I'm asked often how I get so much for so little when I shop for groceries and household supplies, so I thought I'd share my spending today....along with a few tricks of the trade.
Rule number one: Each Sunday, buy two papers. That way, when there are buy one, get one free deals (Publix is the BEST for these!!!) you will have two coupons for the items you are purchasing.
Rule number two: Study all the ads in the Sunday paper, and look for the best deals. For instance: most stores have carbonated drinks on sale, but Pepsi products at store "A" may have 4/$12 while store "B" has them 4/$9. This happends often.
Rule number two a: Make a list at each store of the things you see that you use or could get free. The free items that you don't use can be used in church care packages, and sometimes (like at CVS) you get a percentage back on what you spend, and this counts the original cost of the free thing. (So if free thing is normally, say, $4.49, then you get 3% of that back quarterly at CVS even though you paid $0.00 for it. Cool, huh?)
Rule number two b: Compare your lists for price differences (see rule number two) and decide which store you will get the item from. (Ahem...this would be the cheapest of the two or three places.)
Now, for the fun part!!!!!
Today, I went to CVS. I'm going to break down for you what I got and for how much, but what it would have been had I not used coupons, Extra Bucks, and sale prices....ready?
On purchase number one, I got 3 boxes of General Mills Cereal, 1 Hydro 3 Razor from Schik, and 500 count Ibuprofen, CVS brand. I'm not sure what the cereal is normally a box....$4. something.....but they were on sale 3/$10.00 with $3.00 extra bucks, making them 3/$7.00, but I also had a $1.00 off coupon, so the cereal was then 3/$6.00. That's less than 1/2 price. Sometimes, it's even cheaper....but we need cereal this week. (Another Cardinal Rule: Shop ahead when the prices are best....but our money situation since I'm not working has been that which hasn't always allowed me to do this.....) The razor is normally $9.99. This week, you get $5.00 extra bucks, making the razor $4.99....but then, they had a coupon in the paper this week for $4.00 off the razor, so all in all, I got it (and two cartridges) for .99. SCORE!!!!! The Ibuprofen is normally $9.99, and the CVS brand was $6.99 this week...with a $3.00 Extra Bucks Reward. Sooooo.....original cost of order without coupons or bucks (leaving the cereal at $3.33 a box) would have been $38.97 before tax, but with my coupons, after tax, I spent $26.48. HOWEVER, $21.00 of that was Extra Bucks, so that means that purchase number 2 is going to be $21.00 less.....
On to purchase number two:
2 Airwick Refills
1 Airwick warmer unit
6 Renuzit air fresheners
1 Bounty Basic 12 pack
2 Boxes of Feminine products....
Refills were on sale 2/$5 this week, plus I had a $1.00 off 2 coupon, making them 2/$4.
With any purchase of refill, coupon for free warmer, so $1.49 warmer=free,
renuzit air fresheners...on sale for .88 each, coupon for buy 3 get 3 free, so $2.64 for 6 of those.
bounty basics....$5.99 on sale, plus a coupon for a quarter off. (paper towels never are much cheaper than that....)
2 boxes of fem. products....normally $14.99, on sale for $9.99, plus I had two $5.00 off coupons, so 2 boxes now = $9.99
Total spent before coupons: $46.14 before taxes.
Total spent after sales and coupons, plus the extra bucks I had: $6.13. For. Real.
Now, see, I would normally not buy smelly things, but when I can get them for next to free....why not? I enjoy smelling them, and plus I get 3% of that back when my quarterly bucks come in.
Also, this week, WalGreens ran their 2/$1.00 cans of sliced mushrooms.....I got 8 cans for $4.00.....if you buy mushrooms, you know they are expensive. we use them in everything, so I stock up when they run that sale (about once monthly) so that i have plenty and don't have to pay a dollar a can throughout the month for them.
CVS figures your expenses quarterly compared to your savings on your receipt. For the spring of 2010, it tells me I've spent $62.23 and I've saved $274.73. That should give you an idea.....
I will continue on this topic weekly....stay tuned for more tips and pointers, feel free to leave me yours, and ask questions!!!!
Oh...and that pic up there? That's me (duh) and my lil protoge' up there....she's *almost* as good as me at this....she's learning quick! :)