It’s not always easy to find bargains on your groceries and household items. And when you keep kosher, well, it’s even harder. One of the ways I compensate for the more expensive items on my shopping list — like $4.99/lb ground beef — is by stocking up on other items when they are at their rock bottom price, or better yet, free! (Of course, we limit our consumption of the expensive stuff, too.)
After two years of couponing and stockpiling, I can confidently say that I’ll never pay retail again for….
1. Cereal – Seriously, if nothing else, this blog has hopefully proven that cereal doesn’t have to cost $3.50 a box. In fact, I’d be hard pressed to imagine every paying more than $1 for a box of cereal at this point.
2. Toothpaste – I haven’t bought toothpaste in well over 6 months and I still have 10 or more tubes in my basement. If you don’t have a stockpile, just watch my weekly CVS post (I post it Motzei Shabbat) and you should be able to accumulate your own little stash.
3. Toothbrushes – We’re not brand loyal, and we use the old fashioned manual kind, but even still, our supply of free or $.50 toothbrushes is pretty staggering.
4. Body Wash — Again, as long as you aren’t brand loyal (the kiss of death to a couponer), free body wash should never be a problem.
5. Shampoo & Conditioner – Thanks to CVS and Walgreens, we enjoy high-end drug store brands, including organic ones, for free or less than $1/bottle.
6. Razors – Manufacturers love to put their razors on sale, and then charge a fortune for replacement blades. Despite it going against every Earth-loving bone in body, I refuse to fall for their trap! When my blades need replacing, I just grab another free razor from my stockpile.
7. Dish Soap – I used to stockpile Dawn, since it is so often free with the $1/1 coupon in the Homemade Simple home mailer. But then I got wind of the $.69 deal at Target on Seventh Generation and decided to make up with Mother Earth for my eco-hating purchases of new razors.
8. Dish Washer Detergent – I’ve told you before that I don’t buy exclusively organic, but you wouldn’t know it from my stockpile of Seventh Generation dishwasher tabs. I’m down to just 10 boxes, but at one time I had 18. Thank you Babies R Us clearance sale + coupons + Seventh Gen rebate!
9. Pens & Pencils – Remember all those back-to-school deals? Now when my mom tries to bring me free pens from conferences she attends, I hand them back to her. Bic and I are all stocked up, thank you.
10. Safety Scissors – See #9 above.
11. Printer paper – Thanks to Office Depot, Office Max and Staples, I enjoy a steady supply of free-after-reward-program paper. Is it the highest weight paper in the world? Nah. But it’s more than adequate for printing out my coupons!
12. Deodorant – There was a time that CVS was very good to me and my need to not-stink-up-the-place. My husband’s, too, for that matter. I haven’t bought deodorant in well over a year, and we still have at least six a piece in the basement store room.
13. Cough syrup – One of the first deals I ever did was Robitussin cough syrup. Walgreens paid ME $5 for every three bottles I “bought”. I think I stopped at 12 bottles. I donated 9 bottles last year and held on to the rest. Just in case.
14. Dental floss — As long as those $1/1 Reach coupons keep resetting and Target keeps charging $.97 for its white box of Reach dental floss, I think it’s fair to say that I’ll never pay so much as a penny for dental floss again.
15. BBQ Sauce — Okay, random, I know. And this may be a regional thing. But every summer, the grocery stores here put KC Masterpiece BBQ Sauce on sale for $1. With either $1/1 or $.50/1 coupons, which double at Hen House, I acquired a dozen bottles of free sauce at one point. I stopped because it just felt gluttonous. And as my oldest son pointed out, “Donating BBQ sauce isn’t very nice, unless we are going to donate the chicken to go with it.” I gave away a few bottles, and used a couple to make crock pot BBQ beef. I still have four bottles.
16. Salad Dressing – Last summer, I picked up eight bottles of Wishbone salad dressing for free. Even better, I got a package of Dole salad for every two dressings I “bought”. The salad didn’t last long, but the Wishbones are still hanging around. It’s our favorite marinade for hanging tenderloin — which we don’t eat it often, but when we do…. yum!
17. Light Bulbs — Peaking out on the right of my dishwasher detergent picture is a corner of my lightbulb stockpile. Most of those were free at Target. I think I paid $.50 for the rest!
18. Diapers – If you’ve been reading here for more than a day, you already know my take on disposable diapers. A dime a diaper (or less) is my target price. Below is my stash of size 4s and a few boxes of wipes. I don’t do as well with wipes, although once a year or so, I can usually get a tub for $.50 or less. (Over there on the left is my stash of … ehem… feminine products. Not very tzanua, but all of it free.)
19. Lip Balm — Every winter, CVS and/or Walgreens seem to have a deal on lip balm. I picked up a few more packages last year during the Christmas clearance at Target — the tubes have those Coca Cola polar bears on them, which I guess made them “seasonal”. I aim to keep enough tubes on hand so that when my boys want their own and then promptly lose them the next day, I don’t get irritated.
20. Cake Mix – Taking these pictures has definitely reminded me that I must donate about a dozen boxes of cake mix. Most of mine were free. A few were $.28. I love having them on hand, but even if I baked cakes for everyone in my extended family, I still wouldn’t be able to go through those mixes in a year! A great tip that a friend shared with me recently: If you have a child who is allergic to eggs, you can mix one box of cake mix with one 15-oz. can of pureed pumpkin and bake it as usual!
So, tell me, how do you fill in the “never pay retail again for __________” blank? Food, toiletries, shoes? What’s on your money saving list?