Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Ultra Couponing Once More?

The best deals on Black Friday?

Batteries and lipstick.

The lipstick I buy typically runs $6 a tube. CVS had it for $2.99; it was a Doorbuster at Walgreen's for $1.99.

A while back, I wrote about my brief foray into the world of Ultra Couponing. I have friends who swear by it. I, too, have had limited success and most of that success involved our area drug stores. I perused the circulars and came up with a plan.

No sweat, I thought. I'll load up on lipstick, batteries, and the other items that are free after rebate.

Item # 1 -- Crest with Whitening -- $3.99 with $3.99 back in Bonanza Bucks (or whatever they're called).  Sold out.

Item#2 -- Lipstick -- $6.99 with $5 back in Bonanza Bucks. I stood in line f-o-r-e-v-e-r to buy two tubes of lipstick. I watched my the first $5 coupon print, but where-oh-where was the second one?

"Oh, no," the nice cashier explained, "you can't get two coupons at the same time. You'll have to get back in line and return one of the lipsticks and then buy it again."

Okay.

Once again I waited f-o-r-e-v-e-r. I successfully returned the lipstick, the cashier rang it up once more, and I handed her my $5 coupon.

"Oh, no" the nice cashier explained, "you can't use the coupon to buy the same item."

Okay.

I hunted down the other deeply discounted items -- batteries and Chapstick that were buy one, get two free. Turns out the Chapstick wasn't actually Chapstick, but a substance known as Chap-Aid.

Okay.

I endured the line for the third time. The cashier rang up my items. I handed her batteries and Chap-Aid.  Thirty-five cents! Victory!

I went in search of conditioner and another tube of toothpaste -- both nearly free with Bonanza Bucks. Back in the line once more. Bought them without a hitch, snagged my second tube of lipstick, scored another $5 coupon.

I had the $5 coupon and  another $2 coupon burning a hole in my pocket. What to buy, what to buy? In the candy aisle I spied a box of chocolate coins, perfect for Saint Nicholas Day. The tag read $1.99. I grabbed several boxes of Kleenex to bring my total to $7.

"That'll be $12," the nice cashier told me.

Huh?

The Haul
Turns out the chocolate coins were actually $5.99, not $1.99. I told her to scratch the chocolate, but then my total fell below $7, so I couldn't use the coupons. I grabbed a decorative tin that I thought was $1.50 but turned out to be $1.99. Three boxes of Kleenex and a decorative tin for eighty-seven cents or something.

I left the store unclear as to how much money I had actually spent and how much money I had actually saved and how many times I had actually stood in the line. While all this was so very muddled, I drove home with two crystal clear thoughts: First, retailers know the system much better than consumers; second, the only sure fire way to save money is to stay home.

4 comments:

Kris said...

I've tried this, too, with CVS and their Extra Bucks. I still have "stuff" in a bin in my closet. Then they wised up and don't offer so much anymore. I use the coupons that Kroger sends me, since it's for stuff I actually buy, but that's about it.

claire said...

Oh I hear you, Kelly! I am such a failure when it comes to couponing. I'll get the occasional good deal, but not enough to make a significant dent in my grocery budget. And yes, I have definitely notice that CVS has limited their deals a lot more than they used to. And it is so frustrating to have a deal all mapped out, only to find out that the items you need for the deal aren't in stock!

Kelly said...

CVS seems to have limited those handy $5 off a $25 purchase.

I did get good deals, but not the twenty items for $2.17 I read about in the paper.

I saved a ton at Publix before Thanksgiving. Publix is our high end grocery store, but they run lots of buy one get one free deals. If I had more storage, I might be more inspired to do more couponing.

Amy Parris said...

Oh Kelly, this is precisely why I gave up on the ultra couponing. I finally decided that time is money and turns out that most of the moms I read about who really save huge amounts of money say they spend 5 to 6 hours a week couponing. If I had that kind of extra time you can bet I wouldn't be couponing!

More power to you though! Sometimes I wish I had it in me :-).