With the Memorial Day weekend coming up, and my new profoundly skeptical yet compelling interest in coupons, I went to several coupon sites to collect coupons for hot dogs. I found several for two brand names I recognized, Oscar Mayer and Bar-S, both brands that my local stores carried. I searched further and even got a coupon at Target – supporting their recent foray in to the grocery business.
Armed with coupons and store circulars, I ended up with the following:
6 packages of Oscar Meyer Beef Franks (10 ea per LB)
4 Packages of Bar – S Jumbo “Meat”: Franks (8 ea per LB)
2 Bottles of Gulden’s Spicey Brown Mustard (Buy one Get one Free)
1 Bottle Of Bullseye Carolina Barbecue Sauce (Free)
And paid a grand total of $17.31, and thought I did pretty well for my first real experiment with coupons.
I bought 3 packages of Oscar Mayer Franks and got one free at Target with their internet coupon, and used a $1 off 2 packages for two of the three, making it $8.07 for what would have been $12.16. Funny, my receipt said I saved $5.09 not $4.09, but anyway. At the register, the cashier handed me a coupon that had spit out, for $5 off a future purchase of frozen food.
Okay, the game is to make me a repeat customer, so in theory I get another $5 back. Total savings at Target – not my first choice of grocery store, but “paper” savings were $9.09, on a $12.16 total bill. Pretty impressive.
Next, on to Market Basket, a block away. I learn that Oscar Mayer Franks were .05 cheaper to start, but I had no buy 3 get 1 free coupon , so it was the right move to buy them at Target.
At Market Basket, I grabbed 4 packages of Bar-S Jumbo Franks, at $1.19 each (8 to a pack) and used 2 buy 2 get $1 off coupons, saving $2 off a $4.76 total, which was cool. I had a buy one get one free coupon for Gulden’s Spicey Brown Mustard, saving $1.50 on the $3.00 value, and I used a free coupon for Bullseye Barbecue Sauce.
Altogether, at Market Basket I saved $6.50 on a bill of $15.74, or 41% off. I was impressed.
Then, I started thinking again…. I went to Shaw’s, since I had another coupon for a free package of a new type of Oscar Mayer hot dog product that the others did not stock. They also did not have it, but I checked the price at their hot dog section, and the Bar-S franks were on sale for $1.00. (Heavy Sigh)
So, actually, since I did not check the Shaw’s circular, I wasted .19 per package for all of the Bar-S franks. The coupons would have been good at Shaw’s also.
And without comparing nuances such as ingredients (they’re hot dogs for gosh sakes, we know what they are made of) I did a unit price check.
Oscar Mayer Franks – 10 for $3.04 or 30.4 cents each
Bar S- Franks – 8 for $1.19 or 14.8 cents each for a larger frank (half price)
(8 to a pound, versus 10 to a pound).
That’s the base price per unit. Now lets look at the total bargain…
Oscar Mayer at Target = 40 dogs using the buy 3 get 1 free = 40 dogs for 9.12, or 22.8 cents each.
Add in the buy 2 get $1 off = 40 dogs for 8.12, or 20.3 cents each
And at Shaw’s, without any coupons – the sale price on Bar-S this week was $1.00 per package of 8, or 12.5 cents each. (I hardly ever shop at Shaws’ because for the things I usually buy they are a bit more expensive. It’s still a nice store ,and occasionally has some good loss leaders, but I have a preference.)
So, by subtracting out the mustard and barbecue sauce, by using high valued coupons, and even combining coupons on one deal, I actually paid MORE than I would have by buying the hot dogs on sale without a coupon.
So much for the $6.04 I saved on 92 hot dogs using the coupons. I actually paid $13.81 for hot dogs (92 of them)
When by just buying the sale item without coupons, I would have paid $12 for 12 packages of 8. Saving $1.81, and getting 4 more, and bigger hot dogs.
And even without the dogs being on sale, I would have paid $14.28 ($1.19 x 12), So even disregarding the size of the hot dogs, and the extra 4, I saved a whopping 47 cents, by clipping coupons, combining deals, and shopping two stores, and two brands. Total face value of the hot dog coupons was $6.04, to save 47 cents.
And I did not even venture to buying a bulk box of the store brand. That’s my plan for the Fourth of July.
For now, coupons are in the doghouse. I’m hanging up my scissors. This is not a game for amateurs.
Update: And now , for the real kick in the pants. As I write this, Walmart has Bar-S hot dogs on sale for .88 cents a package. <sigh> With the $1 off 2 coupon, that’s 38 cents a package, for two. Less than a nickel per dog.
And I was so proud of getting into the coupon thing and saving money…