Tuesday, November 3, 2009

last week's savings

When I post about savings, a primary goal is that the content be current or educational or both (and not merely the mounting of a virtual moose rack). This week I'm differing from my norm of posting only current deals by posting about savings strategies at the two drugstores I frequent.

Pictured here are last week's savings at CVS:

I didn't compile and post my own "CVS Shopping List" for this trip as I usually do either right before or right after going; at the last-minute I decided the deals posted at MoneySavingMom were too good to pass up.

Total (sale) value: $29.99
Total out of pocket after $10 in coupons and $2.00 ECBs: $17.99 (plus tax)
ECBs earned: $12 ECBs

This was an unusual trip as I had only $2.00 ECBs to spend. I normally have more and end up paying about $2.00 or less out of pocket after coupons and ECBs. This trip resembles more of a Getting-Started-at-CVS scenario – where you actually spend some real money out of pocket in order to build up some ECBs that you can later combine with more coupons in order to get more ECBs, and so on.

Last week I basically got the Cambell's Soup FREE and paid $1.00 per bottle of name-brand shampoo and conditioner and $2.99 for the ($9.00) "Tickle Toothbrush" – which will become either a Christmas or birthday present.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I would say that the biggest money-saving tips are:
  • Use the higher-value printable coupons.
  • Combine those and newspaper coupons with sales and ECBs and stock up on what you'll need – so you never have to pay full price for the everyday essentials of a household!

I find Walgreens to be a good bit more complicated (and perhaps not as user-friendly) as CVS. (You can read earlier thoughts about CVS versus Walgreens.) So, I've adopted a new strategy for shopping at Walgreens. In a nutshell, I get the Register Rewards deals I need or will use, pay out of pocket for them in order to avoid couponing hassles, and then use the RRs for staples like milk and eggs, school supplies, and birthday and Christmas presents.

I still have to watch out for one aggravating rule: "Number of coupons in the transaction cannot exceed the number of items in that transaction." But this new approach has been a lot less stressful than trying to fix botched transactions where coupons didn't scan or RRs didn't print. (I do politely ask if something didn't go as planned, but I've chosen not to argue with individual store cashiers or managers when couponing policies differ from one store to the next. You can read more thoughts on why here.)

Pictured here are last week's savings at Walgreens:

Total (sale) value: $42.21
Total out of pocket after $9.26 in coupons: $33.13 (includes tax)
RRs earned: $32.50 RRs
I basically paid $0.63 for all that loot!

These are savings from trips to three stores. Since Walgreens does not have a store "loyalty card" (like the Extra Care Card at CVS), I visit several stores in order to maximize the savings.

Stay tuned for a post on frugality that factors in time and energy spent.

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