Monday, August 6, 2007

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Sweet coupon deals and free samples

The frugal tip on hot spot posting leads me to another frugal tip: using coupons. I am a self-confessed coupon-addict. I use them almost every time I go to the store. My husband can't believe the growing box of free stuff I have in a plastic bin under the bed, all because of coupons.

The basic premise of getting free items is to get the smallest-sized item, on sale, with the use of a coupon. If the coupon does not say "excludes trial size" or something of that nature, then by all means, get the trial size. Get 10 of them, if you have 10 coupons. Now, I never go more than 8 coupons, because I get 4 sets of coupons every week. Some weeks I'll get 4 extra coupon sets from the prior week. No, I don't buy 4 papers a week. I pay a friend who provides a service to local clients by providing only the coupons from the newspaper. Now, some weeks are a disappointment in sales and coupon availability, but you don't throw away coupons. You save them, organize them, and keep your eyes on the sales.

The Gold Bond powder was a free find, using coupons. The trial size was .97 at Walmart. I had a coupon for $1.00 off of one (no trial size exclusions were on the coupon). I had 4 coupons. Ok, I had to pay sales tax (.10 per item here where our sales tax rate is nearly 10%) minus .12 (the .03 overage the coupon provided for each item). I guess I could have paid .28 total, but the negative subtotal really freaks the computer out sometimes. So, as long as I bought something else in the store, there was not a problem with my purchase. I guess you could say I paid about .07 per trial size, which is probably close to what Walmart pays the manufacturer for these items. Not bad.

I've gotten free toothpaste, shaving gel, deodorant, body wash, shampoo and conditioner, and lots of other items this way. I try to buy as many of a good deal item as my coupons and budget will allow to stockpile. I have an ample supply of the items mentioned above. I scan online for the local sales ads weekly and compare them against the coupons I have available. There are some great tips on, so I frequent that board too. Another great site for free trial sizes is, where you just enter your info and expect a little blue box to arrive in your mail in a few weeks. It's always nice to get a prize from the sample fairy!

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