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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I'm loving the Safeway/Vons/Pavilions Living Well promotion + 2 scenarios

The Safeway family of stores includes Vons and Pavilions out here in Southern California, and they currently have a promotion for buy $30 of qualifying products and get a $10 off your next order coupon. What makes this promotion fabulous is that there are thousands of qualifying products, many of which match up with coupons, plus you can roll the $10 coupon into the same deal. That means that each time I buy $30 worth of qualifying products, I can use the $10 coupon I got from my last transaction, and still receive another $10 coupon to use on my next transaction. And, the $30 minimum is before coupons. Like I said, it's a fabulous deal.

Of course, like with any sale, you still have to figure out the final per unit cost to determine whether a deal is one worth buying. For example, a 45-count box of Hefty Cinch Sak garbage bags is on sale for $5.99. To figure out the per unit cost, I multiply the sale price by .67 (or 2/3, to account for the Living Well promotion), which comes out to $4.01. Then I subtract the value of any coupon I would use, in this case $1. That makes the box $3.01. To get the cost per bag, I divide $3.01 by 45, and get a per-unit cost of 6.7 cents per bag. According to my price book, my target price for trash bags is 6.6 cents - so I'll be buying these trash bags for sure.

There's been some discussion in the various forums I read about whether deals can be done back to back or only once per day. Some cashiers and managers have no problem with multiple transactions. But the $10 coupon itself seems to indicate only once per day, so I haven't been pushing my luck since I'm still not that familiar with the Pavilions near me. (I only started shopping there a few months ago, after Gina at Moneywise Moms kept highlighting Safeway deals.)

In fact, a good place to go for more information on the Living Well promotion is Moneywise Moms' original promo post. Gina has a link to a list of qualifying products, as well as a Mr. Linky with scenario ideas. Here are a couple of my scenarios, based on my needs and available coupons – just make adjustments based on your own needs and coupons.

Scenario #1:
2 Electrasol gel tabs @ $3.99 each – use 2 $2.50 coupons from 4/19 SS
1 Bright Green napkins @ $1.99 – use $1 coupon from Living Well circular at front of store
1 Cheerios @ $2.99 – use coupon from weekend circular for $1.99/box, exp 4/21
3 Ziploc bags @ $2.50 each – use 1 $1/2 & 1 40-cents/1 coupons from 3/15 SS
1 Reynolds recycled foil @ $2.29 – use 55-cents coupon from 4/19 SS (will double to $1)
1 Huggies wipes refill @ $5.99 – use 75-cents coupon from 4/19 SS (it says do not double)
1 Fiber One Toaster Pastry @ $2 – use 50-cents coupon from 4/19 SS (will double)

Total before coupons: $30.74
Total after coupons & $10 coupon from last transaction: $9.19 + tax
And I'll receive another $10 coupon to use on my next transaction.

Scenario #2:
1 Brita replacement filter 3-pack @$14.99 – use $1 printable coupon
1 Fiber One Toaster Pastry @ $2 – use 50-cents coupon from 4/19 SS (will double)
1 Maruchan yakisoba @ $1.25 – use 35-cents coupon from 3/8 SS (will double)
1 Kashi frozen entree @ $4.49 – use coupon for free item (no longer available)
1 Bright Green napkins @ $1.99 – use $1 coupon from Living Well circular at front of store
1 Lysol toilet bowl cleaner @ $1.50 – use 50-cents coupon from 3/15 SS (will double)
2 Capri Sun Sunrise @ $1.99 each – use 2 $1 coupons from 4/19 SS & 1 50-cents coupon from Living Well circular

Total before coupons: $30.20
Total after coupons & $10 coupon from last transaction: $8.51 + tax
And I'll receive another $10 coupon to use on my next transaction.

A few more notes: I grab a copy (or two) of the Living Well circular from the customer service desk every time I go in, since I've been using the $1 Bright Green coupon every trip. (The napkins work out to 33-cents for a pack of 200 - can't beat that!)

The promo includes a lot of convenience foods that I don't like to feed my family, but you can definitely find amazing deals on pasta sauces, frozen foods, and more. The promotion also includes lots of pricier products that I'm glad to be able to stock up on at an awesome price, like organic chicken breasts ($5.35 per pound after the promotion).

I also wanted to point out that in the second scenario above, I chose to finally use my free Kashi frozen entree coupon.* I've had it for a couple of months now, but since it has an expiration date in June, I've been saving it for a time when it would help me complete a deal. Here, I knew that my out of pocket costs would be on the high end because of the Brita filters (which are worth buying because they come out to $3 per filter, or $1 less than Costco's price). The Kashi coupon works beautifully in this transaction to keep my out of pocket cost down to about $10, which is my goal in these transactions (except when I'm stocking up on items that don't have coupons, like chicken).

I think that if the Living Well promotion had come around when I was new to maximizing coupons and calculating scenarios, I would have been overwhelmed. So if you're in that situation, I encourage you to take it slow, and not feel like you have to get all of the same deals as someone who's been doing this for a while now. Check out the scenarios at Moneywise Moms, as well as those at forums like A Full Cup and SlickDeals, and craft a deal that gets you things you need at a price that's lower than what you usually pay. Even if you only do the deal once once or twice, you'll be getting good deals and gaining valuable experience at the same time.

*A couple of months ago, Kashi was mailing out these coupons to folks who completed a form online. I told you about it over at CFO Reviews.

Previously: Back to Shopping Basics with a Price Book

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  • At 4/21/09, 11:37 AM, Anonymous Christy said…

    I haven't had the chance to make it to Safeway yet. I see you posts about the deals, and I feel like I am missing out. I will have to make a trip today. Thanks for the tip on the napkins, I will have to pick up a circular.

  • At 4/21/09, 2:00 PM, Anonymous Tia @ Tia Saving Cents said…

    I have been really loving this promotion too! I used the Bright Green coupon to get the Chlorine Free Bleach and I used it last night and I am now a convert! I hate using bleach for a few reasons but I also like white socks! I will stock up on a few bottles for sure this week since it is just .49 after the coupon and makes a great "filler" to hit $30+. Happy Living Well! ;-)

  • At 4/21/09, 5:44 PM, Blogger Clean ClutterFree Simple said…

    Thanks for the tip! I just did this today, thanks to your post and for $20 OP, got a bunch of goods and $12 in Catalinas for next time.

  • At 4/28/09, 5:19 AM, Blogger Chief Family Officer said…

    @Christy - There are other great coupons in there too - a 50-cents off O Organics milk (although I don't think the milk counts toward the promo, just soymilk). And 50-cents off Capri Sun, which can be stacked the with $1 off Sunrise coupon, making a 10-pack just 49 cents.

    @Tia - Thanks for the tip on the bleach!

    @CCS - You did great! :)


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