Sunday, December 9, 2007

Q&A Time!

Thanks for all of your questions from yesterday! Let's see if I can help you out a little.

Momala said...
Have you always shopped this way, or did it take you some time to develop your frugal shopping habits? The reason I'm asking is because I am working towards reducing our grocery spending atleast 30% in the next 4-5 months. Right now I am spending about $140 - $150 a week and I'd like to reduce it to around $100. We are a family of 6. I am already getting many things free at CVS, but I know I could do better.

I have used coupons on and off for about 10 years. I have always been a cheapskate when it comes to disposable items, and used generics for a long time. I got back into the coupon habit the last time about a year ago. This is the heaviest I have used them. I learn things really quickly -- I guess mainly because I have a BS in history, so I study things in a very detailed manner. I googled "coupon tips" to find a few websites and learned as much as I could. is a great one. You can browse as long as you would like, wherever you would like without becoming a member. The best part is -- you can do it for free! I do not advocate The Grocery Game because you have to pay for the service, and I am just way too cheap to pay for it, lol.
I did not start out spending as little as I do. You really have to stockpile so that you are only getting items when they are free, which is called the "cherry-picking phase". Once you are in that phase, you are ONLY getting items when they are at the price you want to pay (which is free for me!) A large percentage of what I pay any given month is in taxes. Where I live you have to pay taxes on the BEFORE coupon price. I would venture that about 65% of what I pay is only tax. Stockpiling is the key to getting your budget lower. When you buy items that you use on a regular basis when they are dirt cheap/free, then you will not have to buy them the next month/week. Just stock up on sale and save the difference.
We also pretty much only eat what is on sale. It is a rare occassion that we eat something that isn't. So make your menus according to sales flyers. Look for the loss leaders, match up coupons to them and in no time you will see big savings!

Innocent Observer said...
I keep hearing about people getting things for free at pharmacies. Please enlighten me as to how this works!

Thank you!

You get things free by using customer rewards programs. At CVS it is called Extra Care Bucks or ECBs for short. They spend like money at CVS. The wonderful part is that at CVS if something is "free after ECBs" you can use a coupon on that item to "make money".
Say Crest toothpaste is $2.99 and free after ECB this week. You have a BOGOF coupon and a .75/1 coupon. Use the .75/1 on the one you buy to get the other one free. Then use the bogo coupon. You will have spent $2.24, receive $5.98 back in ECB and have 2 tubes of toothpaste! BINGO -- a freebie!
Walgreens has a program called Register Rewards or RR for short. These are a little different -- if you buy $x amount of a certain product, you will get $x back. Example: Say you buy $15 in Dove product and you will get $5 back. Dove shampoo is on sale 2/$6. You have BOGO and $1.50/1. You would have to buy 5 to get the limit, but 6 is actually the better deal. You buy 6 bottles, use 3 $1.50/1 and 3 BOGO, spend $4.50 OOP (out of pocket) and get a $5 RR back. See -- more free stuff!
Another way is a BOGOF deal with a BOGOF coupon. Example: Kashi cereal is BOGOF and you have a BOGO coupon (or a Free Coupon). Use them with the deal, and you will get both boxes for free!
Yet, one more way to get into the mix is to look at coupon value versus price. If toothpaste is on sale for $1 and you have a $1/1 coupon -- you have free toothpaste!
There are a mutlitude of ways, but this is a way to get you started. If you need more help, I will be right here!

Anonymous said...
I have to ask here you acquire coupons, if it's mainly from newspapers how many do you buy/people save for you?


I buy on average 5-10 newspapers a week. I get one other copy from the lady I work with. If a coupon is REALLY hot, I will use a clipping service online, usually I tend to get one on Sunday, then the rest on Monday at Kroger for $1 (they sell the Sunday paper all week at a special rate).
Occassionally I will print one off the internet, but it is kinda rare for me to do that. I have also signed up with , , and other places that will send me coupons for free products to try out on a regular basis.

Tessa said...
My question is about how you sell your extras. Who do you sell to and where do you sell?? :) day I was at a friends house, and I had just made a GREAT score on TONS of free Olay Ribbons bodywash at Kroger. I wanted to give her one. So we went out to my trunk and her neighbor walked over. He asked "Are you selling that stuff?" I said, "Sure, I will sell you a bottle" then I did the math quickly in my head to see what I had paid and how much I could sell it for a make just a tiny bit of profit. I sold him $3.50 (walmart price) body wash for $1.50 a bottle. So he said "I will take all you have." Ummm....ok! So off just the body wash alone, it paid for my entire trip to Kroger! Then he asked "Do you have anything else to sell?" I replied I had tons at home, so I went back the next day. All the neighbors came out that time, and they referred me to friends and so on.
I also do yard sales. My DH works in a building that has a huge parking lot, and the owner loves it when people have yard sales there because it brings business into the store. So now during the warm months I have one about every 4 weeks, I have tons of regular customers that come every single time. I take out a block ad in the local newspaper -- same ad everytime, just different dates. I saw other people on Hot Coupon World doing it so I thought I would give it a try. My only cost is about $10 for the ad, and that's it. I do pretty well in my location, because right next door is a Dollar General (they don't mind -- they shop with me, too!)
Now, I just keep a good supply in my trunk, people know what I do and I can make an extra $10-$50 on any given day, just by being prepared and having the "store" already set up in my trunk.

Hope this helps all of you some. I will be glad to answer any more questions!


Momala said...

Thank you for answering my questions. I will start stockpiling so that I will be able to meet my goal of spending 30% less! Keep up writing the wonderful posts! I'm learning so much!

Jen said...

wow is all I can say!! Would you kindly tell me in plain English what a "loss leader" is? And maybe give me an example? Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Wow!! It's so great that you can make money on your "finds"!

Gina said...

Thanks, Jen!
A loss leader is something that a store marks below cost "at a loss" to get you into a store so they can sell you other, profit making, items.
A good rule of thumb is if something has a limit (say 4). They do not want to sell them all to one person, because that is fewer customers they are getting into the store. Another way is if it says "no rainchecks" -- that is almost a dead giveaway!
Say Kleenex are 10/$10 -- and they are normally $2+ a box, it is probably a loss leader for them.
And, many times, you will find that they are the big items listed in sale papers (but not always!)
It's normally one of those things that makes you think "WOW -- that's a great deal!" HTH

Dedra Askam said...

I like to share a coupon site called It is also a great site for finding great deals.