Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Something Many things for nothing -- Part Three

(If you haven't read them yet, you can catch up here on Part One and Part Two!)

Now begs the question:

"Why on earth would you buy something you won't use? That seems like a complete waste of money to me."

It really does--on the surface. It did to me, too, until I began to change the way I think about how I shop. But here is what I have learned: in many cases, by matching store sales with coupons and 'bucks back' programs, I am saving more money by buying more items. The glucose meter was a money maker for me, so it made sense to take advantage of that deal.


I am a strong component of Ethical Couponing, so I would not try to do this particular deal more than that. Most other deals I would consider doing only two or at most three times. Doing deals over and over (and subsequently clearing out the store shelves of certain products) means you are keeping other people from getting in on the savings, and I think that is unfair and unfortunate for others! In one area of the country, a person bought over 800 bottles of detergent with copied** coupons-- this is abuse, no question about it!!

(**Not to mention illegal! Coupons state right on the front--VOID if copied.)

But, occasionally buying things I may not/do not need to earn 'bucks' to buy stuff I do use only makes good sense--and it has given me the ability to do something I have rarely done for others:


The items in the above picture are all items I took to church last Sunday morning and donated to our Missionary Apartment and Missions closet. I have gotten each item above for completely free--and some of them have been money makers!

  • The Bayer? On sale for $1. I had a $1 off Bayer coupon. FREE.
  • Always? Carefree? Same as above. FREE.
  • Colgate? On sale for $3 with a $3 bucks back. I paid with bucks I had already earned, then got the exact same amount back. FREE.
  • The Dial body wash and the Reach floss? Same as above. Bucks back equal to what I paid for them. FREE.
And we already know about that Bayer Meter. A $5 money maker. More than FREE. (And, incidentally, that meter never even made it to the Missions closet. A lady standing near me at church overheard that I was donating it. She said that she uses those meters and was in need of a new one....and I promptly handed it over! She was thrilled. Now that was fun.)

As silly as it may sound, this couponing thing is a gift from God to our family. After only a few weeks, my shelves are no longer 'barely stocked' with generic products--they are filled to the brim with the good stuff. It has cost me very little. And, I am able to share, donate, and help others.

All around, it is simply awesome.

My intention with these last couple of posts has been to inform others (who may not otherwise be aware) of this great new thing that I have found. I know the coupon thing is not for everyone (it wasn't for me, for a long time....) so you probably won't see too much more of it here on my blog. {Unless you want to--and in that case, please make sure to let me know that, and I'd love to share a picture of my weekly CVS runs! :)}

I don't want to bore those who don't care to hear about this kind of thing; rather, to share with you about this great new money-saving venture I have embarked on, and a bit of how I am doing it. I hope I've accomplished what I set out to do, but in closing, I want to ask:

Is there anything else you would like to know about this idea of couponing? I'll open it up in the comments section for questions, and, if need be, I'll do one more short post answering them.

Hope you enjoyed this short series....until next time: happy money-saving!


Theresa said...


Loved, loved, LOVED your coupon series. I still get completely turned around when I try to use them; still not sure why though. I think I need to go to a coupon class or something. The part I have a hard time figuring out is knowing when to split up your purchases and what you purchase at what time. Do you guys stand at the register and say this is on this transaction, this amount is on another, and so you grab some items check out, shop around some more, checkout, etc. I'm good with finding coupons, legally of course (800 bottles are you kidding me lady!?!?), and good with organizing just not so good at finding the deals and figuring out what items go on one purchase and so forth. I'm totally interested on this subject so I think anything you post is awesome. Thanks lady!! :o)

Amber E. Berkoski said...

I loved the coupon series, not just for what it did for your family but what you've been able to do by donating to other families. That to me, is wonderful.

I always appreciate what you bring to your blog, whether it might be posts like this or just your awareness about what others might not to want to hear. (Though, I could listen to the couponing tips all day and would love to see weekly CVS runs!) It's nice when people are aware of what their readers do and do not like and at least try to provide it.

You're always spot on! Keep up the good work :) And the pictures of all your cuties!

Shelly said...

my mom was just hear to visit and was marvelling at my cupboards full of food. ours too before were BARELY used-just a smattering of generics. i felt so defeated! and now...full. to. overflowing. and i'm getting paid to do it? what a wonderful blessing! i'm so thankful! and so happy that others are doing the same thing. yay!!

Nancy said...

Love the coupon series and would love to hear about more! One question I have is how did it work when you first got started? We have a (very!) tight grocery budget, and I use pretty much all of it each week/month. I use a large portion of it to buy fresh fruits/veggies, and the rest goes to purchase things we are absolutely out of for that week. It seems like I would need an extra "nest egg" to get started to begin stock piling items. So, I'm curious how that worked for you. Did you have a little extra set aside to get started, or did you not buy items you typically would have in order to buy other items that were on sale?

Thanks for all your hints and tips! I have loved reading about your deals and am trying to make even better use of my sales and coupons!

Carolyn said...


I think a few years ago I would gave rolled my eyes at the thought of couponing and wouldn't have even considered it.....but life changes! 4- boys- that - eat - like - monsters kind of life changes :) SO as we prepare to return to the States where couponing is an option and as we try to make our standards of living as a one income family come together - I appreciate your example and the timing of introducing this to life. Honestly, I feel a bit intimidated by it but once we get moved, unpacked and settled, I fully intend to give it a try and will be coming back to visit your posts about it. Any other info you give will be read by me! I really believe it will help our budget if it works the way you are saying it has helped your fam. Thank you! Keep it coming.

The only other thing I wonder is if you have any tips on whether this method could possibly include someone else doing all the work, the shopping, the putting in the cupboards, and heck - even preparing meals?!?!!? :)

Anonymous said...

Loved the couponing series and would love to hear more! I am very interested in learning to do this, but haven't had the time to sit down and really think about it. It's somewhat confusing to me. I think I need to follow someone around a few times and learn, but don't think that is an option (I don't know anyone locally who does this!). Maybe when I learn I will be able to teach others. Love the fact that you are able to donate as well. That will be a goal of mine to work toward :o).

GiGi said...

your family is precious!

threeboysgee said...

I love this series!! I would love to see some weekly cvs runs because I too don't completely understand when to split transactions and such... I may need to follow you for a while before I attempt to do it. And also, where do you find all the coupons??

Mary Ann said...

Devin, I do this on a smallish scale myself. I have donated to our missions closet but also to our local domestic violence shelter. Many women come there with their children & nothing else. They are always in need of toiletries. Great series!

Mary Ann said...

Forgot to tell you one other little thing - is an excellent resource for deal match ups & freebies. She doesn't do CVS deals b/c they don't have one in her area, but she does Walgreens & coupon sources, etc. She's helped me a lot so I thought maybe you would want to check her blog out.
Have a great Memorial Day weekend!

Unknown said...

I've loved the coupon series. I really want to try this. I know there are great deals out there but it is hard to know where to start. I was amazed at all the things you got for "FREE". I am definitely going to start going to CVS more often. I guess my hardest thing is knowing where to start and how to get a game plan before I go in the store. I always end up with things not in the ad or on a coupon. I am coupon inspired after your posts:)

Shaina N said...

LOVE the coupon posts!!!

Where do you get the majority of your coupons? Sunday paper? Online? Where?

Fabulessly Frugal said...

Thanks for mentioning us in your post! That is awesome that you are sharing the coupon love with your friends and family!