Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Boot Camp: Seven Items You May Never Have to Pay for Again

What if I told you that you would never again have to pay for a tube of toothpaste. Ever.  How about lightbulbs? Make-up? Can't you just hear the savings adding up? If you're serious about couponing and playing The Drugstore Game, there are at least seven household items that you may never have to pay for again. Here they are:

• Toothpaste and toothbrushes. Dental hygiene? You're set. Toothpaste and toothbrushes seem to be a magnet for freebie deals. At least once a month, I have an opportunity to "buy" free toothpaste or toothbrushes when combining store sales and coupons!

• Lightbulbs. Another common freebie at drugstores. And here's a plus: perhaps these freebies are going to start translating into more "green" options as well- I hope so! A couple of weeks ago I was able to get two of the newer energy efficient light bulbs (you know, the kind that lasts for up to five years!) for free at Rite Aid. Good for the earth, good for your electric bill, good for your monthly budget. Love it.

• Shampoo and Conditioner. Shampoo manufacturers are competing for your brand loyalty. You get to take advantage of that competition. This week alone, I got 11 free bottles of Garnier Fructis shampoo, conditioner and stylers. I have so much in my stockpile now, it's time to start giving it away or tossing it in the yard sale box. (I sell these for $1 or more a piece at a yard sale, and the customers are thrilled.)

• Make-up/ Cosmetics. Anytime you have a BOGO (Buy 1 get 1 free) coupon, be on the lookout for free make-up! Stores often have BOGO sales on make-up, and when you combine a BOGO coupon with a BOGO store sale, you get two products free! (Not all stores will allow you to do this, but many will!). I have stocked up on free make-up at Walgreens, Rite Aid and K-Mart.

Are you going to get Clinique or Estee Lauder make-up free? No. Usually it's more along the lines of Maybeline or Cover Girl. But hey, it's free. Giving up my Clinique make-up and skin care is probably the only brand-loyalty pain I've had to bear since embracing the frugal life. But, I'm saving a ton of money, and I hardly even notice any more. I'll take free Cover Girl over full-price Clinique any day of the week.

• Razors, Deodorant and other Personal Hygiene items. I'm going to lump all these together, just because they all fall under the "personal hygiene" category. Watch for RR deals on Venus and Gillette razors at Walgreens- they seem to pop up quite often, making these nice razors free or even money-makers after coupons. Deodorant, body wash, feminine hygiene products and other hygiene item deals pop up pretty frequently as well.

• Household Cleaners. Especially of the Scrubbing Bubbles/ SCJohnson variety. I heart SCJohnson. They regularly put out high-value coupons and host in store promotions at Walgreens. It's been nearly a year since I have paid out of pocket for any type of household cleaner... and now I'm getting spoiled because I even get to use all the various pre-moistened wipes (Windex, Scrubbing Bubbles, Pledge) that used to seem like a luxury to me when I was buying the generic spray cleaners.

• Diapers. I'm not going to personally make you a guarantee on this one, because free diaper deals aren't always readily available. However, I can tell you that if you are able to give up your diaper brand loyalty (which I know isn't possible for everyone, because some kids really do leak through all but a couple brands of diapers), you will be able to spend a fraction of retail price on your diapers. Even if you are only able to use one brand, you will occasionally be able to find a great deal on that brand and stock up. I will tell you that Lucas and I have not spent a dime on diapers since last June, and we have had two in diapers full-time during part of that time period, and one in diapers and one in night-time pull-ups the rest of the time. 

There you have it- my list of the top seven items you are most likely to get free through couponing. Before long, you'll find it hard to believe that you ever spent money on toothpaste!

1 comment:

  1. wow...I am just amazed by all I have read on your site recently! I have never ever done coupons or gotten into any of this and I have to admit I am intrigued. I can't believe you haven't bought diapers in sooo long! I feel bad for not trying a few of these things earlier since dave was not working for about 6 months...but now I will certainly have a more open mind to all this! thanks for posting all this for everyone!