Sunday, March 27, 2011

Waste Not, Want Not

A few tips to avoid paying for coupon deals that aren't really a deal for you.

I have been guilty of it a few times.  I see an amazing deal using stacked coupons and store sales to get something for free or nearly free.  And you know us crazy extreme coupon ladies, we hear the word free and our heads spin around!  But then you get home and realize that the deal wasn't really as good as it seemed. 

Let me get specific.  The recent Rite Aid deal for Buy One Get One FREE Airwick room sprays.  Using the newspaper Buy One Get One FREE coupon, in theory, made both sprays free.  But always read the small print.  Because the coupon was good up to a certain price.  And the spray ran about $0.25 over that price.  Which in the grand scheme of things is not a big deal.  But I bought four for FREE.  Had to pay overage on two of the four (because the store was giving me one free for every one purchased remember) and then had to pay tax on original price on all four of them. 

Again, not the end of the world.  If I had actually wanted this product. 

I don't use room sprays.  I actually think they are foul.  I have asthma and allergies and the smell plus the spray...yuck.  But I got so caught up in the deal to get stuff for "free" that I put all reason aside and spent money, time and storage space for crap I will never use.  They all went right into my donate box.  Which is fine, I love donating stuff.  But I would rather pay to donate food or feminine hygiene products or diapers, than gross room sprays. 

I know a few of you are thinking, but didn't you just buy two more iMotion room spray things this past week and blog about them?  Yes, I did.  But I have a purpose in mind for those.  Come back in early December to see how those make their way back into my life.  Wink, wink.

So in review, non-food items are never really FREE.  You will still have to pay tax.  And in NY, that applies to soda too.  Soda is a huge hidden charge.  Yesterday I bought three cases of Coca Cola at Walgreens on sale for 3/$10.  I used two of the $5 Register Rewards I posted about earlier in the week.  And still had to pay $2.60 something.  Because we have a can/bottle fee and then tax too.  Free is rarely truly FREE, my friends. 

Not that you shouldn't get free things.  I do it regularly with bliss.  But I also now make sure I am buying things that I actually plan to use. 

To help myself, I just typed out a list of things that I would like to keep in stock at my home.  Based on my needs.  For example, I eat (mostly, when I am being good, but please don't look at my food intake last weekend) Gluten Free.  I pick up a few non GF things for my dad if I know he will like them but I can pretty much avoid the cereal snack aisle (and therefor the matching coupons) for months on end at my stores.  I don't eat a lot of pasta (usually make my own GF) but do use a lot of pasta sauce.  So if I can find it @$0.60/jar, that is a good stock up price for me.  Because I know I will use it.  I buy laundry detergent all the time because it will absolutely get used and has a long shelf life.  Under $0.06/load is my "buy a few" price.  I am particular and brand specific about my shampoo.  We all have a few brand loyalties in life.  This is one of mine.  So seeing that written down is a good reminder to always check for sales.  And clearance.  Half the stuff on clearance is there because the brand is changing a tiny thing on the packaging.  I've scored lots of deals because of packaging changes or dents in the bottom of a bottle of hair spray. 

Like most of us, I have a limited budget and a very very limited amount of storage space.  Like very limited storage.  Did I mention my storage is limited?  It really is!!  So I now keep my list of items I use daily/weekly in the front of my coupon binder.  Just as a reminder that it is good to stock up on Charmin toilet paper and a terrible idea to stock up on not-exactly-free room sprays that I will never ever use.  I am more than willing to spend and make room for deals that I know will be used over the next few months. 

But I am chalking up the room spray incident as a fairly inexpensive way to learn an important lesson.  Only bring home things I intend to use!

1 comment:

Jayna Rae said...

The first time I started couponing I found that I spent more than I normally would've. This was because I thought I was getting "deals" on products that I wouldn't normally buy. Plus, I still had to buy my normal stuff. I have learned, for me, that sticking to things I use is the best bet. Plus, I still have no couponing skills in the real scheme of things.