Extreme Couponing Class Week 9: Donating Your Extras

It’s Week 9 of the Free Coupon Class, and we’re talking about GIVING. If you’ve been doing your couponing right, you’re undoubtedly picking up some things you do not need. Giving is more important than ever right now as many have family and friends feeling the devastation in Joplin, MO. If you’re looking for ways to help those living in that area, check out my friend Kristin at Couponing to Disney and her work here. Or, check out Frugal Fritzie (who lives in Joplin) and her drive here.

In this post, I’ll be talking about some of the ways that I regularly donate….

Should you bother picking up free things you don’t need?

I say yes, and here’s why: Giving to others is one of the best things you can do. No matter who you give to, if they need it – you are helping out.

Read below on where I donate my items!

Have you ever opened your pantry to find too much stuff?

Has all that CVS stockpiling started overcrowding your house? Do you ever find yourself not knowing what to do with yet another free shampoo or online freebie? We’ve all seen what the pantry can look like. Many of us are already donating many of these things to local organizations and shelters, which is fantastic. I’m asking you to think about sending some of these items much further.

What is Stockpiling for Africa?

Stockpiling for Africa is a way for you to help send the best of those free items to kids who need it more than ever. I started a non-profit organization, Hope Runs, which has been featured widely in many magazines and newspapers. This organization works with AIDS orphans in East Africa. Early on, I lived in one of the orphanages for six months, and now I spend my time traveling back and forth to continue the work.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, basic medical and toiletry expenses are incredibly high for local people, and local orphanages. Most interestingly, the costs of many items (many imported) is grossly higher than the cost of regular food products when looking at proportional wages. Although orphanages may regularly receive food donations, they rarely receive donations of soap, feminine products, medicines and all other manner of toiletry products that the children regularly need – the very items that cost so much for local people to purchase.

Out in the USA, though, many of us frugal types are getting some of these items free every day! I started reading frugality blogs, playing the grocery game, and regularly requesting free samples even on things I don’t use so that I can send them to the kids we work with in Africa, and I am looking for more people to help in the effort!

How does it work?

You collect any and everything you can. Then, when you have enough that you’d like to pass it along to Africa you can send the items to me my organization (you will receive a receipt for your in-kind donation through the US government):

Saving Money Plan at Hope Runs
2831 Prince
Berkeley, CA
94705

However, I know that many people will want to save the cost of shipping, and so in this case please contact me at savingmoneyplan@gmail.com. Our volunteers regularly are flying in and out of many US cities and so it may work easily for us to have someone swing by your city and pick up a big load!


What kind of items can I donate?

Think high value, high use.

Feminine products, vitamins, medicines, band-aids, toiletries, shampoos, lotions, soap, makeup (goes only to those of age!), detergent, conditioner, pens, pencils…the list goes on!

Can I donate food?

Only high value, low space foods like power bars, protein bars, and instant drinks. (No bags of chips to Africa!)


Why is this important?

There are so many reasons, but suffice it to say that the words in the picture below (written by one of our students) says it all: “This is our gift from our God, we have to use it.

Why give to Africa when I can give in my home community?

It’s great to give anywhere and I thank you for doing so!


Where can I get more information? What do I do if I have more questions?

Please email me at savingmoneyplan@gmail.com. Thanks!

Extreme Couponing Class: Week 7 (May 23, 2011)

It’s week 7 of the Free Coupon Class at Saving Money Plan and this week I want to talk about places to find more coupons. I’ll also show you some awesome deals at CVS and Walgreens that will get you $68 of stuff for less than $9!

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See all past Extreme Couponing Class assignments here.

Once you start getting better and better at using coupons to get free items or to even make money on your purchases, your next big question is: Where can I find more coupons?

This week I want to look at a few resources that many couponers rely on and talk about why each resources is important.

The Top Six Places I Get My Coupons

  1. My Sunday Paper. I’m not sure anything is better than this old-school method!
  2. All You Magazine. I love this magazine, and the coupons it holds within its pages are hard to beat. Either buy one-off issues, or invest in a subscription to get it delivered to your door. Read more about why I like All You Magazine, and what you can find inside here.
  3. Coupons.com. I’m not sure there is anything better online than coupons.com (at least in my mind)! They are the main site I regularly peruse to find printable coupons. You simply download a quick program so that they print correctly, and you’re ready to go. In general, you can print two copies of each coupon per computer you use. [If you have any trouble printing the second copy, the easiest thing to do is hit “back” on your browser during the printing process.]
  4. Smartsource. Either with the Smartsource circular in your Sunday newspaper or through their online database here, you want to make sure that you keep up to date with the Smartsource coupons.
  5. RedPlum. Like with Smartsource, RedPlum delivers both Sunday newspaper inserts and some online deals here. These are the bread and butter coupons you’ll want to always have access to.
  6. CellFire. Coupons delivered to your phone? What the what??! It’s true – cellfire is a great way to get great coupons that come right to your phone, no clipping required. They only work at certain stores, but if you’re a regular shopper at those stores this is a great program for you. Read more about CellFire here.

The biggest thing to remember when trying to find good resources for your coupon clipping needs is that multiple sources of coupons combined together works best. Don’t rely only on your Sunday paper, or only on coupons.com to deliver what you need. Instead, pull together multiple strategies to get the best stockpile you can.

With those strategies in mind, here are the best deals you should pick up this week!

CVS

Revlon Nail Enamel $4.99, get $4 ECB Limit 6
Use the $1 coupon from the 4/11 SS
Final price FREE

Note that if you were able to find up to six of these $1/1 coupons from the 4/11 SS insert you would get 6 nail polish bottles for free! Now that’s the power of using multiple sources to stock up on coupons!

Irish Spring or Softsoap body wash 15-18oz or Irish Spring deodorant 2.7-3oz – 2/$7, get $5 ECB
Use (2) of the $0.50 Irish Spring coupon from the 5/1 SS
Final price $0.50 each

Trident Vitality or Stride Spark 9-14ct – $0.99, get $0.99 ECB
Final price FREE

Walgreens

Scunci No Damage Hair Elastics (18 pk.) – $2.00=$2.00 RR
Final Cost FREE

Tone Body Wash (18 oz.) – $3.99=$3.00 RR
Final Cost $0.99

Complete Multi-Purpose Solution (12 oz.) – $7.99=$8.00 RR
Use $1.00/1 Complete Multi-Purpose Solution, 12 oz or larger coupon from the 5/22 RP insert
Get back $8.00 RR
Final Cost FREE plus $1.01 overage

Purchase 4 Select Bath Care Products 4/$12.00=$4.00 RR
Buy 4 Suave Body Lotion (18 oz.)
Use 2 BOGO Suave Body Wash Or Lotion coupon from the 5/22 RP insert
And Use 2 $1.00/1 Suave Body Lotion Product, any 18 oz or larger coupon from the 5/22 RP insert
Get back $4.00 RR
Final Cost all 4 FREE

Glade Lasting Impressions, 2-pack Scented Oil Plug-ins or Automatic Spray (6.4 oz.) – $4.99=$1.00 RR
Use $3.00/1 Lasting Impressions coupon from HERE
Get back $1.00 RR
Final Cost $0.99

Extreme Couponing Class: Week 6 Assignment (May 16, 2011)

Welcome to Week 6 of the ten week couponing course!


It’s a great week, and you’re about to get up to $66 items for $1 at Walgreens! If you aren’t part of the couponing class, go here to learn more about my free couponing course.


This week we’ll be doing more deals using the concept of CATALINAS and REGISTER REWARDS.

Do You Remember How to Use Register Rewards?

A register reward (known as a catalina outside of Walgreens) is essentially a coupon that is automatically printed out at the register when you buy a certain item. At Walgreens, these are called Register Rewards. Like other deals, you can find out about Catalinas in a store’s inserts or at a money-saving coupon blog like Saving Money Plan.

The big thing to remember about Catalinas/Register Rewards is that they count to the machine as a “coupon.” Let’s say you are buying 1 item. If you are already using a manufacturer’s coupon then your Register Reward will “count” as a second coupon, meaning the register will think you are using two coupons for one product, and won’t allow the transaction. The solution is to buy a really cheap item (a piece of candy, say), called a “filler” by most couponers so that you can get the one coupon-to-one item ratio back.

Another thing to remember with Register Rewards is that they are not just like ECBs at CVS. Yes, you do present them to the clerk like cash, but you cannot use a register reward you got on a shampoo deal to then buy more of the same shampoo deal. Instead, if you want to keep buying the shampoo deal, you’ve got to use either a different register rewards coupon (say for a soup deal), or cash! Finally, Register Rewards are set to print as one Register Reward for each item – so if there is no limit on the number of free shampoo you can get, you still must do separate transactions to get each and every register reward on each bottle!

Make sense? I know it may seem a bit confusing, but it’s something that you’ll get the hang of easily with a little practice.

Remind yourself how to do a deal like this with this video:


Let’s get to the deals at Walgreens!

Hopefully they will add to your growing stockpile!

Deals

Dove Men+Care Antipersiprant/Deodorant (2.7 or 3 oz.) – $3.99, Get $3.00 RR
Use $1.00/1 Dove product $2.99 or more coupon from HERE (zipcode 03310)
Get back $3.00 RR
=  FREE

Colgate Pro Clinical White Toothpaste (4 oz.) – 2/$6.00, Get $4.00 RR
Use 2 $0.75/1 Colgate Pro Clinical Toothpaste, any 4.0 oz or larger coupon from the 5/15 SS insert (you may have gotten a $1 off in your paper!)
Get back $4.00 RR
= FREE or $0.25 ea.

Gillette Fusion ProGlide System $9.89, Get $5.00 RR
Use $4.00/1 Gillette Fusion coupon from the 5/1 P&G insert
Get back $5.00 RR
= $0.89

Nova Max Plus Blood Glucose Monitor – $10.00, Get $10.00 RR
= FREE

Scotch Magic Tape (3/4×300 or 1/2×450) – Buy 1 at $1.99, Get 2 FREE
Use 2 $1.00/1 coupons from HERE (2nd page)
And Use Walgreens in-ad store coupon (hand this coupon over last to avoid beeping at the register)
= Three FREE

ActivOn Pain Relief Arthritis or Joint & Muscle Relief (2 oz.) for $7.99
Submit Mail in Rebate that prints at register for $7.99
= FREE

**BONUS DEAL: If you can get three copies of the 5/15 RP insert and three copies of the 5/1 P&G insert, try this deal:

Various Body Washes: Gillette (16 oz.), Old Spice (16 or 18 oz.), or Zest (18 oz.) – 3/$10.00, Get back $3 RR
Buy 3 Gillette Body Washes & 3 Gillette Deodorants
Use 3 $2.00/1 Gillette Body Wash coupons from the 5/15 RP insert
Use 3 Gillette Deodorant, Any FREE WYB Gillette Body Wash (valid up to $4.99) coupon from the 5/1 P&G insert
Get back $3.00 RR
= $1.00 for all 6 items!

How did you do this week?

Week 5: Extreme Couponing Class — Get $55 of Freebies from Walgreens! (May 9, 2011)

Welcome to Week 6 of the ten week couponing course!


It’s a great week, and you’re about to get over $55 of items for free at Walgreens (we’ll actually make money on a few!)

If you aren’t part of the couponing class, go here to learn more about my free couponing course.


This week we’ll be working on CATALINAS and REGISTER REWARDS. Although we have explored some of this before, it’s a good time to go back and make sure you understand exactly how register rewards and catalinas work.

What is a Catalina and/or Register Reward?

A catalina is essentially a coupon that is automatically printed out at the register when you buy a certain item. At Walgreens, these are called Register Rewards. Like other deals, you can find out about Catalinas in a store’s inserts or at a money-saving coupon blog like Saving Money Plan.

The big thing to remember about Catalinas/Register Rewards is that they count to the machine as a “coupon.” Let’s say you are buying 1 item. If you are already using a manufacturer’s coupon then your Register Reward will “count” as a second coupon, meaning the register will think you are using two coupons for one product, and won’t allow the transaction. The solution is to buy a really cheap item (a piece of candy, say), called a “filler” by most couponers so that you can get the one coupon-to-one item ratio back.

Another thing to remember with Register Rewards is that they are not just like ECBs at CVS. Yes, you do present them to the clerk like cash, but you cannot use a register reward you got on a shampoo deal to then buy more of the same shampoo deal. Instead, if you want to keep buying the shampoo deal, you’ve got to use either a different register rewards coupon (say for a soup deal), or cash! Finally, Register Rewards are set to print as one Register Reward for each item – so if there is no limit on the number of free shampoo you can get, you still must do separate transactions to get each and every register reward on each bottle!

Make sense? I know it may seem a bit confusing, but it’s something that you’ll get the hang of easily with a little practice.

Let’s get to the deals at Walgreens. They are great this week!

The Deals:

Colgate Total Advanced or Gum Defense Toothpaste 4 oz. 2/$6.00, Get $4.00 RR
Buy 2, Use 2 $1.00/1 Colgate Total coupon from All You Magazine, April issue or from HERE
Get back $4.00 RR
= Two FREE

Clean & Clear Morning Burst Body Wash 16 oz. BOGO @ $5.99
Use BOGO Clean & Clear Body Wash (valid up to $5.99) coupon from the 3/27 SmartSource (SS) insert
= Two FREE

Tylenol Pain Precise products $7.99
Use $5.00/1 coupon from the 5/8 SS insert or from HERE
And use $3.00/1 Walgreens store coupon from May Coupon Monthly Booklet
= FREE

Renew Life Ultimate Flora Probiotic 30 ct. $15.00, $15.00 Mail-in Rebate (*Prints out at register after purchase*)
Use $2.00/1 Ultimate Flora Probiotic, any coupon from the 4/10 SS insert or from HERE
Submit rebate
= FREE plus $2.00 overage

TRUEResult Blood Glucose Monitor $12.99, $12.99 Mail-In Rebate on package
Submit Rebate
= FREE

Nexcare Bandages 20-30 pack, various $2.99, $2.99 Mail-in Rebate on package
Use $1.00/1 Nexcare product coupon from HERE (upper far right)
Submit Rebate
= FREE plus $1.00 overage

Sunburnt Gel 2.5 oz. $3.99, $3.99 Mail-in Rebate (*Prints out at register after purchase*)
Use $0.50/1 coupon from HERE
Submit Rebate
= FREE plus $0.50 overage
So buy your items, and make sure to fill out and send in any of the mail-in rebates!

Week 4: Extreme Couponing Class — $40 of Free Products (May 2, 2011)

Welcome to week 4 of the ten week couponing course!

Go here to learn more about the free couponing course. Also, make sure to brush up on the week 3 assignment.

Week 4 is all about matching up different coupons, or “coupon match-ups.” Let’s review again what this means:

What are Coupon Match Ups?

Coupon match-ups are when you match up different types of coupons. There are two main types of coupons:

  • manufacturer’s coupons
  • store coupons

Manufacturer’s coupons are the coupons that come in the Sunday newspapers, or perhaps in a magazine you are reading or at a website you are looking at (printable internet coupons), or inside the box of a product you buy. They are made by the manufacturer of the product and say so on the coupon.

Store coupons are coupons that a particular store puts out. Walgreens, for example, has a weekly flier with weekly deals inside and Walgreens coupons you can use for that week. CVS also has a weekly flier. The key to saving big money and getting hundreds in free toiletries and household items every month is in matching up these two coupons and combining them with ECBS at CVS, for instance.

How to Match up Coupons:

1. To succeed at matching up coupons you need a stash of manufacturer’s coupons. Every Sunday, you should be collecting the coupon inserts in the Sunday paper and putting them in a drawer or box devoted to this class and your coupons. There is no need to cut them yet.

2. Then, once a week you should come to a blog like Saving Money Plan that gives you a list of how the manufacturer’s coupons you have been stashing away in your coupon drawer match up with the weekly coupons and other deals going at various drugstores (Walgreens, CVS, Rite-Aid, etc.)

3. Print out that list from a blog like Saving Money Plan

4. Then go to your coupon drawer and find the coupons you need that you have stashed away (blogs like mine will list the inserts by the date of that Sunday paper, so while you’re learning I recommend not cutting any of your coupons and keeping the inserts intact so you can easily go back to that dated insert to find the coupon mentioned) and then

5. Get any other coupons that that blog post says you need (sometimes there are links to new internet printable coupons, and sometimes the store deals are actual coupons that you need to cut out from the weekly store flier) Write a list of what you will be purchasing and how much it should cost (or follow one of the lists on a blog like this letter-by-letter). Take your calculator to the store.

6. Make your purchases! Ready to try?

Week 4 Assignment

So by now you should have been saving the coupon inserts that come with each Sunday newspaper. Either you are subscribing to this newspaper, or picking up somewhere. If you need to find a Sunday paper that has the coupon inserts go here to this website.

These are the different coupon inserts:

Coupon Insert 1: Smart Source (called “SS” for short in blogs)

Coupon Insert 2: Red Plum (called “RP” for short in blogs) or Valassis (called “V” in blogs) (Check to see if your area still receives this in the Sunday papers here (thanks I heart wags)

Coupon Insert 3: P&G (info on distribution here)

When you get them, put the inserts each week, in a drawer or box devoted to your couponing. Some weeks, like this one, there may be only one insert – and not both – in the the papers.

Here is a schedule of which weeks of the year have which inserts. Again: don’t bother cutting any coupons out of the inserts until you have read on a blog like Saving Money Plan which coupon you need for a particular deal. Just keep them in your drawer or box. So the way you save big money with coupons is combining all the methods we have learned so far on individual deals. This allows you to consistently pick up free or very cheap products on a monthly basis. You have already learned that you can combine an internet printable coupon with a weekly or monthly store deal. Now, we are going to ad in the manufacturer’s coupons that come in those Sunday inserts, because those are a massive source of potential freebies!

Now let’s go to Walgreens!

Here are the free or nearly free things. Keep in mind that, since we are starting to incorporate the weekly inserts, I’m not certain how far back you have been saving the inserts. So you may not have some of these inserts because you didn’t start saving them until after the date. In that case, skip that deal! Remember: When it says $2.50/1 that means the coupon is good for $2.50 off of 1 item! So $1/2 means that the coupon works for 1 dollar off when you buy 2 items!

Deals to do this week at Walgreens:

Buy 2 Splenda products, get $3.00 Register Rewards (RR)

  • Buy 2 Splenda No Calorie Sweetener (100 count), $2.99
  • Get $3 Register Rewards Back
  • Use two $3/1 Splenda 80 count or larger coupon from the 4/17/11 Smart Source in last Sunday’s paper OR use $2.00/1 coupon HERE

= FREE plus up to $3.03 overage

(Note that this deal is good through 5/15. If you’ve been following the coupon class, I suggested this one last week, too. Do it again to get more free Splenda if you’ll use it!)

GUM Eez-Thru Flossers 75 or 90 ct. $2.00, Get $2.00 RR
= FREE

Noxzema Disposable Razors 4 pk. $3.99, Get $3.00 RR
Use $2.00/1 Noxzema Spa Shave 4-blade shaver from the 5/1 Red Plum insert
Get back $3.00 RR
= FREE plus $1.01 overage

Tylenol Pain Precise products $7.99
Use $5.00/1 coupon HERE
And use $3.00/1 Walgreens store coupon from May Coupon Monthly Booklet
= FREE

Fixodent Cleanser 78 pk. $3.99, Get $1.00 RR
Buy 2, Use BOGO Fixodent Denture Cleanser coupon from the 4/10 RP insert
Use $3.00/1 Fixodent Cleanser coupon from the 5/1 P&G insert
Get back $1.00 RR
= Two for FREE

Soft Sheen Optimum Care Relaxer Kit $6.99=$5.00 RR
Use $2.00/1 coupon HERE
Get back $5.00 RR
= FREE

If even reading this post made sense to you, you should be so excited – because you have made major headway.

To test yourself, I want you read this entire post on the Walgreens deals this week see if you understand what all the coupon match-ups are suggesting. The first time I read a post with all those “SS” and “RP” words and dates I was baffled. However, learning what a coupon match-up is, and all the many ways to do it is ESSENTIAL to getting hundreds of dollars in free items every month – as is saving your weekly inserts. Don’t throw them away – save them until a blog like Saving Money Plan tells you to use them! Finally, when shopping, at each store I want you to use your calculator to check what you should be spending against the receipts you are getting.

As always – if you have any questions let me know!