Free & Nearly Free Stuff – With & Without Coupons

I’ve been a die-hard Publix shopper for a while now, with a very occasional Target trip.  I’ve nearly mastered the most efficient methods for saving an average of 70% savings.  And I’m very satisfied with that at this time.  But I was lured in to the nearly new Aldi’s by the weekly ad that started today.  How could I resist 89¢ per pound for split boneless chicken breasts.  The fun began when we parked and found “free” shopping cart, already saving me 25¢ before I walked in the door.  I felt like I was in a cartoon, as I looked at every product on the deep shelves filled with boxes of neatly packed boxes and bags of popular items with packaging and names that often sound like and look like the “name” brand, but are being offerred at a deep discount, also known as Aldi’s everday low prices.

I spent $30.06 and feel like I got a great bang for my buck.  At first I had an unusual, sort of creepy feeling like I was missing some obvious deal to be made by stacking coupons and BOGOs.  It was becuse my brain was not in BOGO-coupon-stacking mode as it usually is in Publix.  It was absolutely a liberating shopping experience to shop with nothing but cash in my pocket.  During this trip, I did not miss my aisle by aisle list from Publix’s website, nor my coupon organizer filled with coupons harvested from blinkie machines, magazines, peelies, mail requests, displays, booklets, packaging, and of course Sunday newspaper inserts.  The only disappointment was that there were no more 89¢ boneless chicken breasts, as they they were all gone within two hours of opening the store.  Obviously they don’t receive enough.  I spoke to one of the staff and she explained that each store gets an amount determined by management outside the store.

For $30.08, I bought:
3 lb boneless chicken breast, frozen, 5.99
16″ deli pizza, (this is very large) 4.99
1 giant pineapple 1.39
2 lb pears 1.19
2 lb green grapes 1.79
3 lb onions .99
32 oz Lite & Fit nonfat plain yogurt 1.99

1 garlic lovers hummus 1.69

1 bag shrimp lo mein, frozen (serves 4) 3.99
12″ frozen cheese pizza .99
12″ frozen combo pizza 1.99
1 raisins 1.79
1 sweet pickle relish 1.29

I count about 24 lunches or dinners, plus snacks out of this shop.  I’ll just need to supplement the chicken, lo mein and pizzas with a salad or some freebie Birdseye veggies alrady stockpiled at home.  I defiitely would have done better at Publix mostly because I have a Winn-Dixie coupon for $5 off $30.  Beyond that, I probably could have save a couple of dollars on the lo mein.  We ate the $1.99 pizza with some homemade roasted veggies for dinner tonight.   It was full of flavor, had a perfectly crispy crust and a nice covering of gooey melted cheeze.  So dinner tonight cost 1.99 (as I got the veggies for free last month in Publix during the great Birdseye deal where some turned in to moneymakers.

If you haven’t been to Aldi’s, which is part of a successful international supermarket company with stores throughout the world,  I would recommend giving it a try if for nothing other than the incredible produce prices that Publix doesn’t come close to.  You’ll also get to witness the incredibly thoughtful and respectful way that the cashiers are provided with cushioned seats with backs so they can remain comfortable and off their feet throught much of their work day.  I applaud that practice.

Happy Shopping

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