Wednesday, July 30, 2014

~ Discount Diva ~ Breaking it Down ~ Session 3 ~ Stockpiling ~ What is it & Why should I do it ? ~

The Faith Journals will be doing two series of posts through out the rest of the summer and possibly into Fall . The topics of " Breaking it Down " & " Quick Fixes "  on varied money saving , stress lowering , and life bettering subjects will be shared . Both series have the purpose of helping make life a little easier and a little less expensive . My thoughts are that we are all in this together , we might as well share our secrets on survival . That is also why you will see some guests posts in these series . Today ' s  " Breaking it Down " will focus on the topic of  " stockpiling " , what is it and why should you do it ?

Some fellow couponers hear the word stockpile and automatically think of a mini - mart in your basement . I am not to that extreme , though when I watch extreme couponing on TV I do envy their never ending stock of movie candy !! As you read this post there are going to be a few words you should know . To start and to answer the question of  " What is stockpiling ? " I shall lean on my old friend merriam-Webster and per www.merriam-webster.com the definition of  "Stockpile " is as follows....

a :  a reserve supply of something essential accumulated within a country for use during a shortage
b :  a gradually accumulated reserve of something

 
Words you need to know per the Stacie dictionary ....

Deal Dash : a : going to a store or from store to store simply for the sales , coupons , discounts and savings . b : a sale / deal that is worth the fuel / time of not purchasing everything in one location .
aka : store hopping
 
Store Hop : Going from store to store in succession . Kinda like a pub crawl , but different . Plus , you will more than likely remember how you got home , not be found lying on the floor screaming " I LOVE THIS SONG!! " or wonder where your other shoe is . Bonus !!
 
Clearanced : Not a real word . Totally made it up . Verb : The action of having been reduced to a final price .

Store Coupon : a coupon that is specific / can not be used at another retailer . EX: Coupons that are often printed at the time of your receipt as an attachment or found only in retailer circulars / weekly ads or are located near the entrance of the store . They are usually marked with the stores emblem or symbol .

Manufacturer Coupons : a coupon that comes straight from the maker of the item . EX: Secret , Revlon , Yardley's , Tide . It is usually printed next to the expiration date that the coupon is from the manufacturer . Can be found in Sunday News papers , online or in store isle dispensers (kinda like the take a number machine at a butcher or pharmacy ) .

Behind the Counter Coupons : Coupons that are sent to the retailer with the product for display or for the purpose of handing out . Much like with samples , stores tend to keep them behind the counter for the sake of a neat display and saving space . Unless you ask or the cashier offers up the info you will not know these are there . Gotta ASK !!

Side Note : Most stores will allow you to combine store and manufacturer coupons ! But be sure to read the store coupon policy before counting on those doubled savings .

This is a Coupon Care Package that I sent to one of my
former RA's while she finished up her degree . The coupons were
sectioned off for cleaning supplies , date night , and beauty products .
 College students are resourceful & truly are some of the best
at  stretching a dollar . When made aware of the savings coupons
can bring it is almost as good as sending them actual money / products .
Almost ! Definitely cheaper to ship than a bottle of shampoo !
Now , we are not in a situation where we " need " to stockpile due to shortage , but I do believe that stockpiling items you regularly use is financially wise and a way of being a good steward . That is one of my main concerns when couponing , deal dashing and stock piling . I want to respect what I have and make the most of it . Not everyone thinks that way and that is TOTES O.K. ! I hear a lot of people say that they don't coupon because why would they want to have 4 bottles of shampoo ?! Here is the answer to " Why should I do it ? " ; for me if it is going to be a future purchase , it is on sale now ,  I have a coupon now , and I can afford it now , then why not go ahead and stock the fridge / medicine cabinet / cub bard / linen closet / etc . ? Personally it has always proven cheaper in the long run , saved me some time and stress . I think we all hate reaching for something and not having it when we need it . Now , please take a moment to think this through . If it is going to put you out , into debt , cost you more than it saves , or ruin/go bad quickly than that is simply counter productive . The goal is to lower the stress and save a dollar not pull our hair out and go broke . One more thing to consider as you read , I live in a small town . So , for me to " deal dash " is not difficult or costly . I can go to CVS and in  one - two minutes be across the street and in Walgreens .

When planning a deal dash I think you should consider several things . 1 . As they say in Hollywood , it's all about Location ! Location ! Location ! Competing chains are often located across the street or beside one another . See example of CVS & Walgreens in paragraph above . If you will be spending more money on fuel to hop from store to store then it is best to do the home work early and see which store will give you the most for your money prior to hitting the road . 2 . How long will you be out ? If you are going to be out for a while or live a good distance from the store you might want to consider taking a cooler or cold lined lunch box with you to store certain items . 2 liters do not do well in heat so , leaving them in the car while you store hop can lead to a soda explosion.....not a fun kind like on the science channel . Cosmetics / certain hygiene products do not hold up in heat either .  3 . Like a boy scout , you must always be prepared . <-- See also #2 . Know the coupon policy or be willing to ask when you are in the store , look at the current weeks circular , know what coupons you have prior to going in and filling your buggy , don't be afraid to ask sales associates if you have a question or a item isn't marked as it was advertised and last but not least have a goal / budget in mind . I have found that if I go in with out having a budget / goal then I will spend more and end up with things I don't or won't really need .
I keep reusable grocery bags in my car
so that they are always handy . Some stores such as Target
will giveyou a discount when you use a reusable bag instead
 of using their plastic bags . To me a nickel saved is a nickel earned ! :-)
One of my examples is going to be this weeks CVS circular . SIDENOTE : It is important to keep in mind that some retailers circulars vary depending on state and city . So , again ,  it is important to review your local ad prior to heading out for a deal dash ! In my location , with my CVS Extra Care Card , this is a free service provided by all CVS stores to help w/ discounts & to accumulate
" rewards " for the customer . Break it Down : You simply sign up , are given a plastic card and key fob for handy scanning and every time you shop there you " earn rewards " for being a customer . It is also used for their in house coupon machine . Today I scanned my card at the in house coupon machine and received three coupons . 1 . A free reusable grocery bag (as seen in weekly circular) and 30% off of selected CVS items . 2 . Thirty cents off certain 2 liters and 3 . $ 2 . 00 off selected vitamins . For this girl anything that helps me to  ~ Reduce ~ Reuse ~ Repurpose ~ , is a bargain . Sadly my store was out of the advertised reuse bag , but when I asked a sales clerk she let me know they are giving customers a different CVS reuse bag in place of the advertised one . The one I got was prettier so I was happy with the trade .  Breaking it Down : On this visit I didn't use any  "store " coupon other than the free bag , but they had a buy 1 get 1 50% off ( with CVS Care Card ) on the deodorant I use . I came prepared and had on hand a buy 2 get $ 4 . 00 off manufacturer coupon .  Combining the bargains I was able to purchase 2 boxes of deodorant for $ 9 . 48 . This item is normally $8 . 99 per box @CVS , making my savings $ 8 . 50 not counting tax . I basically got a second box for 49 cents . Yes , I am a high maintenance kind of chick when it comes to certain beauty products so , this was a real deal for me !! . To help you compare , at another local non - drug store - esq store (aka box store) the deodorant was $ 7 . 99 a box . At a glance that looks like a good deal and if you only want to purchase one box , are in a hurry or don't want to deal dash then yes , it is cheaper , but when you compare it to getting 2 boxes for $1 .49 more , it really isn 't much of a bargain .  Deodorant is a product that doesn't exactly expire and I will always need . Making this a stock pile worthy item , plus I got a FREE reusable bag !
Todays CVS Deal Dash !
My second example is going to be at Walgreens . On my list was mascara , eye liner ( according to sephora.com you should toss your tube / stick every " 3 months if used daily or every 6 months if not " ) , page protectors ( random I know ) and possibly nail polish . I had a rather unfortunate spill causing me to lose my most used polish . I know . It was way sad (said like a valley girl ) . I also have an abnormal fear / boarder line phobia of getting a sty in my eye so , I am RELIGIOUS about knowing when to toss / replace eye products . For other cosmetic expiration dates , you can click on this link ---> to  sephora.com .

Back to the deals ; as I mentioned before , a deal dash in a small town can totally be worth the time since it isn't really costing you much fuel . Having already compared weekly & regular ad prices I decided that with my coupons , Walgreens Rewards , and the hope that my favorite sales clerk was on duty , going the one block distance across the street was my best choice for purchasing these items . I don't know if I have mentioned this before , but being cordial to sales associates can really be helpful as you shop . Especially if like me you are in a small town where you start to recognize faces or more importantly they start to recognize yours . I have raved to several of my friends about one Walgreens sales associate in particular that is always more than helpful to me . She can usually be found at the cosmetics counter , faithfully greets everyone with a smile and a hell-o while offering her assistance . I think that this is one of those associates that has started to recognize my face too . Walgreens is my favorite go-to for discounted /clearance quality brand nail polish and other varied cosmetic / hygiene items . They can always be relied on for a buy 1 get 1 %50 off  on my favorite brands , plus at the moment you can earn 50 reward points with every dollar you spend , you still earn normal advertised " bonus points " , and it can all be combined with store coupons and manufacturer coupons . Incase this is new to you , Walgreens has a " Balance Rewards " system that is free to all their customers . Break it Down:  You sign up , are given a plastic card and handy key fob so that you don't have to lug a wallet full of discount cards every where . With most purchases you earn " points " and those points turn into dollars . You can use them as soon as you have $ 1 . 00 or you can let them accumulate . At the moment I am letting mine accumulate . So , with coupons in hand , circular reviewed and goal / budget in mind I headed toward the cosmetics when my friendly associate gave me her familiar greeting and offered her assistance . I let her know that I had a few items in mind and coupons I was hoping to make the most of . She immediately noticed the brand I was perusing ( L'Oreal ) and offered to see if she had any " behind the counter " coupons she could offer me . I replied with a " Great ! Thank You ! " and continued my hunt when she gleeful spouts that not only had she found me $ 5 . 00 worth in coupons for the products I was purchasing  , but she also had some free samples to give me ! Now THAT is service !! I was able to get my above listed items for a total of $ 20 . 94 . I also purchased some flavored waters on clearance .
Testing a new mascara and eye liner . I'll
be sure to report back to you on them .
Breaking it Down : Eye Liner normally $ 8 . 99 (  I probably would not pay that for eyeliner on most occasions , but this promises to be 16 hour long lasting and I tend to laugh off my eye make up so with the discount I had today I am gonna give it a try . I'll report back . ) , Mascara Normally $ 7 . 99 with each having a $ 1. 00 off  from the " behind the counter " coupons combined with the buy 1 get 1 deal they end up costing , Eye Liner = $ 7 .99 + Mascara $ 2 . 99 = before tax  $ 10 . 98 . All my girls who love cosmetics and beauty products can tell you that a GOOD tube of mascara all on its own can cost close to $ 10 .00 or more depending on the brand . As mentioned I was also hoping to find a replacement nail polish . I came with a $ 3 . 00 off Revlon brand manufacturer coupon knowing that 1 . this brand is buy 1 get 1 %50 off this week . 2 . This is a brand that is frequently  found on Clearance at this store depending on the color / season of the polish .

Once again letting my friendly cashier know what I was on the hunt for she came from around the counter to help me search . She also had a store coupon for $ 3 . 00 off two Revlon nail polishes that could be combine with my manufacturer $ 3 . 00 off  ! I found the polish I needed to replace ( they only had two bottles left so a special display hunt away from the normal brand placement was required ) since the polish is currently buy 1 get 1 % 50 off and I had a coupon for buy two get $ 3 . 00 off I basically HAD to find another polish to get . I mean , it just makes financial sense , right ?! . If nothing else I could us it in a future " Mistle Toes " gift this holiday season . Breaking it Down : Normal price of Revlon Gel Polish $ 7 . 99 , Normal price of second Revlon Polish  $ 5 . 99 . With deals , discounts & coupons Revlon Gel Polish = $ 4 . 99 + Second Polish @ buy 1 get 1 deal $ 2 . 99 + "behind the counter " coupon of $ 3 . 00 off  = 2 Bottles of Revlon Polish for $ 4 .98 not counting tax . Technically getting one bottle for free and the other for half off  when comparing to the original single bottle prices . Nail polish doesn't expire , but it can get dry and gross .  Any one with a caboodle full of polish can tell you that . ( If you don't know what a caboodle is I'm not telling you ) . However , one good thing  is that polish can sometimes be renewed with a little bit of nail polish remover or polish thinner . Sites like www.revlon.com have a section where you can call in to Skype w a representative or send in a e-message for more details / tips .

Break it Down :Something to keep in mind when cruising clearance products . When companies begin a campaign for a " new " product they will often clearance their own previous product if the items are too similar / competing . I. E. Revlon " Color Stay Gel Envy " vs . the previous " Color Stay Nail Enamel " polishes . With a new Gel Campaign out to meet the recent trend of gel manicures there are new names on familiar colors . For example : The picture below is of two bottles that I purchased in January 2014 . See that blog post here .  The blue color is called " Indigo Night " . It has since been remade and re-released into the Gel Envy Collection and given a new name " Wild Card " . Knowing that the Gel Envy collection would be a Spring / Summer release the company clearanced the similar color from the " regular " Color Stay collection in Winter at this retailer . So , as I ( LUCKY CUSTOMER ) come across a discounted item what I need to know is that 1 . There is nothing wrong with it ( otherwise it wouldn't be on the shelf  ) . 2 . It could possibly be discontinued so if I like it I need to grab it up . 3 . If I miss grabbing it up there is a great chance a similar color will be back on the shelves soon possibly in a newly designed bottle , with a special scent or new / improved chemical make up . I.E. Gel polish . The same is true for cereals , seasonal coffee , and varied other items . If a brand comes out with a new box / container design then the previous one will either be removed from the shelves , discounted or clearanced . Still , it is always good habit to check expiration dates no matter if a item is sale , discount , clearance or normal price . No use stockpiling something that has already expired . Does that all makes sense ?! I hope so ! This bonus info given to you courtesy of my Advertising Degree and Retail experience . I am glad to be using both to help you make the most of what you have .

Todays purchase of a gel top coat will hopefully
extend the use of these awesome colors !
Nail polish , shampoo , soap , deodorant , coffee , canned goods , paper products and boxed dried foods such as noodles are all great things to stockpile . When stored properly these items can last a very long time ! You may not use the exact brands that I do , but I am sure that these breaking it down theories can apply for the brands that you do use . Deal dashes / couponing / stockpiling does sometimes require looking twice , looking through sales papers , comparing prices , and reading coupon policies in order to get the most from your store , product and coupons , but for me it has always been worth the extra five minutes of review / math . Don't forget these methods can be used online as well especially when you shop through sites like ebates.com . I hope that these break downs and explanations have helped you to know what to get and when to get it . Again , the goal is to help one another out . To lessen the stress and save some money .  Do you have any stress relieving or money saving tips you would like to share ? Do you have any questions / comments ? Please feel free to leave them in the comment section ! You can also click on any highlighted words / links through out this post to find more information , previous posts , and related links to the products / places mentioned .

Happy Store Hopping and Deal Dashing !!!

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