Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Paying with Coins

If you've noticed, I've been having updates scheduled to post at 5am in the morning, but I didn't have one prepared last night.  It's okay though because here's the update!  I always have writing ideas on my mind, and blogging (which I consider more simplistic writing compared to what I would like to write) helps me get back into the habit of communicating through the written word.  Though it might not be the most interesting read if you're not interested in couponing, I know that it's good "exercise" for me.  I did add a little bit of non-couponing stuff in this post including a food picture!  Scroll down if that's all you're interested in seeing, haha.

My cousin's Sweet 16 is coming up, so I had to stop by the mall yesterday to pick up a gift card.  Since I was out and about, it obviously meant that I was going to stop by CVS, haha.  I know I had said that I wasn't going to return for a while because the sales weren't going to be good for the next two weeks, but this doesn't count, right?  It's the same sale week!  Haha.  I checked my CVS account two nights ago and saw what coupons would print out from the redbox for me, and it included GREAT savings.  There was no way I could pass up on it considering I knew my subtotal could be negative.

The CVS by my parents' house wasn't going to work for my plans because not everything was available.  I tried to see if I could rearrange my plan as I stood there in an aisle on my phone, but I didn't want to pay more out of pocket than planned.  So I scrapped that idea and just picked up more of those free toothbrushes using Howard's card.  He had $4 ECB to roll, so I got 2 toothbrushes for free with 2 coupons and got $4 ECB back.  I think even for those of you who don't want to take on major couponing, these deals would work out well just to slowly get free things for your family.  Of course, you need to always make sure you get your coupons at the redbox though!  And sometimes that means having to ask an employee for help when the machine says it has no paper to print.  This is the second time I've seen the machine opened (the first time, my coupons got stuck inside as they printed so they had to be redirected out of the little slot on the side).  I got super excited and snapped this picture even though another lady was also waiting for coupons too, haha.  As you can see, this is one of the older machines.  The new ones seem to be better as you can input your telephone number in case you don't have your ExtraCare card.  I also believe that the new ones have more space to scan a card or an item, so scanning your phone (if you use CardStar or another app like that) might be able to work.  I'll have to test that out at a newer machine.

The small total for my purchase at the first store was paid with coins!  I decided that from now on if it's possible, all CVS transactions will be paid with the spare change in my wallet and from the little plastic container we have at home since it's money that we have that technically just sits there!  Since I do self-checkout, I don't have to feel silly handing over $1 or $2+ in coins including lots of nickels and dimes.  I just slowly feed the machine whatever I have in my wallet and it deducts as it lets me know how much I owe.  I do plenty of math with my planning, so it makes my life easier knowing the machine will do the math for me there!

Afterwards, I drove to the mall to pick up the gift card and popped into the CVS there, but it's never one that I enjoy frequenting.  It's cramped and not as clean and organized, and for some reason, their products weren't scanning at the correct price.  I didn't want to bother dealing with it there, so I just left.  

Since I was at the mall though, it made sense to pop by the Disney Store and trade Vinylmation!  There was one from the series called Mickey's Wild West in the visible portion of the box, but I wasn't sure if I should trade for one in the mystery portion since last time we snagged Eric from The Little Mermaid series.  I asked if I could trade, and then I said to the guy, "Hmm, you have mystery ones too, right?" and he proceeded to pull all of them out for me to see!  There wasn't anything in there, so I snagged "Dewey" from Wild West.  I was happy about that!  What was funny is that I traded a Vampire Goofy even though in the trade box, there was a Goofy Vampire in there already along with a Werewolf Pluto!  Haha, clearly those were from us since we cleaned them out of those as traders ($2.99 for the set) twice!  But it was the best investment ever to build up our Vinylmation collection on the cheap.

Yes, it's kind of strange that I'm talking about paying for my CVS hauls with change and then mentioning Vinylmation.  Haha, we did buy those Vinylmation way before I got into couponing.  Plus, now that I coupon, it will allow us to get a few fun treats every once in a while.  Howard's interest has now turned into one of mine!  Trading pins and Vinylmation have become part of the memories we make at Disney World as we make great trades and interact with other guests and cast members.  It's just exciting that we get to have some Disney magic at home too.

I left the mall and drove home, which meant passing by the CVS close to my apartment (yes, the 3rd CVS in one day).  So we may have spent $2.99 on a set of 2 Vinylmation, but I spent way less than that on all of the things below!   

The night before, I checked out past receipts and figured out what would get taxed and what wouldn't.  Then I checked to see what coupons would reduce my taxable amount.  Basically, anything that scans as a "CVS Coupon" should be deducted from your subtotal before figuring the tax.  That includes any of the $ off $$ coupons, the % off coupons, randomly emailed ExtraBucks, earned Beauty Bucks, and emailed birthday ExtraBucks.  It was nice being able to figure it out because then I could be more exact about anything OOP and keep it to the barest minimum.  So how did I get all of the above products for only $2.19 in change?  Just a bit of homework!

The Nivea deal is the same as all my past updates.  It's the LAST week for it.  When I left CVS last time, I saw at the bottom of my receipt that I only needed $6 more to get another ECB deal.  That meant that it carried over from my FIRST week of Nivea purchases.  I also got a coupon from the redbox for $2 off 2 body lotions so I picked up another bottle along with another body wash to complete the final Nivea deal.  Basically that breakdown was as follows:

2 Nivea lotion = $12 sale price - $4 in manufacturer's coupons - $2 in CVS coupon = $6 OOP
1 Nivea body wash = $4 sale price - $2 in manufacturer's coupon = $2 OOP

That meant putting in $8 OOP and getting $6 back so it was a pretty great opportunity to roll ECB.  

The candy deal was to spend $10 and get $3 ECB.  I got a $4 off $10 coupon from the redbox including Halloween candy, so it was a fabulous opportunity to get some bags ONLY if I could find proper coupons, and I did!  Here's that breakdown:

2 Hershey's ($0.99 sale) = $1.98 - $1.00 manufacturer's coupon = $0.98 OOP
3 Twix ($3 sale) = $9 - $1.50 manufacturer's coupon - $4 CVS coupon = $3.50 OOP

That meant putting in $4.50 OOP and getting $3 back, so that too was a pretty good way to roll ECB.  It amazes me because last year, I waited until after Halloween to get some of my favorites on sale.  That meant getting one bag for about $2.00!  I spent so much less for a ton of it!  I'm looking forward to sharing chocolate with friends.

Lastly, I did the Got2B deal again because of a $1.50 off $5 styling products coupon from the redbox, but I didn't get any ECB from it.  The website said limit of 5 per card, but the circular actually says limit of $5 per card, so that meant no ECB.  I will be returning them during my next trip.

As you can see, my subtotal was exactly as I calculated it to be at negative $0.68.  I miscalculated the tax because I thought the candy wouldn't be taxed.  Silly me.  I paid the $2.19 in coins again and did my best to get rid of my nickels and pennies, haha.  The first 3 coupons that you see on the receipt are coupons from the redbox, the next 3 are my ECB, and the remaining 4 are manufacturer's coupons.  I read that that's the way to do it to allow the overage to dip into your tax, but I've had negative subtotals before without doing it that way, so I'm not sure if it's necessary.  I'll definitely still do it that way though just in case.  I left with $9 ECB, which is less than what I put in, but I also got an email for $3 ECB for being a member, and I will be getting $5 in Beauty Bucks, so it'll bring my ECB total back up again.  Phew.

Back home, I saw that it was a good snail mail day too as I got a free sample.  I love free samples!  When I lived at my parents' house, I used to keep free samples until I might have needed them for vacation.  I just used whatever was there.  Nowadays, I actually truly appreciate free samples because I can try something out to see if it's worth purchasing.  Being in charge of our household means that we have to be careful about what we spend our money on, and I would be upset if we bought a product that we ended up not liking.  Getting free samples is how I tried the Tums freshers and decided to buy a bunch of them instead of only having regular Tums!  We've also tried Centrum Flavor Burst Chews and know that those are pretty awesome as well!  I personally thought that the vitamin C VitaMelts were kind of gross although Howard didn't mind them as much.  Seriously, such a perfect system these companies have for consumers to try products!  Now we can try Herbal Essences body wash.  I associate Herbal Essences with shampoo, so it's a great opportunity to test something new.

The last picture of the night is what we had for dinner.  When I make chili, it's a LOT for just the two of us.  Thankfully, the hubby is absolutely fine with eating leftovers, so when it's made, we usually have it two nights in a row for dinner or for lunch leftovers.  Even so, there's still some leftover, so I froze a batch of it.  We had it for leftovers last night over some cottage fries.  I think it worked out really nicely because having a part of the dinner that's freshly made with a part that was frozen makes the meal extra appetizing.  To think we used to have chili out of a can is disturbing when it's so easy to make from scratch.

The cottage fries are also really easy to make.  I just washed and peeled the potatoes to prepare them, and then Howard sliced them and mixed it with a little bit of olive oil and whatever spices depending on the meal. They're baked for about 40 minutes, flipping them after each 15 minutes.  It makes me wonder why we used to buy Ore-Ida products in the beginning of our marriage as "backup" side dishes.  We would have a $2 bag that would be split for 2 meals.  Nowadays we buy a bag of 5 lbs of potatoes for about the same amount and can make so many side dishes from it.  Plus, it's much healthier, of course.  Too bad having too many carbohydrates isn't recommended because I love 'em!

Saving money and having more food made from scratch ... you'd think we were mature adults if we weren't also trading figurines, hehe.

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