How we saved $865 at Kroger

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How we saved $865 at Kroger

This a guest post by our reader and fellow stockpiler, Jon Nugent.  Jon is a self employed restaurant management recruiter, father to his 12 year old son Jamie, and newlywed.  He enjoys all sports, especially baseball and racing, geocaching and most of all, saving money.

First let me start by thanking Melissa for not only the opportunity to be a guest blogger but for everything that she does for all of us.  My name is Jon. I am a business owner, husband and father.  Over the last two weeks, my wife and I saved over $865 at Kroger while spending only $137, a total savings of over 86%.  People ask us all the time, “How do you do that?” or say “I wish I could do that but just don’t have the time”.  I wanted to share with you some of our experience with stockpiling and most recently with the Kroger Mega Sale.

“How do you do that?”

You must first walk before you can run.  This holds true with life in general and couponing is no different.  My wife went to one of Melissa’s couponing classes last year and learned the ins and outs of couponing.   We didn’t start off saving 86%, we started with simply learning how different stores worked and the basic couponing strategies.  There is so much to learn at first it can be overwhelming for some.  What is a catalina?  Can you use a coupon with a BOGO sale?  What stores double?  Be patient and don’t get frustrated.  At first our savings were good, about 40-50%.  The more comfortable we became with coupons, the more we were able to stockpile and the more we were able to save.  Building a stockpile takes time, certainly more than a couple of months. We now order coupons from clipping services routinely and have finally begun to place orders with the stores.  Most managers seem helpful with ordering although one manager we talked to acted suspicious as to why we wanted to order 50 boxes of Motrin PM.  He wanted to see our coupons, photocopy it (as to think it was somehow fraudulent), and question us on where we got so many of the same coupon…..this should have been our first indication that it was not going to go smoothly.  Needless to say, our Motrin came in but no one at the store could find it and then it somehow ended up on the shelf.  Next time we will order from a different store.

“I wish I could do that but just don’t have the time.”

My response is how can you NOT make the time?  Granted doing 9 transactions at 5 stores takes some time…..8 hours to be exact.  However, we saved $865 over 8 hours, that works out to about $108/hour in savings.  I don’t make $108/hour at my daytime job but if I can save that much in my part time job then I come out considerably ahead.  That $865 can be spent on how we want to spend it instead of needing to spend it on groceries.

“Some people are rude where it comes to coupons”

One of the hardest parts for some people with using lots of coupons are the looks and comments made from some cashiers or other customers.  Yes, believe it or not there are some cashiers that aren’t particularly fond of couponers. :-)   Maybe they are jealous that we save so much money or upset that they don’t “get it” but their job is give good customer service and honor our coupons in accordance with the rules.  Where the biggest problems come in is when cashiers (and managers) don’t understand their own rules.  Recently at Kroger, my wife went in to purchase 60 Gatorade.  She went to pay with using 4 coupons of Buy 10 and Get 5 for free.  The price of the Gatorade was .99 and the coupons says valid up to $5 and it scans at $5.  The cashier didn’t give her full value of her coupon and instead of giving her $4.95 off, she only gave her $2.45 off…….her reasoning being with the Mega Sale, the price was reduced to .49.  The Mega Sale is a store discount off the entire order, not a coupon lowering the price of each item.  She didn’t want to fight with the cashier so she took her complaint to the customer service desk.  The CSR was less then helpful and so she left the store being shorted $10.  She passed this information along to me which is when I called the corporate office.  The gal from corporate passed the buck back to the store and I spoke to the supervisor.  The reasoning I got was “It was up to the managers discretion.”  He said he would check with his boss when he returned to the store an hour later and then call me back…….I’m still waiting for that call.  I understand managers discretion where it comes to limiting the quantities you purchase but not where the value of a coupon is concerned.  What is more frustrating is that the night before, at the same store, we did 2 transactions of Gatorade and we were given full credit.  The stores rules changed from night to day.  My wife returned the product, got a refund and our coupons back.  We went to a different store the next day and had no problems in receiving full value of our coupons.  After a few days, I decided to call the store manager and tell him what happened……he didn’t have any clue as to what the proper usage of the coupon should be but he did apologize for our troubles and offered us a $25 gift card.   My intentions were to inform the store manager what was going on within his store, not to try and get something for free.  This store is the closest for us to shop at but we will not be back.  For every bad experience, we have 10 good ones like the cashier on Saturday.  The cashier was obviously new but very friendly.  Before coupons, our total was $177…..about the time it got down to $40 he looked at us like, “Wow, that’s pretty cool.”  We left with an OOP of $9.99.  Moral of the story, If things don’t go your way…..walk away.  There are plenty of good cashiers, managers, and stores that want your business and are knowledgeable about the proper use of coupons.

Couponing is a lifestyle…….unless it has a yellow tag it is invisible to us.  Learn everything you can learn, be patient and stay the course…..soon you’ll be saving 86% as well.

Thanks so much to Jon (and Jenni) for sharing his story with us and pictures of their stockpile!

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Comments

  1. Crystal F says:

    Don’t forget, that’s $865 NET income—take-home pay! There are expenses…such as the clipping service and the tax (on some things, in some states) but well-worth the time invested! We routinely get 75-90% off our shopping trips! (Sometimes we even MAKE money on other items because the coupons give us overage and that overage is then applied to other deals, making those items FREE. ) We’ve also had the questions, rude comments and hateful looks from cashiers and customers…WHO CARES! If they saw a roll of bills..oh, say $865! laying on the ground, do you think they’d walk on by and NOT pick it up? I THINK NOT!! Kudos to all of us out there who coupons and make that connection—and thanks for such a great blog!!

  2. Wow….impressive with all the toilet paper and water and gatorade….I guess they kind of go together….ha!

  3. melssa neier says:

    WOW! I am just glad when i save 50-60% of mybill at kroger. I am very impressed. Keep up the good work.

  4. Brie Clark says:

    I agree with the “walk away” part. Don’t be rude about it, just let them know you’ll take your business elsewhere. During the last Mega Sale, there was one store that didn’t want to double my Mentos & Easy Mac Q’s. I politely asked her to void my order, and that I would take my coupons to a store that would double them. She questioned why I would expect them to double when they say “Do Not Double”. I explained to her that the doubling is a Kroger incentive to get my business and that they are never reimbursed the double amount whether a coupon states “Do Not Double” or not. I have at least a dozen Kroger stores within 10 miles, and I didn’t have a single problem at any other store in at least 25 transactions.

  5. That is so impressive! I love couponing, but we don’t have any stores around where you can make out so well! Wish we had a Kroger!

  6. Big congrats!

  7. Melissa Adkins says:

    It was my personal goal to save 30% on each grocery bill this year. You do an amazing job saving! I wish my stockpile were as neat and ordered as yours! I think my favorite thing, though, is that you and your wife do this together.

  8. I read thru this article twice! Good advice. I especially like the part about not having TIME to coupon! Love how he broke it down.

  9. Estella Mendoza says:

    That is pretty awesome!!! I have my little helper my daughter is 10 and she helps me clip coupons and goes shopping with me!! We have had our share of rude cashiers and managers…I just get their names and I take it up with their Corporate offices…Thanks for sharing this!!!

  10. I learned that you need to ask and question the managers re their coupon policies

  11. I envy your tp pile and waters. That goes fast here and never any great deals on tp here. Congrats on your haul!!!

  12. I’m not sure why that link posted with it, i did not post it with it. I am sorry about that.

  13. Heather MArkus says:

    Great advice, thanks for sharing!!

  14. Michelle Carter says:

    Wow! I have been couponing for a while but I’m not “advanced” yet so this was a great post for me to read.

  15. Jessie C. says:

    Impressive, I must say. Thank you for sharing your tips and experiences.

  16. Tiffany Beck Mueller says:

    Wow, that is great! I am fairly new to the couponing and stockpiling, and am already seeing a tremendous savings. I used to buy all store brand items, and think I was getting the best deal. Now I see that I can buy name brand products, and get better deals by using strategic couponing.

  17. I enjoyed reading your savings strategies, and have encountered many of the same problems with cashiers and store managers. Still, I don’t want to find another store to shop at — I want those employees to learn to do things right!

  18. Awesome savings!

  19. Mary Ellen Winters says:

    I also have come across unfriendly cashiers that act like you are taking money out of their pocket by using coupons. I am new to couponing but have saved lots of money and gotten a lot of items free by following the deals on Stockpiling moms. Your story is an inspiration to all of us!!!

  20. I really like the part about not having the time….invest as much or little time as you wish…Thanks for sharing!

  21. Kathleen Jones says:

    This is a great way to save.. I am sending it to all my friends. thanks so much.

  22. Natalie A. says:

    Thanks for sharing this. It’s so nice to see that it’s possible to save that much!

  23. Shawna B says:

    This is truly amazing. Thank you for sharing your story and the wonderful pics.

  24. Thanks so much for all the information! I really appreciate it! kytah00@yahoo.com

  25. Linda Brooks says:

    ohh wow i want to be like you when i grow up! no seriously..my goal saving is at least 90% but your tops that!!! awesome job!! i saved 71% during mega sale event several weeks ago.. i was sooo happy!!!

  26. Wow!!! I save 90% sometimes too!!!

  27. That’s a great job. I wish I had room to really stockpile. Thanks for sharing your story.

  28. Jessica Dickerson says:

    That is fantastic!

  29. Wow ! Awesome post. I am impressed with the “just walk away” part. I think more and more of us need to realize that the stores NEED us more than we need them !

  30. That is amazing. I don’t have the patience for coupons, which is why I let my wife take care of the shopping. I sure don’t mind the savings!

  31. I aspire to be this great of a stockpiler. We are starting little by little. Awesome deal!!

  32. Yes! I agree, walk away! But only after you get what you came and shopped so hard for! I went the other night and did some serious shopping-like 3 hours worth and I only got through 1/2 of the store done at most but I wanted to be in line by a little before midnight to still get that weeks deal. Thought about coming back in and finishing the rest with next weeks deals but after being in the checkout line for an hour and a half and driving a half an hour to get there I felt like I had already worked a shift! I went though the self checkouts so I could have better grasp on my deals of 10 for $5 off and things packaged sanely in the bags. I was done scanning in no time. The watcher/cashier took a look at my 2 inch stack of coupons and took them and began scanning and forgot to double some. So we had him do that right. In the end it went from over $300 down to $67. Would have been less but I bought some items without coupons that were have to’s and that just kills me! So I went to pay by my debit card and it wouldn’t take it. I knew darn well there was more money there than that! Not much but still more than needed!! They tried it over and over and they said it just wouldn’t take it. So I went to another register and got a small with a coupon and scanned right through and paid and that’s that! Less than a minute! So I knew nothing was wrong with my card! It had to be them. It had to be the coupons. So after calling other daytime managers at night at home asleep-you know that didn’t help me any- and an hour and a half in line the kid says “it wants me to swipe my manager card but I am afraid it will charge you the whole amount.” Well, that whole amount wasn’t going to go through. I have no overdraft anything extra that I am ever going to get stuck paying! If I don’t have the money I ain’t gonna buy it, simple as that! I told him go ahead worst that can happen is it will say no! I wanted to go but I knew I was right and they said management didn’t come in til 8. Fine I was staying til 8 then. And if they didn’t help I threatened to stay til corporate opened. Forgot the next day was Monday! Other workers walked away and didn’t want to deal with me but the cashier agreed to run that card and guess what?!?!?!?!?! It accepted my card and went though!!!!!!! Thank God! Die hard as I am I had had enough of that Krogers. The other people weren’t trying to help they were trying to get rid of me but not after allllll that work shopping and standing at the checkout! The kid checking me out felt bad and frustrated that he didn’t know how to make it work! I told him to try the manager card in the beginning in case their was a coupon line reached!!!! Never again to THAT Krogers!

  33. Lorie Folk says:

    Thanks so much for sharing! I’ve had my share of issues with employees not understanding their own coupon policies. I used to think I was doing something wrong. After much research and carefully studying each store’s policy – I know it’s not my fault and it’s no more than a 5 minute drive for me to find a store with associates who are as knowledgeable as I am of their policies :)

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