Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A dozen items you should never pay for...

(our sweet potato harvest)

Ahhh, what a glory day. Beautiful blue sky, brilliant leaves, a delish lunch of sauteed cabbage and noodles, an hour browsing my favorite magazines at the library, putting away my sweet potato stash, and a Rite-Aid shop all planned where I will be picking up 4 free items: feminine pads, lotion, toothpaste and toothbrush. I have been couponing and rebating for so long now that it always surprises me when I am asked, "What do you mean when you say you don't pay for _______?" So for those of you still new to this, here's a list and few pointers:

Simply put, I rarely pay money for: shampoo, conditioner, hair color, antiperspirant, lotion, make-up, toothpaste, toothbrushes, mouthwash, tampons, feminine pads or contact solution. There are a few other items, but this delightful dozen make up the majority of my small stock pile, and I do mean small. With seven of us using these products, they don't last long.

How is it done? I buy these items at Walgreens, RiteAid and CVS. I don't shop at every store every week, in fact, most weeks I only hit one. All three stores have rebate/printable coupon programs: Walgreens has Register Rewards (RRs), CVS had Extra Care Bucks (ECBs) and RiteAid has the +UP program. All three now print the rewards right when you buy, which is very convenient. Just don't lose them! Even when I was living in Maine and only had RiteAid available to me, I kept a decent stockpile. Here are the some things to remember:

1. Don't be brand loyal. I have 10 different kinds of toothpaste right now--they all do the job.
2. Don't wait until you run out of an item before you buy. Always keep ahead or you will pay full price.
3. Get the Sunday paper and look through the sale ads. Specifically look for items that are free or nearly free.
4. After you have the list of free items that you want, look on and click on the link to that store. Here Jenny will tell you where to find coupons for these same items, including links to printable coupons and the dates that they were in the Sunday paper.This is where the fun begins. Now you can get the products for free AND make a profit.
5. If the item is completely free and you can't use it, buy it anyway. Make gift bags for local charities of use for gift bags of your own. I routinely put lotion in baby shower gifts for mom to use.
6. Use your ECBs, RRs, and +UPs to purchase your "freebies" the next week, paying very little out of pocket. Most are only good for 3 weeks, so keep up with them. Don't let the expire. If there's nothing you want to buy, pick up a gift or something useful like paper towels or toilet paper.
7. Consider getting yourself a laser printer. I bought one last year on black Friday and it has more than paid for itself. Before I had it, I was slow in printing colorful coupons that uses too much ink. Now I look for free paper at Staples and Office Depot and use the rewards to get free toner.
8. Have fun knowing you are saving yourself tons of money!!

Here's a facebook freebie for a free Scotch Brite Sponge:!/ScotchBrite?sk=app_214537625283071

And thanks for your continued votes in the

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