So since I last reported on saving 80% at Safeway, I’ve done some coupon maven-ing here and there. I bought five tubes of high-end toothpaste (Colgate with baking soda peroxide) for zero cents; I paid 72 cents for two bottles of shampoo, two Old Spice deodorants, a fancy new Schick Quattro razor and a refill pack of titanium blades, bringing to mind my favorite Onion article that actually came true; I learned that my Safeway has an unadvertised policy of doubling any manufacturer’s coupon under $1, making every 75 cent coupon quite vaulable; and I got a teenage girl working the register at Safeway to blurt out “Jesus fucking Christ” in awe after I paid less than $20 for a mostly-full cart of groceries.
But I’ve also learned that Safeway is not the best place to execute these tricks. It’s CVS. Hands down. For three reasons:
(1) CVS constantly runs ridiculous sales. Half-off this. 40% off that. The CVS circular each week just has a amazing number of discounts. It almost makes me ashamed that I’ve been paying anything close to full price in the past for any of the following: toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, razors and blades, diapers, baby wipes, sunscreen, cereal, gatorade, batteries, ibuprofen, mouthwash, dish detergent, laundry detergent, fabric softener. Basically anything you get at the grocery store that you don’t swallow. And that’s before you even clip a single coupon.
(2) CVS runs a lot of “buy one, get one free” sales. These are remarkable mainly in that I didn’t realize how they actually work. The “one free” is technically just a store coupon for the price of the item. Which means that if you have a manufacturer’s coupon for “Buy one, get one free” you can apply that, too. And get two items for exactly zero cents. So, for instance, last week CVS had Sobe 20oz drinks on a buy one, get one free sale (limit 5) and there was an internet coupon for buy one, get one free on Sobe drinks. So I printed five of the coupons. Ten free Sobe’s. Now THAT felt like stealing.
(3) CVS has a program called “Extra Bucks” that is a goldmine. It’s really simple: they advertise certain sale prices that get you extra bucks (like “Buy item X for $10.99, receive $5 in extra bucks” (limit 1)). The extra bucks are just unrestricted store credits that expire in 30 days. So it’s basically a straight discount, assuming you will be coming back to CVS for something in the next 30 days. You use them just like cash as part of your payment on a future transaction.
So here’s my CVS transaction from last week:
I put the following items in my cart:
- 3 boxes of Post cereal (grape nuts, fruity pebbles, and Honey Bunches of Oats), regular price $4.99 each
- 1 four-pack of AA Duracell batteries, regular price $5.99
- 1 bottle of Tide liquid detergent, regular price $9.99
- 2 boxes of Cascade dishwashing powder, regular price $4.99 each
- 10 bottles of Sobe lifewater (20 oz), regular price $1.59 each
- 1 Old Spice Red Zone bodywash, regular price $4.49
- 2 Right-Guard Total Defense deodorants, regular price $4.49 each
- Post cereals, 3/$10, plus receive $5 extra bucks (limit 1)
- Duracell batteries, on sale for $2.99, plus recieve $1 extra bucks (limit 1)
- Tide detergent, on sale for $5.97, plus receive $1 extra bucks (limit 1)
- Cascade dishwashing powder, two for $5.99, plus receive $1 extra bucks (limit 1)
- Sobe lifewater (20 oz), Buy one at $1.59, get one free (limit 5)
- Old Spice Red Zone bodywash, regular price, on sale for $4.00, plus receive $4 extra bucks (limit 1)
- Right-Guard Total Defense deodorants, Buy one at $4.49, get one free (limit 1)
- $2 off any Post cereal (I had three of them)
- $1 off Duracell batteries
- $1 off Tide detergent
- $1 off Cascade dishwashing powder (I had two of them)
- Buy one, get one free Sobe lifewater (I had five of them)
- Buy one, get one free Right-Guard deodorant