Friday, May 20, 2011

Publix: How many to buy?

How do you decide how many of a grocery item to buy?

Generally, unless you're purchasing coupons, you're limited by how many coupons you have for the item. But beyond that, how do you decide?

I faced this decision this week at Publix. I had many coupons that matched BOGO sales on salsa, pasta, and salad dressing. I could have just bought as many as I had coupons for each, but I decided against that in some cases.

I decide by thinking about how often I run out of the item and have to pay full-price for that item. (Of course, when I do pay full price, I don't buy the brand name. Instead, I buy the generic brand of the item at an everyday low prices store like ALDI or Walmart.)

For the salsa, I've run out of salsa many times and had to buy a jar at ALDI. So I bought as many as I could - in this case, I had six coupons, so I bought six jars.

With the pasta, I do rarely run out of pasta in general, but I do sometimes run out of a shape that I like. So I bought four boxes of pasta, three of which were the penne shape that I prefer over macaroni or spaghetti.

Salad dressing - I don't think I've ever run out of salad dressing! And even if I did, I could make some from oil and vinegar and spices. So even though each bottle was cheap, and I had many coupons, I chose to buy only two bottles of salad dressing in flavors I'd not likely make on my own.

Here's the full rundown of the deals I got at Publix this week:

2 Ziploc quart-sized bags @ $2.09 -= $4.18
- $1.25/2 Ziploc coupon from the 4/3 Smartsource insert
- $1/2 Ziploc Publix coupon from the Yellow Advantage flyer
= $1.93 for two, or 97¢ each

4 Kraft shredded cheese w/Philly @ $2.50 = $10.00
- 4 $1 off Kraft w/Philly blinkie coupons
= $6.00 for four, or $1.50 each

6 Tostitos salsa @ BOGO $3.19 = $9.57
- 6 $1 off Tostitos dips coupon from the 5/1 Moments to Save insert
= $3.57 for six, or 60¢ each

2 Wish-Bone dressings @ BOGO $2.89
- 2 $1 off Wish-Bone Publix coupon (available in-store or printable)
= 89¢ for two, or 45¢ each

2 Domino 5 lb sugar @ $2.99 = $5.98
- 2 40¢ off Domino printable coupon
= $5.58 for two, or $2.59 each (9¢ cheaper than ALDI)

4 Ronzoni Quick Cook pasta @ BOGO $1.39 = $2.78
- 4 55¢ off coupons from the 4/10 Smartsource insert (or use printable or printable)
= 58¢ for four, or 15¢ each

4 Juicy Juice 8-pack @ $2.50 = $1.00
- $2/4 Juicy Juice product printable coupon
= $8.00 for four, or $2.00 each

1 McCormick black peppercorn grinder @ $1.50
- 75¢ off McCormick spice coupon from the 4/10 RedPlum insert
= 75¢

Tax: 26¢
Total out of pocket: $27.16
Total saved compared to Publix regular prices: $46.25

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Betty @ Little Farm in the Big City May 20, 2011 at 12:32 PM  

Interesting question you posed there. How to decide how much to buy? Here are the different things I look at when making that decision. First, of course, is how many coupons do I have. In your question, the number of coupons is "unlimited" so, I'll move on to my next criteria. How much money can I afford to spend on the extras? And last but not least, how much do I think my family will use until the next sale which I've learned over the years is about 6 to 8 weeks. Since we eat a pasta dish once a week, I'd buy at least 8 boxes of the sale pasta and that should get me to the next sale. Make sense?

Anonymous,  May 20, 2011 at 4:12 PM  

Very interesting question and one that I feel is the entire guts of how to coupon. My magic number for my family on most items is six to 8 which is ironic due to what Betty wrote. this is how many I find I need until the next sale and or coupon but it took me years to perfect this number.

Rene @ Budget Saving Mom May 20, 2011 at 11:54 PM  

I usually try to stock up on what my family can use in the next six months. This way I know that it won't go bad, and I have room to store it. It works for us anyway. (-:

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