Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Ask Me a Question

This is a call for your questions. If there is a topic you would like me to cover or a specific question you have for me. Please let me know. You can either respond to this post or email directly at

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Want to save $$ - ditch the TV

When I tell people that we don't have tv, people look at me like I am from a different plant. The next thing they ask me is, "WHY???". So here it is, why we don't have tv.

Now I need to make it clear that we own a tv that works. We just don't have ANY programming. That's right, no public tv, no cable. We do Netflix for $13.99/mo. It also has streaming video on the computer, so my kids love that.

Now, it would only cost us about $10 per month to add cable to our phone and Internet package. Less than Netflix and we would have a bazillion movie channels at our fingertips. But we save a TON of money by not exposing our kids to the ads on tv.

I don't know the exact numbers off the top of my head, but there is a ton of money spent on television advertising targeting American children. None of those ads are ever seen by our kids. They don't know what toys they are SUPPOSED to want. They are content with thrift store, garage sale, and hand me down toys. They even understand now that you pay a lot of money for the packaging of a new toy, and they are appalled.

They like to wander down the aisles of the toy section at Target, but they comment on how expensive everything is - especially when they can get it for free or next to free. They do not whine to me to buy them any toys at the store.

Now, there is another dimension to this, it is education. This is actually one of the first reasons we got rid of tv. When my DH was getting his PhD at Stanford, we had the opportunity to talk to a lot of the undergraduates there. We asked them what their parents did to help them get to Stanford. Most of them said, "We didn't have tv."

I would immediately say, "What did you do?" Their response, "We played instruments, we talked, we did family activities, we did our homework, we played when we were little, we joined clubs when we were older. We became so busy, that we didn't have time for it anyway."

Now this, in combination with some really gross programming on public tv during prime time, was enough to convince me to get rid of it. We didn't want there to be an easy access to our kids from the outside world. Because let's face it, if our kids are in front of the tv, most parents are doing other things. This leaves the kids watching programming that in uncensored, and I am not okay with that. With movies, I can have a little more control.

I need to end this and go join my family. They are in the music room, DH on the guitar, DD1 on the piano, and the other two DDs singing. Can't miss out on that!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Email Response from Wegmans

This is the response I receive from Wegmans.

We only double manufacturer’s coupons with a face value of $.99 or less with thefollowing exceptions and limitations:
• Coupons with a face value of $1.00 or greater will be redeemed at face value.
• One manufacturer’s coupon per item for a SPECIFIC BRAND product.
• Only FOUR (4) manufacturers’ coupons can be doubled on FOUR (4) of the samebrand product per day. Additional coupons for the same brand product will beredeemed at face value.
• Only FOUR (4) manufacturers’ coupons for free products can be redeemed per day(excluding Internet coupons).
• The double or face value of a coupon may NOT exceed the retail price.
• One manufacturer’s coupon and Shoppers Club discount or store coupon may beredeemed on the same item. The combination of a manufacturer’s coupon and aShoppers Club discount/store coupon may not exceed the retail price.
• One manufacturer’s coupon may be redeemed for each Club Pack product.
• We cannot give you a raincheck for manufacturer’s coupons.
• We do not accept manufacturer’s coupons for free products downloaded fromthe Internet.Face Value Redemption For...• Alcohol coupons• Coupons not for a specific brand name item• Rebate/refund certificates• Free item coupons (excluding Internet coupons)

Additional Shoppers Club NotesDiscounts on certain items (marked by MFR) are supported by the manufacturer; weare required by law to charge sales tax on the manufacturer-sponsored portion ofsuch offers.Forgotten coupons and Shoppers Club discounts must be redeemed within two weeksof the original purchase date with original receipt.Coupon Acceptance

Now, regarding our flyer. A few years ago we changed our approach to pricing. We now operate with Consistent Low Prices - which is our version of everyday low prices versus the traditional retail high/low sale pricing approach.

We do this so customers can buy what they want, when they want to and not have to wait until items go on sale to purchase them. We also comparison shop our competitors to make certain that the items people buy most have the best most competitive low prices.

It is a different way to shop, on we feel is a simpler way to shop, and a simpler way to save. We always have more national brand as well as Wegmans brand items that are being promoted with Shoppers Club as additional value items.

We would recommend you visit the 'browse the store' section of and select the check box for Shoppers Club items. Here you will see (currently) the 2,650 items, all Shopper Club items with prices and product details. You can sort them by name (alphabetical) to view brands, or use the left side navigation to view them by departments, brands, or Wellness Keys.

Additionally, you can then create a shopping list sorted by aisle and set up with the store layout. These tools may also be of interest to you when teaching people how to save time and money.

We are not sure if the store understood your question, and we aplogize if they gave you the wrong information but the ad - printed or online, is just a very small subset of the overall number of items available with great prices. It is a presentation of the items we are focusing on for that week - not the comprehensive list. It never has been, even in the non-CLP days.

Please check out our lower prices, look at the comparisons, and try our online tools.
We hope this information will be helpful to you and your students. If I may personally be of further service to you in any way please feel free to contact me any time.


Consumer Services Specialist

My Take on Wegmans

Many of you have asked me about my thoughts on the new Wegmans store, so here it is.....

First of all, I HATE their flyer that they send in the mail. It highlights mostly Wegman's brand products. This makes my life difficult for two reasons. 1) It makes it hard to compare prices 2) It makes it super difficult to match manufacture coupons with sales. Also, they waste a lot of space on pictures that give no information, and there is a lot of wasted space besides.

I wrote an email to their marketing branch telling them these things. I have yet to hear back, but in talking with other couponers, I am not the only one that feels that way.

WITH THAT SAID... I decided to go ahead and visit there in person. They were running a few good sales, and I needed to do some grocery shopping.

My mom was going back home (after a three week visit - Thank you mom!) so I needed to do some shopping. I did it a little differently than I usually do. I made up my menu for two weeks and went to buy those ingredients. Usually I buy what is on sale with coupons and make my menus around that.

I will break down my observations into categories for ease of reading and writing...

The Store:
Wear your walking shoes gals. This store is HUGE!! Also the layout is different than other stores I have been in so that threw me off. I am sure that after going a few times, I will become more comfortable with it. It was nice, but didn't seem over done, but I will be interested to see how this store ages. It also didn't seem like the highest quality either. However, in their deli/meat section it did get nicer. A marketing strategy I am sure.

Also, they mostly sell their own brand. This allows them to control their prices better, but makes it harder to use coupons.

The quality of the produce seemed good, not fabulous, but it passes in my book. The prices were really good compared to Giant (which has the best of the other stores). They had a bag of iceberg lettuce for $0.99, you can't beat that. They also had mini apples, perfect for the kiddos, for under $1/lb. if you bought them in a bulk bag. (The kids have LOVED these.)

I was amazed at their cheese prices. You can get pre-grated cheeses for $1.80/pound. You can get block cheese for around $2 per pound as well. Keep in mind that these are all Wegman brand things, but to save $ you can't be brand loyal.

Canned Goods:
I was floored at the prices on canned veggies. Way cheaper than you can get with sales and coupons.

A little bit better than other stores.

About the same, maybe a little more expensive

These were more expensive, but only by $0.15

Frozen Veggies:
Wegman Brand at $0.89 per bag. Again, this was an everyday price. The coupons that are coming out right now and the sales going on, you could maybe get them a little cheaper, but not my much.

This is another thing I was excited about. They had boneless skinless chicken breasts for $1.69/pound and chicken roasters for $0.69/lb. I have noticed that this coming week each was raised by $0.10 but even then that would be a great price. This week they have 90% lean ground beef for $1.99/pound. That is way cheaper than even Costco. However, I heard from someone else that nicer meats were more expensive than other stores. We stay with the basics so I didn't take the time to compare these.

I usually grind my own wheat to make my own bread, but Wegmans bread was $1.49/loaf. The quality was good and my kids seem to like it.

National Brands:
From what I could tell, their national brands were comparable to other stores if not a bit cheaper. Their Viva paper towels were $1.99/roll. With the $0.85 coupons that were doubled, I got four rolls for $0.30/roll.

Specialty Items:
This is where it gets steep. They have to make their $$ somewhere, and this is the place. If you need really nice items, my suggestion is to shop at Giant.

Coupon Policy:
This rocks! They double everything up to $0.99. No limit, and all in the same transaction (Giant, should take notice).

They also have a childcare center, which excites my chillens, and me. (I won't use it until after this awful flu season though. :)

So I bought groceries for 2 weeks worth of meals for $141.35. I will have to pick up fresh produce and milk in between, but I thought this was pretty good for planning from a menu. I am keeping a healthy pessimism though. They may be suppressing their prices to win customers and then raise them, so it is good to keep a good eye on that.

I will however, keep hitting the other store's loss leader sales and use my coupons. Right now all the stores will be fighting for your business so you are going to see some killer deals. Take advantage of them! Make them fight for your money, you worked hard for it and so should they.

Happy Shopping!