How Much Money Could I Be Saving If I Bought Household Goods With Coupons?

More than I thought, but not in the way I thought I would.

Photo credit: Mike Mozart, CC BY 2.0.

As promised, I spent a chunk of Thursday afternoon exploring various coupons apps and options, including the RedPlum flyers that arrive unsolicited in my mailbox every Wednesday and usually go straight into the recycling.

The RedPlum flyers were all garbage. (No, I don’t need to save money at Lowe’s this week.) The only relevant part was the Safeway flyer, and that just contained the same information as the Safeway app.

But the coupon apps were interesting. I think the quickest way to show you what I learned is to screenshot the spreadsheet I created:

Here are some notes to help you understand how this spreadsheet came together:

  • When I originally made the list of “stuff I anticipate needing,” not everything had a brand attached. I definitely want Garnier Fructis Full and Plush Shampoo; I don’t care what kind of toothbrush or facial tissue I get. I added additional brand names as I went through the apps and noted which brands had deals or coupons.
  • I am not going out of my way to save an extra 50 cents, so I didn’t try to search out deals at other grocery stores or drugstores. (Walgreens and Safeway are closest to my apartment, so they’re my go-to shopping options.)
  • Thanks to a tip from Savvy Shopper Korky Vann, I did take some time to explore the RedPlum website and the SmartSource app. Both of them offer printable/downloadable coupons in the traditional sense (as well as store loyalty card deals), but weren’t currently offering coupons for anything on my list.
  • Walgreens didn’t include regular price information; Safeway did. Yes, that means I won’t know which Garnier deal is better until I’m actually in the store. (I’m planning to buy one shampoo and one conditioner at Safeway, and one conditioner and one thickening lotion at Walgreens, to maximize both offers.)

I was really surprised to learn that I could knock $27 off my household goods bill just by shopping at Safeway this weekend. (Guess I’ll need to update my Friday Estimate.)

However, I’m not sure if this will lower the overall cost of my household goods/toiletries spending. Safeway has deals all the time; half the price tags have special discounts for people who use their Safeway card. I was hoping there were coupons out there that I could use on top of my loyalty card discounts, but maybe that’s not really a thing anymore.

I will say that I liked the Safeway app better than the Walgreens app; Safeway only showed me deals on products I had previously bought (though I had the option to expand my search to include additional deals), while Walgreens tried to upsell me on stuff it thought I might like.

The spreadsheet took about an hour to put together, but this isn’t the kind of thing I’ll need to do before every shopping trip. It’ll be more like “okay, I’m going grocery shopping this weekend, what’s on sale at Safeway and Walgreens?” It might be worth my time to make this kind of list at the beginning of every month, just to see if there’s an optimum HOUSEHOLD BUYING WEEKEND, although I’m really interested to see what happens after June 27; will all of these products suddenly have new deals? Or will they stay at “regular price” for a few weeks?

It is also probably worth my time to investigate bulk shopping via Amazon, to see if I could save even more money by buying 24 tubes of toothpaste at once, but I did try buying Amazon toiletries before and… they arrived in a disgusting plastic bag.

Order Not Your Toiletries From Amazon, Lest They Arrive In a Grody Plastic Bag

But for now, I’m going to assume that buying most of the stuff on my list this weekend will save me $33.67. Whether I would have saved about that much just by shopping at Safeway and Walgreens over the next month, without spreadsheeting my purchases in advance, is yet to be determined.

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