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This blog belongs to two Gen X-er's smackdab in downtown Kansas City where we've been renovating and decorating two old Victorians built in the 1890's. Our life is filled with 3 demanding Pomeranians (1 of them cranky, of course), honking cars, noisy neighbors and the hustle and bustle of city life but we dream of the day when we can move to our 40-acre farm and hear nothing but the wind and the cows next door. Until then, we're chronicling our triumphs and mishaps here as we try to garden and preserve on 2 city lots, raise chickens, and learn all those things we should have learned from our grandparents. Welcome to our world - we hope you'll stay awhile!

Couponing for Fun and Profit: Part 1

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

In the intro to this series, I talked about paying just $13.00 for our 7 lb ham and 12 lb turkey for Thanksgiving.  And I promised that I would give you some more info.

Okay....let's get to it.  The number one thing I hear from people when they find out I'm a couponer is "well, I never buy those brands" or "you can't beat Aldi's prices" or "I could never do that".   Folks, I've been doing this for over 3 years and I'm here to tell you that none of those statements are true.

Here's an easy example that you can do right now.  CVS paid me over $4.00 to shop there yesterday and I came home with a bunch of free stuff including sleep aids, allergy medication and toilet paper.  There are 28 free items that you can get at CVS right now and many of those you don't even need coupons for!

  • iTunes or App Store Gift Cards - buy $75, get back $20 EB (Limit 1) = $20 profit 
  • Advil Children's Suspension Liquid (1 oz) $2.37, use $1.50 coupon or $1 coupon (9/30 or 10/28 RP) and get back $2.37 EB (Limit 1) = $1.50 - $1 profit
  • Glade Scented Oil Base Warmer $1.25, use $1 coupon (or here or 10/14 SS or 11/4 SS) and get back $1.25 EB (Limit 1) = $1 profit 
  • AirWick Scented Oil Warmer $0.99, buy two and use $2 off 2 coupon and get back $0.99 EB (Limit 1) = $0.99 profit 
  • South Beach Diet Meal or Snack Bar (5 ct) $4.99, find package with $1.00 coupon, and get back $4.99 EB (Limit 1) = FREE or $1 profit
  • 3M Command Hook (single pk) $0.99, use $1 coupon or $0.50 coupon (11/11 SS) and get back $0.99 EB (Limit 1) = $1 - $0.50 profit
  • Charmin Basic (Single Roll) $0.99, use $0.25 coupon (10/14 or 10/28 P&G) and get back $0.99 EB (Limit 1) = $0.25 profit 
  • Coke (1.25 liter bottle) $0.99, get back $0.99 EB (Limit 1) = FREE 
  • Advil (10 ct) $2.99, get back $2.99 EB (Limit 1) = FREE
  • Somnapure Sleep Aid (4 ct) $1.99, get back $1.99 EB (Limit 1) = FREE 
  • Carmex Lip Balm $0.99, get back $0.99 EB (Limit 1) = FREE 
  • Nasal Ease Allergy Reliever (0.18 oz) $9.99, get back $9.99 EB (Limit 1) = FREE 
  • Nutrawise (Youtheory) Collagen Formula (120 ct) $9.49, get back $9.49 EB (Limit 1) = FREE 
  • Bayer Countour Next EZ Meter $10, get back $10 EB (Limit 1) = FREE *Use coupon in Diabetes & You magazine found in stores for a FREE One a Day vitamin WYB this meter 
  • Street King Energy Shot (2 pk) $3.99, get back $3.99 EB (Limit 1) = FREE 
  • Pur-Absorb Iron (28 ct) $16.99, get back $16.99 EB (Limit 1) = FREE 
  • Haviland Thin Mints or Nips Candy $0.88, get back $0.88 EB (Limit 1) = FREE 
  • Kraft Mac & Cheese (5.5 - 7.25 oz) $0.99, get back $0.99 EB (Limit 1) = FREE 
  • Kleenex Slim Pack Facial Tissue (3 pk) or Sparkle Single Roll Paper Towels $1, get back $1 EB (Limit 2) = FREE 
  • As seen on TV Easy Feet $4.99, get back $4.99 EB (Limit 1) = FREE 
  • Cepacol Sensations (4 ct) $1, get back $1 EB (Limit 1) = FREE 
  • Scooby Doo Fruit Snacks (8 oz) $2, get back $2 EB (Limit 1) = FREE 
  • Starbucks Double Shot (6.5 oz single can) $1.99, get back $1.99 EB (Limit 1) = FREE 
  • Starbucks Refreshers (12 oz) $1.50, get back $1.50 EB (Limit 1) = FREE 
  • Hot Wheels Cars $1, get back $1 EB (Limit 1) = FREE 
  • Powerade (32 oz) $1, get back $1 EB (Limit 1) = FREE 
  • Play-Doh Soft Pack Resealable Pack $1, get back $1 EB (Limit 1) = FREE 
  • Phillips Universal Remote $6.99, get back $6.99 EB (Limit 1) = FREE 
  • Thermacare Back & Hip Wrap (1 ct) $3.49, get back $3.49 EB (Limit 1) = FREE 
  • Illy Issimo Caffe (no sugar) BOGO sale, use BOGO coupon (Diabetes & You magazine found in stores) = two for FREE 
  • Lindsay Large California Ripe Pitted Olives $1, use $1 coupon = FREE

Now I realize that some of that may be Martian to you, so let's go over the lingo.  EB means "ExtraCare Bucks".  CVS has a program called ExtraCare and you can sign up for it in the store for free and they'll give you an ExtraCare card.  To get these deals, you MUST sign up and you MUST have an ExtraCare card.  (Some of us have several....*nonchalant whistling*). 

Now let's look at a specific deal, pull it apart, and see how this works.  How about this one?

Advil Children's Suspension Liquid (1 oz) $2.37, use $1.50 coupon or $1 coupon (9/30 or 10/28 RP) and get back $2.37 EB (Limit 1) = $1.50 - $1 profit

From this, we know the following: 

  • The sale price is $2.37.
  • There are several coupons we could use.  The underline under the $1.50 coupon indicates that it's an online, printable coupon (just click and it will take you to it).  Or, if you have the Sunday paper from 9/30/12 or 10/28/12, there was a $1.00 coupon in there.  There are often multiple coupon inserts in the Sunday paper and they all have names, including Smart Source, P&G, and RedPlum.  The RP after the date indicates that it was the "Red Plum" coupon insert.
  • When we buy the item, we'll get back the full amount of $2.37 in the form an ExtraCare Buck, which is a coupon that prints at the end of our receipt.  That coupon is good for $2.37 toward any item in CVS with a few exceptions like prescriptions, stamps, and liquor.

Now let's go to CVS and find the Advil Children's and take it to the register.  Here's what this simple scenario will look like:

  1. Hand the cashier the Advil and your ExtraCare card (or ask to sign up for one).
  2. The Advil will ring up for $2.37.
  3. Hand the cashier your coupon.  Let's pretend you printed the $1.50 coupon to maximize your savings.
  4. The total will now be 87 cents.  Pay the cashier.
  5. The receipt will print and on it will be an ExtraCare Bucks coupon for $2.37.  You just profited $1.50!  And it only took about 5 minutes of your time.

Now, I don't have kids so I'm sure you would ask why I would want to buy a children's medication.  The answer is two-fold.  First, it's a moneymaker which allows me to spend the profit on items that I *do* want and need.  And, second, I either give away or donate those things that I get for free.  Couponing has allowed me to make a ton of donations of products to homeless shelters and women's rescue shelters.

So get those printers going and dig out those old Sunday papers.  In Part II of this series, I'll give you tips on how to pay even less in the above scenario, talk about why where you shop matters, and give you some great sites to look at if you want to learn more about couponing.


  1. My biggest objection to couponing is that the coupons are often for items I would not buy anyway... and for amounts (multiple) that would take forever for two people to use. I think your idea of donating is EXCELLENT. I'm going to go read the first post now.

    1. I would have agreed with you 5 years ago, Mary Ann. But when I realized that I could buy things that I didn't normally buy and donate those and also actually make money that I could use to buy the things that we did want or need, it was like a lightbulb went off. I track everything we buy down to the penny and last year, we saved 83%. What could you do with 83% of your current grocery budget?

  2. Okay, I am SO on board. Teach me, Obiwan Kenobi!

    And while you are at it, I'm game for 50% off a new gas stove. Got any deals for that?!

    I too am not a name brand kind of gal - and I thought I was doing pretty good at the grocery store, but you have totally blown that out of the water.

    So...do you find these coupons online? Or just in the Sunday paper? Or what? I don't get the Sunday paper, but if it saves me that kind of moolah, I'm game for changing my ways.


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