Saturday, September 3, 2011

Sampling of Couponing

While the media has brought emphasis on EXTREME couponing, with the negative perception of hoarding all that "free" stuff, I believe that many couponers are like me and have much simpler agendas with much more flexible rules.

Rule #1 Try to incorporate a shopping trip with other errands. The cost of transportation plus the cost of TIME have to be factored in.

Rule #2 If I get some things for free that I won't use, that's a plus but not an aim--stuff like free or nearly free toiletries seem to accumulate throughout the year--enough for me to contribute to shut-ins Christmas baskets. Again, I work full time and have other interests. I am not willing to put a considerable amount of time into the process.

Rule #3 If I get a few things free or cheap through combining deals/coupons, I remind myself that I am far better off than if I didn't do it at all. The whole process has made me aware of pricing overall, thus helping with expenses. But I have never, never, scored the $100 worth of good for free. However, today's visit to CVS is typical:

My trip planning started with reading the CVS flyer that is on line and in the Sunday paper. I consult a number coupon blogs who post deals. My number one is I follow at least six. Others I consult include. and FrugalissaFinds. After a while you will notice that there is a lot of reposting of other blogs. That is perfectly acceptable in the blog world, as long as it is acknowledged.

I start a shopping list: I cut and paste in a Word document bloggers' listings that interest me. As the week progresses, more deals are discovered and the serious shopper bloggers post them. I additionally list things that I have noted are good deals. If I don't have paper coupons, I check the coupon database on I may add a few more deals to my shopping list that I have actually found on my own.

Today: Here's what I got
Pantene, price $3.49 ($1.50 off), but I had a free coupon from Pantene for my recent birthday.
Special K, four boxes, at $2.50 each, had two $1/2 coupons.

CVS has certain items that if you spend $30 for, you will get a $10 gas card. Among the eligible items I picked some from the Proctor and Gamble family (P&G's monthy individual coupon insert came out last week), which were Tide, Charmin, Covergirl make-up. I had coupons for all the items.

I bought just 11 items. I used 12 coupons, including Extracare bucks and a $3 coupon from CVS for my birthday. My receipt states that I saved $52.40. I had to pay $20.49, but while I did not get any Extracare bucks for future shops, I did get a $10 off for gasoline.

Additionally, the makeup went to Beauty Club credit (for every $50 spent, I get $5 ExtraBucks), I'll get some ExtraBucks seasonally just for spending money at CVS, and I get a little bit toward ExtraBucks since I used my own bags.

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