Well, my friends, the time has finally come “the Walrus said.” A time I knew was bound to get here and yet I secretly hoped never would. Suddenly everything I thought I knew has been thrown into turmoil and I am left uncertain about the future. Just when you think you have things figured out! The news came to me just a few days ago, through the mail, so haphazardly that I easily could have missed it. And yet, there it was, in black and white newsprint…

“Effective April 1, 2012, Manufacturer’s coupons will be accepted at face value.”

I’ll give you a moment to let the news sink in…

Ralphs announced its new coupon policy this week with the launch of their new savings program. No more doubled coupons. My 50¢ coupons will now only be worth 50¢. No more doubling up to a dollar and cashing in on some real savings. I remember a day when they used to double coupons up to $2! Then, they changed their policy… and now again…Like I said before, it was only a matter of time, but it still hurts.

The good news, for now, is that Vons/Pavilions is still doubling coupons and most of my best deals this past year have come from them, but for how long? How much longer do we have before they decide to follow suit and change THEIR policy? And worse yet, how long will it be before manufacturers decide it is no longer worthwhile to PRINT coupons? Will this be the end of extreme couponing? Are we destined to pay full price for groceries?

Stock up while you can!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I decided to make a farewell trip to Ralphs today and take advantage of some last deals before their policy change. They actually had a few good deals going on, in spite of their big announcement. Among other things, I picked up a couple more tubes of free toothpaste. Will this be the end? (I’ll be glad I stocked up if it is!) I made a remark about the policy change to the checker as I paid for my groceries. He assured me they were launching a whole new savings program that would bring lower prices into the stores than ever before and that I would still see HUGE savings. Clearly, I am skeptical. (Although, I did get a dozen eggs today for only 88 cents.) But I will watch the ads for the next few weeks before I write them off completely and hope to be pleasantly surprised.

In the meantime, I walked away from Ralphs today with a total savings of $37.09 and I only spent $16.52.  That makes it a total 69% savings for my trip! What does $16 worth of groceries look like?

1 bag of grapes, 1 bag pistachios, 3 packs of pantiliners, 1 dozen eggs, 1 Dulcinea personal watermelon, 2 containers of drink mix, 2 packages of whole wheat pasta, 2 toothbrushes, and 2 tubes of toothpaste


A fitting farewell. Thanks for the memories Ralphs; let’s hope this isn’t the end.