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Super Savings Saturday: Why it pays to watch the register

Our garage sale is finally over with and all together we made around $1000 total from the sale (including what my siblings and parents made). We ran a “Fill a Bag For a Buck” sale this morning and got rid of most of the rest of the stuff. My house is much cleaner and clutter-free and lots of people came and got great bargains!

We ran to the store last night since they were having a 50% off Kellogg’s cereal sale on Friday and Saturday. Here’s what we came home with:

2 bottles of 7-Up — on sale for $1 — free after $1/1 7-Up coupon

1 box of Snuggle — on sale for $3.49, used $3/1 coupon — $0.49 after coupon

1 package of ChipsAhoy — free after Facebook coupon

2 blocks of cheese — $1.98 each (not a great price, but I needed them and wasn’t willing to drive to Aldi just to save $0.75!)

1 bag of SunChips — free after Facebook coupon

3 bags of Tyson Grilled & Ready Chicken — used 3 free product coupons that Tyson sent to me (I’m doing a review/giveaway soon so they sent me some coupons to try it out. You’ll have a chance to win some, too!)

4 boxes of Kellogg’s cereal — on sale for $1.99 to $2.24 each — used $1/1 coupons — $0.99 to $1.24 each after coupons

1 jar Skippy Natural peanut butter — on sale for $1.79, used $0.50/1 coupon (doubled) — $0.79 after coupon

2 Avacados — $1 each

5 containers of Yoplait Greek yogurt — $0.99 each, used 1 free product coupon and 4 $0.45/1 coupons (doubled) — free and $0.09 each (A generous reader received these and sent them to me!)

12 bags of frozen veggies — on sale for $1 each

1 box of Mom’s Best Naturals cereal — on sale for $1.99, used $0.75/1 coupon (“doubled” to $1) –$0.99 after coupon

I also had $4.50 in catalinas from my last shopping trip so after coupons and catalinas, my total was $25.32!

When the cashier was scanning my coupons, he only scanned two of the Tyson coupons. Because I was double-checking the screen–like I try to always do–I noticed this and politely asked if he’d scanned all three coupons.

He said he had, so I again graciously but firmly re-iterated that I only saw two taken off. He again said he’d already taken it off, however, because he could see I was politely persistent (!), he went and looked. Sure enough, he’d only taken off two bags, not three.

Because I was watching the register, I caught a mistake which saved me $7.49! Yes, it pays to double-check the cashier and to politely ask if you think there might be a mistake.

In addition to the shopping trip shown above, Jesse stopped at the store and got milk, toilet paper and ice cream (the essentials, you know!) earlier in the week. So we spent about $35 on groceries total for the week.

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Did you snag any great deals or bargains this week or save money in other ways? If so, be sure to post about them on your blog and leave your link below. Please remember that this weekly round-up is to share deals you personally got and/or money you were able to save this week. In order to keep this weekly round-up focused on helping and inspiring others in their efforts to save money, links which have little-to-no content other than promoting affiliate links, etc. will be deleted. Also, to make it easy for everyone to navigate quickly through the links, your link must link directly to your Super Savings Saturday post.

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71 Comments

  • Tania L says:

    Thanks for all you do. I love your site and have shared it with others. :o) Have a great weekend!!

  • Kimberlee says:

    Wow! $25 for all that is great!

  • Sally says:

    Thank you for mentioning that something I do not do as often as I should but need to be better at. I usually end up catching after home and then can not do anything about it then.

  • marney says:

    Do you like the Yoplait Greek yogurt? I tried it and didn’t – tasted kind of chalky. Not as good as Chobani.

  • Jodi says:

    I always write out, tedious as it may be, all the coupons I am using before I checkout. I also count how many I’m using. This paid off a couple weeks ago when I used 33 coupons and they only scanned 30. After comparing my list with the register receipt, I was able to tell Customer Service which coupons (over $5 worth) that the checker had missed. They checked the cashier’s drawer and promptly gave me my money back! 🙂

  • Julie says:

    I try to watch the register as well, but it gets kind of tricky when you’ve got 5 kids taking your attention as well. You can ask my soon-to-be 8 yr old what the rule about checking out is…no talking to mom while we’re checking out! I have to be able to focus! They are usually talking to the cashier anyway!

    • Marcia says:

      @Julie,
      I only have one kid and I have the same problem. I’m pretty good at watching the register. But boy, I get so mad when I get home and realize that I was charged for organic broccoli (2.99/lb) when I bought regular (1.29/lb), or when I was charged for sweet onions (1.50/lb) and bought regular (0.66/lb)

      What it means is that I stop shopping at those stores.

  • amy says:

    If I can’t watch them ring everything up, I ask them to print out the subtotal receipt, so I can quickly check everything. This saves the worry of not catching everything as they are ringing. I check that the prices / sales are correct, and that they scanned all my coupons. Saves a trip to customer service, or me just saying ‘forget it, its only __ amount’.

  • Erica says:

    Thanks, I’m heading to the store today!

  • FrugalFriend says:

    That’s why it pays to either shop without kids or do smaller transactions. I feel really bad when I miss register mistakes. But experience is a good teacher!

    Can’t wait to win those Tyson’s Qs! Thanks for all you do Crystal!

  • Cher says:

    Yes, it pays to watch the register! I recently noticed that our very large bag of mangos rang up as .01 I was pretty sure that we were supposed to pay more so I asked the cashier. She about flew out of her skin because it was a special code the store uses for recalled items!

  • Crystal says:

    Deals like these make me sad that I don’t coupon!

  • Meghan says:

    I sent my husband grocery shopping for me one day, he doesn’t mind, and I sent him with something like 15 coupons. When I saw the receipt I wondered why he had paid so much and I counted the coupons on the receipt, there were only like 10 that scanned! I asked him and he said they took all the coupons but he didn’t pay attention. We ended up carting everything back to the store, I showed them the grocery list (which I always put what coupons I’m using on the grocery list) and how much the missing coupons were worth and they gave us cash back no questions asked…it was at least $12 (love that Fry’s) Lessons: it pays to watch the register.

  • Melissa says:

    I find mistakes about 50% of the time- whether it’s a missed coupon or the wrong code entered for produce (charging me $2.99 per pound for the fancy apples instead of the $1.00 per pound apples in my cart) or not peeling off the mark down sticker… Since I feel bad holding up the line, I usually check the receipt after pushing my cart out of the way and then head to customer service when needed. I also try to be clear with the customer service worker that I don’t blame the cashier– I don’t want anyone to get in trouble. After all, with all the coupons and sales and markdowns the transactions get complicated.

  • Linda says:

    I usually get dirty looks from the people in back of me when I watch the register as opposed to bagging my groceries.
    My philosophy: “If you want to pay my bill, then I will gladly bag the groceries without watching the register.”

  • Andrea says:

    It has happened to me before esp when I handed this cashier at Target a stack of coupons. It’s even worse when there are Target Q with MQ match ups. So now I actually hand the coupons to the cashier one by one (or set by set) so that everything gets read. And most of the time, there will be some problem with coupons that don’t get read. So if it’s not done one by one, the cashier will probably ignore the problem and try to scoot you out of the shop ASAP. My last trip to Targets was awful as the cashier was obviously unhappy that I refuse to hand over the stack of coupons (which I explained I’ve had unscanned coupons before). And after the transaction was done, she slammed her pen down on the top. I read it as a way of throwing tantrums. Unfortunately for her, I had a survey with that transaction and of course I let Target knew of my dissatifaction. Seriously, I would rather use the self checkout machines then have to face a grumpy and unaccomodating cashier. Unfortunately, Target doesn’t have those.

    • eb says:

      @Andrea, I had a similar experience at Target this week. I handed over all my coupons to the cashier and asked if she scanned both $3/1 Snuggle coupons. She said she did. She even showed me the screen on the register and pointed my “savings” out to me on the printed receipt. Of course, the following day, I realized that she had missed the snuggle coupon and another for $1/2 ziplocs. It might sound dumb but I still feel sore for not being diligent about checking my receipt at the store. Because I felt pressure to hurry out of the line, I paid full price for an item that I wouldn’t have bought without the coupon. I’ll just chalk it up as a lesson learned but it kinda burns to be out of such a high value coupon.

  • Colleen says:

    The flipside to this is when you actually have a GREAT cashier! Last week I had a roughly 50% savings, and it was partially thanks to the cashier who took out a spare flyer and tore 2 Qs for me!

    A reason why I choose to drive past 2 other grocers on my way to SuperFresh!

  • No shopping here, as we’re living from the pantry this month, but I was able to get two dozen eggs from a neighbor by giving her some garden greens that were going to seed (to feed her chickens).

    We have also harvested about 3 1/2 pounds of asparagus so far this month from out garden. We ate swiss chard from the garden this week, and a little lettuce and spinach, too! Having a garden helps a lot!

    • Lucky says:

      @The Prudent Homemaker, That is so awesome that you have asparagus! How long have you been growing it? I know it takes a while to get a patch going.

      I’m about a week away from lettuce — I can’t wait!

      • @Lucky,

        Asparagus takes 4 years to grow from seed. To speed things up, buy one or two-year-old plants. Burpee has starts that you can order for a great price (about 15 times cheaper than getting them at the local nursery). They do take some room; when they say to plant them 18 inches apart, it’s becuase they’ll get that wide in a few years! And, you need a lot of plants per person. I started a second bed last year because I was only getting enough for myself!

        You can see what it looks like in the garden during harvest time here on my website:
        http://theprudenthomemaker.com/thekitchengarden.aspx

        I was out taking some more pictures this morning; I’ll have some pictures of the younger plants up soon.

  • Allison says:

    I have gone back to Dillon’s before for several dollars worth of coupons, but it’s not worth the trouble for me to drive back with my kids if it’s only .50. I try to watch carefully as well, but the kids do distract me a lot! So wonderful to leave them at home with hubby.

    Crystal, I tried that Tyson chicken…still have some in the freezer! I thought it tasted really good, and was super fast and easy since all you do is heat it up, but I did find it to be pretty gristle-y. I can cook better chicken than that, but it’s good on nights I don’t have time to cook much.

  • Susan says:

    When I plan my shopping trip the first thing I do is go on line to the grocery store I am going to. I make a list on line and print it, I then write down all the coupons I plan to use next to the product. When I go to the store and can’t get an item I cross it if my list and if I purchase anything that was not on my list and the coupon(if used). Another thing I do if there is a catalina deal I write that down on a seperate piece of paper so I know exactly what I need to get. An example of this is one of my stores was running several buy so many items get a catalina for so much off your next order. You also were to get catalinas for a free reusable bag with each offer. Well, when I got done and checked out, none of my catalinas printed. The customer service desk was very nice about it and even just used my list instead of going through the whole receipt.

    Susan

  • Susan says:

    Ifound a good deal today. I went to what they called a warehouse store. it was actually a scratch and dent grocery store. Anyway, I found that they were selling all 5 lb bags of flour for $.99. I got 3 bags of Whole Wheat because that all they had of that. After I left I thought about and told my husband I think I am going to go back and get some bread flour.

  • Jennifer says:

    My last trip to Walmart the cashier entered a $1.50 coupon as $71.50. Now, that’s my kind of mistake! (which, of course, I immediately pointed out to him)

    Crystal, how did you get Chips Ahoy with an Oreo coupon? I have a package of the free Golden Oreos here that just aren’t worth the calories IMO–Chips Ahoy would have been more to my liking! LOL

    • Crystal says:

      @Jennifer, I was part of the batch of people who didn’t receive my free Oreos coupon the first time around. So I had to fill out another form and got an apology letter with a coupon good for a free package of ANY Nabisco cookies–up to $4. So I guess patience paid off, since my husband likes ChipsAhoy better than Oreos! 🙂

  • cwaltz says:

    For some reason the links aren’t working for me. I guess I can’t engage in my grocery voyeurism this week.;) .

  • Paula says:

    I had this same thing happen at CVS. I had 2 post coupons for honey bunches of oats & fruity pebbles. The cashier thought she’d scanned them, but when she checked, she had to rescan them. Very frustrating to say the least. I feel like I should have a calculator!

  • Trixie says:

    I shop at Meijer in Michigan and run into the registers not taking my coupons every single time I shop. This has been happening ever since they “reset” their registers about a year ago. Apparently they want cashiers to do more manual approval of coupons (or in my book, scam customers with legitimate coupons).

    Today, my bill started out at $90 and ended up at $52 when all was said and done. But, if I didn’t stand right there and watch those coupons like a hawk, I would’ve ended up paying $30 more for my groceries. Sometimes the cashier is great, like today and sometimes they are not so great like last week. It’s very frustrating for me, the cashier as well as all the people behind me in line.

  • Elisabeth says:

    All the problems mentioned with items ringing up wrong and coupons getting missed is why I LOVE using the self-checkout at Meijer. I scan items and coupons myself and that ensures nothing gets missed. I’m willing to do it to save the extra $$$$!

  • Kelly Welch says:

    I scan the comments as I scroll down to the “Leave a Comment” section, I see tale after tale of coupon/checker woes and pluses—-and all I came online to say was, “MAN, YOU GET CHEESE FOR ONLY $1.98?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?” For some reason, cheese is very expensive out here in the Pacific NW—even with our own cows and dairy industry. It is like, an INCREDIBLE sale if we can get a 2lb brick for $3.98. (Which would be 1.99 per pound, I’m guessing that’s what you had going on) It’s usually $2.50-$3.00 per pound, and woe to my grocery budget, we go thru it like buttah!

    • Emily Kay says:

      @Kelly Welch, Our cheese (South Texas) is very expensive too!!!

    • Preparedmom says:

      @Kelly Welch, I have family in the PNW. Grocery prices in general are MUCH higher for them than other areas of the country. When we visit I always have sticker shock.

    • Marie says:

      @Kelly Welch, Yes, but you get to live in the beautiful PNW. I’d give all my cheap cheese to get to move out there! 🙂

    • Crystal says:

      @Kelly Welch, A 2-lb block for $3.98??? That would be a pretty unheard-of sale here, too. The blocks you see in the picture above that I paid $1.98 for were 8-oz. blocks, not 16-oz. blocks. 🙁

      The cheapest we usually ever see it here is $1.29 at Aldi for 8-oz blocks, or $2.50 per pound when there’s a really, really good sale. On occasion, I can stack a Kraft sale with a coupon and find it for as low as $1.99 per pound, but that’s only a few times per year.

      So you can feel better now. 🙂

    • Jennifer says:

      @Kelly Welch,
      We use a lot of cheese (usually shredded) and get the best price at SAMS as I’ve only seldom matched a cheese sale with a good coupon. You have to buy a 5 lb bag (no biggie here). It is $10.88 or $2.18/lb.

  • Jen says:

    I had a few buy one get one free coupons and the cashier at walmart gave me an attitude because I didn’t tell her before hand. I normally do but they always just throw them to the side anyway and it sometimes skips my mind. thank god they finally got the self check outs put in. I’ve gotten looks handing over large stacks too, and then I get man I gotta start clipping coupons you saved alot.

    • Crystal says:

      @Jen,

      Ugh. I had a horrible experience at Wal-Mart the other day. I had some coupons I wanted to use there (mostly for free stuff)–a free beech nut let’s grow product, and some $1 off Scotch Brite, and $1 off McCormick used to get some free seasoning packets. There was other stuff, but she gave me grief about all those things, and this was after 1/2 hour shopping and 20 minutes standing in line because there were problems with every order before mine and not enough checkers open. I stood there so long that my blue bunny ice cream sandwiches (which I got RIGHT before getting in line) were melting! Anyway, did I mention this is also with a 2 year old and an 8 month old in the cart?

      I get up there and she won’t take my scotchbrite because the coupon was for more than the price of the item. Same thing with the McCormick seasonings and she gave me grief about the Free item (beechnut) coupon as well. I ended up leaving everything sitting there, and said, “I can’t wait until Meijer opens here.”

      I’ve been trying to phase Wal-Mart out of my shopping anyway (it’s been hard because I live in a rural area and Walmart is pretty much it. But, the customer service there certainly makes it easier.

  • carla says:

    This always happens to me. I give lots of coupons and they forget to sacan one or two coupons. Many times I have to go to customer services to solve the problem.
    Thanks for everything! You’re awesome!

  • WilliamB says:

    I watch also since it’s easy to make a mistake, especially if there are a lot of coupons. A better idea is to count the coupons before handing them over, then count the number on the receipt.

    I had coupon and pricing problems at both stores yesterday. I’ll have to return to one to get that problem fixed (I’m not looking forward to it, it’s complex but I’m not going to let a $13 mistake go uncorrected). In the other, English peas wouldn’t register so the clerk told me he’d ring it as Sugar Snap Peas. When I pointed out that Sugar Snaps were more expensive he gave me another product for free instead (he was trying to be helpful – there’d already been several delays on the line). After I paid I went to check the prices anyway. The clerk had tried but I was still out $5. Blessedly, Customer Service took my word for it – didn’t even look at the receipt – and gave me the cash.

  • Emily says:

    I can’t tell you how many times I wasn’t able to watch the register (due to having my kids w/ me, having to bag my own groceries, etc.) and I noticed after the fact on my receipt that a product didn’t ring up on sale or the cashier entered the wrong code for produce or something. These things are easy to catch on the receipt, and the customer service desk is always willing to refund me, but what ISN”T easy to catch is when the cashier didn’t ring up a coupon (if you’re using a lot of them). I need to get better about watching!!

  • Register watching is a critical activity! I nearly ALWAYS catch something;)

  • Kristin says:

    That’s great for all that stuff!! I had a horrible experience at Target yesterday when I did mention they didn’t scan all my coupons. The lady said ” If you have this many coupons next time I am going to send you to customer service. We are cracking down on people like you!” I couldn’t believe it! I was so upset. There is nothing illegal about coupon clipping!!

    • Andrea says:

      @Kristin, “People like you?” That’s just rude. I’m going to sound old now, but I miss the days when store people were actually trained to be polite.

  • That happened to me a few weeks ago too! Mine was a coupon for a free jug of milk, and they just never took it off at all. I actually DIDN’T catch it (I wasn’t watching the register because they were making me bag my own groceries) until I was out in the car looking at my receipt, and saw that they never scanned it. Luckily I went back in to customer service and they refunded the money.

  • Crystal says:

    Yes, definitely watch the register. They had mis-priced something at Rite-Aid and charged me $4.29 for a tube of toothpaste. I thought my total seemed a bit high, but had the babies and all that and was just ready to go so I didn’t say anything.

    I ended up going right back in there to return it. No way is this chic going to pay $4.29 for a tube of toothpaste!

    Do the same thing at the bank. Always count your money if you withdraw. We save our change for vacation every year and one year we had $260 in change, and they only gave us $160! I rarely remember to count it but that time I did. craziness.

  • Momof Two says:

    I try to count my coupons b/c it’s very easy for them to be skipped. Especially Target, alot of times a coupon seems to give an error and if the cashier keeps scanning the register beeps but nothing is going trough b/c the one coupon is “stuck”. I also watch and count returns – if you are returning like 10 items (my online clothes shopping sometimes) it’s easy for something to get missed. Very frustrating!

  • Patti says:

    I, too, have had many mistakes occur with coupons – even if I am only buying a few items. Now I calculate on my list what I think I should be paying and watch closely to see if the cashier is charging me the same. Many of the cashiers just don’t take the time to be careful and it may be a part of their job, ie: they may be watched to see how quickly they are running their lines. However, if you know basically what you expect to pay, it helps you see a huge difference. I like the idea of counting the no. of coupons and checking the list – especially if you have a bunch at one time.

  • Jenna says:

    Years ago when I started couponing (40 years) the studies showed that on average trip to a grocery , boxed, warehouse, or discount store when paying for consumables groceries, drug items the store makes on average a $7.00 mistake in the favor of the store. Calculate that times how many trips to the store you do per year. You will very soon discover it pays to do at least a quick tally of your reciepts.

  • Jenna says:

    The other thing that gets hard to calculate exactly is diffrent states have diffrent tax rates ( I have lived in many) Also you do have to pay tax on every item, even when you have a free item coupon you the customer are obligated for the tax.
    I try to keep this in mind when I am doing my budget otherwise I overspend trying to buy things for donation. Our tax dollars are getting quite high in our nation.
    The way I handle this is to leave behind the coupon instead for someone who can afford the tax.

  • Alison says:

    I’ve had that happen with coupons, too. It happened last week at Target. They were very willing to remedy the mistake, even though I noticed it after I paid and was double-checking the receipt. I definitely agree that it pays to watch the register and the price of the items you buy as they scan!

  • Ruth says:

    I have had nothing but problems with coupons at Target. I have never gone there when they haven’t missed at least one coupon, and usually more. I need to watch/count better because I fall into the “it’s only a dollar” camp, so I never go back. The last time they forgot my J and J bath buddy coupon. Since my kids are grown, I never would have bought that full price! Oh well.

  • Amber says:

    @Preparedmom,
    Agreed, grocery prices in the PNW are MUCH higher than the prices listed on most blogs. And grocery stores never double coupons, unless we get albertsons doublers.

  • Julie says:

    I’m still stuck on how much you made at your yard sale!! Wow. My sister had a sale with 3 or 4 others over the weekend and they only made about half what you made. What kind of stuff did you sell? I never have enough stuff to have my own but I put a few things in my sister’s. And despite what I felt was super cheap prices, a lot of things still didn’t sell. $5 for a George Foreman grill? I thought that was pretty good. No? Anyway….$1000 is amazing.

  • jan says:

    REally like the details of your shopping

  • Ann says:

    WOW WTG on the Yard Sale, Great Shopping Trip too!

  • yenna says:

    The key is not to give all the coupons at the same time.

  • Emma says:

    I all was count my coupons before hand them over.

  • Emma says:

    I all was count my coupons before hand them over

  • Ellen says:

    Yes, it always helps to watch the register. And it always helps to be polite! I always love how “real” you keep things, Crystal— ice cream and toilet paper are the quintessential essentials! 🙂

  • kristina says:

    Hi! Just a tip… I try to use the same cashiers everytime. At CVS, I have 2 cashiers who know me with coupons. At Ingles, I have 2 cashiers I use as well. If they are not there (I look as I enter), then I pull my buggy off to the side (usually in an aisle that is not crowded), quickly figure up my bill before coupons, how many coupons I have, and then how much they are total. As I get the item I also write the price down on my shopping list. I also try to familiarize myself with the store’s coupon policy so that I don’t hold up the line by not following their rules.
    Congrats on the yard sale. Have a great day yall!

  • Ginger says:

    My kroger was having a great clearance sale. I bought a Propel which was labeled 1.49. My cashier scanned it for the original price 2.99. I caught it as I was leaving. When I showed it to the customer service woman, she re-rang it and I ended up getting over 2.00 back somehow. Love that customer service!

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