You know her. We all have at least one. One or more women in your acquaintance are known as “coupon queens”. If you ask them (and sometimes if you don’t!), they will extol the virtues of shopping from one’s cupboards which contain items purchased for pennies or obtained for free.
They might teach you bits of their language which would make even your texting teenagers scratch their heads: BOGO, FAR, GDA, DND, and SS. And by the way, Catalina is more than just a salad dressing. It’s oh so much more!
If you are one of these women, please know I’m not making fun of you. I’m actually in awe of you and heartily applaud your hard work. Because that’s what it is: work. To coupon effectively, especially to save large amounts of money, requires putting in time and work. A penny saved is worth more than a penny earned, so it’s a worthy pursuit.
However, you may be a mom like me that has a lot of time taken up with homeschooling, earning income in the fringe hours and the myriad unpaid tasks that come with being a wife and mother. I love a great deal, but I also love to save time and invest some of that time in generating income. I have an aversion to most packaged foods and to large piles of “stuff”, even if it’s foodstuff.
Enter Amazon.com. I know you’ve heard of it. But do you really know what it can do for your life and your productivity? Here’s a few of the ways I use it to save me time and money:
1. Amazon Mom
You can read all the details and fine print, but Amazon Mom is the best deal I can find for diapers. Yes, I know you get them free with coupons, but I invest a minute or two of time and they arrive at my door in 2 days or at a scheduled time and I get my 2-year-old a name brand box that lasts over a month for about 15 cents a diaper. Not too shabby. Diapers are 20% off and sometimes you actually CAN clip a coupon right on the site, no scissors or newspaper subscription necessary.
Aha! You found the fine print. In three months, they will charge me $79 for this service! Bad deal! Well, since saving time and money are both goals for me, I’ve found that a Prime membership which totals less than $7 a month, is a great fit. We do all our Christmas shopping through Amazon. The gifts arrive in 2 days and we don’t waste time or gas going into stores during the holidays. Anything I buy all year round comes to me free within 2 days. Including groceries.
Yes, we were talking about stockpiling groceries. Although you can get all kinds of groceries on Amazon from gourmet things to regular canned goods, remember I’m not crazy about a lot of packaged things. So, I get our household products like toothpaste, shampoo and toilet paper through the Subscribe and Save program. I do not get them free or for pennies, but I do get them at a comparable price with little to no time investment, including going to the store to get them.
This is a quality brand of toilet paper. Amazon’s price is pretty decent. The cost for 48 rolls is $25.94 which equals 54 cents per double roll. If I choose the Subscribe and Save option, I can get the same package for $24.64 (a 5% discount) which brings it down to 51 cents per double roll.
Subscribe and Save means I sign up and agree to have them send me the toilet paper at regular intervals of 1 month, 3 months, etc. I can cancel anytime and skip or change deliveries. They also confirm it by e-mail before shipping it to me and charging me.
At the time of this post, I can click a link to clip a coupon for $1 off. That makes it $23.64 or 49 cents per double roll. Getting better!
But the best deal is, if I order 5 items through Subscribe and Save in one month, I can have them shipped together and save 20%. This includes the diapers and other groceries items I order, even if it’s just a bottle of shampoo. It’s pretty easy to find five things on Amazon that you would have bought at the store anyway.
This toilet paper would end up costing me $20.76 or 43 cents per double roll. Now I have a stockpile for at least a month with no time and money invested. None of my grocery stores will give me a 6 double roll package of Quilted Northern for $2.59.
I’ve found that if I put aside $20-$50 from my grocery money per month, I can stagger our household items through the Subscribe and Save program and have a stockpile of what we need throughout the year. That’s a small investment to me when I don’t even have to get out of my desk chair to go to WalMart or spend time scouting for deals and clipping coupons.
SwagBucks is a search engine toolbar that you can easily install and do your regular searching. You get reward points called SwagBucks for doing searches through their toolbar. You can redeem these for rewards. My favorite is an Amazon gift card.
After 450 SwagBucks, you can “purchase” a $5 Amazon gift card. This is better than coupons! I could have applied one to my example order of toilet paper above and received the 48 rolls for $15.76 or 33 cents per double roll or $1.97 per 6 double roll package.
We have also used these gift cards to pay for our Christmas gifts on Amazon.
So there you have it. Part of my cost-saving strategy that does not include coupons. There are a few affiliate links in this post, but I would have told you about all these things anyway just because I really do love Amazon and SwagBucks.
If you love to coupon, by all means continue to do so. I will continue to get excited when you fill your kitchen table with groceries and show me your receipt for 23 cents. If you don’t love couponing, then join me in stockpiling the geeky way.
For You, the Reader: What is YOUR favorite way to save money at the grocery store?