Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Target; Walgreens; Donating Stuff

Well, after I learned my lesson from my last grocery store trips, I waited to do my major coupon shopping until Caleb was in preschool. Shopping with only one kiddo is infinitely easier.

So today I went to Target and spent $66.26. A big chunk of that was some summer clothes for Isaac and Caleb--I bought 5 pairs of cute shorts at $4 each (good deal!). I also splurged on some new cups for Caleb, since he's chewed on the tops of his other cups (that he's had for a couple of years), and he still needs sippies for his preschool lunches, car trips, etc. But here are the highlights of the other things I got:
  • Mega pack (184 count) of Huggies wipes--$.49
  • 8 Johnson's Buddies soaps--FREE
  • Pledge multi-surface spray--$.74
  • Scrubbing Bubbles bathroom cleaner--$1.75
  • 2 Barilla Whole Grain pasta--$.74 each
  • 2 Musselman applesauce 4-packs--$1.00 each
  • Jello pudding 6-pack--$1.44
  • Diet Dr. Pepper 2-liter--FREE
  • 2 Steamfresh Veggies--$.65 each
All in all, I saved $20.99 just from coupons. If you shop at Target, go here to print out coupons before you go. These are store coupons, so you can combine them with manufacturer coupons if you have them!

I also stopped by Walgreens today for my first foray into couponing there. It was actually a bit intimidating! You have to really know what you are looking for. I ended up getting only one item: Skintimate shaving cream. I paid $2.49 and I got $3 in Register Rewards, which I can use as a credit on my next purchase. The plan is to keep using those Register Rewards to buy more stuff, get more Register Rewards, etc. In the end, Walgreens should be paying me to shop there. We'll see. I'm starting small!


Now, some of the stuff that I get from couponing is stuff that I don't normally use. My plan with couponing is to use it as a tool to not only help my budget, but to help others as well. I took the boys with me a couple of weeks ago to donate some food to our city's Family Services Center. I expected to just drop off some stuff and go, but I actually had a man strike up a conversation with me while I was there. He wanted to thank me for donating items, and he told me his story of how he got there. Just a few months ago, he was employed and making over $80K per year. But then he got laid off--out of the blue--and he didn't have much savings to fall back on. So now he's gone from living comfortably to depending on the generosity of others to make it. He has two children.

This really made an impact on me. All I had donated that day was some baby food jars that we'd had left from Caleb (that stuff has a really long shelf life!!), some disposable diapers that Isaac was too big to wear, and some other miscellaneous stuff like that. Nothing huge. And I thought, "How can I do more?"

So while I research all this couponing stuff, I keep that man in my mind. Every time I see a coupon for something that I don't think I'll use, I think, "Could the food bank use that product?" If the answer is yes, then I go ahead and clip the coupon. If I come across a deal where I can get it for free or dirt cheap, I'll pick it up so I can donate it.

Yes, it takes extra time. Yes, it actually ends up costing me a little money (although I do get tax benefits from the donations). But I feel that it's the right thing for me to do.

All that said, if you see weird stuff on my shopping trip posts and start wondering why I would buy that, more than likely it's because I'm going to donate it.

And yes, this hits on another subject that is dear to me: the environment. I always feel a tinge of guilt when I buy things that are in small packages just to get a deal, or when I buy cleaning supplies at a great price when normally I wouldn't allow them in my home (many of those cleaning supplies are just toxic, and we try to use all natural stuff here). But ultimately I had to decide that people come first, and if I can help people, then I will do that before I help the environment. That's just my conviction right now. Of course, I do try to limit my purchases of those types of things anyway.

I'm just a walking conundrum, I know. But who isn't?


Mandy and Jack said...

You're inspiring me to do this coupon thing. I just found http://www.southernsavers.com and it lists all the CVS ECBs and Walgreens RR, plus deals at other stores. I'm a fan.

some chick said...

OK, I want to know how you got so many baby wipes for $.49!!!

Spill it!

Tiffany said...

On coupons.com a couple of weeks ago there were a couple of outrageously good Huggies coupons. One was $3 off any Natural Fit diapers, and the other was $5 off any Gentle Care product. Well, they make Gentle Care wipes, so one time I used the $5 coupon to get some $2.50 wipes free PLUS I got overage, and the other time I used it at Target here on a big pack of wipes on sale for $5.49.