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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Raise your hand if you like free toothpaste!

I used to cringe when I asked my hubby if he needed anything from the store and he responded, "Probably just some razor blades."  In fact,  I had a mental list of things I dreaded buying: razors, razor blades, deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes, body wash, shampoo... I could go on but you get the picture.  Add a few of  those items in and I was sure to add $20-$35 to our Wal-Mart bill.  Then my friend introduced me to couponing and The Drugstore Game, to say it has changed my life may be an understatement.   I haven't paid more than $1 for any of those items in months and most of the times get them free, and now I have built a stockpile so I never have to pay full price again!

This was after a trip to Rite-Aid, $28 worth of stuff for $2.67 and $17 back in Rewards and SCR!
I get excited about couponing, ok, excited may be an understatement, I get estatic.  About the only thing that gets me more excited than free toiletries is helping someone else learn how to get free toiletries and save serious coin on other things!


Couponing Do’s
  • Shop at stores that double your coupons: Kroger, Lowe's, Bloom, Harris Teeter, Giant, check your local stores.  Some stores even triple!
  • Keep an eye out for special store coupons that may be used in combination with manufacturer's coupons.  Rite Aid, Walgreens and Target do this frequently.  Rite Aid occasionally even has in-ad and online video value coupons.
  • Pay attention to the unit cost of an item. Large sizes usually mean better value than buying small sizes, however sometimes using multiple coupons to purchase multiple smaller sizes can actually be much cheaper. Tide, diapers and  Dawn are a few good examples. 
  • Start a stockpile!  Set aside $5 - $20 of your grocery budget each week, whatever works for you, use that amount to buy items that are at a great price that week.  If there isn’t anything that is a great price save your stockpile money for next week. 
  • Look for combination bargains. Check if you can get an item for a reduced price by using a coupon and also sending in for a refund/rebate on that item. Refunds and rebates are actually where much of the savings can be found. Couponing blogs (more on those next week) are a great place to find rebates as well as Googling the product or brand.
  • Do comparison shopping! Who knew that these sneaky retailers changes prices so drastically between stores (Target and Wal-Mart are two of the worst offenders), make sure to always check the competition too. Amazon.com has really stepped up as a player too, with their fast shipping and reasonable rates if you can wait a few days for an item it may be worth considering.
  • ·Do keep your coupons organized. There are many coupon organizers on the market but you don;t need to spend a lot, I use a 13 tab organizer that I bought at Wal-Mart for 4 bucks.  Separate your coupons by categories that work for you. Twice monthly, sort through them and pull out those that will be expiring soon, so that they can be used, if possible, before they expire.
  • Find others who coupon and trade with them; they can be on the lookout for coupons you can use, and vice versa.
  • Be willing to switch brands to take advantage of lower prices and/or coupon offers.
 
Couponing Don’ts
  •  Don’t buy items you normally would not just because you have a coupon for it. I make an exception if the item will be free or a money maker.
  • Don’t buy brand name items if the store/house brand is cheaper unless you have both coupons and rebates for the brand name item to justify the higher initial cost.
More next week!

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