Extreme Couponing for the Product Junkie

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

At times, I can be a "bandwagoner". I will jump on the latest thing and try it to see if I like it. I've always wanted to coupon and would do it in spurts. But I'm not a cook that consumes huge amounts of food weekly or have a family I'm trying to provide for, so it didn't seem realistic to me. Since "extreme couponing" has become the latest recession rage, I took a look at couponing again.

I knew I did not want to coupon for food, at least not right away. One of the YTers I am subscribed to, Prisskitajoe, vlogged about a couponing haul from Walgreen's. When I saw what she was able to get and how much she saved, I knew instantly I wanted to try it. I am notorious for going in Wal-Mart and dropping $60-80 in toiletry items alone. If I could cut that bill down even 10%, I would consider that WINNING!

So on a night of insomnia (seem to have a lot of those lately), I decided to research and plan a shopping scenario. Even if it didn't work as well as I hoped, I would at least become more disciplined in checking the circulars for deals or coupons on a weekly basis. And with this new invention called the Internet (lol), you really do not even have to have a newspaper subscription in order to participate.

So with circulars, my laptop, pad and pencil in front of me, I set out to plan my first couponing excursion.

It took me quite a while to gain a grasp of how extreme couponing worked. But after a few videos and visiting a couple of websites (I will list them at the end of this blog post), I thought I had a workable plan.

First, let me explain how I decided to approach "extreme couponing" (it's more moderate than extreme LOL)
  • I will only buy what I need, use or would like to try (no buying pet food because it's buy one, get one free--I don't own any pets! LOL)
  • I will keep stockpiling to a minimum (no where to put it anyway)
  • I will "save up" some of the register rewards (Walgreen's) or Extra Care Bucks (CVS) for "higher end" drugstore brands to further cut down on "out of pocket" costs (i.e., the Olay Clarisonic brush dupe)
  • Use Register Rewards or Extra Care Bucks for products I would like to try like Revlon Color Stay Foundation or Black Opal products. That way if I don't like them, I won't feel like I wasted a bunch of money.
For those of you that do not understand extreme couponing, here are some basics:
  • Use combination of in-store, manufacturer, store rewards to buy products.
  • Register Rewards (Walgreen's) and Extra Care Bucks (CVS) are essentially "coupons" that can be used toward your "next" purchase. The only catch is, you cannot buy a product made by that same manufacturer. This video by the Coupon Divas explains it.
  • If you separate your transactions, your "next" purchase can be while still standing at the checkout lane. You do not have to go to multiple stores (assuming your store is cooperative) to achieve the savings. Separate transactions are a core part of this process for me...
  • Organization and planning is key to maximizing savings
  • Some flexibility is required (if they don't have the exact product you are looking for, learn to substitute)
  • Time commitment is required (for planning and actual shopping)
  • Cash is good sometimes for the smaller transactions (prevents .99 showing up on your debit or credit card multiple times)
I used the circulars from 5/22-5/28...and here's what I got!

The first "haul" was from CVS on Revlon polishes. The polishes were on sale for $4.99 with a $4 Extra Care Bucks (referred to as ECB from now on). The limit was 6. Therefore, after paying full sale price for the first Revlon polish, the subsequent polishes would cost .99 each (plus tax) out of pocket (referred to as OOP from now on). There were 6 transactions.

1 polish @ $4.99 + tax =  $5.39
5 polishes @ $.99 + tax = $6.95
6 Revlon Polishes (OOP)= $12.34 (inc. tax)

If I paid even the full sale price for the polishes, it would have totalled $32.04 (inc. tax). So I saved $19.04 off the sale price!

The polishes retail at CVS for $5.99 each. So if I paid full retail for these polishes, that would equal $38.46 (inc. tax). So ultimately, I saved $26.12! That's real money ya'll! Results will vary based on sales tax in your state...

Now on to Walgreen's...

Walgreen's Transaction #1

Advil 40/50 ct. on sale 2 @ $4.99 ea. = $9.98
Manufacturer's Coupon $1 off             =-$1.00
Total (inc. tax) OOP                                $9.61

$5 Register Rewards

Walgreen's Transaction #2
Playtex Tampons 3 @ $6.99 each = $20.97
Wet Ones 40 ct. 4 @ $1.99 each  = $  7.96
Total                                              = $28.93
Manufacturer Coupon for Playtex        - 1.50
Manufacturer Coupon for Wet Ones    -1.00
Total including tax                           = $28.28
$5 Register Reward from #1               $-5.00
Total OOP                                        $23.28

$10 Register Rewards (because I spent at least $25 on these products)

Walgreen's Transaction #3

18-ct. Scunci Elastics              1 @ $2
Tone Body Wash                    1 @ $3.99
Cantu Shea Butter Moisturizer 1 @ $4.99
Total (inc. tax)                             = $11.75
$10 Register Rewards from #2    = $10.00
Total OOP                                 = $1.75

$2, $3, $4 Register Rewards
Walgreen's Transaction #4
Caress Body Wash 1 @ $4
Vaseline Lotion       1 @ $4
Suave Conditioner  1 @ $4
Cost (3 for $12)           $12
Manufacturer Coupon   $ -.75
Manufacturer Coupon   $-1.00
Total (inc. tax)            $10.97
Register Rewards #3    -$ 4.00
Register Rewards #3    -$ 3.00
Total OOP                    $3.97
$4 Register Rewards

Walgreen's Transaction #5

Nature Made Vitamin 1 @ $7.00
Nature Made Vitamin 1 @ $4.00
Total                                  $11.00
Buy 1 Get 1 FREE            - $4.00
Total                                  $7.00
Manufacturer Coupon       -$1.00
Total (inc. tax)                    $6.42
Register Reward from #4   -$4.00
Total OOP                          $2.42

I'm very pleased with my purchases during my first adventure "extreme couponing". My Walgreen's purchases totaled $31.42. I saved $50.20 using manufacturer's coupons and in store coupons (including register rewards and extra care bucks). Without using these measures, these products would have cost me $90.01. Some of these things were on sale, so if I paid full retail for them, my savings would be even greater. I did not buy anything that I will not use eventually. With things like body washes, I am not terribly brand loyal, so having a few different brands of things works for me. And honestly, I sorta like knowing I have a few body washes and extra conditioners on hand. Nothing is more frustrating than going to cabinet and it's BARE!

Saving this kind of money on beauty products satisfies me on two fronts. Obviously, it saves money (real money that I can actually "see" (when I look at my account LOL) and appreciate). Secondly, it satisfies the Product Junkie (PJ) in me and the shopping junkie LOL. So, I'm in!!!!!

I will be back tomorrow to show my next haul...

Have you tried "extreme couponing?" What say you?


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