On 5/18, I posted a review of How to Shop for Free, and updated it with the results of my first trip to CVS pharmacy. Well, today I made another conscious shopping trip to CVS, and am butting in out of turn to tell you what happened.
Pre-savings, my total was $161.
Post in-store savings, my total was $121.
Post coupons and extra care bucks, my total was $96.
AND I got another $23 in extra care bucks toward my next shopping trip.
What did I come home with?
- 1 bottle of Listerine Total care
- 1 bottle of Listerine Zero
- 1 Colgate 360 toothbrush
- 1 bottle of Sally Hanson all-in-one nailpolish (coral)
- 1 tube of Sally Hansen Vita-E lip soother
- Garnier puffy eye soother
- Garnier eye cream stick thingie (Sorry–the receipt’s not in front of me, so I’m going from memory)
- Garnier cleanser
- 2 bottles of Nivea lotion
- A bag of Caltrate calcium chews
- 2 bottles of Advil liqui-gels
- 2 8-packs of Bounty paper towels
- 3 packs of Stride gum
- a box of non-drowsy Claritin
I was a little dismayed that it was still so much money, but then I had to put it into perspective. First of all, nearly everything was on sale. Second of all, with my addiction to Clarins skin care products, I’d have spent that much on one or two items alone. Third, my husband needs the Claritin for when he’s traveling, and even on sale and with coupons that stuff’s expensive. Fourth, it was still $50 off the initial total, and if you count the $23 in extra care bucks for my next trip, That makes a grand total savings of $73.
Not too shabby, eh?
So here’s what I’ve learned since I’ve started shopping for not free, but really trying to maximize the savings:
- Cut out ALL the coupons, even the ones you think you won’t use. If you happen to go down an aisle and see some products you’re not going to purchase, do a favour to the next shopper, and stick your coupons by the product. I scored this way when someone did the same for me: Target had a special going on with Starbucks bottled frappuccinos (the “lite” ones, only 100 calories per bottle)–if you bought 2, you’d get a $5 Target gift card. They were around $5.86 a pack, and someone had kindly inserted a $1.50 coupon in one of the packs. So I paid $11.72 before the coupon, then saved $1.50, then got $5 back in a Target gift card, so it was a net cost of $5.22 for two packs, which was less than the original cost of 1 pack.
- Find a method of organising your coupons that works for you. I got a plastic sorter thingie from Office Depot, and have them sorted alphabetically by brand name.
- Plan some time once or twice a week to cut out the coupons and go through the grocery store and drugstore ads. Figure out what you need, what you have coupons for, and how to maximize it. For example, one store out here does double/triple coupons, so a coupon that is less than 50 cents off I will likely use at that store so that I’d get $1 off. But a sale going on at a drugstore could mean that I would actually save more money by purchasing the item there and using the coupon.
- Share the wealth. I’m obviously so not there yet, but once you get to where you’re able to get things for free or close to free, drop them off at a food bank or a homeless shelter.