Friday, February 7, 2014

Driving to Coupon Shop

Living in the Midwest, we tend to drive for deals. Almost everyone has a car, and we drive everywhere we go. Part of my personal news years resolution was to save as much on my other expenses as I do at County Market, aka 50%. Of course one of the first things that popped out on my bank statement was GAS. Back in the day, couponers would shop multiple stores to save money by splitting their weekly grocery buy to get the rock bottom prices on every item for the week. It made sense, because driving between stores only cost about $.25 per trip. Yet, that was when gas was around $1.50 per gallon. Times have changed, and so has shopping.
Since I can’t control the gas price, I needed to look at some ways to combine grocery savings and gas savings.

 Step #1 was to find out how I was burning up so much gas. To do this, I started to break down my weekly gas purchase. In January I put 18 gallons of gas in the van. In week #1 I ran out of gas in less than a week. Yikes. I was using more than 18 gallons per week and wanted to slice that expense. I could quite driving, or drive smarter.

Step #2 I started keeping a daily odometer log of how many miles I was traveling and where I was going. This was my “Oh I see what’s happening” moment. Although on my running errands day, I thought I was being frugal, I was actually burning up my savings driving all around town for my deals. I hit the locations as to what I was shopping for more than working in one route.
Step #3 After my second week of recording miles driven and locations on my errands list, I mapped myself. I was driving the long way to locations. Somehow, by looking at my routes, I managed to find some less hectic routes, that got me to my destination in less time and with less gas. How much less?

In week #3 I saved a whole $6 by traveling to my same destinations, but by different routes. Google maps was a big help. That wasn’t enough to satisfy my goals. Step #4 I started cutting out places I would go, that were non essential. A good example was my weekly stop for lunch after leaving coupon club. I found a closer fast food, and picked up a $.50 soda out of the machine after leaving the store. Wow, that’s another $3 per week.

Step #5 That got me to thinking about all the coupon users I know who do the Route to savings. They hit
Now I’m into week #5. I’ve managed to get down to around 20 gallons per week. I stopped idling the car if I’ll be sitting longer than 30 seconds (self appointed experts online seem to think that saves far I can’t argue). I’ve consolidated my shopping and limited myself to 3 stores per week, or saved $7.50 spent driving to do my shopping. What do you know….that’s the price of a couple gallons of milk. To me, I’ve found a way to cover my Milk buys in 2012 and I’m not missing out on any deals by driving all around.

6 stores per week to save $3 at each. Is it worth the drive and the gas? I’ve implemented a new rule for my minivan. If I can’t save at least $5 on the items in the cart, I can’t pay for the time and gas to drive to get the deal. Not only that. I need to be really sure I am saving. Does it make sense to drive to the local Walgreens, which for me is 8 miles there and back, or $2.59 on my errand day. If I’m picking up something I NEED, then yes. But what about all those enticements for Register Rewards, or items that I would just be gathering and not using. Then I’m spending $2.59 to go to that store. Huh. Guess where I didn’t go in week #4?

For additions Print N Save Coupons:

All internet coupon print limits are subjective. At the time of this email coupons were available for print. If the daily or weekly print limit has been reached, the coupon will be automatically pulled from the websites. You can try to print again tomorrow. All coupons listed are not available in our stores. We list them so you can order or find them to save you money. Check with clipping services, trade boards, or ebay to find coupons not in your store. It is our intent to help you find as many savings opportunities as possible. Enjoy!