Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Something Many things for nothing -- Part Two

(Missed Part One? Catch it here!)

As I said before, getting started couponing takes a bit of effort. You can't expect to start clipping coupons today, and cut your grocery bill in half by next week--it takes patience and some work. Anything that provides a wonderful outcome always does. But the hour or two I spend each week clipping coupons, organizing them, and reading blogs for my weekly trips is well, well worth the effort.

(By the way: here are two wonderful articles on how you can 'earn' $100 an hour by clipping coupons (*video included*) and why coupons should be a part of your shopping! Great, great reads!)

Here is a picture of what I came home with from CVS last Wednesday--
the "$119 worth of merchandise for $3.82 out of my pocket" trip:

  • 1 6-pk. of Bounty paper towels (not pictured)
  • 2 Reach floss (only one pictured)
  • 2 90-ct. women's multi-vitamins
  • 2 Right Guard deodorant for Shane
  • 2 Stayfree and
  • 2 Always pantiliners
  • 1 Box U by Kotex
  • 1 Crest toothpaste
  • 1 Crest mouthwash
  • 1 Hawaiian Tropic sunscreen
  • 1 CVS hair gel for the boys
  • 2 bottles of Bayer aspirin
  • 1 bottle of B-complex vitamins
  • 1 bottle of chewable C vitamins
  • a package of gum (I actually needed something to get my subtotal to be enough so that I could use a '$5 off a $25 purchase' coupon, so this was basically a 'filler' item)
  • And a Bayer Contour meter.

Oh, don't freak out. No one in my house has diabetes. But I picked up the Bayer meter because it was actually a money maker for me. Here's how:

  • They were on sale for $19.99.
  • I had a coupon for $10 off of one.
  • CVS was offering $15 in ECB* when you purchased one,
making this a $5 money maker.

*ECB = Extra Care Bucks: Free money at CVS

(By the way--it was that $5 that purchased my Bounty paper towels, which were on sale for $4.99 this week!)

I am not going to list each of the coupons I used, but I will say that I had at least one coupon for every item that I bought, and sometimes two. At CVS, you can use a manufacturer's coupon with a CVS coupon (found on their website) and get an even better deal. Pair that with Extra Care Bucks (ECB)--free money in their store, remember?--and you can get items for super cheap, free, or in some cases--even better than free!

Like the Bayer meter above, I also scored this deal:

CVS ad: "Purchase 1 U by Kotex for $4.99, get $4.99 in Extra Care Bucks."
I used:
  • $1 off of 1 U by Kotex product (manufacturer coupon) and
  • $1 off of 1 U by Kotex (CVS coupon, found on their site)
  • I paid $2.99 for the Kotex, and received $4.99 back in ECB, making this
a $2 money maker!

It may not seem like much, but those $2 and $3 dollars add up quickly.

I also got two "$5 off of a $25 dollar purchase" coupons from the 'magic' coupon machine at CVS, which saved me an extra $10. (After scanning your Extra Care Card, these machines will print you extra coupons--yay!) You must have one of these cards to get the advertised 'deals' at CVS, but they are free and very quick to sign up for.

The magic coupon machine also printed me a '$1 off any CVS brand hair product' coupon--which is what I used to get the hair gel for the boys. It was .99 cents--so absolutely free for me!

Two things I want to point out:

1. I had $20 in ECB before going into the store.

The past three trips I have made to CVS, I have purchased merchandise with minimal out of pocket expense (due to using coupons) and have come out of the store with more ECB than I went in with. Now, this won't happen every time, of course--there will be times when I need to buy items that do NOT have an extra bucks rewards attached, which will dwindle my supply of them.

But, each time I go in to the store, it is a goal of mine to come out with as many bucks as possible to be able to use next time. (Many couponing blogs will give newbies 'scenarios'--walking you through exactly what to buy and how to split your transactions to maximize your 'bucks' earned.)

Now that I've built up a decent supply of 'bucks', I am able to shop for free in many cases (again, using coupons to maximize savings) and still earn bucks to be used on my next shopping trip!!

Buy $20 worth of products (think Bayer meter).
Use coupons and get my total down to much less--in this case, $10.
Pay for that purchase with bucks I've already earned, so no 'real' money comes out of my pocket.
With my receipt, the register then prints my new bucks--in this case, $15--which I can then use toward my next purchase!

**Paid $10--came out with $15!!**

2. One of the keys to doing this is to split your purchases into more than one transaction.

I did four transactions for what you saw in the above photo, each time using ECB I earned from the last transaction I did. (That may seem difficult and time consuming--but it's really not. All four transactions, total, took me about three minutes.) It's called "rolling" your bucks. You earn the bucks, then use them right then and there to purchase more items, earning even more bucks.

Think vicious circle, but in a great way.

To be continued.....

(Part three coming soon, in which we will talk about coupon 'ethics' and why in the world would you ever buy things (again, think Bayer meter) you will never use {and what are you going to do with them?})


Julie said...

Great post Dev! Makes me want to jump back on the CVS bandwagon! :0)

I file my coupons in a 3 ring binder using baseball card divider things. It's great the binder can fit in my 'green' bags and I always have all my coupons with me incase I see something else I want that isn't on my list. I have a pencil pouch in the front that I can put the coupons I want to use in... or I have the binder that has the plastic cover, so sometimes I put them in that and if I don't use one it goes in the pouch till I refile them. I get tons of comments on it every time I have it out (oh and it fits perfectly in the baby seat when it's open!) :0)

Kathy said...

Ahh to have a CVS *sigh*

Good stuff here Dev. Looking forward to hearing more about it. Would love to start doing it myself. {Well in a more organized form ;-)}