In other shopping-for-free news

Live from the Juror’s Lounge at the courthouse…

I stocked up on – I kid you not – 24 boxes of Kellogg’s cereals at CVS, for which I paid a total of $2. That should cover the teen shelter for a week of name-brand breakfasts! And since they all seemed so desperate for deodorant, I managed to pick up 15 this weekend for 100% free, mostly Right Guard and Adidas. At one point, I told my mom to scan the aisles for anything on clearance, and she discovered a whole bunch of Herbal Essences discounted so steeply that after our coupons, we got 6 bottles for just under a buck – perfect, since the shelter kids mentioned they had too much conditioner and not enough shampoo.

Oh, one of the slight problems I’ve stumbled across…there’s only so much toothpaste a shelter needs, and since it’s the #1 item that we can all get for free without much effort, I’ve accumulated about 20 tubes. I went to Craigslist Wanted and searched on “toothpaste”, and found a 3rd year dental student going to Thailand this summer to work on teeth at orphanages. She wants to bring lots of toothpaste and toothbrushes. Do you know how happy this makes me?? I love Thailand, I donate to a small Thai charity, I go there every couple of years for training and just fall in love with its sheer foreignness all over again. She leaves in early August, and I consider it my personal mission to fill up a duffle bag with supplies.

Anyway, for those wanting to make coupon games a hobby, you’ll find there are certain things you will never have to pay for again, and certain things that you used to think were a bargain at $5, you won’t pay more than 50 cents for. Shampoo/conditioner/stylers, for example, are super-easy to get for free with sales/rebates/coupons – especially if you like Garnier Fructis and Herbal Essences. Toothpaste and mouthwash you can actually *make* money on, and we’re talking state-of-the-art stuff (new products from Crest and Colgate), not your very basic Aim and Pepsodent. Deodorant? If you’re not brand-loyal, you’ll never pay a penny. If you are brand-loyal, you might have to cough up 50 cents to $1. Speaking of coughing, OTC meds are one of your sources for big savings because most people wait until they need something or run out at an inconvenient moment and don’t mind paying top dollar for Pepto, NyQuil, Theraflu, Robitussin, Excedrin, etc. Not easy to get free, but I haven’t paid more than $1.50 for this stuff all year (and even then, it’s usually with store “bucks back” credit). Feminine hygiene? I max out at $1 for anything, and I’ve already learned my lesson about store-brand alternatives – never again. I’ve got enough stock to get a teenager through menopause for about $5 all told. Yeah…gotta donate some of that before someone experiences a closet avalanche and thinks I have a problem.

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8 Responses

  1. that is awesome you can blog from there 😉 sexy too.

  2. I am so jealous! I wish we had things like these in NZ. Unfortunately, I’m stuck paying $2 for toothpastte, $3 for shampoo and as much as $10 for painkillers.

  3. You need to help me figure out how to get the cheap toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo and stuff. Both boys will be leaving in August and because they are going to be far enough from home that they will only fly home for breaks I am trying to stock everything up and take it with them on move in day. So, I need to figure out how to buy enough to last each 10 months without spending a fortune.

    I’m going to start this weekend trying to stock up.

  4. i sooooo love this blog! and i’m laughing my you know what off at the same time i’m crying. it’s a good thing you have somewhere to ship all this stuff off to – i can’t imagine where you’d put it all otherwise!

  5. Please come to California and provide me with a personal tutorial, because I am too dense to figure it all out from your numerous explanations. (I’m from Missour AKA “The Show-Me State.” We really do need to be shown things to understand.)

    Do these tricks work for the all-natural stuff as well??

    • I’m not sure what kinds of products qualify as “all-natural”? Name some brands and I’ll tell you.

  6. You found someone on Craigslist who needs toothpaste??? lol. Wow, that is pretty cool! I can’t believe at what a pro you are now for shopping/rebates/coupons. You can come stock my bathroom if you’d like! 😉

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