Sunday, November 28, 2010

How the Epic Purchase was constructed....

Yesterday I gave you a summary of what I bought at the Walgreens 3-day sale ($1550 worth of stuff for less than $20).  Here's how that was possible:

Transaction A                                                   Transaction B
Crest Toothpaste $2.99                                    Robitussin to Go          $2.49
Oral B Toothbrush $2.25                                 Old Spice Body Spray  $3.99
Scunci Hairbands  $1.99                                  Secret Body Spray        $3.49
Colgate Toothpaste $2.99                                Canned Oranges           $0.39
Campbells Soup     $0.59
Candy Cane Pen    $0.20
Total:                    $11.01                                      Total                  $10.36
- $1 Crest Coupon
-$10 Register Rewards from Trans. B                  - $10.25 RR (Trans. A)
= $0.01 out-of-pocket cost                                  = $0.11 out-of-pocket cost

These were the basic scenarios.  Since I paid no sales tax (all was donated to charity, so I was able to use a tax exemption), I was paying around 12 cents for each pair of transactions.  I had to make some slight adjustments along the way--when we got low on oranges, I switched to Scotch mailers at the same cost.  They had clearance Degree deodorant for $0.78, which when I swapped that for the soup and the pen in transaction A, meant I paid nothing out of pocket.  That was pretty cool.  I did these basic scenarios about 60 times, and then I had a few others I did to "clean up" some of the special order they'd made for me.  Not everything came in as expected, so a lot of adjusting was done on the fly, but overall, I felt pretty good about how it turned out.

Pictures to come tomorrow, before it all gets loaded up to be dropped off.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Post-Thanksgiving Super Ninja at Walgreens!

I realize I have not posted since November 4, which was 23 days ago by my ninja calculations.  That was because I've had this plan for the Walgreens 3-day sale (Thursday, Friday, and Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend) and I did not want to jinx it.  Suffice it to say that although it didn't go quite as planned, it was still a great run.

I talked to Liane at Take 5, and she allowed me to use their tax ID number since all of this will be donated to them.  That really made it possible to get a lot of stuff for very little out of pocket.   I got:

55 Old Spice Body Spray ($3.99)
75 Oral B Toothbrushes ($2.25)
88 Crest Toothpaste ($2.99)
17 Olay Body Wash ($3.49)
24 Degree Deodorant ($0.99)
51 Colgate Toothpaste ($2.99)
55 Secret Body Spray ($3.49)
22 Nivea Shaving Cream ($2.99)
87 Campbells Soup ($0.59)
41 Scotch Bubble Mailers ($0.39)
4 ThermaCare Heat Wraps ($2.49)
15 Advil ($0.99)
24 Canned Oranges ($0.39)
53 Hair Bands ($1.99)
76 Robitussin ($2.49)
46 Candy Cane Pens ($0.20)

A mere mortal would have spent $1550.03 plus tax of $108.50 to purchase these items.  The Alpha Coupon Ninja spent a grand total of $19.29.  Granted, it took close to six hours to ring it all up in more than 100 separate transactions, but it was totally worth it.  My thanks to Adam, store manager; Ashley, Queen Cashier, and Brad, assistant manager and all the other Walgreens employees for letting me share their store for most of Saturday, and for being so kind throughout the process.  I know Take 5 will really benefit from all these items.  The scary part is that it will not even last a month.  That's how much need we have in Muncie for these types of personal care items.

Best day so far in the life of the Coupon Ninja.  Tomorrow, I'll post about how I did it. 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Er'body loves Wal-mart!

This weekend, on Saturday, Wal-mart has a mini Black Friday sale.  It starts at 8:00.  There are a few really good prices on some items, like a laptop for $288.  What has two thumbs and needs a new laptop?  THIS guy!

The real reason I wanted to post is that they're selling $50 i-tunes gift cards for $35.  I don't know if I've ever seen a deal on i-tunes gift cards.  So if you need music or are looking for Christmas gifts, or if you just like to brag on your blog about the good deals you find, that's probably worth checking out!  Details at --scroll down to "Amazing In-Store Event".

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Linking up with fellow Ninjas...

So, on alternate Mondays, the Muncie Coupon Exchange meets.  I ended up giving away far more coupons than I took, but that's only because the next couple weeks are pretty weak at both CVS and Walgreens.  If you search, you can get advance copies of the ads.  A great site for couponing is  They have separate forums by store, and they'll post advance copies of ads so that you have time to trade for coupons for the items you want/need.

Most importantly, I finally met Liane (pronounced Lee-ann), the executive director of a charity called Take 5.  This charity is a "non-food" food bank, providing 5 taxable non-food items per month to people who can't afford them.  Think about that for a second.  How bad would your financial situation have to be before you couldn't afford toothpaste, or toilet paper, or garbage bags?   This charity assists 300 families PER MONTH.  There is a huge need for help in our community.  Seeing her operation (and the dedication of the volunteers who staff it) is something that is unbelievably inspirational.  From now on, this is the primary charity to which I will donate.  I'm only one person, but I have a plan to help.

I've submitted a proposal to the University to create an immersive learning course (with me as the teacher) to teach students how to use coupons for the benefit of charities such as Take 5, the Muncie Mission (our men's homeless shelter), and A Better Way (Muncie's domestic violence shelter), along with the Christian Ministries food pantry.  Look at my pictures of items I've donated below.  Now imagine if we could multiply that by 10, or 20, or more.  NOW we're talking about something that could truly benefit the less fortunate in our community.  I've talked to several charities in Muncie, and to store managers at both a CVS and a Walgreens.  They're all on board.   If I can recruit 20 people to copy what I do (and search for their own bargains), we'll really make a difference, but the biggest part will come when we send that group out to recruit additional members.  Ultimately, I'd like to have 200 people committed to our efforts.  They can donate money (NOBODY leverages money like we will), time, coupons, or they can participate right along with us.  The retailers will support us, because manufacturers ultimately reimburse them for coupons used.   The community will support us with donations, because of the return they'll get on their investment.  Charities stand to benefit, so they'll support us.  Students will learn a lot about stretching a dollar, and they'll become acquainted with the face of poverty in the community, while making a small but positive difference in people's lives.  Win-win-win-win situations really don't come around  that often.

This is fun for me.  It's going to be a great project.  Keep your fingers crossed for me, and hope that we get funded!  In the meantime, to the extent you can, please be generous in thought, spirit, and deed to those who can use your help, in whatever form that takes.

Ninja--over and out.