Saturday, September 21, 2013

I Heart CVS

I love to find bargains all around town, but I have to say that CVS has been my favorite for deals lately.  I hear couponing misconceptions from people all of the time.  They either think it is just clipping a coupon here and there or they think it is too much work with little reward.  Of course it is more than just clipping a "few" coupons, but with hard work, (sometimes it's not that hard), you can get a hell of a deal with a lot of reward.  You just have to know how to play the game.

Every store has rules and for the most part they follow the rules pretty close.  Places like CVS are a great bonus place.  You can use different types of coupons combined with reward programs to get a great deal.  If you get your game plan in order, arrive organized and ready to go get 'em, you will fair much better.  Couponing is kind of like a sport, have to train and prepare.  If you don't you are not going to do as well. Last week I noticed a deal in the works with Colgate mouthwash.  It was the 8 ounces bottles on sale for 2/$5.98.  When you compare that to Wal-Marts price, you willl see that it is actually a few cents higher at CVS.  But the let me break it down for you and show you what I did. It went like this:

Transaction #1
4-Colgate mouthwash 8 ounce bottles @ 2/$5.98.  I had $3 CVS Extra Care Bucks and $2 off manufacture's coupons for each bottle. Here's the details:
Total:      $12
ECB        - $3
Coupons  - $8
+tax       $0.77

That's a saving of 92%. From that I also received $6 in ECB to use on the next transaction.

Transaction #2
1-Revlon Colorstay pressed powder @ $10.49.  Here are the details:
Total:      $10.49
ECB:       -$ 6.00
Coupon   -$ 4.00
             =$ 0.49
+tax         $0.90

That's a savings of 95% and I earned $4 more ECB!

Transaction #3
1- Nivea Cellulite Gel @ $6.00
1- Nivea Shower Gel @ $4.00
2- bags Reese's Peanut Butter Cups @2/$5  Here are the details:
Total:              $15.00
ECB:               -$ 4.00
Man. Coupons  -$ 4.00
CVS Coupons   -$ 5.00
                     =$ 2.00
+tax                 $ 1.29
                       $ 3.29

That's a savings of 87% and I earned $3 in ECB!

Transaction #4
1- Nivea Shower Gel @ $4.00
1- Stride gum @ $0.69
1- Caramel @ $0.33          Here are the details:
Total:          $ 5.02
ECB:          -$ 3.00
Coupon      -$ 2.00
                =$ 0.02
+tax           $ 0.43
                 $ 0.45

That's a savings of 93% and the end of transactions for the moment, lol.

Total spent out of pocket (OOP) details:

Price of items before coupons:  $42.47

Dollar amount of coupons:         $18.00
Extra Care Bucks:                     $16.00
CVS Coupons:                           $ 5.00 
Total saved:                             $39.00

Total OOP spent:                      $ 3.47
+ tax                                       $ 3.39
                                              $ 6.86

That's a savings of 89% folks...and that was awesome!  That would be the reality of Extreme Couponing.  Small transactions and not 1000's of dollars in merchandise as portrayed on the TV show. This is why I heart CVS...

TV Show Has Ruined Couponing!

I have not blogged much lately about my couponing due to several reasons.  One, I get so tired of everyone telling me to "share that stuff" and "get me those deals". To that I say, I worked hard to find that deal.  I put in the time, money and effort to make it happen.  It's not like I just clipped a coupon, walked into the store and BAM!  Deal's not that easy.  The show "Extreme Couponing" has made using coupons very difficult.  It is not realistic to think you can walk into a store and do what is done on that show.  I have had some GREAT deals, don't get me wrong, but nothing at all like they portray.  It's just not possible.  

The second reason for not blogging about it as much is I simply have not had a lot of time. I have made some great deals, but I have had to revamp the entire way I think and do it. I second guess every purchase before I buy it.  I ask myself these questions: 1. Will I or someone else use this?  2. Can I use it before the expiration date.  3. Is it truly a deal?  By all of those questions my meaning is simple.  Is it something my family can use?  If not, if it's free or a heck of a deal can someone or a charity use it?  I am known for never passing up a free item.  I don't care if I don't need it, someone will need it! Right?  Not always, so I think a little more about it before I buy it.  And the problem I have had lately, all of the really good deals seem to be items that will expire soon.  So, if I can't use them before that time, I have just wasted my money, time and effort.  And lastly, is it really a deal?   I mean some stores will make something sound so incredible that by the time you are finished with your entire purchase, you bought things you might not really need to just to get a deal on something else.

I was once new to couponing and had to learn mostly on my own.  But by no means did I rock the boat to ruin the couponing system in my area.  Of course I made mistakes, held up lines and pissed off store managers, (I still do the last 2!), but by no means am I out there taking coupons from people who paid for them.  That has been the latest thing.  Heck, some are evening stolen out of driveways.  There is nothing worse than buying your papers only to get home and realize someone has removed the inserts already. At that point you are screwed.  You don't get refunds for that.  I have gone as far as to check recycling bins for discarded inserts, and that right there is illegal I guess, lol.  They do post to not "enter" the bin. :)

I am not trying to create a stockpile to last through the zombie apocalypse, the next world war or a great famine.  I am just trying to get great deals on things that my family uses and donate things from time to time to the community.  It's like a game or puzzle to me.  I have to figure out how to make a great deal work and I get better at it all time.  It's all about reading the fine print, searching for the coupons and scouring the ads, internet and stores for what we need.  It's hard work, it doesn't always work out and we occasionally get a deal good enough to brag about.  I will admit that it has slightly addictive qualities. I do get that nervous feeling when I see any of my cleaning products level running low, lol. I have paid no more than mere pennies for dish soap for the longest time.  And I know it will hurt if and when I have to pay more for it.  There is a rush I get when I find a surprise deal or one that works out better than expected.

My point is, I enjoy couponing.  To be honest, the money and time I spend on it did replace something big in my life.  I have been smoke free for 2 years.  I started couponing about the time I quit.  It gave me an outlet to keep my mind off of smoking and my cigarette money went to good use.  I turned an ugly habit into a good one.  But there are some people who are making couponing ugly.  I will admit that I have probably gotten some better deals than they were intended to be due a nice cashier.  Sometimes I don't realize it until I am home and looking over my receipts.  But I try to keep as honest as possible.  

So, just a few words to the wise if you know someone who likes to coupon...first and most important: DON'T tell them to share their great deals.  That's like saying, "Give me one of those $20 bills from your wallet".  They have worked hard for what they have couponed and it's like you just want to give away your money, right?  Besides, most of them that I know offer up stuff all of the time.  And as for me, I give extra away all the time.  I sometimes even buy them for the purpose of donation.  Couponers are not stingy if they don't share with you.  

Not all couponers are hoarders.  In fact, most are just people who trying to save money where ever they can.  If they buy 3 months worth of laundry soap for a great price now doesn't mean they are hoarding, it just means they won't have to go out and buy it as often or at full price. It's just being smart.  Who can't appreciate a great deal?  I personally have over 40 rolls of paper towels right now.  It wasn't on purpose to be that many, but the deals presented to me and I took them.  I use paper towels like crazy at my house. Plus they can be recycled, bonus!  My youngest one's school loves to get them and so does the women and children's shelter we donate to.

The Extreme Couponing show makes it look like those people buy all of their groceries for next to nothing.  It's NOT true!  If you notice it's usually large quantities of items such as bottled drinks and such.  And most of the time it's the same brands.  Gee, can we say A-D-V-E-R-T-I-S-I-N-G?  Those companies are putting their name out there, same with the store.  If everyone watching the show lives near there, they are more likely to shop there with the mindset that they too can get those deals.  Most of that show is me. One a good note, you can learn some lessons from the couponers on there, but don't live with the expectations that you can duplicate what they have done.  

Realistically, you cannot go to the store for all of your families needs and save 95%.  On average I save about 30-40%, more so the lower end.  Some weeks I may only save around 10%.  It's unpredictable, a lot of work and worth it.  The longer you do it, the better you get, the less time it takes.  You have to be dovated, some what organized, (the more organized the better!), and pay attention to detail.  The details are what make or break you.  It's NOT a full time job, I have one of those, lol.  

With that being said, if you are still thinking about couponing just start small.  Find your nitch, your groove or whatever works for you.  Just because it works well this way for one doesn't mean it'll work that well for you.  It's easier to start if someone gives your pointers.  Look for local classes at community centers, libraries and such.  Search the internet for tips, just be careful to not believe everything you find on the good ol' web. And if you want, send me a message with your questions.  I will be happy to lead you in the right direction.  

Couponing isn't for everyone, but don't give up without giving it a fair shot.  You have to have some patience.  Try it for a couple of months, you will notice it gets easier and that is enough time to start to find your groove with organizing your coupon system. Learn the rules of your store, read your fine print and happy saving! :) 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Fall Time Savings

It should be no surprise that I love I bargain!  I especially love it when it is for such a high volume item.  Couponing is actually nothing more than a game.  You have to learn the rules, read between the lines and hunt for the deals.  Although most places leave the accepting of a coupon up to the manager's discretion, if you go in there armed with your whits, confidence and charm, you are gonna get the deal.  

Perfect example.  I had 2 different coupons for the same product.  For Herbal Essence products, one was a "buy one get one free" AKA B1G1.  The other was for $3 off of 2 Herbal Essence Shampoo/Conditioners.  A lot of times it will say on coupons, "one coupon per item", but neither of these did! :)  Now it was just a matter of getting the manager to accepts it, and they did!  I paid $0.19 a bottle.  SCORE!!!!  It was not wrong and it was just a matter of using the coupon and it's working to my advantage.

Next deal I had was for Gillette Razors.  Although we are fond of the more expensive type of razors, (the more blades the better the shave for husband who shaves his head), a great deal on them makes them great!  I again had 2 coupons.  One was a B1G1 the other again was for $3.00 off.  The coupon stated you buy one of any pack of Gillette razors you get the Gillette Mach Turbo for free.  It had a value of nearly $9.00.  Since the buy part technically didn't use a coupon to save, they let me use the $3.00 on the cheaper razors that were priced $4.59 a pack.  When all was said and done, I paid $1.59 for one cheap and one Turbo razor.                                                                                                      

I have only had luck a couple of times with tooth brushes, and now make that 3!  I found the mother load of coupons for Reach!  They are for $2 off a Reach product.  And while at Walmart, I found a 2 pack of the Reach Crystal toothbrushes for $1.97!  There was no limit on how many you could use, the only stipulation was one coupon per product, not a problem!  I think I bought 15 packs and I still have about 15 coupons.  The only reason I didn't get more is because I hate to wipe out a shelf if I don't have to.  The coupons are good until sometime next year, so I can go back and use them up sometime soon.

My last great buy of the week was Treeseme products.  There were a lot of B1G1 free coupons out there this week.  This was a surprise deal, because for one, I don't usually use this brand and for 2 I didn't know the deal was there until I was at the store.  We were are CVS picking up some medicine for one of our kiddos.  We always scan our cards at the Kiosk every time we are there.  We both got coupons for $2 Tresemme product and $1 ECB (extra care bucks).  While paying for the medicine, we then got another $3 ECB!  I thought I might as well look at see what the shampoo.conditioner was on sale for.  SALE!  They were regularly priced $4.99, on sale for 2/$7 and I on top of the CVS coupons, I had one for B1G1, by a shampoo and conditioner, get a styling product for free, (up to a $6 vaule).  They also have their bonus bucks (or some name like that for program) going on.  So here's the math:

$3.50 -Shampoo
$3.50 -Conditioner
$3.50 -Hair Spray

$2 CVS coupon
$2 CVS double days bonus
$3 ECB
$3.50 manufacturer's coupon

Grand total...FREE, (well, I paid $0.16 in tax).

That's my story and I'm sticking to it!  Until next time, save big!!!!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Oops, I did it again!

This evening I had no intention of finding any deals at the store.  In fact, I just went to the store to buy a few items for Grandma's birthday dinner tomorrow.  I didn't even have my coupon book with me for crying out loud.  I have noticed that the store had a grocery cart full of Ken's Salad Dressing for $0.99 for about the past week.  It was 3 different flavors, all of which I like, but the expiration was around mid November, so I had no intention of stocking up.  Until tonight...

After seeing the cart, and starting to  turn away, the wall behind us caught my attention.  It was lined with tons of the salad dressing!  I saw a paper on a lot of the bottles and upon closer inspection I realized they were coupons.  $1 off coupons at that!  Making them FREE!  I grabbed up a ton of them, and I know we will never use them all.  But the Harvester's Food Collection barrels are at the exit of the store, I had it figured out! I am also going to give most away to co-workers, family and such.

I just happened to glance to the left of the Ken's dressing and saw an equally as large display of Sweet Baby Ray's, on sale for $1 with $1 off coupons on them!  I grabbed up 25.  The BBQ sauce doesn't expire for over a year, so we kept every bottle.  We like to BBQ!  In the picture you will notice the Bic Flame Discs.  I didn't get those tonight, but wanted to share with you the great deal, as they were also free!  I got them last week.  

As you can see on the receipt, I spent only $4.18 for the salad dressing and BBQ sauce.  With a total savings of $195.96 off of the regular price.  So, for not planning on getting any really great deals and being unarmed without my coupons, I would say I did pretty damn good! I love surprise bargains!  These were special coupons by the way.  They are sent to the store in the box with the products.  They never know when they will get them. It seemed to be a good way for the store to get rid of the older stock to make room for more.  They will get back exactly the price they were asking for it.  It was a win-win kind of deal!  

If any of you run across this kind of deal, I highly suggest taking advantage of it and to the extreme if no limit is stated by the store.  But PLEASE, do NOT hoard!  Pass on the good fortune of your couponing deals to others.  Pay it forward, and more good deals will come your way!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Gold Medal Shopping!

I love a bargain, who doesn't!  But I really love free and I did it again!  I just wish I had more computers to print these from!  Last nights deal was Neutrogena Transparent facial bars.  They are normally $1.96 at Target and Walmart.  Thanks to my handy dandy $2.00 off any Neutrogena Face Product coupon, FREE!  It was again the play on words, the picture on the coupon was of make up, but it stated "face product".  One website I found suggested using the coupon for the Facial Cleaning Wipes, (7 ct package).  That is what I went there for, and apparently so did everyone else in the area.  It took about 10 seconds for my husband to spot the soap bars.  We snatched up all that we had coupons for and away we went to check out.  

This weekend I have a few sales to hit with my coupons.  My local double couponing store has a special on softsoap, $0.89!  I have $0.40 off coupons, that double!  Score!  Ken's Salad Dressing is going to be another big one, it's on sale for $0.99 and the coupon is $1 off of 2!  

Other deals I like to hit are the "buy this and we give you that for free", at Sunfresh I have to purchase 4 lbs of their ground chuck @ $2.99/lb and I get Taco Bell brand sauce, seasoning, refried beans, Kraft shredded cheese and lettace...all for FREE!  That is such an awesome deal, we might just do it twice! 

Shampoo is a good one that I like, but I am picky about my hair.  After coupons and sale price, I will get the goods for a$1 a bottle!  It's on sale for 2/$5, and my coupon for 2 different brands are each $3 off of 2 bottles.  

I am always on the hunt for a good bargain, and I think this is going to be a good weekend to shop!  Until the next big deal...happy couponing! 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Oh Yeah, free razors and Bath and Body Works Sale!

I can proudly say, I have FINALLY gotten free razors!  It may sound like a small accomplishment, or it might make me sound like a freak...but it seems like its in every couponer's basic stockpile, free razors.  How the heck have they been doing it all this time?  I know that I have missed a couple of deals, either because I didn't realize the deal was there or the deal was so good, the store was sold out the entire time the coupon was valid. 

I was only able to get 8, that was all the store had left and I only had 10 of the coupons anyway.  And I need to rephrase the "free", I actually made $0.12 on each pack of them, go me, lol.  That is my big braggin' deal of the week.  I didn't use many other coupons this weekend.  I plan to have a bigger trip this next weekend.  I am have been keeping a lookout for the small bottles of Dawn dish soap to go on sale for $0.99 again.  I have some coupons that are itching to be used!  I still have about 15 bottles, but soap is a great stockpile item and I like to get the freebies!  I also have some coupons that are for one free health bar of some sort.  I can't remember the name right now, and I don't know if they are good or not, lol.  But, they are free and that makes it worth trying!  

Another of my favorites to stock up on is's not as easy to score a great deal on it, but once in a while I get lucky with it!  Last time I had coupons I lucked out and my double coupon store had some of the Softsoap in the clearance section.  It was marked from 25%-50% off the price and then I used my coupons.  I don't think I paid more than $0.50 a bottle.  And the worst bottle had a cracked pumped.  I just poured it into another bottle.  It was a great deal!

Now, if my my most favorite soap was ever to be that cheap...I would be in Heaven!  I have a fascination with Bath and Body Works products.  But I also have 6 sinks to stock with hand soap.  For the most part, the kids' sinks do not get the Bath and Body Works stuff, lol.  My 8 year old would have a bottle gone in about 3 days!  However, right now they are having yet again another HUGE sale.  The antibacterial soaps are priced at 7 for $20, then I have a 20% off coupon code to use.  Plus, I have a coupon for a free "Signature Collection" item when I spend $10 or more.  It will take 2 transactions to use both of my savings, but well worth it!  

So, that is my savings and shopping for the past few days.  I will post any other deals I run across.  Until BIG! 

Monday, August 6, 2012

I'm Baaaack!

Well, after taking a little break from couponing while we moved, I jumped back into it head first!  It has been about a month since I bought a newspaper, so most of my coupons were expired, (*sigh)...but last week was the perfect week to resume my coupon collecting!  I found some great coupons that I cashed in on this week, just check out the pic below:

I left the store with 30 packs of Bic pens, for FREE!  I got the coupon last week for $1 off 2 Bic Stationary products.  I was fairly certain with back to school sales I would be able to strike a good deal, and boy did I! I am sure that I have more than my family will ever need, but someone is always asking for something to write with around our house, now we're set! 

My next big score was Suave Deodorant, $0.15 each!  You read that right!  They offered 2 sizes, so I chose the smaller one which was $1.15.  Armed with my $0.50 coupons that doubled, I stocked up! These were not trial sizes and granted they do not last too long, but $0.15, it was well worth it! 

Franks Hot Sauce is always a good one, and something we will never run out of!  We usually get it for about $0.25 a bottle, (again, the little bottle). I have found a few new ways to use it, and need to work a few more.  I LOVE to coupons that do not have exclusions on them, but if they do it is usually a "no trial size" exclusion.  With that said, I had $0.50 off coupons for Band Aid Brand Adhesive Bandages.  The coupon stated no trial size.  I happen to find the travel pack size, at $0.99 each.  It's all in the wording, travel and trial are not the same thing and the store agreed with me, so I got a bunch for FREE! 
It's not always about the coupons, sometimes these great deals can happen without coupons, you just have to watch out for them!  It pays to research and read every ad!  I would normally never shop at some of these store I get ads for, but sometimes their deals are too amazing to pass up!  We took advantage of the sales that Office Depot had for school supplies.  I know they place these items all over the store to get you in and buy something else, but we were on a mission!  Armed with the ad and my husband, we both went after the limit on these products and this is what we each got:  

-3 packages of notebook paper, $0.25 ea
-3 bottles of school glue, $0.01 ea
-3 packs or 3 erasers, $0.25 ea
-3 pencil sharpeners, $0.25 ea

After taxes, we each paid $ was about a $10 savings! 

Out of all the products purchased during this shopping trip, the only thing I paid full price for were the 2 drinks we got at the checkout at the grocery store.  It was such a successful trip that it really made me feel like I had accomplished something BIG!  It peaked my interest into full swing again.  I felt weird this past month shopping without any coupons.  I still priced matched at Walmart, but I felt like I was missing was SAVINGS!  I have my ears open and my eyes peeled for the next great deal.  It's time to build back up my reserve and get better at this whole couponing thing!  And this savings shown above is just how I do it!