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Archive for the ‘Coupons and Shopping’ Category

One of my New Year’s resolutions has been to get our financial house in order.  Nathan and I started Dave Ramsey’s “Financial Peace University” at a local church last week and have dubbed 2009 as “Our Year Without Stuff.” Our definition of “stuff” is pretty broad; DVDs, iTunes purchases, electronics, books, random crap for the kid whose crap already litters our floors and frequent excursions out to eat when we’re too lazy to cook.  Basically we’re putting an end to spending our money on non essentials and will be compiling one hell of a Christmas list to hand out to relatives later this year.

In an attempt to turn over this new leaf I’ve decided to go back to couponing.  I had a brief foray into the world of power couponing late last spring and found it very hard to tear myself away when my schedule got extremely busy.  My schedule is still pretty packed, but I can turn a deaf ear to the call of the scissors no more.  It’s time to replenish my stores.

If you’ve ever considered couponing but didn’t know where to start, you’ve come to the right place.  Well, not my place but rather this infinitely helpful place we call the interwebz.  There’s an entire subculture out there devoted to using coupons and store incentives to purchase things for next to nothing.  And we’re not talking about crap you’ll never use.  Most, if not all, of it is stuff you use on a daily (or, ahem, monthly) basis.

Let me direct you to Lindsay over at Frugal and Fabulous.  This woman has couponing down to a science and has an entire room in her house devoted to her massive stockpile.  Go check out her pictures and tell me you’re not impressed.  She bought all that stuff for pennies on the dollar and can easily shop from her “CVS Room” when she doesn’t have the chance to go to the store.  But something tells me that doesn’t happen to often, does it Lindsay?

The great thing about Lindsay and those like her is that she is more than happy to teach others how to snag those great deals.  Check out yesterday’s short tutorial on how to get started CVSing (yes, the store name has evolved into a verb) and then explore her blogroll.  One great couponing site will inevitably lead to another and another and so on.

Before you know it, your spine will tingle at the sound of these two words: internet printables.

I kid you not.

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Coupon karma

Last night after class I stopped by Target to pick up a few things. This is the same Target I used to work for and also the spot where Nathan and I first met. I have fond memories of my days there, even though around the holidays retail is only one teensy step above hell. Anyway, I like the store. It’s been good to me.

Last night I was feeling a bit peckish and decided to scope out some goodies in their freezer case. Lo and behold, what did I see sitting on the shelf but numerous boxes of Hot Pockets and Lean Pockets for only $.91 a piece. I had to bend down and stick my nose to the glass to make sure I was seeing that price correctly. Yep, $.91 per box. Needless to say, I cleaned them out of their Lean Pockets. I left the Hot Pockets behind because I didn’t want to look like a complete glutton. The cashier made “mmmm” sounds as she rang (rung?) up my purchase and I didn’t have the heart to tell her there would be no Chicken Fajita Lean Pockets for her.

So now I’m not feeling so bad about that missed Dove SkinVitalizer coupon. Bah! I walked away with six boxes equal to twelve lunches for the low low price of $5.46. Of course that wasn’t my total bill. When have I ever walked away from Target spening only $5.46?

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I convinced Nathan to go with me to CVS last night. He was lured with promises of a trip to the local ice cream parlor afterwards and we all piled into the car after dinner.  As soon as he realized I had no less than seven transactions planned, he decided to retreat back to the car and watch Ice Age with Autumn.

It was a pretty successful trip.  I had to cut out a couple of transaction because they didn’t have everything on my list, but I only started out with four ECBs and walked out with a pretty good haul.

I’ve been printing out a lot of coupons from manufacturer’s sites as well as Smartsource and Coupons.com, so I can’t tell you where I got all of these.  I also can’t tell you what particular insert my other coupons came from. I can only tell you that I clipped them and I used them.  Here’s how I broke everything down:

Transaction One
One Gillette Fusion Razor $9.99

Used $4 coupon from Sunday insert
Used $4 ECBs

Total after tax: $2.35
Received $4 ECBs

Total Savings: $8.00

Transaction Two

4-12 packs Coke products $11
2 Listerine Smart Rinse $6.98

Used 2 $1/1 coupons for the Listerine (available here)
Used 1 $3/$15 CVS coupons (you can find out how to get that one here)
Use $4 ECBs

Total after tax: 13.78 (but I’ll get $4.80 of that back when I take my soda cans in for recycling)
Received $9.98 in ECBs

Total Savings: $18.96

Transaction Three
2 Ajax Dish Soap $1.76
2 Sea Breeze Astringent $4.99 (BOGO sale this week)
1 Nivea For Men Extreme Shave Gel $3.99
1 Nivea For Men Extremme Shave Balm $7.99

Used 2 $.20/1 Ajax coupons from Sunday insert
Used 1 $.55/1 Sea Breeze coupon from Sunday insert
Used 1 $4/2 Nivea For Men coupon from this past Sunday’s insert
Used 1 $3/$15 CVS coupon
Used $9.98 in ECBs

Total after tax and $1 donation to Lou Gehrig’s Disease fund: $2.15
Received $5 in ECBs

Total Savings: $24.74

Transaction Four
1 Dove bar 2-pack $2.50
1 Dove SkinVitalizer $9.99
1 Dove Hairspray $4.29
1 Dove Mousse free (BOGO deal this week)

Used 1 $1.50/1 Dove hair care product coupon from Sunday insert
Used 1 $3/$15 CVS coupon
Used $5 ECB

Total after tax: $7.81 (and that would have been less, but I just realized the cashier did not ring up my $3.50 coupon for the Dove SkinVitalizer.  I thought that total was a little high.  Drats!)
Received $3 ECB

Total Savings: 17.28

Fifth and final transaction
Two bags Stacey’s Pita Chips $5.00
One Gallon Country Fresh Milk $3.29

Used 2 $1/1 coupons for the pita chips (printed from Coupons.com)
Used $.55/1 Country Fresh milk coupon
Used $3 ECB

Total after tax: $2.74 
Received no ECBs

Total Savings: $6.53

I purposely used my last ECB coupon because I made a deal with Nathan that I would not return to CVS until we actually needed to start stockpiling again.  And that really sucks about that Dove SkinVitalizer coupon because I know I handed that one over to the cashier.  I guess I’ll have to pay a little more attention next time.  Lesson learned.

In case you weren’t keeping track, my total cost for this trip was $28.83 with a total savings of $75.51.  I also made out pretty well at the grocery store this week by saving at total of $85.01 after sales and coupons. That’s $289.29 worth of stuff for $128.87.  That’s a 66% savings.  Did I figure that right?

Anyway, I think my vow to stay away from CVS should be pretty easy to keep.  The nearest store is far enough away that we don’t get their weekly ad in the paper.  There’s always Walgreens though.  I didn’t make any deals about staying away from Wallgreens.

 

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