By Shannen Bayless

How much are you really saving when you go from store to store each week to find the best grocery deals? How much is it really costing to drive out of town to shop? These are a few questions I’ve been asking myself the past few weeks as gas prices continue to hover around the $4/gallon mark.

This weekend, my husband took our kids to our cabin so they could get things ready for summer on the lake. The house was so quiet! I found plenty of things to do to keep busy, and I had time to grocery shop by myself and not feel rushed. I traveled about 20 minutes from my house to shop “Super Double Coupon” sales at Schnucks and “Twice the Value” sales at Jewel Osco. With such great sales going on at these two stores, I figured it would be well worth it to drive out of town to shop.


At Schnucks, their Super Double Coupons meant they would double coupons up to $1.10 face value, so potentially I could get $2.20 off items! I was limited to 20 coupons per day with this sale. They also did not allow overage on items, which meant I couldn’t make money on using coupons (see the Barilla pasta I bought).

Here’s what I came home with from Schnucks:

2 Boxes of Barilla Whole Grain Pasta $1.25 each (Used $1 off coupons which made these FREE!)
2 Boxes Betty Crocker Fruit Snacks $2.00 each (Used $0.50 off 2 & paid $1.50 each)
1 box Snack Well bars $2.69 (Used $0.75 coupon & paid $1.19)
2 boxes Kotex tampons $3.29 (Used $1.00 off 2 & paid $2.29 each)
2 packages Keebler cookies $2.50 (Used $1.00 off 2 & paid $1.50 each)
1 package Angel Soft Toilet paper $3.99 (Used $0.45 off & paid $3.09)
1 box dog treats $3.19 (Used $1 off & paid $1.19)
2 bottles Kraft tartar sauce $2.09 each (Used $1 off 2 & Paid $1.09 each) These were marked at $1.25 each and I did not notice I paid more until I got home. Not worth driving back there to have them fix their error, but I may bring it up if I shop there this week.
1 Starkist Tuna pouch $1.25 (Used $0.50 off & paid $0.25)
1 Azteca Ultra Grain shells $1.50 (Used $0.45 & paid $0.60)
2 Kraft Milk Bites $2.50 each (Used 2-$0.75 off & paid $1.00 each)
2 cans Valley Fresh chicken $1.59 each (Used $1.00 off 2 & paid $0.59 each)
1 tub of Country Crock margarine $2.38 (Used $1.00 off & paid $0.38)
4 packages Buddig meat $0.60 each (Used $0.75 off 4 & paid $0.23 each)
1 Minute Maid juice boxes $3.79 (Used $1 off & paid $1.79)

I also bought a few things that I did not have coupons for because they were on sale or we needed them at home.

1 Capri Sun juice boxes $2.00
1 can Bush’s Baked Beans $1.75
1 Schnucks apple sauce $1.25
1 2 Liter bottle of Diet Dr Pepper $1.50 (messed up here thought they were $1.00, but wasn’t worth arguing about with them!)
5 pound bag of apples $3.99
13 bottles of Propel water $0.50 each

I saved $25.80 just by using coupons on this trip! I spent a total of $47.61, and saved $45.23 or 48.7% on this trip.

Jewel “Twice the Value” Sale

Next I went to Jewel Osco to see what I could find there this week. I usually strictly shop sales at Jewel because I think it tends to be on the expensive side for every day grocery shopping. They were doubling up to $1.00 face value, and I was limited to 5 coupons per day.

Here’s what I brought home from Jewel. The price listed is after my Preferred card was used.

2 boxes Welch’s fruit snacks $2.00 each (Used $1.00 off 2 & paid $1.00 each)
2 bottles Hershey’s chocolate syrup $2.00 each (Used $1.00 off 2 & paid $1.00 each)
1 50 oz bottle of All detergent $3.99 (Used $1.00 off & paid $1.99)
1 bottle Finesse mousse $2.00 (Used $1.00 off which made it FREE!)
1 pound of Sara Lee lunch meat $7.73 (Used $1.00 off & additional $1.50 Catalina & paid $4.23)

I also bought the following items because they were on sale:

2 packages Thomas English Muffins $3.99 each (Buy One Get One Free)
6 Dannon Light n Fit $0.50 each
3 Hot Pockets $2.00 each

I also used an additional $2.00 Catalina from last week. I spent $22.14, and saved $26.65 or 56% while shopping at Jewel. I also got coupons back for free paper towels and free ice cream to use next time I shop.

My findings

Before I left to go shopping, I filled up my van with gas, and when I returned, I put $8.54 back in it to fill it up. When I got home, I stopped at Wal-Mart to compare its prices with those of Schnucks and Jewel. Items that were in their ads I priced matched at Wal-Mart. Some items I couldn’t find at Wal-Mart, so I substituted similar items. For example, Wal-Mart did not sell the same tortilla shells, so I chose a similar sized package.

If I had bought all the same items at Wal-Mart, I would have spent $87.72 plus tax. My totals from Schnucks and Jewel were $69.75 plus I figured in the amount of gas I spent which then totaled $78.29. So I saved about $9.43 by shopping the great out of town sales.

This trip really did not prove to be worth my drive out of town. For just over $9 in savings I could have saved myself a lot of time on Sunday morning, but it did give me something else to do besides clean my house!

Shannen Bayless is a couponing guru for, and helps to find the best deals and savings.

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