Here was a question posed to me this weekend regarding my Wags and CVS'ing - Do you really use all of those things? Will you really use 5 bottles of Listerine? Well, here is my answer - Somebody will! Somebody will use it! Well...like who? Here are some ideas...
1. Barter ~ I have diet shakes that my sister likes and she has Children's motrin and no children. Sometimes when a friend does me a favor like watches my kids or cuts my child's hair for free, it's nice to be able to give her a little goodie bag in return. Wouldn't it be great if we all started stockpiling free items and could trade them with others for things we really need?
2. Food Pantry or Shelter ~ These places are very hard-pressed for food and household items right now. Wouldn't you feel great if you could drop off a box of brand-new health & beauty items, food and cleaning products every month? Helping others while helping yourself save money (plus it satisfies my shopping urge) is a great way to share the wealth! I'm sure a woman's shelter would be happy to get extra make-up and nail polishes to help woman getting back on their feet, re-entering the job market, etc. I know I feel better when I look pretty!
3. Friends & Family ~ I bet if you thought about it for a few minutes you could come up with at least 3 families you know who are struggling right now. Drop an anonymous bag off on their porch one night.
4. FreeGift It ~ Have items on hand so you don't have to do last-minute (pay full-price) gift shopping. Nail polish, body washes, razors, shaving gel, etc. make nice gift bags for friends. Each year at Christmas, I have a specific budget for every person/couple on my list. This year I spent my usual budget on their gift but because of all my freebie shopping I was able to gift everyone little extras in their bags - nail polish, razors, truffles (yummy), cans of nuts, etc. With the recent economy TANK, it's nice for me to be able to GIVE MORE, instead of cutting back.
5. Garage Sale or Ebay ~ One blog reader told me that she's been shopping this way for over a year and made $200 at her yard sale summer with her Freebies! That's good business "cents!"
I'm sure a box of "free" diapers you bought at CVS would go really quickly on craigslist for 1/2 price!
I rarely buy food we won't eat because it's cheap (unless it's a CVS moneymaker) but I have found that using q's and rebates has allowed me to buy some more expensive brand-name products for less. We've also gotten to try some foods we might not have otherwise tried if it wasn't dirt cheap and didn't fit into my grocery budget.
And while we're at it, let's go over one of my recent CVS transactions to show why I "buy" something I don't need to get something else for free ~ I just want to make it clear that I don't spend real money to get other things for free.
5 bottles of listerine at @ $2.99 (w/ $2.99 ecb's) = $14.95 (with 14.95 ecb's back)
1 jar of peanut butter @ $3.29 = $3.29
Total = $18.24
-5 $1.00 listerine q's
-$.35 skippy q from newspaper inserts
-$3/$15 CVS q that they emailed me
Gives me a grand total of $9.89 for 5 bottles of listerine and 1 jar of peanut butter
I pay with $10 ecb's (you don't get change with ecb's) and I get $14.95 ecb's back. I used no real money out of my pocket and I made $4.95 on this deal.
Next time I go to CVS I will have $14.95 to spend!
I have used this method so many times with only spending very little out of pocket, that I have "earned" more ecb's than I've spent. Right now I have $45 ecb's to spend.
To some it may be a waste of time to figure it all out and that's okay. For me it's a thrill and a challenge and I love it! Why pay $2.29 at Wal-Mart when you can get it at CVS for free?