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The Coupon Life for Me

Thursday, 02 December 2010

This coupon stuff.  I’m addicted.


It’s my obsessive nature.  I can’t just ease into anything; I have to eat, dream and talk about it until I wear myself out and fall into the next life sucking adventure.


I think I’m really getting the hang of this, though.  Tuesday was a “Eureka!” day.  See,  I ran across a CVS receipt from a trip Chuck and the boys made for drinks and snacks.  They spent $26.66.  Wha?  


Four weeks of honing my coupon hunting skills were finally put to the test.  Like a hound on the trail of a bloody rabbit I set to work itemizing how they should have structured their shopping trip had they known the CVS Sunday sales flier as thoroughly as I.


Here’s what they bought:


1 12 pack of Diet Coke @ 4.00

4 misc. 20 oz sodas (hello?) @ 1.59 ea.

2 bags of chocolate candy @ 4.89 ea.

1 bag of chocolate candy @ 4.49


Total:  $26.66  WhaWho's the drunken sailor?


Here’s what they could have bought:


3 12 packs of mix and match Dr. Pepper sodas - $11 and earned $3 EBs to use later.

3 bags of either Hershey’s Kisses and/or M&Ms @ $2ea (Oh, and I have a coupon for $1 off 2 bags of Kisses that I’m not even counting)


Total:  $14 after EBs.


Do the math!  Had they consulted me first, they could have satisfied both their need for junk food and mine for cheap wine! 


No wonder we’re always broke.  Chuck is, hereby and forthwith, prohibited from stepping into the drugstore without me.


Now, let me share with you something else that happened on Tuesday.  I told you this was a monument day…


I went into Walgreens armed with both knowledge and coupons.  Knowledge and coupons – that’s power.  I’m drunk with it.  This one is good.  Even the cashier was agog!


At Walgreens they are offering 5 Register Rewards with the purchase of 2 Dayquil or Nyquil products for $10.  I had 2 coupons, $1.50 each for said products.  They are also offering 1 Register Reward for the purchase of 3 packs of Eclipse gum @ $2.  Here’s how this trip worked:


1 each, Dayquil/Nyquil @ $10.00

3 each, Eclipse gum @ $2.00

Total:  $12.00


But wait…here’s where the magic happens…


I whip out my coupons and RR from previous trips and:


$3.00 coupons

$9.00 RRs

Total:  $12.00


Yep, I walk out of there with a 0 balance.  But there’s more…


I also earn $6 RRs to use on my next trip, which I take a few hours later.


My next trip is for cosmetics.  I need some eye and lip color, eye liner and foundation.  Their Wet ‘n Wild brand (which is great stuff) is on sale, 50% off.


I bought 2 eyeliner pencils, 1 lipstick, 1 eye shadow palette, 1 mineral powder foundation and the whole lot cost me $5.17.  I paid for it with 5 RR and 17 cents out of pocket.


In the end, I got $17 worth of product for 17 cents  out of pocket.  Not a bad day.  In fact, that kinda makes up for my guys’ errant sugar splurge.


Next up…


I try my frugal fly-baby wings at the grocery store.  I’ve already got the lists made and the coupons clipped, I just need a little more energy.









My Great Coupon Experiment

Friday, 19 November 2010

Several times over the years I’ve attempted to cash in on couponing.  You read about uber-frugal-shopping-gurus, like this one, who cut hundreds off their family grocery budget and can feed a family of 10 on pennies per week.  Trouble is, whenever I’ve tried, I ended up spending more, stocking up on stuff I normally wouldn’t buy, just because I had a great coupon.


Recently, in a discussion with some friends about using coupons, one lady mentioned that she "makes" money shopping at CVS and Walgreens.  She explained a little about how she does it; how both stores offer cash-back on certain purchases and if she uses manufacturer coupons in addition, she comes out ahead!   


Then, a couple weeks ago, I overheard another lady comment that she "hadn't paid for toiletries in over a year!"  Wow, I thought, how does that work?  She, too, mentioned using CVS and Walgreens programs. 


Since we recently subscribed to the newspaper, I decided to try my own hand at manipulating the coupon fliers, to see if I could make money by shopping.


After spending a mind-numbing number of hours scouring the sale pages and coupon fliers, I was ready to tackle my first trip to CVS.  Here’s a list of what I bought, along with the products for which they were offering “Extra Bucks” (EBs):


 My week 1 trip: 




Earn “Extra Bucks”

I spent






Qty 4












Qty 1




Qty 2




Qty 1




1 pkg


$16.49  Oops!  Wrong package!

Items I also bought, not part of promotion:


Claritin 10ct









X-Box Gold




I bought the wrong package of batteries by mistake and had to make a return trip later in the week.  The X-Box Gold was paid for by my son.  The V8, I don't think I got the EBs for, but forgot to follow up on that. 


The Return trip:

I bought more Glade products totaling $5.00, which completed the requirement for $3 EBs (but I really only needed $2.50, so I spend $2.50 unnecessarily).

Duracell batteries for $9.99, paid for with my return credit and earned the $2 EBs.


I used the EBs from trip#1 to pay for most of these items, paid $2.77 out of pocket, and received $17.85 for returning batteries which netted a $15.08 credit off previous purchase.

Net spend/credit for my 1st purchase including the return trip:  $97.71, earning $8.00 EBs for my next trip. My week 2 trip: 







$3 (for spending $10 of any combination of Ragu/Skippy/Hellman’s)









Fiber One

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Items bought w/out EB promotion:


Spring Water




Turtle candy 2/$6   $6
Lipton GT 1@2/5   $2.50

After using coupons, EBs, total cost:  $21.21, earned $8 extra bucks for next trip. 

So, my first 2 weeks shopping CVS cost me $118.92 out of pocket, and I have $8 EBs to use next time. Week 2, Walgreens: 


What I bought

Register Rewards

Welch's sparkling juice






Colgate Total



Mailing envelopes






Digiorno Pizza



Angel Soft






I had $9.50 in mfg coupons, bringing total purchase to $41.82.  I earned $9 in register rewards. My total-spend between Walgreens and CVS was $160.74.  I have $17 EBs/RRs to use toward future purchases, taking my net-spend down to $143.74. 

Not very impressive!  I’m obviously a rookie.  After conducting a post-mortem, I’ve determined a couple of places where I went wrong:


1.  I should have read the “CVS 101” tutorial on moneysavingmom.com before attempting this feat on my own.  I messed up on my first purchase by spending way too much out of pocket.  I should have only bought items which, between EBs and coupons, would have worked out to be free.  Then, once I’d accumulated a few EBs, supposedly, between stacking EBs, store coupons and manufacturer’s coupons, I’d be positioned to bask in the perpetual roll of freebies.


Take my first ill-fated trip to CVS:  I could have purchased only those items that earned EBs on the first trip then went back again to use the EBs on the additional items. That would have lowered my out-of-pocket amount.  Many of the items I bought that didn’t earn rewards, are ultimately available at competitive prices from HEB.

  1. I should have checked the internet for coupons.  For example, I had a Welch’s coupon for $1.00, but could have printed an internet one for $2.00.

I plan to continue the experiment for a few more weeks, to see if, in the long haul, it really does pay to coupon.  I’ll keep you posted,


September Swap

Saturday, 09 October 2010

I participated in The Homeschool Post's September Swap, and here are the goodies my sweet swap sister sent.  Sadly (how's that for alliteration?), my camera, combined with my lack of photoography skills, means this picture doesn't do its contents justice. 

Her package arrived the day before my birthday, which made it even bigger the blessing.  Andrea sent me a really nice, big, mug for my morning cuppa, as well as Mary Kay body wash and lotion - which smell wonderful!  She sent a can of pretty flower embellishments that just might make a crafter of me, yet.  Glue sticks - what homeschool doesn't use glue sticks?  Some stickers for the kiddos, which you can't see 'cause there behind the blurry body gel.  There's a cute little quilted MaggiB bag that will get a lot of use.  Don't forget the journal and a bag of trick-or-treat goodie sacks to pass out Halloween candy to the little fairies and goblins that come each year. 

She really outdid herself - what a wonderful swap buddy.  Not only is she generous, but she's patient, 'cause I was late getting my gift out to her. 

I hope she enjoys her box of goodies as much as I love mine.  Head on over to the Post and get in on the October-November Swap!  It's a lot of fun and, yaknow, it's just nice to get a package in the mail! 

HSBA September Swap

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