I regularly preach that everyone should use their loyalty cards, clip coupons, and shop all the sales in order to save their hard-earned bucks. You don’t have to become an extreme couponer or spend countless hours sifting through circulars, but if you pay attention and give it a bit of forethought, you can save a bundle when you shop. I thought today I might brag a little bit about my successes while doing some routine shopping errands with my wife. I hope you will pick up the vibe here when I show you how with very little effort, I was able to save nearly 80% on my purchases, and keep $171.07 in my pocket!
The first thing we did was to make a list of stores where we planned to shop, and what route to take that would be most efficient in terms of saving time and gas money. First we’d head to the gas station to fill up, then a stop at Casual Male to use my free birthday money, next a trip over to Lane Bryant for my wife to use her bonus coupons and free rewards dollars, a quick stop at Harmon Discount for some health and beauty items, and finally a stop at the supermarket to get some advertised bargain OJ. Now, let me show you our savings!
How I Save Money on Shopping
Stop #1: BP Gasoline
Last week, I used a Kmart gift card to make a purchase…I had received the gift card for free when I made a purchase at Sears on Memorial Day weekend. With my last purchase came a coupon good for $0.30 off per gallon of gasoline at BP. Normally, I use my gas reward card at another station to earn discounts, but today I took advantage of this coupon and filled up my tank. I saved $3.00 on my 10-gallon fill at $2.239/gallon. The rate, even at the cheapest gasoline station near us, is $2.399/gallon, so even with that price, I was able to save $0.17/gallon. Stopping there was out of my normal habit, but to save $3.00, it was no big deal.
Regular price $24.00 ♦ Price after coupon $21.00 ♦ Savings $3.00 (13%)
Stop #2: Casual Male
After receiving my annual birthday certificate courtesy of my loyalty card, I purchased dress pants which normally sell for $68.00, but were on clearance for $17.00. After applying my birthday money, they were free! I also found an off-season lightweight sweater, regularly for $48.00 on clearance for $11.99. After applying the remainder of my birthday certificate, it was $8.99.
Regular price $116.00 ♦ Clearance price $28.99 ♦ Price after certificate $8.99 ♦ Savings $107.01 (92%)
Stop #3: Lane Bryant
As a loyalty card holder, my wife is always receiving special discounts and promo offers, and in this case we were able to take advantage of a triple discount. First of all, because of previous purchases using her store credit card, she received a $15.00 certificate for free merchandise, no additional purchase required. Next, with the current promotion for loyalty card holders, she received a coupon for $20.00 off any purchase of at least $20.00. Finally, there was a sale going on. With a closet full of clothes, she ended up purchasing underwear regularly 3 for $36.00 on sale for 3 for $30.00 and a pair of earrings originally $15.00 on clearance for $7.99.
Regular price $51.00 ♦ Sale/clearance price $37.99 ♦ Price after certificate/coupon $2.99 ♦ Savings $48.01 (94%)
Stop #4: Harmon Discount
Since we belong to the mailing list for Bed Bath & Beyond, which operates Harmon Discount as well, we receive coupons that apply at both places. Not a week goes by that we don’t receive a coupon in our mail or e-mail for 20% off a single item, and sometimes it’s for even better discounts. I have stockpiled them so that we always have dozens around and they don’t hold you to the expiration dates. You can use up to 4 each time you shop!
This trip, we purchased 3 items: a Yankee Candle car air freshener for $5.49 (my wife’s decidedly unfrugal obsession, but they sure do smell good), travel size hair mousse for $1.99, and a double-size pack of beauty cleansing cloths for $6.97 (normally 2 packs would cost about $9.00, but I’m not even counting that in our total). We also had 2 coupons for free shaving gel (thanks to a malfunctioning pump and a call to the manufacturer), each valued at $2.99.
Regular price $20.43 ♦ Price after coupons $11.36 ♦ Savings $9.07 (44%)
Stop #5: Supermarket
We saw a great buy for orange juice in the weekly ad, and since we were passing directly by the store on the way home, we used the coupon and loyalty card we have to get 2 59-oz containers of brand name OJ (which we were out of, BTW).
Regular price 2/$7.98 ♦ Sale price 2/$5.00 ♦ Price after coupon 2/$4.00 ♦ Savings $3.98 (50%)
There you have it! Practicing what I preach brings us to my grand total for the day: regular prices $219.41 and I paid $48.34, for a savings of $171.07 or 78%!!!
So as a reminder, if we can do it, you can do it, too. Just start integrating those shopping habits into your everyday practice, and soon enough you’ll be saving like a pro. Just remember, don’t buy what you don’t need or can’t use or doesn’t fit into your budget. You don’t need to shop every sale or use every coupon…make those promotions work for you, not the other way around.
Have you scored any great shopping deals lately?
Image courtesy of Arvind Balaraman at freedigitalphotos.net (with changes)