Archive for the ‘coupons’ Category

CVS–$156 for $19

I’m posting quickly today so I don’t have time for the exact numbers, but I paid less than $20 for all the products in the picture. I also have left $9 in ECB to use next week!  If you want to look up how much it would have all been at Walmart this week or to get the exact amount I would have paid at CVS without the help of coupons and ECB here is a list of exactly what I purchased:

(2) GUM eez-Thru angled flossers, Just Brushed Mint 75 ct
(1) Oral-B complete Advantage toothbrush Deep Clean, small, soft
(1) Oral-B Pro-Health CrossAction, medium
(1) Gas-X Chewables, Extra Strength, Peppermint Creme 18 ct
(3) Gas-X Softgels, Extra Strength, 20 ct
(4) Dawn bontanicals, jasmine & lavender 10.3 fl oz
(2) Crest Pro-Health Rinse, Multiprotection 16.9 fl oz
(2) Right Guard Total Defense 5 body wash (1=cooling, 1=refreshing)
(2) Aussie Moist Shampoo 13.5 fl oz
(2) Aussie Moist Conditioner 13.5 fl oz
(2) Aussie Cleanse & Mend Shampoo 13.5 fl oz
(2) Aussie Cleanse & Mend Conditioner 13.5 fl oz
(1) Softsoap Ultra Rich Shea Butter Creme 18 fl oz
(2) Softsoap Raspberry Sorbet & Almond Blossom 18 fl oz
(1) Gold Bond Ultimate Deep Moisture Body Wash, softening, Shea Butter, soft clean scent 12.5 fl oz
(1) Complete Multipurpose Solution, Easy Rub Formula  12 fl oz
(1) Charmin Basic 12 Double Rolls = 24 regular rolls

I am completely happy with the amount that I spent, however, I made a few mistakes today that could have saved me even more and that might help you someday if I share them.

First, I had a $5 of $40 purchase to use on my first transaction.  My mistake was that I forgot to hand the cashier that coupon before handing him my other coupons.  Rookie mistake!  You always want to hand over the dollar amount off of a certain dollar amount purchase first!  (In my defense, my oldest was tagging along today before his clay-building class and I was distracted. Honest.)  So, I spent $5 more on that first purchase than I wanted.  I also had to take a minute before my next transactions to recalculate what I should buy and in what order.  I was able to use that $5 of $40 on another transaction.

Next, when I purchased the Aussie shampoo and conditioner I used (4) BOGO coupons and (4) $1/2 coupons.  There is a very, very patient, coupon-savvy and kind-hearted cashier at this particular CVS, but even she didn’t catch this mistake at first.  She rang up the $1/2 coupons before the BOGO coupons.  I *think* the problem is that you can’t use a second coupon on a product which you got free through a BOGO coupon deal.  The cashier forced two of the BOGO coupons for me–which I did not ask her to do!–but couldn’t force the other two through.  She explained that she should have rung up the BOGOs first and then the $1/2s.  She offered to re-ring everything, but I didn’t want her to have to do that.  That’s when she forced the 2 BOGOs through for me.  I was grateful for her effort, but hoped she wouldn’t get in trouble.  The couponing lesson here, I think, is that if you are using a BOGO to get one free product, you cannot use a second coupon that will take money off of that free product.

An acceptable coupon scenario for my (8) bottles of Aussie would have been (4) BOGOs and (2) $1/2 coupons.

My last mistake was that I calculated incorrectly (don’t get your coupons ready in rush after soccer practice while trying to feed and shower three children, catch up emails from school/work and watch the weather for the impending severe storms) and when I tried to use my ECB on my first transaction, I had too many.  Iow, my purchase total would have been negative by less than a dollar.  Now, the cashiers CAN override that and make your order come out even (plus tax–ECB are applied to the sub-total and do not cover tax–although there is a way around that, I think) but apparently the cashier didn’t know that.  I had to pay that $3 out of pocket instead of using my $3 ECB.

The same thing happened in my last transaction (different store, different cashier) and I chose to loose $.12 of my ECB instead of paying $3 oop because my ECB made my subtotal negative.  Ideally, you would calculate your transactions so perfectly that you would be able to use exactly the ECB you have without losing a cent of them.  That’s usually how it goes.

I hope at least some of this made sense as I was typing it while helping ds5 and ds7 string together a necklace and wasn’t giving this post my full attention.

Couponers, if you have anything to add to help this make more sense, please comment!


Shopping my pantry update

This week I didn’t do as well as I hoped.  I stayed within my $70 per week budget, but that’s because I barely spent anything at the drug stores.  I spent $68.00 at Publix.  I saved nearly $75, but I still went over my plan for $50 total for grocery store shopping.  Looks like I’m going to have to get stricter with myself about how much I can spend.  I’ve got my menus for the next six weeks planned.  (I’ll share those when I have time.)

I think I can do this for $30 per week.  It’s so tough to pass up the sales.  However, it’s wasteful to continue to stocking when I don’t have the space to do so.  In addition, if I continue to stock at this rate I will eventually not be able to use everything.

So, the new plan is still $20 per week at the drug stores ($10 at each store) and $30 per week for groceries.  There is a little fear that I’ll miss some great sales, but the truth is that these sales come around over and over.

CVS–$50.57 for $1.35

Now, that certainly doesn’t look like $50 worth of product, does it?  Well, you know drug stores mark up their products more than a little bit.  Of course, it would probably only be $35-40 at Target or Walmart and you could always buy generic.  But I promise you wouldn’t get all of those items for $1.35 unless you know a thing or two about couponing.

Thanks to 13 coupons and $18.42 in ECBs, and less than $2 left on a CVS gift card, I was able to purchase all of this stuff for $1.35.  And that’s not all.  I walked away with $5 in ECBs to spend next shopping trip.  If my stores would have had Band-aid 8 count packs in stock I would have 10 packs of band-aids and another $5 in ECBs for $3.90 more.

This makes two CVS shopping trips in a row where I was essentially paid to go in to their store and take products home to try.  (Last week I bought four cans of Pledge for a a total of four dollars after coupons, used ECB to pay and received $4 in ECB.)

Shopping in my pantry and freezer

This is going to seem like a copycat post if you’re a Southern Savers reader but I promise I was thinking about this before I read her post!

I am going to shop my own pantry and freezer for the next six weeks and budget only $40 out of pocket per week at grocery stores and no more than $20 out of pocket at drug stores.  It will be difficult to pass up deals but the truth is that I’m running out of space.

I have enough meat, chicken and fish in my freezer to last at least six weeks.  We eat meat only about 2-3 times per week.  I have plenty of sides such as brown rice, cous cous, quinoa, whole wheat pasta, etc.  There are lots of frozen veggies in my freezer.  We have snack foods like cereal, crackers, cookies, yogurt, cheese and dessert ingredients.  We have more cleaning supplies, paper products, and toiletries than we have space to store them.  It’s time to take a break from stockpiling.

So for the next six weeks (from 3/27-5/1) I will not be spending more than $60 per week on necessities (fresh produce, milk, bread, etc) and sale items.

The first step is to make menus for the next six weeks.  When I get around to that I’ll be sure to post.  😉

Coupon Organization

One of the most proactive ways to save is to organize your coupons.  If you don’t know which coupons you have or if you can’t get to them quickly then couponing is likely to become a huge waste of time.

There is no one correct way to organize your coupons.  I am going to tell you how I do it but I suggest you visit here to observe all of the options and find out what works for you.

I use hanging files to organize my whole coupon inserts.  I specifically use hanging files instead of an accordion file system because I want to be able to pull the folder out from time to time or rearrange the folders without having to redo the tabs.

(My mother gave me this after she retired from teaching.  You can find a hanging file box at office supply stores or Target, etc)

For the tabs to label the date of the insert, I use post-its.  For each month of inserts I use a different color post-it although eventually the colors will repeat.


For printable coupons I use a plastic box with a lid.  I found this on clearance at Target about a year ago.  You could use any box or basket with the length and width to fit a sheet of paper.


Let’s talk about binders.  I use a binder as well as a small accordion file.  These two come with me when I do my shopping.

In the front pocket of the binder I put receipts for easy access when I come home and post my savings.  In the accordion file part of the binder I put blinkie coupons, Catalina’s, etc, flyers, and coupon booklets that I pick up while shopping.

In the small accordion file I put Extra Care Bucks and Register Rewards, gift cards and store specific coupons that contain a dollar amount off a certain purchase amount.

The binder also serves as a place for my loose, already clipped coupons.  I purchased plastic business card holders and created tabs for various items such as cereal, dairy, drinks, canned/boxed foods, cleaning supplies, pharmacy, etc.

I have a small plastic basket for magazines, coupon booklets, flyers, etc.

And lastly, my dirty little secret . . .

This basket is filled with loose coupons, flyers, Catalinas, etc that live here until I have a chance to put them where they belong.

Coupon Savings

I did very well at CVS, mostly because of the ECB deals I did last week.  Walgreens was okay.  In the last transaction there I was able to purchase two boxes of Glad Trash Bags and a couple of filler items for around $4.  The Publix trip was only average.  I was mostly there to stock up on a few items (peanut butter!) and didn’t need a lot of basics this week.  I’ll go back to Publix tomorrow for their Saturday and Sunday sale to stock up on 1/2 off quick oats and get another packages of paper towels.  I inquired about competitor coupons today and found that my store accepts Earth Fare, Kroger and Winn-Dixie store coupons.  Nice!


Spent:  $6.75  Saved:  $55.41

Spent:   $28.31  Saved:  $45.80

Spent:   $50.14  Saved:  38.91

CVS Coupon Savings

This morning I opened my email and realized that I had a $5 off $25 coupon for CVS which would expire today.  Quickly I checked out the new ad (which began today) to see if there was anything I could use this coupon for.  Of course, there was!

I decided that would not buy anything today which did not have and Extra Care Bucks deal attached to it.

I cannot get my picture to upload, but I’ll try again later.  For now, here is a list of what I purchased:
(8) Clorox 35 count Disinfecting Wipes
(1) Pantene Restoratives Beautiful Lengths Smoothing Balm
(1) Allegra 5ct
(2) Crest Pro-Health Complete Rinse

Total Spent:  $23.26  Total Saved:  $39.62

But the best part?  I received $19.50 in ECBs.  Yes, that means that the next time I’m in CVS I can purchase $19.50 worth of products (excluding prescriptions, alcohol, gift cards, lottery, money orders, stamps, pre-paid cards and tobacco) and only pay the tax.  Wow.  And, in addition to that, the Extra Care Bucks/coupon machine printed a $5 ECB coupon for me today.  Nice!

Now, if you’re like me, I had no faith in ECB in the beginning.  I know that drug stores ramp up prices like crazy.  I would never pay full price for something at a drug store.  Never!  Not when Walmart will have it for less, right?  Well, the thing is that Walmart products are generally one low price.  Even the sales don’t take the price down by much.  The sales at drug stores drop the prices quite a bit and when the drug stores are giving you money (ECBs, Register Rewards, etc) to spend, you can’t beat it.

Because I had time to do this today I compared the prices of what I bought to what I would have paid if I had bought these products at Walmart.

Pantene Restoratives Beautiful Lengths Smoothing Balm
I paid $4.99 , Walmart = $4.84

Clorox Wipes
I paid $2.00, Walmart = $1.93

Allegra 5ct
I paid $6.99, Walmart = 5.94

Crest ProHealth Complete Rinse
I paid $3.49, Walmart = $3.97

At Walmart I would have paid $17.16 (this includes my manufacturers coupons) before tax.  Because I had the $5 off coupon (they aren’t as rare as you might think.  I’ve had at least two this year so far) as well as my coupons I paid $20.96.

So, yeah, Walmart would have been over $3.00 less.  But–and this a big one!–I received those ECBs to spend the next time.  That $17 spent at Walmart would have only gotten me the items I purchased today.  The $20 spent at CVS will get me another $20 worth of products.