Pavilions is part of the Safeway family, and is the smaller sibling of Vons here in the Los Angeles area. The Pavilions near me is a little dingy, and has proven unreliable with sale prices, so I rarely go. But it’s within walking distance of my house (we’re still down to one car), and there were some deals I just couldn’t pass up: primarily the buy 5 of selected items and get $5 off deal. That deal included Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes for $1.29 after the discount, and I had four $1 off coupons from the November 9 newspaper.
So I got:
4 Frosted Flakes @ $2.29 each
1 Frosted Strawberry Pop Tarts @$2.49 (to finish off the buy 5, save $5 deal)
3 Safeway marshmallows @ $1 each (I forgot that these are 97 cents at Target)
1 C&H brown sugar @ $1
1 Dixie plates @ $2.50
Total before coupons: $18.15
Coupons used: 4 x $1 off Kellogg’s, 35 cents off C&H sugar (doubled), 35 cents off Dixie plates (doubled)
Total after coupons, plus tax: $12.44 (should have been $7.44 after the $5 promo)
I had calculated my total before I went to the store, so when the cashier told me the total, I knew it couldn’t be right. I quickly realized that it was because the register had not taken off the $5 for the buy 5 promo – not unusual at this store, but irritating and the perfect example of why I rarely go there. It took more than a few minutes for the cashier to review the info in the register, then have the bagger fetch a weekly ad so she could review the wording of the promo, then agree that I should get the $5 discount, then ponder how to give it back to me. I asked if a manager could do something; she shrugged. Finally, I said that I would pay the full $12.44 if she’d give me $5 cash back, and that’s what happened.
The effort was worth it to have 4 boxes of cereal for $1.16 (4 x 29-cents) that I can donate to the food bank, along with the sugar (30 cents after coupon). (Marc will eat the Pop Tarts.)
The coupon forums and other bloggers’ posts have shown me that by shopping smart, you can donate so much more to a food bank or other charity than if you just gave money. After all, how much would a food bank have been able to buy for $1.46? And the savings are even greater when you consider the large donations coupon users make on a regular basis.
For instance, Gina at Mommy Making Money explained how she spent less than $17 to donate $50 worth of food. (Actually, that’s probably the sale price pre-coupon total, so the food was likely worth more.) And just a few days ago, Briana showed how she was able to provide “everything from canned food items to backpacks & toys” to a family that had just lost everything in a fire.
So as you shop throughout the year, keep an eye out for free or cheap items that you can get not just for your family but for those less fortunate too.