How To: Save Money on Household Essentials

The most substantial way to save money on toiletries and household essentials is to play what is known as “The Drugstore Game” in order to build a stockpile.  This game involves using coupons and combining them with the drugstore sales to get free or cheap items every week.  Over time, you’ll realize you have a closet full of stuff at your disposal whenever you need it and you’ll never have to pay full price again!

Each drugstore has its own sets of coupon policies and incentive programs.  If you can learn these policies, you can save some serious cash on the things you use every day.  In general, Rite Aid, CVS, and Walgreens have coupons that print off after you buy something that act sort of like Monopoly money for the store.  For instance, if you buy toothpaste for $3 that is free after rewards, you will get $3 back to spend on your next purchase.  Next week, if you buy a shampoo for $3 that is free after rewards, you will use your $3 coupon from the toothpaste and get another $3 coupon for the shampoo you bought, thus spending $0 out of pocket that second week.  This is a very simplistic explanation, but couponing really is that simple once you get the hang of it.

Just for fun, here are some pictures of my stockpile.

{Note: I’m not a hoarder! Not pictured here are the many boxes I’ve donated to charity and the items I have given to family and friends.  I only keep what I know I can use or distribute.}

As I said in my money saving post on groceries, I’m not going to go in depth on how to coupon since there are plenty of coupon bloggers that teach you how to coupon and that share the weekly coupon match ups.  Some of my favorites are the Krazy Coupon Lady 10 step program to learn how to coupon and Bargains to Bounty for weekly deal match ups for the Metro Detroit area.  {There are tons of other deal bloggers out there and I’m sure you can find one in your area if you Google it.}  These sites do the time consuming work for you and allow you to simply clip your coupons, shop, and save money!

{A fun fact about my coupon usage: I started using coupons around November of 2009, and have not turned back since.  I still use coupons regularly, but I spend less time clipping and chasing all the deals now since I have a large stockpile.  I’ve kept track of all my drugstore purchases since January 2010 using the online finance tracker Mint.com, and it has totaled to a whopping $2.66.  This includes purchasing on average 4 newspapers per week at $1.50 each, in addition to all the toothpaste, toothbrushes, Listerine, medicine, soap, shampoo, deodorant, makeup, razors, toilet paper, dish liquid, dishwasher detergent, etc. that we use on a daily basis.  Taking into account the few times I probably paid cash when the transaction was too small to charge, I doubt it would total to much more than $20.  The reason this number is so low is because I buy things only when they are free or very cheap, and save it up for when I need it; I never pay full price for anything and I try to keep my out of pocket expenses as low as possible by taking advantage of money making deals and rebates.  Best of all, I still have enough of all of the above listed items in my stockpile to last us probably another year, and that is a great feeling!}

Do you have any other tips to save on household essentials?  Feel free to view other money saving tips by clicking on the “Saving Money” category on the right sidebar.

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