Couponing Update: a one paycheck snapshot

12 Mar

After my last couponing update, my one month check-in at the end of February, I had so many emails. Everyone was intrigued by the post and everyone had questions about specifically HOW to do it, exactly what I did. I’d shown the stuff I had gotten for free all month long, but everyone wanted to know *exactly* how I got those things free. So, I decided to keep very detailed notes during the next two week pay period, detailing where I went, what deals I was going for, what I got, how much I paid and how much I saved.

Well, two weeks is up. Tomorrow is pay day and it’ll be time to start all over again. So, here is the running record, with photos, of what I got, when, where, why and how. Hopefully it helps to answer any questions you had, but if not, be sure to email me and I’ll answer them if I can. Please remember, I’m new at this, so I’m not by any means an expert, but I am sharing what I know. Please also remember I only utilize certain stores, so although there might be other deals other places, I’m trying to keep to places I normally go to, places I can go to in between my travels as a “roving reporter” and a mom.

Be sure to read to the end (or skip to the end if you must) to see our final numbers; what we spent, what we saved, what we got for free. It’s amazing to me.

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Payday: February 28
We get paid…time to shop!

FEBRUARY 28:

Regularly scheduled two-week “big shopping” at Aldi’s $120.40  (This is approximately $100 less than average prior to couponing and stockpiling. Two weeks ago when I did my ” big shopping” at Price Rite it was $193, still under with hardly any errands in between to get anything extra, but now this was way under, this time.)

Walmart Run (no coupons) $42.87 (10 items I absolutely had to get, no coupons and hadn’t had any for them in the past month. Time to just cave in and buy them. Even still, this is approximately $60 less than average prior to couponing and stockpiling. And, just as an aside, one of the things I bought, a giant tub of laundry detergent, ended up being something I’d get for free during the following two weeks, but at the time I didn’t know that and we were out.)

FEBRUARY 29: Last day to use February expiring coupons, first day shopping the new week’s sales and deals.

CVS February 29 Transaction #1

CVS
Store Extra Bucks specials

 Cover Girl Spend $10 get $3 in Extra Bucks, Maybelline Spend $10 get $3 in Extra Bucks, Colgate Toothpaste Sale $2.74 plus get $1 in Extra Bucks at the register

Store coupon emailed to me that day: 20% off entire purchase

Expiring Coupons
Cover Girl $2.50 off two items, Maybelline $2.00 off lipstick item, Colgate $1.00 off toothpaste

Gillette Buy one deoderant get one free body wash, Gillette $1 off deoderant

Gillette $1 off body wash

Purchased

Transaction #1:

Two Cover Girl Items (These particular items are items I regularly use and run out of, not things I was just buying to get the Extra Bucks or to use the coupons.)  $7.79 and $8.29, One Colgate toothpaste $2.74, Two Maybelline Items (This lipstick I bought two of, is “my” color so I use it and run out of it and I was currently out of it.) $8.99 each, One Cranston Herald Newspaper $.50, Gillette Body Wash $4.99, Gillette Two Pack Deoderant $8.99, and a specific shampoo and conditioner needed, for $5.99 each and had no coupons for.

Used all the coupons listed above.

TOTAL BEFORE COUPONS, SALES, DISCOUNTS: $67.65

TOTAL AFTER COUPONS: $50.56

TOTAL ATER 20% DISCOUNT: $41.86 (TOTAL SAVINGS: $25.79)

EXTRA BUCKS EARNED FOR FUTURE PURCHASES: $7.00

(NOTE: You can get a price adjustment if you find a coupon you didn’t use. I later went back and got $1.00 off one of the $5.99 items. That decreases my total above and increases my savings above by $1.)

Transaction #2

One Sally Hansen Salon Effects Nail product for my daughter who was with me, $9.99

Used Expiring coupon $1 off one SH Nail product (the specific one she was buying)

Used $7.00 CVS Extra Bucks (normally I’d use the Extra Bucks on things we needed, but I’d allowed her to use them instead. I wanted her to see the value in waiting to spend until she had a coupon and EB. She only owed me $2.69 instead of $10.)

TOTAL BEFORE COUPONS: $10.69

TOTAL AFTER COUPONS: $2.69 (TOTAL SAVINGS: $8.00) **FYI: when I put my final numbers at the bottom, I do not include her purchase as it’s her money being used, not ours.

(NOTE: The Salon Effects nail product didn’t work at all, so I emailed Sally Hansen (Coty) right away and will be getting the entire $10 back in the mail–essentially making a $7.00 profit, although not on purpose, obviously. But, that $10 purchase added to my running tally of Beauty Club purchases for which you earn $5 Extra Bucks back every time you “spend” $50.)

Target February 29

Later that same day…
TARGET
Target Store Specials:

Quaker Granola Bars $2 per box (These usually are $2.50 or more, even at Price Rite.) Hunts canned tomatoes $.84 per can

Expiring Coupons:
Yo Crunch Yogurts $.29 off (I had eight coupons)

Yoplait Yogurts $.50 off ten

Any gallon of white milk FREE with any three breakfast products (granola bars, yogurt count as breakfast products) *Milk had to be a name brand. Target brand didn’t count.

Hunts Tomatoes $1.00 off four cans (I had two coupons.) Quaker Granola Bars $1.00 off two boxes

Transaction:
Nine Yo Crunch Yogurts (I know I only had 8 coupons but I needed nine yogurts, three for each kid.) Ten Yoplait Yogurts, One gallon Garelick Farms Milk @ $3.84 per gallon, Two boxes Quaker Granola Bars, Eight Cans of Hunts Tomatoes

Used above coupons

TOTAL BEFORE COUPONS: $26.69

TOATAL AFTER COUPONS: $17.88

TOTAL AFTER RED CARD DEBIT CARD 5% back: $16.99 (TOTAL SAVINGS: $9.70)

My free cereal from Shaw's. But, they wouldn't take my free milk coupon, so I left the milk and went home. I'll never go back to Shaw's.

March 2: On the way to pick up the kids at school I decided to make good on a raincheck I’d gotten a couple of weeks back.

SHAW’S

*Normally I don’t shop at Shaws because it’s so expensive, but I broke my own rule a few weeks back when I realized they had Cheerios for $1.49 and I had three coupons for $.75 off each box. I had to get a rain check for the cereal because they were out. In the meantime I got the free gallon of milk coupon when you buy 3 breakfast items, so I went back to use them together. They also had an item there that I couldn’t get at Aldi’s or Price Rite and I had a coupon for it.

However, when I went, they refused to accept the milk coupon. I will never shop at Shaw’s again.

 

Transaction:

Three boxes Dulce De Leche Cheerios $2.50 each before raincheck : $7.50, One box Slow Cooker Liners $3.99

TOTAL BEFORE COUPONS: $11.49

TOTAL AFTER CEREAL RAINCHECK, CEREAL COUPONS AND LINER COUPON: $3.21

(TOTAL SAVINGS $8.28)

Surprise savings! All I paid for in this photo was the nail polish remover, which was an item we were out of at home.

March 3: CVS surprise trip, surprise savings

I mentioned on my last CVS trip that I needed to bring in a coupon to CVS to have them take it off my receipt because I didn’t have it with me when I went last time. It was for $1. I was going to be in and out, get my dollar and go. As I was getting my $1 back, Caroline went and scanned my card in the machine and out popped $5 in Extra Bucks. With them we bought 2 laundry detergents on sale for $1.99 (happened to be the brand we usually buy, Xtra) and one shampoo and paid nothing. As we were walking out, I saw nail polish remover (which was on my shopping list for next week) with a coupon on it: buy a 2pack of CVS brand nail polish remover ($4.99 for the pack) and get $2 Extra Bucks at the register. So we went back in, bought the remover and used the $2 in Extra Bucks to get a third bottle of detergent. The sale on the detergent was $1.99 but it ended that same night, so that’s why I went back in and bought the remover so I wouldn’t miss the sale.

And best of all….when we went to pay for the nail polish remover to get the extra bucks, they didn’t print out. Upon a closer look, it turned out the label on the nail polish remover was expired at the end of January. So I told them forget it I didn’t want the remover or the detergent. But, they were able to print out $2 ECB for me anyway, which I then did use on the detergent.

Important lessons from this trip:  1) Always scan your card whenever you’re in CVS. 2) Always bring back coupons to take off your receipt if you get them in a reasonable amount of time after you shopped. 3) They will honor expired Extra buck offers if they are advertising them. 4) Always have your coupons with you if you’re going into a store. You never know if you’re going to “need” to shop. If I’d needed a coupon for the remover or the detergent I would’ve had it with me even though I hadn’t planned to buy anything while I was there. You just never know.  5) The CVS Beauty Club rocks. That’s how I keep getting these “surprise” $5 Extra Bucks. Every $50 you “spend” you earn $5 back in EB even if what you “bought” was free or almost free.
TOTAL SPENDING: $5.34 for the remover  TOTAL SAVINGS: $7.00

 

Love the free milk coupons!

Earlier that same day…..

TARGET:
I had purposely been spreading out my Target runs to go with when I needed a gallon of milk so that I could use my free milk coupons as needed. I hadn’t paid full price for a gallon of milk in more than two weeks. But since I can’t store or use all that milk at once, I’d wait til I needed a gallon and then go to Target to get it.

Target Run:
Free Milk Coupon requires that you buy 3 breakfast items. We needed cinnamon bread for french toast and sandwich bread for lunches, those count as the three items. I had a coupon off the two cinnamon breads and of course, the milk was free.

Total before coupons:  $11.71
Total after coupons: $6.87
Total after Red Card Savings: $6.53 (TOTAL SAVINGS: $5.18)

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Sunday, March 4: Price Rite Run: Don decided he wanted Chicken Parm for dinner that night so he made a run to get all the chicken, sauce, cheese etc., needed for that meal. $14 added to our 2 wk. grocery spending at non-coupon stores ($134 total so far. Still wayyyy under the $200-$225 we normally spend when we do our pay day “big shopping.”)

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In my efforts to get all my frozen stuff put away quickly after shopping, I forgot to take a photo of that day's "haul." But here's my tip: storing Eggos out of the box is a space saver in your freezer.

March 5 (start of a new sale week)
TARGET

Store specials and sales, stacked with Manufacturer’s Coupons:

1) Buy 5 Eggo Waffles and/or other specific Kellogg’s products get a $5 Target Gift Card
Sale on Eggo Waffles $2 per box
Coupon for Eggo Waffles (I had two) $1 off three boxes
Coupon for Free Gallon of Milk FREE Garelick MILK ($3.84 value) with purchase of three breakfast items

2) Target Coupon $1 off ten Yoplait Yogurts
Manufacturer’s Coupon $1 off ten Yoplait Yogurts
$.50 off six Yoplait Yogurts

3) Milk Bone Dog Treats on sale
Manufacturer’s Coupon $1.50 off Milk Bone Dog Treats when you buy two
Manufacturer’s Coupon FREE Healthy Treats Dog Treats when you buy two Milk Bone Dog Treats

4) Over the counter daily medicine $1.25 off one, had two coupons, needed two boxes

5) Target Coupon $1.00 off three Kellogg’s Cereals plus the above mentioned Kellogg’s deal
Manufacturer’s Coupon $1.00 off three Kellogg’s Cereals
Sale on certain Kellogg’s Cereals $2.75 each

6) Manufacturer’s Coupon $.99 off Scott Naturals Toilet Paper 4 rolls

7) Target Coupon $1.00 off Quaker Life Cereal
Sale on Quaker Life Cereal $2.74

TRANSACTION ONE: Everything listed above.

TOTAL BEFORE COUPONS: $66.34
TOTAL AFTER COUPONS: $46.55
TOTAL AFTER RED CARD: $44.75 (TOTAL SAVINGS: $21.59)
EARNED $10 in TARGET GIFT CARDS (which I used for Transaction 2)

TRANSACTION TWO:
Clothing on clearance: Three tank tops, two sweatpants for Elizabeth
TOTAL BEFORE GIFT CARDS: $29.96 (or $6 each on average)
TOTAL AFTER GIFT CARDS: $19.96
TOTAL AFTER RED CARD: $18.96 (Savings $11.00)

TOTAL TARGET SPENDING BEFORE SAVINGS FOR TWO TRANSACTIONS: $96.30
TOTAL SPENDING AFTER SAVINGS FOR BOTH TRANSACTIONS: $63.71
TOTAL SAVINGS FOR TRIP ($32.59 or all of Elizabeth’s clothes and one box of waffles for free!)

Zyrtec is very expensive, and two of the girls and I all take it, so getting any sort of deal on them is awesome! In this photo everything but the Zyrtec was free, and I didn't even pay full price for that!

March 7
CVS
Store specials stacked with coupons and Extra Bucks:

1) $10 off Zyrtec 70 count pills one week only. 70 Count is usually $34.99, 2) Had Two Buy 1 Get 1 Manufacturer’s Coupons: Buy one Olay facial cleanser, get an Olay Body Wash Free. 3) Had Two $2 off Olay Body Wash coupons Coupons
4) Olay Facial Wipes on sale $3.99 each, 5) Earn $2 Extra Bucks when you buy Olay Body Wash (Limit 1)
6) Received $5 Extra Bucks from the Beauty Club when I scanned my card today.

Transaction 1:
Bought Two Olay Facial Wipes on sale $3.99 each, Bought Two Olay Body Washes that included a FREE bar of soap with them $6.99 each
TOTAL BEFORE COUPONS: $23.50
TOTAL AFTER COUPONS: $5.52 (TOTAL SAVINGS: $17.98)
EXTRA BUCKS EARNED: $2.00

Transaction 2:
Bought One 70 ct Zyrtec $34.99, CVS Brand Cotton Balls $1.99, CVS Brand Ibuprofin (sale) $4.99, Cranston Herald $.50
TOTAL BEFORE COUPONS: $45.41
TOTAL AFTER COUPONS AND $7.00 EXTRA BUCKS: $28.06 (TOTAL SAVINGS: $17.35)

 WHAT I WOULD HAVE SPENT TOTAL WITHOUT COUPONS: $68.91

TOTAL SPENDING BOTH TRANSACTIONS: $33.58 (less than what Zyrtec alone had cost originally.)
TOTAL SAVINGS BOTH TRANSACTIONS: $35.33

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March 8: Aldi’s Run: Originally I went in for my end of pay period pick up of fresh fruits and veggies, milk, eggs etc. That’s usually about a $25-$30 or so run. However, they had Steel Cut Oats in, and on sale. I had to buy several containers to stock up since I use them often and they are expensive. That and a couple of other extras made my run a $47 run instead.

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We go through one box of waffles per week on average and one box of toaster strudels per week also. We have enough waffles to last approximately....three months. I won't need to buy them again til summer!!

March 10: Just when I thought I was done….
Target

I couldn’t help myself. I received not one, but TWO more Eggo Waffle $1 off three boxes coupons from my friend Pam. The fact that the sale at Target was going on for just one more day was all I could think about. (If you remember the sale was $2 per box and buy 5 get a $5 Target card.) I thought about it for two days, do I go back, or don’t I?

I went back. I opted to buy six boxes to use my two coupons. I used my free gift card to get Pillsbury Toaster Strudels, which I also had a coupon for, $1 off three boxes. So I spent $10 and my $5 gift card.

TOTAL BEFORE COUPONS AND GIFT CARD: $15.87
TOTAL AFTER GIFT CARD, COUPONS AND RED CARD: $10.00

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Here’s the lowdown on our final numbers

GROCERY SHOPPING:

Running 2 week grocery tally: $181, even with enough steel cut oats to sink a boat. This includes doing a “big shopping” as well as my end of the pay period pick up of the milk, eggs, veggies etc. This is much less than normal, well below budget
Walmart trip: $43

COUPON SHOPPING:

Total spent over 2 weeks: $182  ($91 per week)
Total earned free product stockpiled as a result of coupons: $143   ($71.50 per week)

Rebates earned this pay period:

$15 P&G Best in Beauty
The best thing about this rebate was that a while back I’d downloaded the form to my desktop from an email and then forgot all about it, so I didn’t even realize it when I was shopping that the things I was “buying” (Olay, Cover Girl, Head & Shoulders) were qualifiers for a rebate. Later I looked to see what that was on my desktop. It was the rebate and I’d met the qualifications. $15 more back in our pocket!

So there you have it….

Overall, I spent MUCH less on grocery shopping this month and slightly more than last month on coupon shopping but I got more than $140 in free product including what are normally expensive medications, in the process. And…lots of waffles. However, my coupon spending amount is still MUCH less than what all of my Walmart, Target and CVS trips used to be prior to couponing and on those trips I never earned anything for free. My Walmart shopping alone was $100 a trip usually. I have stayed with my goals of 1) only buying what we need, use, run out of, and nothing just for the sake of buying it, and 2) of only going to my usual places, and 3) only buying what we can store. Thankfully, we have Grandma Grello’s freezer in our garage or I could not have made good on all the waffle coupons and sale.

I am spending much less and earning much more.

And, that’s the way I like it!

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3 Responses to “Couponing Update: a one paycheck snapshot”

  1. dreamzncolor March 13, 2012 at 9:50 pm #

    OH MY GOODNESS!!!! You’ve been busy girl! I do have a question. “3) They will honor expired Extra buck offers if they are advertising them.” Could you explain this a little more. I’ve never heard of it, but it sounds like something that could come in very handy! It’s exciting watching your couponing journey unfold. =)

    • thewholebagofchips March 13, 2012 at 9:57 pm #

      Yes I can explain it. What I meant was in the case of the nail polish remover, the bottles were on the counter with the label on them which read that you’d get $2 in Extra Bucks if you bought the nail polish remover. But when it rang up, they didn’t come out because it turned out that the label was outdated. The offer had expired in January. But the person told me that because they were on the shelf (and there were lots of them out there, still are as of this week) that they basically had to honor the offer because they were essentially advertising it by having it out there. Kind of like if they forget to take a sale sign down, they have to honor the sale price because they are advertising it.

      • dreamzncolor March 13, 2012 at 11:03 pm #

        I see. That makes sense. Thanks for the clarification! = )

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