An update on my Target savings

I’ve kept back my Target receipts. I thought it would be interesting to see what I’m saving.

First, Target is my go-to grocery store. I don’t do Aldi (cheap food crap that tastes like cardboard so no savings for me there if no one will eat it); Wal-mart (is no cheaper than Target – go do a price/product comparison and you will see I’m right about that and the shopping experience gives me a headache); no Costco near me; and while I occasionally do Whole Foods and other organic oriented stores, those are not stores I expect to “save” at. I also want to get back to my Farmers’ Market shopping.

Second, these savings are using in-store sales (chosen to match up with coupons, Cartwheel OR just standard items I regularly buy), Target printed coupons, some manufacturers coupons, and the Cartwheel savings system at Target’s website. I am not going to go extreme on coupons so if that is what you are looking for, not the blog post for you.

Basically, this is a blog post about an average person spending about 30 minutes a week (or less) to see if she can improve her grocery bill.

Thirdly, two things I dislike about Target and this savings system:

1.) the receipt total doesn’t state how much you saved. You have to go line by line on the receipt to see this. When I compared what Target said I saved vs. what I saved the totals did not match. I think Target counts price “drops” which I do not. Not cool Target.

2.) logging into Cartwheel at their website doesn’t save my password and doesn’t remember the password from the main site. This is more time wasted out of my day. A little tweak and it would be far less irritating.

Let’s see how I did:

4/5/14 ~ Total spent $307.21; savings of $26.50. 8.6% savings. 69 items/40 with savings.

4/7/14 ~ Total spent $165.97; savings of $16.71; 10.9% savings. 45 items/29 savings.

4/18/14 ~ Total spent $266.59; savings of $55.46; 22.6% savings (we got a $10 coupon for a purchase which made a big difference). 44 items/38 savings.

5/17/12 ~ Total spent $342.43; savings of $23.60; 7.5% savings. 57 items/29 savings.

What I’ve learned so far:

Target provides the majority of their sales on their store brand. The quality of there store brands is pretty out there. For example, the dishwasher soap was HORRIBLE – I threw it away it was so bad – left a white film on my dishes and made them taste lemony. The Archer Farms frozen green beans, broccoli florets and butternut squash is good and I’m buying those regularly (and they are consistently on sale/Cartwheel) – the other veggies not tasty. The deli Target salads are also regularly on sale and have become a work lunch staple.

It’s worth trying out some of their store brands but the cleaning products I’d take a pass on.

Sales often coincide with the Cartwheel system savings. For example if Green Giant canned vegetables is on sale, Target often adds on a Cartwheel or coupon offer. This can really deep discount the savings and is worth the time. There are specific brands I know I’ll always buy: Horizon Fat Free Milk, Minute Maid Orange Juice with added vitamins, and Annies boxed Mac N Cheese for example. Keep an eye on sales but only as it pertains to brands I’m interested in.

Add on manufacturer’s coupons to sales and Cartwheel really ups the overall percentage of savings. If I know that there is a certain brand I’m buying, for example Kashi cereals, wait for a sale, Cartwheel savings, and manufacturers/Target coupon. Especially if these are items that I stock my pantry for staples that I use for backup (i.e. canned vegetables just get pitched into crockpot recipes).

Plan ahead for big ticket purchase items and wait for a sale. For example, I knew we needed a new blender/food processor. I caught the Ninja on sale with a $10 gift card. The sale discount itself was what I could have gotten at Bed Bath and Beyond with my 20 percent off coupon, but add in the$10 gift card and it was definitely better to buy from Target.

Evaluating the data

1.) Aim for 50 percent or more items need a coupon or Cartwheel savings

2.) Coupons + Cartwheel double the savings (approximately).

3.) Look for higher coupons, especially if they are $1 or more off coupons.

4.) Gift cards, rebates, combine offers and get a shopping card credit really adds up the percentage of savings.

5.) Determine what store brands would be okay with the family and maximize those with Cartwheel and coupons.

6.) Aim at 85 to 90 percent of your cart having a savings coupon of some sort.

Hm so I’ll continue to keep track and see if I can improve my game here. 😀