Dominick's Just For U and a Giveaway!

Using club card deals, I bought all these groceries for $25 to give to my local food pantry

Here”s the deal: I am hopeless at saving money on groceries. I can find the best deal on the Internet for a pair of Paige Premium Denim jeans and know instinctively where to get the best mani/pedi for under $30 in a 25-mile radius, but when I am at the grocery store, I pretty much just buy what I buy and I don”t pay attention to how much individual items cost.

Shocking, I know.

As for coupons, I am really hopeless at those. My husband and I shove the coupons we receive from stores and manufacturers in a drawer in the kitchen. I would say that about 80% of the time, I forget even to look in the drawer before I go grocery-shopping. And when I do remember to bring coupons with me to the store, half the time I stash them in my pocket and forget to use them when I pay. And, let”s be frank: I am often shopping with a three year old, which is tantamount to shopping with a ticking time bomb. I”m trying to get in and out as fast as possible. Juggling my shopping list and paper coupons all while having a serious discussion with J.R. about the merits of Spiderman versus Wolverine  and why he can”t have a giant Handy Manny balloon is more than I can handle.

The only money-saving trick that I manage to use effectively when it comes to grocery-shopping is to use the store”s shopper reward program. I belong to every shopper reward program out there. And I carry the cards in my wallet so I always have them with me.

This is why Dominick”s new Just For U program is perfect for me. (For those of you on the East Coast, let me quickly say this: Dominick”s is Safeway and Safeway is Dominick”s, okay? One of the many things I had to learn when I moved to this frozen Midwestern burgh.) With the Just For U program, you can add coupons to your Dominick”s Fresh Values card at the Dominick”s website; then when you shop and present your card at the cash register, the coupons are automatically applied — no need to use paper coupons. You can even email yourself your shopping list from the Dominick”s website so you can have it right on your smart phone and go paperless — assuming your three year old is not using your smart phone to play games while you shop.

But what is more, Just For U offers personalized deals that are tailored to each individual customer based on his or her shopping patterns. These personalized savings can be used over and over again for up to 90 days. This is terrific, in my opinion, because the majority of the time, when I see coupons in the Sunday paper, they are not for products or brands that I buy.  My Just For U personalized deals, by contrast, were for exactly the products I want to buy at the grocery store, like Ziploc bags, Tide laundry detergent or Breyer”s ice cream.

Dominick”s kindly sent me some gift cards so that I could try out the Just For U program and review it. I was very pleased with my experience. First of all, when I was in the store last week, Dominick”s was offering lots of great deals for all of their Fresh Values card holders. Between the club card deals, the coupons from the Coupon Center and my personalized deals, I saved over $50 on my grocery bill. For an amateur like me, that”s a lot.

In addition, I had decided that I would use some of the gift cards that Dominick”s had sent me to stock up on inexpensive, nutritious pantry items for all of the food drives that come up during the holiday season. Half of the time when there is a canned food drive at my kids” schools or at our temple, I forgot about it until the last minute.  So I end up rummaging through the pantry and picking out some random items, like marinated red peppers or salsa, as if I were Cher in “Clueless” donating the domestic caviar that her dad didn”t like anyway to the victims of the Pismo Beach disaster. By focusing on the Fresh Values Card deals and the Just For U savings, I bought a shopping bag”s worth of healthy staples like soup, pasta, peanut butter, tuna, beans and canned vegetables all with one $25 gift card to give away this holiday season.

Speaking of giving stuff away, I have three $25 Dominick”s gift cards to give away to you all so that you can try the Just For U program, or at least take advantage of the Fresh Values Card deals. (A quick note: Just For U is currently only available in Hawaii and the Chicago area. However, anyone can enter the giveaway for the Dominick”s gift cards and they will work at Safeway as well.) To enter, leave me a comment with your best grocery-shopping with kids horror story — you can be either the parent or the kid in the story. I will pick three winners at random. (No, I am not going to decide which story is the best!) Contest ends Friday, October 15 at midnight.  

For more chances to win a Dominick”s gift cards, be sure to follow @dominicks on Twitter. They are giving away 10 gift cards every week for ten weeks.

Full disclosure time: I received eight $25 gift cards from Dominick”s as a thank you for trying the Just For U program and blogging about it. I used four of the cards for my own purposes, one card to buy items for the local food pantry, and am giving away three of the cards. All opinions expressed herein are solely my own.


  1. Phil says

    Not even the most desperate homeless person would want Safeway tuna compared to Bumble-Bee. Couldn’t you have splurged an extra gift card to bring a bit more quality to your philanthropy?

    • Emily says

      Obviously, the generic tuna is there for the homeless people to feed to the stray cats that they share the alley with.

      At least I bought Skippy peanut butter, right?

  2. Sara at Saving For Someday says

    @Phil, your comment was uncalled for. Maybe you don’t know but those of us who shop the deals know that many store brands are as good as national brands. Emily’s choice to be philanthropic should not be criticized because you are brand loyal. If you don’t like the brand then don’t buy it. But to belittle someone for donating food to a local food pantry, you’re just wrong. I’ve seen the crap that some people donate — Lima beans? Potted meats?

    If you don’t want to donate store brand goods, then don’t. But don’t criticize her effort.

  3. Marta says

    I’m not sure if this is actually a horror story, but when Joey was 3 his favorite song was the Ralph’s World version of “Shake Your Booty.” We were at Dominick’s once, because of course, they have the car carts.

    Joey is happily “driving” his cart, I’m shopping and out of nowhere, in a full aisle Joey starts singing “Shake, shake, shake, shake, shake, shake your booty” at the top of his lungs.

    A middle-age African American man looked at us leaned down and said to Joey, “That’s right, you go on and get funky little man.”

  4. Katie says

    I have quite a few since I take my kids a lot. When Haley learned the word help at 18 mos she shouted it out at the grocery store until I finally just left. And people probaBly thought I kidnapped her. I was a bit horrified.

    Haley dropped one of those pillsbury dough cin rolls and it exploded. Talk about clean up in aisle 3. They were really nice about it.

    Yesterday Jake knocked down all the Hershey chocolate bars.

  5. Deb says

    I’m actually excited to share this true horror story! I was shopping at Whole Foods (sorry Dominicks) with Mari in the cart (she was still a baby) and Sam who was a toddler doing some version of walking with me. I was not having an easy time of it as we were only in Whole Body and had already had to go to the bathroom twice. Suddenly, Sam bites my bottom HARD, I scream and reflexively swing my arm behind me to get him off my butt! He screams and cries “YOU HIT ME!” over and over and I’m crying b/c my butt really hurts and I’m totally horrified about what happened. I don’t know how long it took for us to gather ourselves and get back in action but shockingly no one seemed to pay us any mind! I don’t think Sam remembers this incident; I, on the otherhand, will never forget!

  6. Jill says

    1) It was the Pismo Beach disaster.

    2) I no longer have horror stories about grocery shopping. If I go with one of the kids, it’s bad. H2 has taken to knocking jars off shelves. Because shattered glass is awesome. He doesn’t get to go that often anymore.

  7. caitlin says

    One trip to the grocery store. 2 emergency, almost-didn’t-make-it trips to the bathroom with toddlers. One baby vomiting in the check out line. For real.

  8. Alma says

    My children are no angels most of the time, but they’re actually REALLY GOOD at grocery stores. That said, I have two less-than-pleasant recollections. One was the time I ended up breastfeeding a hysterical 2 month old while standing in the WFM vitamins aisle (without a sling, no less), when a stock clerk stopped me to ask me if I needed any help. The other story involves spending 30 minutes in a restroom behind the meat counter waiting for my newly potty-trained child to finish pooping. I lost track of how many people knocked on the door.

  9. Jacky says

    My three year-old love the song “I Love Butts”, it is in Shrek or one of those cartoons. He broke out singing it all really loud at the grocery store. Got a few stares!

    • Emily says

      Jacky, you won one of the cards. Email me at westoftheloop at gmail dot com with your address so I can send you your card!

  10. Lindsey@Kindred Spirit Mommy says

    Well, I have a toddler so having her melt down in the store ANYTIME is my horror (and yes it has happened). When I was a kid, I was waiting for my mom and swinging a plastic bag full of groceries around in a circle. I accidentally hit a really huge woman and she turned and yelled at me – it scared me so much and hurt my feelings because I didn’t even have a chance to apologize. I wasn’t a bad kid, just didn’t realize it wasn’t a smart think to do. lol Anyway, I never did that again. 😉