August 15, 2010

Why I Buy...Because I can, for ¢ on the $

Let me explain: I neither needed nor necessarily went looking to buy four tubes of wildflower-scented body lotion, two unscented things of Dry Idea® anti-perspirant/deodorant, a Crest brand toothpaste and mouth rinse and some Blink Tears solution. Since I already had a bit of each of these in my bathrooms.

Total cost for these nine items from CVS tonight: $2.09 before tax

But since I paid cents for each of these items, and since I'll put them in the single-shelf (mind you) section of hoarded supplies to give away to houseguests, party visitors, or other people passing through my home, it is all good. Justifiable, you see.

With extra time on my hands this evening, I went to CVS and headed straight for the back of the store where there is always a shelf of "get rid of this stuff, we're discontinuing it" products.

So for ten cents on the dollar, I bought four 8-oz tubes of body lotion, at 59¢ each. That's all I bought in that section.

Next, I went looking for items I'd found listed for free or nearly so (on the mom blogs, noted below) and came out ahead a buck-fifty on the Blink Tears. They were priced at $7.99, but with $7.99 back on my receipt to use as virtual cash for my next CVS purchase. So after a $1.50 coupon, and tax that I have no way of figuring out (was it taxed, not taxed? at 9.75% or 2.25%? Either way, it's eligible for qualified health care spending).

The Crest brand toothpaste was 24¢ after my coupon wrangling. The biggest chunk of money, 99¢, went for the mouth rinse. So the items in this photo totaled a cost of $2.09 before tax.

How did I do it? I 1) always check for the (usually obscure) shelf at the rear of every CVS Pharmacy for products they're no longer carrying, usually marked to ten percent of retail and 2) I always check the mommy blogs for what items are free after stacking rebates or coupons with store discounts and credit-back schemes. CVS calls its program Extra Care Bucks (ECB) so, for example, when I purchased the Blink Tears for $7.99, I received a note on my receipt stating I had a credit of $7.99 in ECBs for my next store purchase. See:

Too much trouble? I think not. It's not like clipping 25 cent coupons, but more like saving hundreds upon hundreds of dollars in getting free product plus giving away surplus to guests, friends and homeless neighbors.

Asked differently: If you saw a crisp dollar bill lying on the sidewalk, would you stoop to pick it up?

By the way, I spend no time figuring out the shopping freebies and deals. I go straightaway to the mommy sites who do this for a living (corporate sponsorships support the top dedicated blogs with tens of thousands of followers.) Anyway, they're doing me a great favor by mapping out a shopping list for me. Thus I never run perilously low on hygiene products or require a quick run to the store. I simply go to my supply cupboard. Once the overflow starts falling off the single shelf I allow for this stuff, I start giving more of it away. Got to keep it moving, no stagnancy here.

See the Money Saving Mom and The Thrifty Mama blogs, authored by young moms, both named Crystal, both home-schooling women of Christian faith and money-savvy. The first just purchased her first home in late 2009 with her husband--in cash, all squirreled away from their earlier broke years. Just yesterday, the Money Saving Mom Crystal mentioned on Facebook that her honeymoon consisted of "...peanut butter and jelly from Dollar General in an old tumbledown hotel!" And now, not many years later, their first (and it's nice) new house, purchased in cash. Smart women, both. I'm a follower.

Tomorrow I'll be going to Menards to pick up a zillion free-after-rebate home improvement items I need (paint brushes, a hose nozzle). When I bring new-home / housewarming party gifts, they're usually not wine or flowers, I like to bring a satchel of tools, extension cords, screwdrivers, drill bits--all that stuff you need to fill out a good toolbox in a new home.

And then to Walgreens, to pick up some freebie and discounted items, because I have $10 in free Walgreens bucks--Register Rewards (RR) about to expire.

1 comment:

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