Shopping for Free for Me + Three

I was in the mood for a coupon orgy this weekend – I had about 30 Kelloggs coupons that I just couldn’t let go to waste, especially since I had gone out of my way to buy them. I asked my mother if I could mail her the coupons to do 3 simple orders at Target, but she threw a fit — apparently way too much of her living room is cluttered up with free Ragu, mayo, mustard, salsa and toilet paper awaiting my next visit. A blogmate (There must be a word for people you meet through your blog but I don’t know it) in the Jersey burbs was kind enough to let me tag along with her Saturday coupon shopping errands…

Target had Kelloggs cereal on sale for $1.88 a box. There’s a rebate deal where you buy 10 Kelloggs/Keeblers/etc products and you get $10 back. I did three orders of 27 boxes of cereal and 3 boxes of Eggo waffles. Four items were for the blogmate, who wasn’t doing the rebate deal, so I forked over $23.60 for 24 boxes of cereal and 2 boxes of Eggo waffles and will get $30 in rebates eventually. I might even submit for a fourth – I also did the so-so Special K deal at CVS, so I’ve got half of another rebate’s worth of items. Yeah, it’s only one rebate per address, but that’s what family is for, right? Maybe I’ll even have one sent directly to Ayten (“Working Poor Mom”).

Speaking of Ayten, we met up on Sunday and I was able to observe one of the differences I’ve made. She showed up in her (probably uninsured) 12-year-old car that she parks in a warehouse district for free because she rarely has gas money. Her office is moving, she decided to “multi-task” and pick up her work things and her care package – and take her mostly-blind diabetic friend who rarely gets out for a spin. A month ago, Ayten has asked if I could put together a nice little care package for this friend, when she was hospitalized after attempting suicide, so it was nice to meet her in person. Anna, the blind lady, had made a list of products she frequently uses in case I came across such freebies. Yay, a new shopping challenge! My only problem with the list is the cat food – honestly, does any cat eat Friskies anymore, or do all you catlovers out there spoil them rotten with Fancy Feast?? Coupons for that one suck. And I have no idea what Deli Cat is. Not really complaining, I just don’t get the whole treat-pets-better-than-people thing that I observe way too often ’round these parts.

Since Ayten came on Sunday after I’d done my Astoria CVScapade, I gave her a massive load of school freebie school supplies along with the usual. Honestly, between CVS freebies, Staples penny deals, Walgreens 29-cent deals, etc., I would argue that it’s cheaper than ever to gear a kid up for school. I started buying my own notebooks and stuff when I was 12, and there were never sales like this. Ever. Maybe it’s been going on for years, but being a non-mom and a non-student, I haven’t really been taking the retail pulse of these items. But boy did those two full bags of 1, 3, and 5-subject notebooks, pens, folders, binders, loose leaf, glue, etc. put an enormous smile on Ayten’s face. When we first met, she told me how she always stocked up on school supplies in August and lived for Staples dollar and penny deals. Her kids go to NYC public schools and are required to provide the classroom with certain supplies, which she gets a list of at the beginning of every school year. I don’t remember everything and she might not have told me everything, but I remember loose leaf paper, pencils (or pens?), paper towels and toilet paper. I’m just remembering this now and am a little annoyed with myself for not hitting up Rite Aid last week for their Bounty Basic deal (BOGO @ $1.29, coupon for $1 off 2 = 15 cents each, and I had 3 coupons). But hey, I handed over 600 sheets of loose leaf, woohoo. Anyway, she mentioned this as being a very embarrassing source of financial stress, because it was putting her in a position to tell her daughters that money was so tight that there wasn’t an extra $30 to spend on this stuff, which would then put the girls in an awkward position with their teachers. It was the constant trickle of “little” things like this that drove her to begging on craigslist back in May.

I’m planning to offload a ton of cereal at the teen shelter tonight. There are so many boxes in a single stack in my closet that the bottom ones are getting crushed. I’m just glad I could get them all out of sight. It’s so tempting to just walk up to the homeless men who sleep on the steps of a nearby church and just hand them boxes of Frosted Mini Wheats…less stress on my shoulders. And hands. Oh yeah, one of the plastic bags filled with cereal cut of the circulation in my left index finger for about 90 seconds on Saturday, and it’s only just returning to normal-ish 48 hours later. Do you know how scary that is to someone who has nicknamed her hands “the moneymakers”??

4 Responses

  1. After all those awful dog food problems, I think people are (correctly) skeptical of cheap food. That stuff is pretty much poison, and your dog is better off eating table scraps.

    But if your choice is feeding yourself or Deli Cat, I think it’s clear who the winner should be.

    BTW, I love these posts. I need to figure out how to do this!!

    • I just did a post about donating school supplies, with very specific info for doing it. Give it a shot!

  2. Go here for a 3.50 off Friskie’s coup

    Also, I have a pile of coups to send your way, I just need to stop being lazy.

  3. great post, as always. as the keeper of seven cats and random cat visitors, i finally decided after 20 years of giving both wet and dry food that it could well be they didn’t need wet food at all. and i was also tired of cleaning up wet food cat puke! so my favorite q these days is the $2 off for the small bag of GoodLife pet food which is $4.77 at my Walmart, or then $2.77 each. I know you’ve mentioned that you don’t have the chain groceries there but maybe it still sells for around that price. I grab as many IP’s for this off as many computers as I can get near. Actually, that q used to be $3 off and I printed like crazy way back when, so until August I’m set and then it’s back to the $2 one! I do also have a $1 off Friskies link that I’ve used quite a bit. And the little Friskies bag has a sweepstakes game with a code in the bag and my first attempt won me a free small bag! (gotta savor the small things these days!) deli-cat is a dry food in a clear plastic jug with a handle – last time i looked anyway. i try to stay away from the dyed pet foods. if they puke i’d rather at least it was not in color. not to mention i don’t think that food dye would be good for them! seems like i read cats are color blind. the food dye must be for the benefit of the human. oh please!

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