Friday, February 8, 2013

CVS Trip: $11.55 for $52.10 of items we needed!

This week something happened for the first time in the three years since I started using coupons: we almost ran out of toilet paper! Seriously, only two rolls surfaced in the search... Thankfully, I remembered CVS included Scott toilet paper (I'm a 3rd generation Scott TP user because of how long it lasts!) this week in their "Spend $30 on certain items, get $10 CVS gift card" promotion, so I planned a coupon trip to CVS to get the best deal.

As I sorted through my coupons, I realized I'm missing the insert that contained the Scott coupons (SS 1/13/13). All the good coupons for deals seem to be in that insert, and I don't have it! Some searching online provided some coupons, though, so the trip was saved. :-)

Yesterday when I stopped by CVS to pick up the toilet paper & paper towels, as well as  buy the Purex Crystals that were B1G1 (I use them in our homemade laundry detergent), both were out of stock. The friendly cashier said they should have some once they finished unloading this weeks shipment, so to call in the morning. On my way out, when I scanned my CVS card at the coupon machine, I received a $10/$50 purchase coupon. The wheels in my head started spinning because my original "shopping scenario" would have been $38 before coupons... At home I looked over the other CVS sales and coupon matchups, and came up with a new game plan that would actually help me spend LESS out-of-pocket, while getting MORE items we could definitely use!

First thing this morning, I called CVS to see if they did have the toilet paper. Sure enough, they did, but the cashier said they were only able to get two packages, so she graciously held them behind the counter for me. I hopped in the van, with my coupons cut/printed and my list of scenarios written out (glad I had prepped everything the night before). But I still didn't know if my scenario would work!

The friendly cashier got the toilet paper for me, and confirmed that they still didn't have any Purex. So I picked up the other items I needed for the $10 card promotion (Kleenex, paper towels, and dish soap), some toothpaste (adult and kids), grabbed the vitamins I had a high value coupon for, and started brainstorming how I could fill the remaining $8 gap left by not having the crystals. While I looked over my list of items on sale that I could pair with coupons, the cashier came back up to me and asked if I would like the Downy Unstoppables (the more expensive equivalent) instead of the Purex? She would honor the B1G1 sale with those. My problem was solved!

Excited about completing "my coupon adventure", I headed up front... Here is what I bought:

(2) Scott toilet paper, 12pk $7.49
(2) Scott mega roll paper towel, 6 pk. $5.49
(3) Kleenex, 100ct. $.99
Palmolive dish soap, $.99
Nature Made Vitamin B "Minis", $9.49
Crest ProHealth toothpaste, $2.50
Crest Kids toothpaste, $2.50
(2) Downy Unstoppables $7.69, B1G1

My total before tax and coupons was $52.10 (eeks!). I used...
- $10/$50 purchase CVS coupon
- (2) $.55/1 Scott bath tissue 
- (2) $2/1 Scott paper towels
- $.55/3 Kleenex packs
- $.25/1 Palmolive dish detergent
- $10/1 Nature Made Minis (CVS coupon)
- $2/2 toothpaste (CVS coupon)
- $.75/1 Crest toothpaste
- $1/1 Crest ProHealth toothpaste
- (2) $1/1 Purex Crystals coupon
- $8.90 ECB from a previous CVS shopping trip

My total out-of-pocket after coupons was $11.55 plus tax
Plus, I got back a $10 CVS cash card (gift card) and $2 ECB to use on my next trip.

As we continue to try to live well while staying within our budget, these kind of trips encourage me to keep on fighting the good fight and keep clipping coupons! A few lessons I have been regularly learning are:

1. I shouldn't be afraid to ask for help from a cashier if something is out of stock or I can't find it. It can pay off big time!
2. Calling ahead can save me time and money... Either I don't waste gas going when something I want isn't there, or I can get the item I wanted by heading there sooner!
3. Bringing other coupons, or having a few variations of a scenario, can help me know what to look for to spend the least amount of money!
4. "Little" coupons matter... like the $.25/1 Palmolive or $.50/3 Kleenex.

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