February 1, 2008
People have been asking me about my coupon shopping. I have had less brain space for it now that my WriteAtHome.com students are back in full force for the 2nd semester, but it is still happening.
As a report of my strategies and results, here is a targeted shop that I did at CVS today:
I bought stuff that was on sale AND that would either work with a coupon or qualify for Extra Care Bucks back (virtual money that you can spend on your next shop). The items in my cart included multiples of Puffs Plus tissues, assorted liters and a case of Pepsi (especially for band practice), Lipton tea bags, Skippy peanut butters, jars of Ragu, Lays chips, 3 32-oz Gatorades (for basketball practice), a personal item or two, Arm&Hammer toothpastes, and 2 packages of Garnier-Nutrisse facial cleansers (a splurge).
Besides my manufacturer’s coupons, I had $5 in Extra Care Bucks from my last shop and a $10 off a $50 CVS purchase coupon (from the couponmom.com website.)
From what I can figure, my bill should have been over $70, but, with sales, coupons, and discounts, I rang up at $32.22. Then, the register printed out $14.29 in Extra Care Bucks, which I can spend like cash on anything I want when I go to CVS next.
So, that means that for $32, I bought $70 worth of groceries plus $14 in virtual cash. That’s good, eh?
Most of it is stuff that I need; all of it is stuff that I’ll use, and a better quality than when I do my discount Aldi grocery shops.
Three things I’ve learned about coupons that I did not know before:
1 ** If you buy two Sunday newspapers with the coupon inserts, then you will have two coupons for any store’s buy-one-get-one-free offer. Yes, you can use the second coupon on the FREE item!
2 **You can combine in-ad coupons (from Walgreen’s, for instance) with manufacturer’s coupons on one item. I thought this was a no-no for the last 45 years. Surprise.
3 ** Rite Aid now has online rebates. No circling or even claiming certain offers. You enter the transaction number from your receipt and it automatically knows how much money you should get back. This saves SO much time (and a stamp).