Friday, November 7, 2008

Couponing, CVS, and The Grocery Game Q & A

okay, I am finally back to answer questions about all of the couponing that I do.

*side note--Ada had a very successful dirty diaper this morning--woo hoo*


1. Why do I start my menus on Friday?

Friday is pay day. My husband gets paid every Friday, and I have found that our biggest spending is done Friday-Sunday. If I start the menu on Friday, I am more likely to stick to my plan than if I end the menu with the weekend. It is pure strategy to trick my mind into not spending so much on the weekend. Plus, I love Friday mornings because Ada and I are out of the house doing our weekly round at the various grocery stores.

2. What about shopping at Sam's or other discount clubs?

Scott and I used to be members of Costco, and we did enjoy buying meat, paper products such as toilet paper and such, and computer paper there. This was back when I was teaching, and I would use up the paper given to me by the school about a month into the school year. After that I was on my own. (No one tells you in college how much money you will pay out of pocket when teaching). Anyway...that was before I "couponed," so I really don't know. Readers, what do you think? Are the discount clubs better for saving overall? I do know that Teri over at the Grocery Game suggests shopping at discount clubs for basics like milk and eggs, since these typically do not go on sale at the grocery store.

3. Is the Grocery Game worth it? How much does it cost?

For one store, it costs 10.00 every three months. So, a bit over 3.00 a month. Totally worth it, considering that I save at least 30.00 a week using the Grocery Game, which equals 120.00 a month. And I am only paying 3.00 a month.

Now, there are women out there who do not need the Grocery Game. For me, it saves my time and sanity. I think it depends on personality. It does a lot of the work for me, and that is what I am paying for.

p.s. if you want to add more than one store, it costs 5.00 per store every 3 months. So, I pay 15.00 every three months for the list for Kroger and CVS. I am about to cancel CVS, though, because that one is easy for me to do myself.

4. Finally, how do I figure out ECBs?

Okay, this will be a long answer because I am going to explain through example. If you are really interested in starting the CVS game, get your circular out to look at as you read this answer.

First make sure you have the right circular for this week. This circular is good through Saturday. On the cover you will find diet coke front and center. To know which items produce ECBs, look for the yellow box. For example, look at the picture of diet coke. You will see in white the words, you pay 4/12$ with the card. So you will pay 12.00 OOP (out of pocket). Then in white you will see, extra bucks reward on 4, 3.00. So, you will pay 12.00 for 4 cases of diet coke, but you will receive 3.00 back. The big yellow box will say, 4/9.00 after ECBS. This means, that counting the 3.00 you get back, it's like paying 9.00 for 4 cases. Remember, the 3.00 ECBs will print off at the bottom of your receipt.

Okay, let me walk you through my transactions today. It was a record day, folks.

I started with 8.00 worth of ECBs from last week's purchase. Pampers were on sale 2/20.00. I also had 3.00 worth of Pampers coupons, so...
Pampers = 20.00
-8.00 ECBs
-3.00 manufacturers coupons (found in the Sunday paper)
total OOP=9.00 (for two packs of Pampers!!!)
received 5.00 ECBs for purchasing 20.00 worth of Pampers

are you following me?

I then bought 2 bottles of Oil of Olay body wash=12.00
-5.00 ECBs
-4.00 manufacturers coupons
total OOP=3.00
received 5.00 ECBs

then, 4 cases of diet coke=12.00
-5.00 ECBs
total OOP=7.00
received 3.00 ECBs

then, 1 tube of Crest Pro-Health toothpaste=3.49
3 bags of halloween candy 75% off=4.00
-1.00 Crest coupon
-3.00 ECBs
total OOP=3.49
received 3.49 ECBs

I rolled those ECBs three more times, walking away with a total of 4 tubes of toothpaste and 3.49 ECBs good for next week's purchase.

Did all of that make sense?

For a little over 20.00, I bought 2 packs of Pampers, 4 cases of diet coke, 3 bags of candy, 2 bottles of body wash, and 4 tubes of toothpaste.

I had to do seven total transactions, but the cashier was very gracious about it, and I thanked her many times for her patience. Plus, I got to CVS before 8 am to make sure I wouldn't be holding up the line. Ada was up at 6 am, so it was not hard to make it there that early.

Again, feel free to ask any more questions. I really think the CVS game saves so much money, and it is fun seeing how much you can buy for how small an amount of money.

For more frugal ideas, check out Frugal Fridays. And more specifically, for other CVS scenarios check out The "Cent"sible Sawyer.


Linda said...

Grocery Game is new to me. I'll have to look into it. Thanks for the tip!

Lamm said...

Great minds think alike! Knox and I went to CVS today, as well, and got almost the same as you guys--Pampers, cokes, toothpaste, with the addition of a razor (99¢ with ECB return and coupon!) I spent about $35 but got $20 in ECB. I don't do multiple transactions, but I think it's about the same in savings and ECBs. YAY for us!

John, Jessica, Hannah, and Grant Harman said...

Laura, tell me again why you have to do multiple transactions and what do you mean when you say "rollover?" I'm gonna start next week.

Amy said...

Ok, I have a question to add/ Where are are you getting your manufacturers coupons? Or, for example here, your $1.00 crest coupon?

Mom2fur said...

I love Grocery Game, too, and also think it is worth the money. But, like you, I dropped my CVS list. The circular, unlike those for grocery stores, is easy to read!

Bethany said...

I am "catching up" on some of your blog and I just read about your dumpster diving experience! Too funny! I have thought about the same thing, but in Henry County, I wasn't sure where the recycling center was located. This week (on Friday late morning), I drove around my neighborhood stalked the 'free' newspapers that are thrown out on the driveways. I picked up ALL of them! I got a TON of great coupons and just stored them without cutting them out in a plastic container. If I need them, I know where to get them. I did file a few so I would know what I had.

Bethany said...

One more thing...try going to America Loves Coupons website and the Money Saving Mom website. They also offer printable coupons and have great advice and freebies all the time!

Tara said...

oh my word my head is hurting hahahah it seems like I could do the cvs thing but then I know when I get there I will forget EVEryTHIng hahaah
Maybe I should print out your example!! THanks for taking the time to post.

Carrie said...

I started the Grocery Game and I saved $57 on my first trip to Kroger! Love it! I am interested in starting CVSing, but I was wondering if you can spend your ECB's on the day you get them (for that purchase) or do you have to wait a week? If you don't get to spend them that day, I guess the first trip won't feel like you are saving money, right? Thanks for all the advice...I've really gotten excited about saving money lately!