on them, therefore not the exact same coupon, just for the same product and value. I also sometimes have to explain that every computer usually allows 2 of the same coupon to be printed. I always come home telling my husband “they should pay me to train their people!!”

  13. Jennifer says

    Thanks for sharing:) I hate that feeling of knowing your total isn’t right! I’m glad it all worked out:)

  14. Abbie says

    I screw up that 10 deal just about every time. I just go to customer service and they add my 10th item and give me my $5. But I feel so silly every time! So glad to hear the experts do it too!

  15. Kristen says

    I go “couponing” fairly often, so I’m not out of practice, but that sounds like most of my coupon trips!! Not necessarily the forgetting the card part, but definitely the store not having what I want to make my deal work. My trips almost always take longer than I expect because I have to re-work deals or find things to add.

  16. says

    I’m not sure if you know this- but Saving Star has coupons towards the Fiber One bars as well, so if you try to get those again- you can get an extra dollar back. Just a head’s up to you or anybody else who may benefit. :)

  17. says

    I don’t know…this seems like waaaayyyy to much time & stress, to me, just to save a few dollars. Story was funny though, and I’m glad it worked out in the end. :-)

    • says

      Um, yep, I agree with you! Next time around, if I can just be organized from the get-go and pay attention to the tags, it should (hopefully) make things a lot less time-consuming! :)

    • Cris says

      It’s just part of couponing… and when you went to the store expecting to pay certain prices for stuff, you don’t want to be out of $5 unless something came up and you just had to leave. It’s happened to me before too!

  18. says

    Does anyone know who you contact if your catalina doesn’t print? I did the Fiber One bars last week and nothing printed!

  19. says

    I do couponing but not as much as I used to. We have a new store by us and the regular prices on things I would normally purchase with coupons are often less than the other stores with coupons. The store is also just 4 blocks from my house. I still get the coupon deals on items we need but I always check the closeout store by us first to see what their prices are.
    I don’t know how many times I have had the feeling I paid too much gotten to the car and then realized the problem and had to go back in. I have been very fortunate to have such nice cashiers and customer service people to help me when this happens.

    • says

      That’s too funny! I haven’t been using coupons much lately either, and we took a big step about 2 months ago and STOPPED getting the regular Sunday newspaper. Yikes!

      The biggest reason for this is that we’ve really changed what we buy and how we eat, and I just wasn’t using a bunch of coupons on my groceries anymore. It isn’t a good use of time & money for us to spend $2 every week on the newspaper and 30 minutes clipping and putting coupons away that I might not use. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. :-)

      Now if I need a coupon (for diapers usually) I go do an online search or buy generic.

      I do keep Target & Publix mailer coupons in my coupon bag (which is much lighter now) and I use those on items we need.

      For now, I’m liking the freedom I have by not getting the Sunday newspaper and just being able to look for a single coupon when I need it. I also stay out of the store a whole lot more, which has helped us to save.

  20. Emma K says

    That is so me right now. I am definitely out of the habit of using coupons. Even with our family overseas and being able to use expired coupons, it’ s hard to get good deals. Even when I went to buy diapers the other day I realized that the coupon I had was expired pass the 6 month mark and I didn’t have any others with me. That is a trajedy in itself, it’s been close to 5 years that I’ve bought a bag of diapers without a coupon :( Need to reorganize and find my coupons.

  21. Amanda says

    ~I have done this one too many times! And it’s not because I thought an item was participating….it’s because I can’t count to 10! Just a tip for all of you Kroger/Dillons store shoppers. When they do the Mega Event like this I ALWAYS have a hard time keeping track of my 10 participating items. I take a reusable shopping bag and fill it w/ten items. When there are 10 items in the bag I start a new bag. Much easier than counting over and over.
    I just went today and had 90 participating items…..

    • Amy says

      that’s an awesome idea! I may try that this week…..going to get lots of goldfish and chicken nuggets!!

  22. says

    I had trouble this week as well! I wish my Kroger (Dillion’s affiliate) still doubled coupons. I was unable to get the hefty coupons to print, and the Kotex coupon I downloaded to my shopper card didn’t come off my total. On the bright side, I found some great unadvertised deals that I had coupons for!

  23. Amy says

    I so know what you mean about trying to count the $5 of 10 items! Last time I went to Kroger, I had my nine year old push a separate cart just for those items. It helped a little, but it’s still kind of a pain.

  24. Gerry says

    In our household, I clip and match up the deals, and DH shops. I give him the list and the coupons he needs and try to make it as easy as possible. He used to have nights like you had, until I started totalling all the items at the bottom, minus any “dollars off instantly” coupons for those sorts of promotions.

    I take each item, and break it down on a sheet of lined paper, just like the way you post them, and circle the total after coupons for each item at the end of each line. Like at Giant last week, here is one transaction:

    “2” lbs. green seedless grapes = 1.98
    “1” Chex Mix = 2.00 – .60 q doubled = .80

    MUST BUY ALL OF THE FOLLOWING AS LISTED, AND GET $5 OFF INSTANTLY …
    “1” Cracker Barrel cheese 8 oz. block = 2.50 – 1.50 q = 1.00
    “4” Planters peanut butter = 2.50 x 4 = 10.00

    SUBTOTAL AFTER MQs: 13.78
    MINUS “5 OFF INSTANTLY ON RECEIPT: – 5.00
    Total at checkout should be: 8.78

    That way, DH sees what each total should be, and the value of the coupons he used, and the total he should pay in the checkout line. Which means when something goes wrong (and it often does!), he can quickly find out what happened and fix it at the CS desk. Giant always breaks down how many coupons you used on the receipt, and that does help, too.

    You’ve helped our family so much by posting what you do, it’s hard to imagine you had a bad trip. Hope you get back in the swing of things easier than you did tonight!

    • says

      You sound so organized! I think my biggest problem was that my store was out of some of the things I was planning to buy, and then I somehow thought that the Dial soap was part of the deal.

      Next time, I’m totally reading all of the tags three times before I put them in the cart! Lesson learned: Never rely upon what I *think* might be right! :)

      • Gerry says

        (Only out of necessity – my shopping lists used to be so vague and confusing. But DH told me it helps him so much when he has totals and totals after coupons, so I’m trying to be more coherent when I write it out and match everything!)

        lol re: the tags. At least you had friendly staff to help you. It’s refreshing to hear that some people are still so helpful.

  25. Sarah says

    This totally made me laugh. It reminded me of some wild goose chases I have engaged in trying accomplish something :)

  26. Heather T. says

    I have the same feeling lately I really haven’t been using coupons since the birth of baby #4, I wing most of it and have been going to Aldi’s. I feel I need to start getting back into the swing of things at least the older kiddos start school soon, then maybe I can get a plan of action.

  27. Tammy says

    Crystal, I did the same thing as you-thought I had 20 items, but one was a sale item not included in the ten. I didn’t realize until later, and we have poor customer service, so I just let it go. I’m going to remember this and not let it happen again!

  28. says

    I think you did pretty good! I’m VERY out of practice. My boyfriend has actually been bugging my to get fully into couponing again. With full-time college, trying to consistantly update the blog, and trying to coupon.. it’s like three separate full-time jobs at once! Glad at least you have found the time LOL. I’m still trying to better manage my time, especially since the Fall semester starts tomorrow.

  29. says

    I like Dillons! They are very accommodating to shoppers who-don’t-quite-have-the-correct-ten-items!! :) I speak from experience! They do have good customer service. I recently called their customer service line about an e-coupon and they were very nice and very helpful. Good customer service goes a looong way with me!