Frugal Confessions — Live a VIP Life on an Average Paycheck

Confession time: I stopped receiving the Sunday paper sometime in 2013.

I know…for shame.

The back story: since I’m an unpaid featured blogger at the Houston Chronicle since 2009, I thought that perhaps I could get a free subscription to their Sunday paper and keep the coupons rollin’ in exchange for my writing.

They thought so too, and so they worked on it. And worked on it. And worked on it. We got a ‘late payment’ notice in the mail, then another one, and finally the nice folks at the Chronicle stopped answering my emails because they couldn’t figure out how to tweak their system to give me a free subscription.

Frustrating to say the least, but so it goes sometimes.

Then my husband lost his job, and so I didn’t want to add any extra expenses onto our household, so I decided to not re-up our subscription.

So why am I blabbering on about the Sunday paper at all?

Well, the great news is that it gave me the opportunity to attempt to play the Drugstore Game without the help of manufacturer coupons. And since this is the Numero Uno reason for why people tell me they don’t want to play the Drugstore Game — which will save them hundreds and thousands of dollars on their toiletries — it became the perfect opportunity to show what’s possible without clipping!

Here’s how my experiment went down:

I Didn’t Use ZERO Coupons, Just No Sunday-Paper Coupons

First, I’ll outline how I played the game.

I still used all the principles of the CVS Drugstore Game, as outlined in my fabulous + cheaply-priced eBook. This means that I still used coupons. However, I only used coupons that were directly given to me by CVS itself.

CVS generously disperses coupons to its cardholders with the same consideration as medals at a preschool field day. Every time you turn around, there are coupons coming at you in emails, from the Coupon Center at the store, on the bottom of your receipts, in the mail, etc.

Everyone’s a winner here!

Results: Merchandise Scored

Between November 26, 2014 and January 30, 2015 — the time period that I decided to actually save my receipts and see what I could do to show you — I scored a mighty impressive $129.80 in free merchandise, with an average shopping-trip savings of 89.5% (I just love how CVS tallies this stuff at the bottom of your receipt).

CVS No Coupons

(Note: You’ll see in the photo that lots of coupons CVS gives out are considered Manufacturer coupons and ring up as such; that’s why you can still stack these with a CVS store coupon of say 20% off your entire purchase).

Here’s what was included: 2 Colgate Total White toothpastes, 1 bottle of Listerine (500 mL), 1 playtex feminine product, 3 Dial soap 3-packs, 1 Speedstick deodorant, 3 Scott tissue 12-packs of toilet paper, 1 Palm Oxy Power dish soap, 1 Irish Spring soap 6-pack, 2 Softsoap body washes, 1 Irish Spring body wash, 1 Gillette Fusion razor, 5-count pack of Gillette Fusion refills, 1 Nexium 42-count medicine, and 1 Sponge Bob Square Pants pack of Band-Aids.  

To get this, $20 even (including taxes) came out of my pocket.

Impressive, right? I mean, I even managed to impress myself (and I’ve been playing this game since 2008, with savings of close to $3,000 for my two-person family). I’ve been convinced that I couldn’t play the Drugstore Game in a way that makes it worth it without that Sunday paper, but I’ve totally proven myself wrong. And I hope I’ve shown you what’s possible with what you have right now as well!

Those people who have reached middle age should see retirement on the horizon. They need to be ready for it when it comes and that involves financial planning.  They may look at affordable realistic loans while interest rates are low and they have income to support their applications. Likewise they need to look at their […] Read More

In the free Financial Detox Challenge I hosted on Facebook, I asked participants to introduce themselves by sharing one word that describes the way they currently feel about their finances. The answers were very telling, ranging from "overwhelmed", "distracted", "nervous", and "pathetic", all the way to "autopilot". We've been working through some of these issues […] Read More

Automation is magical. Set it up once, fuhgeddaboudit, and your life is completely supported without much management. But automation can also lead to bills creeping up in cost without you being aware of it. And to be honest...I think companies bank on this. Take our recent examples: During the last round of my course, Save […] Read More

My husband and I have experience with love through difficulties. Like that time we lived 7,000 miles apart (i.e. the first several years of our relationship). Or recently when he had to slug through six months of 12-hour nightshifts. For the 7 days he was on, we would literally see each other for half an […] Read More

Powered by WishList Member - Membership Software