Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Couponing 101 Final Lesson: Examples of Deals

Are you totally confused yet?!?!? Well, lemme give it to you straight. I am 3-4 months in and I still get confused. A LOT! Just start small. A coupon here and there at your local grocery store. Try going to CVS and buy one item that will earn you some ECB's. Before you know it you will be feeling more confident. Just the other day I was telling the cashier how to ring in my coupons!

If you are just visiting and want to see my series on coupons read post one, two & three.

Let me give you some examples of some items that I recently bought and how I used the sales and coupons to snag pretty amazing deals. Hopefully it will make it a little easier to figure out.

CVS was running a sale on Tom's of Maine products about a month ago. All the toothpaste, deodorant and mouthwash was on sale and then you could earn ECB's on top of it. So, here is what my purchase looked like:
Tom's of Maine $3.99 w/$3 ECB (limit 2)
$2/1 Tom's of Maine (coupons found on a tear page at Albertson's)
=$1.99 out of pocket/Receive $3 ECB (I had $6 in ECB's from a previous purchase so I didn't have to pay anything out of pocket except tax. I also had to do two separate transactions so I could earn all my ECB)
Final cost? $1.01 MM after coupons and ECB! Can you believe they actually "paid" me to buy Tom's products!?!?!?

I have been wanting to start making my own rolls and pizza dough for awhile now. What kind of threw me into it a little earlier than expected was some FREE yeast that I scored at Fry's a couple months ago!
Fleischmann's active or pizza crust yeast on sale for $1
$.50/1 Fleischmann's yeast product (I printed off their website)
Final cost? FREE since my store doubles coupons to $1.00!

We were all out of sour cream last week and I was making Sweet Potato Enchiladas so I needed to get some. And quick! Thank goodness Fry's had their Shamrock Farms Organic Sour cream on sale!
Shamrock Organic Sour cream $2.49
$.50/1 Shamrock Farms
=$1.49 (since my store doubles coupons up to $1.00)

I showed this in my previous post, but here it is again. I had a MaraNatha coupon that I had printed a couple months ago that was burning a hole in my coupon binder. Luckily I found a great use for it last week at Fry's!
MaraNatha Almond Butter sale $4.89
$2/1 MaraNatha product (online coupon)
stacked with $1/1 MaraNatha Whole Foods coupon
=$1.89! (My store is now taking competitors coupons so I can stack a manufacturer's coupon with a competitor store coupon)

I also LOVE to check out the little shelves for those little "manager special" stickers. Here I scored one on Santa Cruz Organic Lemonade. Again at Fry's.
Santa Cruz Organic Lemonade $1.49 (on manager's special)
$1/1 Santa Cruz (found in SS or RP 1/30-I can't remember which one)
=$.50

Just last week I made a trip to Fry's for their MEGA sale. A MEGA sale is when they have a list of "participating items" that are on sale. When you buy 10 of those participating items (you can mix and match) you get $5.00 off your order. Essentially $.50 off each participating items. They often have organic items in the sale so I scored pretty big with the sale and coupons!
Garden of Eden chips $1.79 wyb 10 (these will go great with the FREE Wholly Guacamole that I just scored!)
$1/1 Whole Foods printable coupon
=$.79/bag

We LOVE Barbara's cereal. A box doesn't last long in this house so when it's on sale I try and STOCK UP! Luckily for us it was part of the MEGA and Barbara's must have reset their website coupons.
Barbara's cereal $1.99 wyb 10
$1/1 Barbara's cereal printable on their website
=$.99 each!

If it's one thing that I definitely know about couponing, it's NEVER pay for a toothbrush! There are always deals for free toothbrushes and now that you know how to stockpile you will never run out of them again!
Reach Toothbrush $1.00 wyb 10
$2/2 Reach printable
=FREE!

Hopefully this makes it easier to put the deals together. I tried to show you some items that I stacked coupons on and some that I used competitors coupons with and also a CVS deal where I used ECB's. Here is another post that shows some more deals from a couple months ago that I scored.

There are also some really great websites out there that have some great deals. Some also allow you to earn points. Those points can be used towards products, coupons, or gift cards, etc. Check them out when at your leisure:

Pampers Points-earn points towards gifts when you buy Pampers
Swagbucks-This site is best described as a search engine site. You search the internet like you would at google, but sometimes when you search you earn points. Those point can be redeemed in the "swag store" for a bunch of different things like Amazon.com gift cards, Starbucks cards, etc. I use it every every now and again to search even for things like "hotmail.com" or "google.com." I already have 500 points and have only been using it since December.
Groupon-You can sign up for deals going on in your city. They have deals for everything from restuarants to spas to book stores to hotels, etc.
Mamapedia-I haven't signed up for this yet, but I think it's like Groupon.
Vitacost-I LOVE this site for all my organic/natural needs. Essential oils, honey, vitamins, make-up, even food items like organic popcorn, crackers, protein powder, protein bars, etc. This site has a HUGE selection. And, find a friend to split the shipping (which is $4.99 on all orders) like I just did last week!
Recyclebank-I just started using this site so don't know a whole lot about it. From what I can gather so far, there are certain areas that allow you to earn points when you recycle at your home. My area of Phoenix doesn't allow me to do this. Yet. But, I can earn points by playing "games" or completing surveys on the site and also by entering codes from brands I buy like Kashi. Then you can redeem those points for things like coupons for Naked juice or Kashi. I already earned 2/$2 coupons for Naked products in which I "bought" coconut water for hubs. I actually scored 2 of them for FREE!
Starbucks-get a Starbucks gift card and register it on their site. Just for registering your card on there you get a free coffee on your birthday. When you buy coffee with your card (just load a little on there at a time if you want) you will earn one star each time you pay with your card. With each star earned you will receive different perks such as free add on syrup flavors, free soy milk add on, etc.
Coldstone Creamery-Register you and your family's birthdays on here and receive a free ice cream on your birthday.

The last bit of advice that I can give you is to take reusable bags with you to the store. You will actually make money before you even walk in! Most stores are now paying you $.05/bag! Not much, but every cent counts. Not to mention you will be helping Mother Earth!

So, there you have it! All the in's and out's of saving a penny that I have learned over the past few months. Remember, start slow. It just takes a lot of practice and eventually you will be so excited to go grocery shopping that nothing will stop you!

Happy Saving!

*This concludes my class on couponing. I will accept cash or a check in the amount of $100.00 for my services. Please mail this to me at your earliest convenience. Or, if you prefer, email me a picture and breakdown of your biggest deal that you score on your next shopping trip and I will waive your class fee! :)*

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