In Which I Saved A Million Bucks, Give Or Take
18 January 2011
I haven't gone deal-shopping in a while. I think September was the last time, maybe? Maybe not, but it's been ages. I haven't cut coupons in that long, either. I'm working on it now, and by that I mean that I have had my slave Chloë sitting behind me on the floor, cutting them out for the last several hours.
(Funny picture apropros of nothing, but I had to include it, right?)
Anyway, I have been regularly sending my grandfather in Florida care packages, and the last one included about a dozen bags of cough drops. He has a throat problem that causes him not to be able to talk on the phone for very long, and since I have been amassing large quantities of Halls with all my shopping expeditions, I thought those might help him. He doesn't get a chance to get out much for toiletries, either, so I've been sending him all kinds of goodies out of my large stockpile.
Well, the last time I talked to him, he told me had been passing out the Halls to all his friends, like he was the damn Nursing Home Candyman! He had run out already! Grandpa!! I think it's funny, though. He put in his "order" for more toiletries, too, and I didn't have a few of his items in my stock, so I thought I better get back on the coupon train and get to work.
Yesterday was MLK Day, and I decided to give the kids the day off so I could go shopping. I mean, it's not like I was going to bake a cake in honor of Dr. King's birthday - what else could I do?
I'm not going to detail my haul too much, because, frankly, it bores me and it probably bores you, too. So I'll show some pictures and give a few notes beneath them. Let me just tell you that with Collin's help (from Hip2Save) and smart shopping techniques, my total out-of-pocket expense was about $6.50, and I brought home about $220 worth of goods. I don't know about you, but I think that's pretty fantastic!
So here we go:
So this doesn't really count as "deals," but I'm including it anyway because (1) I did this party store mystery shop in the middle of all my other shopping and (2) I'm getting reimbursed for this stuff, so it's free-to-me anyway.
Jack has decided he wants his 8th birthday in March to be celebrated at the Transportation Museum we visited a few months ago for a homeschooling field trip, so I've switched from stockpiling goodies for Rob's 40th birthday party (coming at you in late Summer, 2012 - mark your calendars and plan to come!) in order to start getting goodies for Jack. I really did not expect them to have anything for this particular party, so I was ecstatic when the sales kid showed me exactly what I was looking for. Cool, right? This is just the beginning!
Also, really, I've had that kid for eight years? i Imposible!
At Walgreens, I made about $23 - yes, made - on the above stuff. I could have gotten one more ThermaCare Heat Wrap (and made another dollar on that), but the cashier was getting flustered with me, so I called it quits. ;) Those Joint Juice bottles were on sale for $10, but I made a buck on each of them. (Rob will drink those, since his arthritis is acting up lately. I have it, too, but mine's been so much better now that I'm not enormously overweight.)
The key to making money at Walgreens is to find things that are free and then use a coupon on top of that. "Free?" you say. Yes, free, because they often will put an item on sale and then offer Register Rewards (RR = Walgreens funny money good for future purchases within two weeks) for their entire sale price. Those print out at the register.
Be right back. I'm fixin' to go get me one of those Gatorade G2s. I forgot about them already, heh!
Oh, and the Lindts were not planned ahead of time, but they were still a somewhat "smart" buy, because I've been getting a few of them at a certain 7-11 for 39¢ apiece, each time I go in for a 99¢ 44-oz Diet Coke refill. That would work out to $4.68 plus tax for twelve of them, which is how many is in each of those bags, above. However, I found them on sale for $2.50 at Wags, and I knew I was already going to make bank for these deals, so I bought four bags. Hey, you stockpile when you can, if you know you're going to use the goods!
This was my haul at Target, which is conveniently located right behind the party store. My OOP expense here was $4.15, and I had a $5 gift card... but forgot to use it. Argh. Plus the magic coupon machine spit out a $1 Q for next time, which lowers my OOP to $3.15.
Free or better-than-free (which you can do at Target when the coupon is worth more than the price and the cashier gives you overage) items here are: well, everything except two of those Choxie chocolate bars. Those two bars I paid for represent exactly what my total was - in fact, a little less, because I made a bit more money than their price and my total would therefore have been negative without them. You can get BOGO coupons for the Choxie off Target's website right now. Hie thee, if you're a chocolate-loving family like we are!
And check it out, more Halls for my gran'pappy!
Sophia agrees that Choxie is pretty darned good... but not as good as Lindt! (and much better than Hershey. Sorry, Hershey, but... it's true.)
Here's my Rite Aid haul, which could have been WAY better, but they were out of so many things. The best thing to do, if you're going to be a serious couponer, is to prepare your list the day before and get there FIRST THING when the new sale week starts. I am rarely able to do this, so I miss out on a lot, believe it or not.
I actually got four of those Friday's snack bags, which were better-than-free: on sale for 97¢, and then I got a dollar +Up reward (Rite Aid's funny money, good for future purchases) for each of them. The're pretty good, too, and yes, they are bacon-flavored, and yes, I had some. And yes, I puked.
The batteries lowered my "take" on this haul, because they were an unplanned $6.99 purchase - but we always need AAA batteries, and really, you can't beat $7 for 16 Duracells, can you? (Actually, you can, because I got all four packs of those EverReady batteries up there in the Target deals for FREEEEEEE...)
Notice me stocking up on teen needs like pads, 'pons, Clearasil and stuff like that? Chloë may not need them anytime soon, but when she does, Mama will be prepared! ;)
Anyway, that's my haul this week. CVS was a dud, pretty much, although I may get four free packs of Orbit gum if I'm lucky. The Tooth Fairy is being kept busy lately, and she gives out gum, so I always pick it up when it's free!
Leave any questions about my deals in the comments, please. :)