Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Makin' Magic at Walgreens

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After my last post you might be thinking "sure, I can get by without napkins and cable... but at some point I have to buy essentials like shampoo."

When it comes to toiletries, Walgreen's has usually proven to be the best deal for us. Here's some Walgreen's Magic we worked this weekend:

We did 3 transactions:
Transaction 1: 2 bottle's of Herbal Essences Shampoo. Reg. price: $3.99. Walgreens was having a sale this week for 2/$6 with a $2 Register Reward (abrev'ed RR- I'll explain about RR in a minute). I had a $3 off of 2 coupon for HE so for those of you not doing the math:

2/$6 - $3/2 coupon + tax = $3.56 total with a $2 RR

Transaction 2: 2 Mitchum deodorants (his and hers :) ). Normally priced $3.99 each. On sale this week for 2/$6 with a $4 RR. I had two 75cent off coupons saved up for such a time as this and I had my $2 RR from Transaction 1. Since I technically had 3 coupons (the two 75 cent ones AND the $2 RR one) I had to add a 10 cent laffy taffy to this transaction. Walgreens has a policy that you can't have more coupons than items. So now I have 3 coupons and 3 items.

2/$6 + .10 (taffy) - .75 - .75 - $2RR + tax = $3.22 with a $4 RR

Transaction 3:  1 box of Puffs tissue ($1 on sale) 6 pack Scott paper towels ($5 on sale). I had a coupon for .75 off the paper towels and Walgreen's had an in-store coupon for $1 off the paper towels. In this case, you can use both (since 1 is a store coupon and 1 is a manufacturers coupon... different stores have different policies- at Walgreens you can totes double up). Since I had 3 coupons, I had to throw in a 10 cent laffy taffy to have 3 items.

.10 (taffy) + $1 + $5 - .75 - $1 - $4 RR + tax = .97

Total Spent = $7.75
Total Saved with in-store promotions, coupons, and RR = $19.33

2 bottles of Herbal Essence, 2 deodorants, 2 laffy taffy's, 1 Puff's tissue, and a 6 pack of paper towels for $7.75!!! Now here is the nitty gritty about how we did it:

1. Coupons. I buy the paper every weekend. Its usually $1.25 - $2. There are usually 2-3 coupon excerpts. I clip the ones I think we will or could use before they expire. You can also get the weekly sales circular in the paper. It makes it easier to match up what's on sale with what coupons you have. My favorites to check: Walgreens, Target, Walmart (in that order).

2. Register Rewards. They're confusing but can save you BANK (see previous example) if you can use them correctly. They're basically little giftcards to Walgreens that print out with your receipt after your transaction. They are considered coupons when you use them (thus sometimes you have to get a .10 laffy taffy so that you won't have more coupons than items). In the weekly sales ad, it will tell you what items will earn you RR. You can only do each deal once during each transaction to get the rewards... so I couldnt have bought 10 bottles of shampoo to get 5 RR's in 1 transaction... if I had bought 10, I still would have only received 1 RR for $2 off my next transaction.

3. Work our the puzzle before you go. Match up your coupons with what's on sale. Plan your transactions. Be careful not to buy things if you really won't ever use them. Don't be too tight on brand loyalty- we use whatever products are the best deal- not the ones with the most beautiful advertising.

I think that sums up a beginner's guide to making magic at Walgreens. Let me know if you have any questions. It also might be helpful to go to the walgreens website and read their entire coupon policy.

Good luck! Let me know how it goes!
-Hayley



Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Things that are free.

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Tip #1 in saving money: don't pay for things that you can use for free....or very close to free.

Here are a few things we do to save that really add up.

1. We don't buy bottled water. Ever. Even if its a super deal. (Which- it is a super deal at Walgreens this week if you MUST buy it). We have a few re-usable water bottles and we fill them up each day. Water bottles are a waste of money.

2. We don't buy napkins. I know it sounds hipster but we use cloth ones. Now, if you're having an all you can eat spaghetti supper for the neighborhood- then yes... plesase buy some napkins.. but if you're only feeding 2- napkins are a waste of money.

3. We don't pay for cable. I know that makes some people cringe-- but how bad would your life really be with less TV? We have some crazy antennas that I will morph into different distorted shapes when I'm desperate to see something on the tube. (Example: the Olympics) Cable is definatly a waste of money.

Another thing we do that isnt free but that saves us a TON of money is carpool. Does that mean sometimes one of us is early to work or late being picked up from work? Yes. Do we care when we're saving around $20 or more a month? No. We both currently work 20-30 minutes away from our apartment with only 1 exit seperating our drop off points. It would be silly not to carpool. If your spouse works in the opposite direction of you try to find a co-worker or friend that's headed your way. Like I said, we have to swallow our pride... its definatly worth it.

Those are the tips for today. Tomorrow I'll show you my Walgreen's trip (attack) from this weekend.

-Hayley



Monday, September 3, 2012

Why a blog?

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After the grand fall of xanga, I never thought I'd find myself posting on a blog again. 2 things happened, and here I am.

1. I started thinking about the way we use social media. Do we use it to complain, rant, explain why our political views are right- and- if- you- don't- agree- you're- an- idiot? Or do we use it to encourage, help each other out, promote good?

2. I got married, and to say it nicely- my husband and I have been learning to live on what most people (in the United States) would consider not a lot of money. But we've learned how to work the system. We have all that we need and the Lord has been faithful in providing for us. We save money but we don't obsess about money. We do a lot of things that are free. We are grateful for all we have. And we're having the time of our lives. Many people have asked me for money-saving tips through this experience so I thought a blog would be a good place to post all I've learned. (And learn from other's tips as well)

So here I am. Back on a blog. Offering you my tips on how to save money. And if you find yourself saving a lot- do something good for someone else with your extra... I promise it feels a lot better than a material splurge.

Here are the rules of saving:
1. Swallow your pride. (You're going to feel silly doing some of these things at first)
2. Don't be lazy. (You have to clip coupons to have coupons)

Since this post is already too long, I'll wrap it up. I'll start posting the juicy money-saving stuff soon.
Let's be smart and resourceful with our money together.

-Hayley