I did my part to save money this past week: I couponed, I bought lunch on my office credit card, and I worked over 50 hours.
I am so tired.
So, a quick little example of how you too can save big moolah by using coupons. Here's my Sunday Rite Aid trip:
2 Excedrin PM at $1.99/each
-used 2 $1.00/1 coupons
2 Stayfree MaxiPads at $2.50/each
- used 1 BOGO coupon (if you have a Y chromosome, that means buy one get one free)
- used 1 $1.00/1 coupon
2 Xtra laundry detergents at $1.99/each
- used 1 $1.00/2 coupon
The retail total was $11.46, $6.46 after coupons. I used $6.00 in +Up rewards from last week; +Up rewards are money off your next purchase that you get for buying certain products. That brought the total out of pocket to $0.46 plus $4.00 in new +Up rewards -- and I still had $2.00 in +Up rewards leftover from last week. The trick is to combine coupons with the products where you'll get +Up rewards. I'm running low on night time moisturizer so I may use my +Up rewards soon to knock down the price on that (something you'll never get for under $1.00).
I should have 17+ hours of overtime on Friday's paycheck. Hopefully I'll have enough extra to get me comfortably through the month on cash only.
With all of the printing of the coupons, I was out of ink at home. I saw that Staples had a promo where you could get a free eco bag -- you know, the reusable shopping bag. Usually you have to buy the bag. Everything that you put in the bag -- and I think this is always, not just for this promo -- you got 15% off. Plus there was a second promo where you got $4.00 per ink cartridge and 20% rewards back when you bought $50.00 or more in HP ink. And guess what kind of printer I have? Let's just say I went digging through my wastebasket to pull out the used cartridges. I recycled six cartridges and I bought around $70.00 in HP ink (I paid around $60 out of pocket after the 15% bag discount). That should give me $24.00 back on the cartridges and around $14.00 for the rewards. That means Staples is going to be sending me a check in about a month for $38.00!! And the program is free! Why aren't more people doing this?
I have had people kind of be negative about couponing in general -- that you're taking money from the stores. But that is absolutely not true. Look at a coupon: the store gets reimbursed for the coupon amount plus a handling fee, usually around $0.08. So one, the store is making money. Two, roughly 3% of all coupons issued are ever actually redeemed. It might be a little higher now with the recent coupon publicity but still. Three, people are in shopping. That's helping the economy. And lastly, and most important, YOU are saving your hard-earned money.
You should really look into this if you have a family. There are a gazillion coupons out there for cereal and for diapers. I don't eat grains (usually, ahem) and don't have kids, in diapers or otherwise. Yogurt is another big one I see, but I don't eat yogurt any more either. You can get toilet paper, paper towels, shampoo, body wash, toothpaste -- all for pennies or even for free. I've had to rein in buying certain things, because as I've mentioned previously a couple of bottles of shampoo will last me a couple of years. But if you have other people in your household? Cut a few coupons, read up on a few coupon-matching sites (they do 95% of the work for you), and then GO SAVE.