Some of my long time readers will recall that we've been doing freezer and pantry meals for the last couple months, in an effort to be a little more frugal and use up what we've stockpiled before buying more. That's been going so well that it has sort of motivated me to see what else we can save.
I've never been much on coupons, mostly because I try to cook fresh food (and there's rarely any coupon for mushrooms, for example!) and it just seemed like we were sort of wasting money and time - money to buy the paper to get the coupons (we don't normally subscribe), and time to hassle with culling them, keeping up with them and juggling them as we (or, more often, just I) went through the store.
With the recent economic crisis, though, my attitude has shifted in a decidedly more thrifty direction. I rarely pay full price for much these days and if I'm not happy with the price, I simply don't buy it. Meanwhile, my friend Katherine has gotten me onto the CVS bandwagon. Do you know about this? The whole world is catching onto it and it's very very cool. I'm learning how to stack deals - like combining a buy one get one deal with a manufacturer's (or CVS) coupon, and then taking advantage of the extracare bucks (CVS "cash") that CVS gives on a particular transaction. My BFF Angie pointed me to a GREAT website that explains how to work the CVS deals (and, if you live in the south, helps track your local savings opportunities - see Southern Savers).
So this week I had a couple coupons (they print at the end of your CVS transaction receipt) and a couple manufacturer coupons in hand, and decided to take my first crack at the CVS game. And I was thrilled to find it worked just like everyone said it would. Some of this will be obvious to most people, but I just never knew stores would let you combine deals this way. I always thought it was a "one offer per transaction" type world. Apparently I had another think coming!
Let me give you a couple examples:
The first time I went, I had a CVS coupon for $4 off a $20 transaction. I also had a coupon for $2 off Tums (yes, I actually take these, stop laughing!) and a $1 off Ghirardelli (chocolate gets me through the workdays, people!). Now I could have just grabbed whatever occurred to me to fulfill my $20 requirement, but instead I grabbed the store circular (you know that little newspapery thing that is always floating around in shopping baskets and on the floor of the store? Yeah, that thingy, the one I usually ignore) and found several deals for buy one get one free. So I got a couple cans of shaving cream, a couple deodorants, and a couple toothpastes - all BOGO. I also got my chocolate bar and the Tums - grand total, $20.07 before coupons. First I gave them my $4 off $20 (you have to do this first so your other coupons don't bring your total below the required mark). Next, the $2 and $1 coupons.
Grand total paid? $13.65
Grand total saved?: $14.26 (with buy one get ones)
I got eight items (one, the Tums, is usually $5.79 just by itself) for $13. I was thrilled!
But the next day was even more fun. While perusing the circular (I stopped going through it once I got my total to $20), I found (at the very end) a buy one get one (BOGO) for a vitamin that I take. Normally the vitamin is ridiculously expensive, and I'm all for being healthy but I had been looking for a deal on it. Normally $25 for 30 pills, CVS was running the BOGO - but they had also stocked the manufacturer bonus bottle - 45 pills for the price of 30. Then, I had my $4 off $20 coupon, so I ended up paying $21 for two bottles of 45 pills - to get 90 pills I would normally have to pay $75. Woohoo! Savings of $54. And I'm officially hooked on this game.
So today we went to Publix and (using the same method of stacking deals, taking advantage of BOGO's, printed coupons, etc.) we saved $35 on $145. I'll take 25% savings at the grocery store any day!
I've rambled on long enough but wanted to share this for anyone who isn't yet familiar with the savings to be had these days. Between coupons you can print/gather from the newspaper, and coupons and deals the stores are giving, it's worth the time and effort (at least for us) to do this these days. Hope you enjoy and find some deals for yourself!
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