Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Importance of Organization

I was thinking the other day just how important it is to be organized before you go shopping. People always say not to go grocery shopping on an empty stomach. I say don't go grocery shopping unless your organized!

The first thing I always do before I go shopping is start by doing a little homework. This doesn't have to take a lot of time. I take a few minutes to skim the grocery ad and check out what is on sale. I generally jot the things done that I want to buy. I also keep an ongoing list, when I am out of something I write it down so I remember to get it the next time I go.

I am a collector of coupons. I find them in the Sunday paper, print them online, sign up to have them mailed, etc.. Having your coupons organized and ready to go makes things so much easier for you when you are going shopping. I recommend using "The Couponizer" - google it, they are very inexpensive and well worth it.

By matching the coupons you have to the items on sale, you can end up with big savings. This is generally how I do my shopping every time I go. Plus it helps me to "mix things up a little" and buy a variety of things. Keep in mind, just because an item is 3/$5 (or $1.66 each) doesn't mean you have to buy 3 of them to get the sale price. (Check your grocery store to make sure, but many times this is the case). For example, on my last shopping trip Nestle Break and Bake cookies were 3/$6 or $2 each. I had a coupon for $1 off 1 package. I got the break and bake cookies for $1. Rinse and repeat and you've just shaved quite a bit off your grocery bill.

REPAEAT AFTER ME - YOU MUST GO TO THE GROCERY STORE WITH A LIST!!! May sound very basic and you could be thinking "I don't need a list, I have it all in my head". Try again my friend. The grocery store is made to suck you in, with many items to choose from that will catch your eye. Without a list, its very easy to get sidetracked and end up adding more items to your cart than your "mental list" calls for.

The last time I was at the grocery store my bill before my coupons was $72.70. Total after coupons $45.08.

How's that for organization!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Why I love Walgreens

I am amazed by the amount of items I get at Walgreen's that are free or next to free. My recent trip to Walgreen's will prove this. i got the following items:

6 Scotch Brite Mailing Envelopes
2 Boxes of white envelopes (small)
2 Boxes of white envelopes (large)
2 Boxes of Playtex Tampons
Oral B Pulsar Toothbrush
2 Boxes Q-Tips

Total Before Coupons $30.40
Total Coupons Savings $17.15
Total $13.25
Rebate $4.99

Total $8.26

I generally do something of this nature every week at walgreens. By watching the coupon inserts in the walgreens ad and using manufactures coupons along with it (yes Walgreens allows this) you can get some good deals.

Walgreen's also has their easy savers catalog--which is a rebate program you send in monthly and can get your rebate in the form of a check or a gift card. If you choose the gift card Walgreen's will add 10% to the gift card (free money!) You are also able to use coupons on the items that you do the rebate on - making money!!!

A lot of times Walgreen's will have items on sale 2/$x.xx or buy 1 get one free. You are still able to use coupons on these items making it even cheaper for you!

The one thing to watch at Walgreen's is the total size of the item - especially in the laundry soap/dishwashing detergent/household items etc... The sizes are usually smaller than Wal-Mart or Target and its not that great of a deal.

I have been doing the easy saver rebates catalog this year and my total savings is approximately $143!!!

For this reason - I love Walgreen's!

My $3 shopping day

I have been meaning to get on here and write about this--I don't know where time goes some days!!!

Last week I decided to see if I could go on a 'free' or nearly free shopping trip. I had a lot of coupons for free items - you know the ones meant to lure you in the store so you buy more- well not me!!! I was all about getting free things!! Here is what I got:

1. Kirklands Home - I started the trip here because I had a mirror I returned to Gordmans (previously purchased for $30.00). I saw the mirror at Kirklands after I had already been to Gordmans--ended up getting a coupon for Kirklands for 25% off. Returned the mirror to Gordmans and bought the mirror at Kirklands for $24 - ahead $6
2. Kohls - Had a $10 Kohls cash coupon from a previous shopping trip. Spent $15 at Kohls buying 3 shirts and 1 pair of pants - used the $10 coupon and $5 from my overage at Kirklands - ahead $1
3. Kmart - Had a halloween coupon for 1 free bag of candy - didnt need anything else at Kmart so i didnt buy anything! Walked out of the store paying $0 - got a $2 bag of candy
4. JCP Optical - Did a mystery shop at JCP optical - total time spent 15 min - pays $12
5. Chic-Fil-A - had a coupon for free chicken sandwich and coke - bought the fries (love their fries!) out of pocket spent $1.59 (approx value of freebies $4)
6. Victorias Secret - Had coupon for free underwear - got my free undies $8 value
7. The Limited - had coupon for $15 off $15 purchase - could not be on red line items so this was hard to find-found a pair of earrings for $16 - $15 coupon = total out of pocket $1.06

So my total spent that day was around $3.
Total amount of free items that day - around $30!!!
That doesn't include the $12 mystery shop I did!!!

Every once in a while doing something like this can be fun!!! Its amazing what you can legitimately get for free if you only pay attention!