Free food, free gas, new coupons, 100 posts!

Thank you so much for sticking with me through 100 posts! I hope I have helped you with spending, savings, and stockpiling. Please feel free to ask me any questions if you would like for me to explain anything else further.

If you watch the sale items at Bi-Lo, you’ll start to notice trends. There are often bonus items that rotate among lots of commonly used products – cat food, drinks, cereal, vegetables, soup, laundry detergent … it is rarely anything exotic or odd-sized, it is usually a mix of regularly purchased items. You just need to check the circular and schedule your stockpiling to maximize your savings.

It was at the beginning of this month that I filled up the tank on my SUV with premium gas for under $4 (that’s total for the entire tank, the per-gallon price was 22 cents). I got a $1 fuel perks credit from Bi-Lo with my receipt (and gave them some info they didn’t have before, remember, use the CASH OPTION to get the lowest price!) and I really could see the savings in the sale items that had bonus fuel perks so I kept going. Ten days later, the little light just came on in my car again for gas and I was making my last trip to Bi-Lo before filling up. Watching the fuel perks items, I picked several that were on bonus – Progresso soup, Edge shave gel, Earthbound Farm carrots, and others (notice those all have coupons currently too?) and at the end of the shopping trip my total fuel perks was $4.06.

You read that right – I have more credit in fuel perks than the cost of premium gas. That means another nearly free tank of gas, plus the amount of fuel perks I don’t use will roll over, plus Bi-Lo will credit me $1 again!

WHY ISN’T EVERYONE DOING THIS? I can’t believe how this feels and how reassuring it is to save money this way. I have two pounds of fresh pork spareribs (buy one get one free plus dollar off coupons), various snacks (Stretch Island natural fruit bars and Zone Perfect bars), pasta and sauce, lettuce, apples, other vegetables, canned goods, toilet paper and paper towels, shaving gel and shampoo, all for pennies on the dollar plus a free tank of gas.

Read the circular and pick out the items that have a Fuel Perks bonus that your family will use. Match up the coupons and competitor’s coupons (see the links below for everything!), write your list and stick to your plan. It means you don’t get everything you need every week, but you plan for extras of the stuff you need while it is on sale (and hopefully bonus) so you don’t have to buy it later at full price. And, let the best buys guide your meal planning, be ready to freeze extras when you get a good deal, and be organized with your recipes to make the most of sale items.

Start with my “Start Here” category posts for the theories and fundamentals. Then, move on to the “Quick Tips” category posts for small and easy ways to get started. Then depending on where you feel you need the most instruction, move on to either “Understanding Spending”, “Responsible Stockpiling”, or “Saving Money” in whatever order you would find most helpful. The “Best Deals Now” category probably won’t help you unless you are reading it same day that I post it, but if you have time, you can read those in order to start thinking about the good deals that will be useful to you and developing an understanding of the patterns stores use to set prices and lure customers in with good sales.

You can also try the “beginner class” tagged posts, those tend to be the most basic. The “advanced class” posts tend to have two or three or more levels of savings and will do the most for you, but might be discouraging if you don’t have time to make them work.

And you can always leave a question in the comments if you want feedback from everyone, or send me an email directly if there’s anything I can answer for you directly.

Thank you again everyone and don’t forget, every month the coupon companies post new coupons so click on your links and print while they are available:

Baking goods, easily stored items like soup cans and pasta, bags and paper towels, and other easily stockpiled items typically are priced lower around this time of the year. Plus more coupons are issued on those items. I don’t think I bought a single can of soup from May to August, and now it’s time to stock up again.

The major coupon sites that will list an aggregate of manufacturer’s coupons are:

Some stores also use e-coupons, loaded by your loyalty card or using your phone number. Go to the website and sign up, that way you don’t even have to print these coupons, you will automatically have them deducted at the checkout line.

Some stores also have their own printable coupons, or they may take competitors coupons. It’s worth it to print these out to match with the manufacturers coupons for double or better on the discount!

Don’t forget that just by walking in the door at CVS, you can get extra coupons printed at the automated machine. You scan the card in the machine’s reader, and it will print out coupons just for you. Some have very short expiration dates so pay attention, but these may be very useful on your trip.

If you do not already do this, I would recommend trying SavingStar. This is a program separate from coupons, you can shop as you normally shop, with or without coupons, and when you use your store loyalty card, savings are automatically posted to your account and you can claim the money online with Paypal. It won’t change anything about your checkout process.

Link to sign up for SavingStar

Proctor & Gamble, who make Scope, Crest, Cover Girl, and other brands, has a page where you can print their coupons directly.
http://www.pgeveryday.com/tag/coupon

You have to sign up, log in, and they do limit the number you can print per month. It’s a good augment to your list each month though, because they have many items that go on sale and are great to stock up on.

Also, I have a new coupon link to add to my list – Kimberly Clark products, such as Kleenex and Colgate.

http://www.pickupthevalues.com/Coupon.aspx

On that page, it says if you share the link, you’ll get extra savings. In this particular case, I do not qualify for the extra savings by posting the link. The choices were Facebook, Twitter, and directly emailing them to people. I don’t do Facebook or Twitter at all (and hopefully can avoid them forever for my entire life), and I feel weird about directly emailing people stuff like that, so I’m just posting the link but not getting the “extra” savings. Actually, the coupons themselves are pretty good, so I don’t mind.

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