Friday, March 12, 2010

Couponing for Charity: A Mission Begun

Over the past six months that I've been eagerly couponing, I've sometimes picked up deals that we don't typically use or more of a product than we really need. If I buy one more box of toothpaste or can of soup, my husband may insist I seek counseling for my addiction.

However, rather than give up my thrill of the deal, I've decided to channel my money saving super powers to help those less fortunate. The idea is to gather some of the freebies or super deals out there and donate them to a good cause. I'm calling it "Couponing for Charity" and will begin writing posts regularly with specific deals if you'd like to join along.

First of all, I'm not talking about all the free samples you can sign up for. I find most of those a waste of the manufacturer's resources (packaging, shipping, etc.) and would rather they channel their energies into coupons. I'm talking about the freebies that bloggers highlight all the time, if you're willing to do a little homework.

To help me on my journey, I've enlisted other savvy shoppers, members of our MOMS Club chapter that supports SAHMs and part-time working mothers, to do the same. By the way, if you live in the 37931, 37921, 37909, or 37923 north of I-40 zip codes, we'd love to have you check us out! I've learned that many of these fabulous ladies are already experts at finding deals, clipping coupons, and working the specials at places like Walgreens and CVS. So now it's just a matter of hunting and gathering.

For simplicity sake, we're going to have a trial run for six months and see what we get. We're aiming for hygiene products mostly (things that qualify for register rewards / ECBs or items we can get for free with coupons). After looking at weekly match-ups that other bloggers do, I'll make my recommendations on my blog. I'll list what I plan to pick up for charity that week and how it will cost me little to nothing or even save me money. At the end of the summer, we'll look at what we've all acquired and vote on a charity to donate to (probably something related to women or mothers). Service is a big part of what we do.

Here's an example. A few weeks ago, Walgreens had a RR for Dove Men's Body Wash: spend $6, get $6RR. Since I had a $1.50 coupon for that product, I only spent $4.50 and got $6RR. In a separate transaction, I bought a pack of Huggies diapers on sale for $9 and used my $6RR and a $2 coupon. I had to buy another item to get the coupon ratio correct, but stay with me. In the end, I only spent $5.50 for both diapers and body wash (cheaper than if I'd bought the diapers alone), and as a bonus, the diapers gave me another $3RR. Since my husband is more of a bar soap man, I'll donate the men's wash to our cause. It's a win-win: I saved money and a charity gets a great product for someone.

I plan to keep a running tally of my finds (value vs money spent). In the above example, I'd record a $6 value and -$1.50 (a "money maker"). That will make me feel better when I spend some money on products--like $.24 for a tube of toothpaste.

Thanks to Gabe from Couponing in Critical Times for the inspiration to get this going. If you need guidance for mastering CVS or Walgreens deals, Coupon Mommie has put these tips together.

There are several deals you might consider this week. At Kroger, if you buy 8 qualifying products, you save $4 instantly. With that sale, Speed Stick deodorants are $1; with a $.50 coupon that Kroger doubles, that one's FREE. I'll buy 2 3-count bars of Irish Spring soap on sale for $1, use a $.50/2 coupon, and pay only $.50 each. Dial hand soap (also $1) will only be $.30 after a $.35/1 coupon.

Click here for Coupon Katie's Walgreens recommendations and here for all the Walgreens match-ups. I'll be picking up the Colgate (spend $3.99, get $3.99RR) and will use a $1/1 coupon. I'll be doing this in twice in separate transactions to get two register rewards to use next week. I also have all the coupons for the $.38 toothbrushes and the $.22 boxes of Kleenex.

Click here for Coupon Katie's CVS recommendations and here for all the CVS match-ups. This will be my first trip to CVS, but I have my new card and I'm ready to give it a try. I'm excited about the Dove and Degree deodorant special (spend $15, get $5ECB) that should make 6 of them $.17 each with coupons. If you have not printed these high value coupons, do it now before they're gone. I have 3 $3/2 coupons (hoping the Degree Girl is included in the special) and 1 $1.50/2 Dove coupon if not. I'm hoping the shelves won't be clear by the time I get there. Save a few for me, will you?

I'll let you know how my plan works out (with totals) in a future post. If you have any tips for me and my money saving mommas, please leave a comment.

1 comment:

  1. I'm so excited that you are starting this process!! I can't wait to hear how much you all collect!

    I have one more for you to add to your list. Target has a gift card deal where if you buy 4 participating Kellogg's cereals, you'll get a $5 gift card. If you price match with either the Walgreens ad ($1.99 each) or the Food City ad (3/$5 or $1.67 each), this will work out to be a great deal on cereal. Reportedly, some of the boxes have peelies on them. Since I haven't been shopping yet, I recommend to bring both of the ads with you to price match. I've heard that some but not all of the cereals in the ads are participating with the Target gc deal. I hope that makes sense.

    I'm happy to help if there is anything I can do. Great job on this project!!