Learning the ways of extreme couponing

I made several amazing discoveries about saving money in the last few days thanks to a blog based on a challenge called Eating Well On $1 A Day by a man named Jeffrey.

On the blog about his challenge and elsewhere on his website, he explains the art of couponing to the extreme. Essentially, it boils down to getting items for free, nearly free or creating overages (read: free money!) with coupons.

I looooooooooooooove coupons. I’ve used them since high school, which is when I first discovered the joys of using coupons. My parents weren’t that interested but they often rewarded my ability to save money on the family grocery bills by letting me spend that saved money elsewhere.

But this whole time I’ve been doing it wrong! Well, not exactly. I just haven’t gone to the extreme.

In the last few days, I have been voraciously reading everything I can about maximizing my savings (and about how this guy has navigated his way through a crazy bet with his sister).

Yesterday, I made my first trip to Walgreens in a long time. (I prefer CVS because of the member benefits and haven’t been to a Walgreens since they shut down the EasySaver program.)

I purchased Colgate toothpaste for $3.49 + tax and got a $3.50 Register Reward back. The RR is a coupon that prints out from a different machine than the receipt and can be used like cash on a future purchase. (However, I would not get Register Rewards again if I used it to purchase another Colgate toothpaste later. I would need to pay with some other method to get the deal again.)

Basically, the toothpaste purchase was free and that’s a great deal (unless I frivolously spend my RR). My plan is to use the $3.50 in RR to purchase another great deal and keep the cycle going — it’s called rolling rewards.

I’ve had some issues with the great deals I want to find (mostly because the store isn’t in stock and I have to get a rain check for those items). But I have also had some success.

Here’s what I’ve gotten for FREE (or better) thus far:

  • Two tubes of Colgate toothpaste (originally $3.49 each)
  • Bag of margarita lime corn chips (overrated but on sale for $1)
  • Two small bags of Pretzel M&Ms (originally 2/$1)
  • 2 oz. bottle of BioTrue multipurpose contact solution (originally $2.99)
  • A small green lunchbox (originally $3)

Here’s how I did it:

  • Went to Walgreens two separate times and purchased some toothpaste. (I now have two coupons for $3.50 at Walgreens.)
  • I went to CVS and made two transactions in the same trip. The first one, I bought two bags of M&Ms and got $1 back in ExtraCare Bucks, which can be used on my next transaction at CVS.
  • Then I made a second transaction and bought the BioTrue and tortilla chips. I used a $2 off coupon for Biotin and my $1 ECB. I got back $2.99 in ECB from the second transaction.
  • I bought an Artic lunchbox at WalMart for $3 and it came with a rebate for $4.96. (I don’t like going there but I only did it for the free item and money and not regular shopping…)

Voila! I ended up making $0.88 at CVS and $1.27 at WalMart. The second toothpaste purchase, I used a $0.75 coupon for Colgate I found somewhere online and that means I made $0.75 on the deal. And I got free stuff, some of which I plan to donate to a guy who helps out homeless people around Lubbock.

That’s kind of the plan, and I got the idea from Jeff and his blog. Not only can I save myself a lot of money by doing these things, but I can get a lot of free items that other people can use. I can donate extra food and items to numerous places in town that would distribute them. And I plan to.

If anyone is interested in doing this in Lubbock too, please let me know. It would be a great movement to start and a fun project to do with others, if nothing else.

2 thoughts on “Learning the ways of extreme couponing

  1. Wonderful to see you doing this. I’m sure that you will soon be even better at it than I am since you actually enjoy couponing. I should have a place up in the next couple of weeks where you can input all that free stuff you find and decide to donate so we can see how all of us together can make a huge difference. Keep up the awesome work!!

    1. Thanks! I’ll be sure to keep track of the items I plan to give away and their retail values. I’m hoping that I can begin collecting a lot of newspaper inserts soon but I still haven’t worked out a routine. My boyfriend thinks this is a great idea, although he too hates couponing and shopping. So, I think I will end up putting him in charge of gathering inserts and distributing the stuff.

      I also restarted my Sunday-only subscription to our local paper and ended up getting a bonus $10 giftcard to the local grocery store chain for agreeing to automatic payments. Although the decline of the newspaper industry hasn’t been a good thing for many of my journalist friends, it’s been good for me as a consumer. I’m paying between $1.19 to $1.49 for my Sunday paper each week. With all the new info I’ve learned from you, I can recoup my costs in the blink of an eye.

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