Tag Archives: target

Unexpected Savings And Deals

I am sort of “in the middle” when it comes to saving my latte money (i.e. couponing/frugality/small savings ). When I read money-saving blogs, I’m equally amazed and a bit confused about the lengths that people go to for free/cheap drugstore goods — multiple transactions, rolling over rewards, coupon tricks, stockpiling etc…  At the same time, I do periodically try to snag deals at drugstores using a combination of manufacturer and store coupons AND sometimes it does take a lot of time/effort.

While I do think that saving big is more important in your overall financial health — learn to negotiate, improve job skills, get a better paying job, invest wisely, don’t buy more house than you can afford, etc.. — sometimes I do have the time and energy to work in small savings.  I still make beginner “mistakes” and forget prices but I thought I write down some recent small savings and see if it makes any difference.

$20 gift card – Olay Rebate with $50 purchase of products, all of which I got on sale at pretty good prices.

$10 gift card – for signing up for online bill payment

$50 cash – for signing up for a savings account. While I don’t recommend opening and closing multiple accounts, this one did not have many restrictions.

$4 in Rite Aid register rewards – I used $2 rewards plus a $1 manufacturer coupon to get a “free” bottle of shampoo.

$6 cash – free meal at Panda Express for buying a $25 gift card.   Panda Express never satisfies my craving for real Chinese food but I know I’ll end up using the gift card.

$20 in Target gift cards – for spending $50 at Target.  I got this deal twice.  In the first transaction, I had to buy a couple of kid toys and spent $61.  In the second transaction (another visit), I bought a large bag of dog food and 2 other items, spending $55 total.   I try to get good deals and stick to my shopping list rather than buy enough just to make the $50 requirement for the gift card.

$15 Ebates check – If you shop online, it’s worth signing up for Ebates or similar service. I don’t know how Ebates makes money but if you go to the ebates website first, then click through to an online retailer, they give you cash back quarterly just for making your usual purchases.

$7 cash – for signing up with the Fresh & Easy Friends loyalty card. I haven’t redeemed it yet but it should be pretty straightforward

$10 gift card – for watching a health care video.

$142 Total. 

Plus, “Bonus” unexpected savings that didn’t give me cash but helped the bottom line:

$25 savings – Found an obscure code on some tech forum that worked and got 1-year of McAfee at an amazingly low price; Previous year I got the entire year free with a little-advertised Bank of America customer promotion.

$12 (value) – one year free subscription to Whole Living magazine for Harry & David purchase.

$17 free haircut – at Supercuts.  You have to get 10 cuts to get 1 free.

$4 in free food  – Many businesses have survey information printed on the end of their receipts. It’s quick to fill out and you get small perks or a chance to win major money.  Plus, it’s your chance to give valuable feedback that actually does get taken into consideration for a store location’s employees.

Lesson learned: Little savings do add up.  However, I find the drugstore game tactics to be more of a headache than even rebates!

All of the above “little savings” is probably my subconscious way to avoid calling my phone company. I need to do that pronto and re-negotiate my rate (again).

Finally, as a reminder to everyone who hates to negotiate, all those little savings also do not compare at all to my recent negotiations at work that resulted in a nice bonus. 

How far do you go to save money?

Did I Really Save Money?

I often read about frugality bloggers who post about amazing savings on groceries and toiletries ($204 worth of products for $23! or $25 a week to feed a family of four!).  While I am trying to pare down our monthly grocery bill, I don’t think we’ll ever have the time or desire to get that low on grocery bills.  That leaves no room for shrimp, mussels, imported cheese and meats etc…

Truthfully I’ve been a bit suspicious of their savings on toiletries and household goods. Many will buy items they don’t need just to make extra bucks via rewards or cash back.  They claim to sell the unwanted items but what if it doesn’t sell and languishes in their pantry?  Some will give items away to friends and family. That’s nice but also means they’re not the one saving money.

Recently I bought a few toiletries from Rite Aid because of a $25 rebate offer if you purchase $50 of selected products.  On paper, this is an amazing deal. However, I decided to check my math and see if I really saved all that much.

I bought two items at full-price, something a very frugal blogger would never do.  The other four items were on sale and I had an extra $3 off coupon.  I also made the beginner mistake of buying two items that I’ve never tried before in order to get to the $50 total. (I may return it and buy something else, if I have time.)  I also find it a bit strange to stock up on face washes and cosmetics even if I will use these within the year.

For my comparison, I jotted down the regular prices for the same items at Walmart.  Their prices were $1 to $2 lower than Rite Aid.  However, with the Rite Aid sale and coupon, I spent $2 less even before rebate.

The good thing about the Rite Aid rebates is that you can submit your receipts online; within 2 – 3 days, you’ll get an email saying if you qualify for the rebate or not. If for some reason, I don’t qualify, I have time to return the items and buy something else to get to the $50 total.  I also haven’t had any issues with their rebates since they started allowing online submissions.  So if the $25 rebate goes through, I’ll spent $29 less.

In summary:

1 )  If you buy toiletries and household goods at full-price, go to Walmart or Target. 

2 ) Sales at Rite Aid and drugstores will bring it the price down to Walmart’s level or lower.  However, I’ve learned not to go out of my way for deals.  (I’ve documented by ongoing struggles with time vs. money here, here and here.)

3 ) Walmart is a  better choice if you don’t want to look for sales or worry about out-of-stock items.  As I mentioned, “frugalites” (is that a word?) will clear out the shelves on sales items. You can get a raincheck but that means another trip.  I think Walmart will match prices if you bring in the sales circular.

4 ) Rite Aid rebates can mean pretty big savings.  You have to stock up and meet requirements but it’s not a hassle like mail-in rebates.