February 9, 2011
Shopping at Smith's with the Grocery Guru
Yesterday I went shopping at the Smith's grocery store in Farmington, Utah with the Grocery Guru, Ken Roesbery. You may have seen him on the morning news on KUTV2. See my last post to find out how I won this opportunity. It was a fun experience and our group of 8 shoppers was great. Everyone was so helpful. We followed Ken around the store like chicks following a hen, or in this case a rooster.
Ken pointed to the shelves in the store and told us how many of each item to grab for the greatest savings. We then put the items in our cart. He also told us which items we did not have to get if we did not want to. No pressure. I liked that. He was polite, moved quickly, and repeated things multiple times so we wouldn't get confused.
At the end he asked for a $10 tip, but it was totally optional. To offset the cost of the tip he offered us a free dinner at Carino's in Salt Lake. If we gave him the tip, we could shop with him for free at any other time we wanted to. For $10 more he gave us $2000 worth of coupon inserts (some were close to expiration), and a $10 off coupon to Kohl's to offset that cost. I paid him the tip and bought the coupons because I felt the experience was worth it, I had lots of coupons, and nothing was lost because I shop at Kohl's faithfully. Before we went through the checkout he handed us a bunch of coupons paper clipped together which I gave to the checker. I came out of the store with at least 8 bags of groceries. Here is my savings:
$61.95 Amount saved with Fresh Values and MFG coupons that Ken gave me
$39.84 Total cost
I'm still reading through his handout on coupon shopping and how he uses the inserts. I would have enjoyed buying more fruits and veggies, but we did get meat, cheese, eggs, and milk. There are rarely coupons for produce anyway, so I could have purchased them ahead of time.
Since this is a food storage blog, let me tell you what I bought for food storage: 4 Progresso soups, 2 Kroger spaghetti sauces, 1 Ken's salad dressing, 2 Jello puddings, 4 Hormel chilis, 4 Kellogg's cereals, 2 Ronzoni pasta, 2 Colgate toothpastes, 2 O.R. microwave popcorn.
A few of Ken's tips:
1. Don't clip coupons until you are ready to use them.
2. Keep coupon inserts from the newspaper in a binder with pockets. Date the first page of the insert.
3. Match coupons to sales for the greatest savings. Check his and other websites to know how to match.
4. Plan menus around the sales.
5. Ken suggests cutting and then paper clipping your coupons for your shopping trip.
6. Give store coupons to the cashier first at the beginning of the checkout process. Give the cashier the manufacturer's coupons at the end of the checkout process.
My tips if you go shopping with the Grocery Guru:
1. Don't try to buy other items at the same time as it will make it harder to see your savings.
2. Don't feel you have to buy things you don't like. However, if you need 10 items from a list of particular items, ask Ken if you can get two more of something you like. You may not use a manufacturers coupon for the greatest savings, but you will but what you really want hopefully at a store discount.
3. Only shop at a store that you are familiar with. It will help you make better food choices.
4. Don't take kids. You will be moving quickly and don't have time for bathroom stops, etc.
5. If you don't go with him, you can create your own menus from the advertisements. To match up coupons to products you need, click the Search Grocery Ads button on the Guru's site. Or use his shopping list. The choice is yours.
I already use several of Ken's ideas, except I've been clipping first. Understand that I don't let coupons run my life. I typically look for items I typically buy that are on sale. However, I'm making a binder to keep the newspaper inserts in anyway. (Changed my mind. I like clipping coupons only for thing I buy! And keeping them in a small binder with envelope dividers.) I only have the Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday Deseret News which I paid for a year in advance. I don't buy multiple newspapers. Another site Ken promotes that will show you how to combine sales and coupons is GrocerySmarts.com. Also, for some of you who are okay paying for help and aren't too excited about couponing, check out DealstoMeals.com (western United States) which I've used before. It's a great site! After awhile though you just know what a good price is or you keep a price log. Also I've learned what coupons work for my family and avoid all others.
Guru Great Deals Monday mornings on KUTV2 at 6:50 and 7:50 a.m. and on Wednesday on KJZZ 14 at 9:10. And the radio at Freedom 570 on Saturday's 7:00 - 8:00 a.m. Or at gurudeals.com.
For more information on the Grocery Guru's program, contact Ken Roesbery, at (801) 204-6340 or firstname.lastname@example.org.