Posted in coupons, good deal

Another Date, Another Dollar.

A good day for my husband and I is when we come home with more money than we left with.  If this makes our date day sound like more of a transaction than a relationship, well, you would have to know us to understand that hunting good deals is as much a part of who we are together as it is of my identity alone. We started our “hot date” by visiting some local businesses to post fliers for our grandson’s February benefit and to request donations for the silent auction.  We left town after posting seven fliers and netting three nice donations and two promises of a future donation.

Our first stop was a Salvation Army thrift shop, where we immediately spotted the sign that advertised the day’s special was on all children’s clothing under size 5. The sale was 6 for a dollar, and it included the pink tags, which are new items. Now, I don’t have any children that wear under a size 5, but I do have two grandsons that size and a garage sale every season. I also trade children’s clothing on www.ThredUp.com and they were currently offering a $5 bonus for each box that was posted and picked. Two-piece Nick & Nora Christmas pajama sets went into my cart, Circo and Genuine Kids cute shirts with tags, three brand new children’s coats and a darling snowsuit, a hanna Andersson boy’s sweater and a couple other boutique items, and then, of course, anything army color for Jo-Jo and Jacob. Two hours and two carts later, I paid $35 for 192 children’s clothing items and 18 books that were priced at 6 for a dollar.

Our next stop was Walgreens where, unfortunately, all the L’oreal clearance-priced make-up was gone. I did pick up two big bottles of gummie vitamins for the kids with my $5 catalina coupons from the week before, along with another razor that was triggering a $5 catalina. I paid $19.97 after coupons and got back $10 in catalinas. If you were following us around with your calculator, you’d have figured out we’d already spent $54.97, but our next stop was HalfPrice Books, where we redeemed ourselves with $114 for the books we brought in.  Of course, I spent $31.00 on a stack of Justine magazines and a book diary for Katie, along with a few books for me, one of which is displayed prominently amid this “mess.”  Look closely, and you can see the title. Ironic, isn’t it?

By this time, my total profit was down to $28.03, but I hadn’t even hit the grocery store yet. How on Earth was I going to leave town with more money than I came with, after grocery shopping?

By hitting the Hy-Vee 12-hour specials, and strategically using my coupons, that’s how.

I’d carefully planned my strategy before we left home. I’d use my $1 Nabisco cracker coupons on the Nabisco Premium crackers that were selling for 99-cents, and my $1 Quaker Oats coupons on the oatmeal that was priced at $1.68. For each five oatmeals I bought, I could use an in-ad coupon for $3 off fruit.  What I didn’t know when I put 10 boxes of oatmeal and 2 bags of fruit in my cart was that for each 5 oatmeals I bought, I would get a $3 catalina coupon from the register. So the first order of oatmeal, crackers and fruit cost me a whopping $10.90 (the fruit cost more than the $6 that was taken off with in-ad coupon) so my day’s profit was knocked down to $17.23, but out popped the $3 catalina coupon, upping it to $20.23.  Of course, once I realized the $3 catalina coupon was being triggered with Quaker oatmeal, I used up my last five $1 coupons and bought five more, along with another bag of fruit, and this time paid $4.43 ($20.23-$4.43=$15.80), and got another $3 catalina. ($15.80+$3.00=$20.80 profit) Well, we blew $6 on Arby’s roast beef sandwiches as we headed out-of-town because we were starving, and we both agreed the sandwiches, although delicious, were not worth the additional expense, bringing our profit down to $14.80.

If you’re checking my math on this, then you have too much time on your hands, and no, this wasn’t a math word problem for my homeschooled children, although it well could be. If it were, we’d have to bring in the cost of the coupons I’d used, the gas to get to and from Cedar Rapids, and the extra items I’d purchased and forgot to include, like the two boxes of South Beach protein bars that were on sale for $2 and I’d used two $2 online coupons that I’d printed out. Free, or do we need to calculate the cost of the ink and paper I’d used to print them off? And then the $114 at HalfPrice Books wasn’t pure profit as I’d had to pay for the books in the first place. One box was magazines I’d read and some I’d gotten from the free box at the library.  The others were from my own bookshelves or the 6 for a dollar sales at the Salvation Army. A few were from a booksale I’d attended last week and some were from my sister’s $2 a bag sale. Unless I’d written down exactly what I’d spent on the books, there was no way to ascertain just what amount was actually profit, but I do know my books and know not to invest much in them.

My point was not actually to come home with more money than I’d spent, it was to be alone with David and do something fun.  If we end up making a little money in the process, well that is just icing on the cake of our companionship. 

Because if life were a contest to see who could have the most fun with their husband in their coupon adventures…

…then I win.

Author:

Author, public speaker, and workshop presenter for community colleges, libraries, women's groups and for grief support groups, Hospice and retreats. Certified grief counselor and Senior Service librarian for the James Kennedy Public library. Popular public speaker and workshop presenter on the topics of writing, couponing, utilizing your creativity in everyday life, and finding hope in grief. "Coupon Crazy: The Science, the Savings, and the Stories Behind America's Extreme Obsession" was published by Familius Publishing in 2014. "Chemo-Therapist: How Cancer Cured a Marriage" and "Refined By Fire: A Journey of Grief and Grace" were released by Familius in 2014. "Mary & Me: A Lasting Link Through Ink," co-written with Mary Jedlicka Humston of Iowa City, was published in September 2015. Grief journal to be released in 2018.

4 thoughts on “Another Date, Another Dollar.

  1. Mary,

    I am in disbelief that you get all that good stuff at Salvation Army. WOW! Only once at a Goodwill in Madison did I see stuff like that! Kudos to you!

  2. AWW Mary- you had me till your last comment, I beg to differ, John and I have as much fun as you and David, I am almost sure! But you go girl, I know how it feels to find deals with your better half.. it makes the whole day doesn’t it?

    Lisa

  3. I am so glad that you and David went out and about; and to have so much fun to boot. You made my head spin and I almost felt like I was doing story problems !!

  4. I didn’t think that when I started to read your post that I would be taking a math class. I always hated story problems. HaHa!!! I was in shock at what you got at the Salvation Army. You have such good luck there. Whenever I go to my local store, I never find anything there. Glad that you and David had a good day together.

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