Yesterday Boogie and I went to town to run some errands. We are, unfortunately, far from self-sufficient requiring a dreaded shopping trip every week or two. Rob once told me that these trips were a "break for me" and I should be "'happy to get out of the house". The unanimous response upon hearing this by anyone who has ever shopped with a toddler is "and how much time did he have to spend in ICU?". I have never really enjoyed shopping much and chasing the Boogie-Monster up and down store aisles leaves me worn out!
I try to spend some time the day before with my coupons, sale flyer's and the web to put together the best deals possible by stacking sales, coupons and rebates. While CVS is well known for their rebate programs, there isn't one in my area., yet I've been able to put together some great deals at Walgreens using store and manufacturers coupons coupled with their Register Rewards program. This week, for example, they had some Kotex products for $2.99 each and I had $1.00 off coupons. Now if you buy three of these products, Walgreens gives you a coupon for $5 off on your next purchase (RR) after which my total cost was $1.00 for all three packages. I also found 6.5 oz J&J baby oil gel on clearance for $1.09 for which I had $1.00 mfgr coupons for a total cost of .09 per bottle! Sweet! These surprise clearance items are why I clip coupons that I normally wouldn't use. You never know when you will come across a real bargain. By using the RR, store and manufacturer coupons to purchase items that give more RRs you can compound your savings. My toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo and conditioner, soap and body wash stockpile has been built up using this technique and getting those products for free or nearly free. The site Common Sense with Money has a great 'How to Shop at Walgreens' page that goes into more detail. If you live in an area that has coupon doubling (I do not ), lucky you, your savings just grew! For the investment of a hour or less a week clipping coupons, perusing ads and pairing deals a savings of 50 to 75% is not at all unusual. The key, for me at least, is to buy only what we will use, not be afraid to get a large quantity of a really good deal (like 20 Belgian chocolate bars?) and plan meals around perishables so nothing goes to waste. Sticking to your list is also imperative, impulse buys will do you in every time. In addition, building a stockpile of non-perishable staples allows you to wait for an item to go on sale rather than pay full price and also avoid the last minute run to the store. You always end up spending more on those little trips anyway so stay home and shop in your own pantry!