Proverbs 22:7

The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Extreme Couponing: Sorority House Style (Part 3)

I picked up dishwasher pacs and trash bags at Sams Club tonight. I looked over the weekend at the prices at Target and Dollar General for these items, and thought I was going to get a pretty decent deal if I had gone with either of those options. However, Sam's Club had the best deal in the end.

My budget for trash bags was $52.00 for 400 bags, which calculates out to $0.13 per bag. At Target, I found a way to get drawstring bags for $0.11 each, or tie flap bags for just under $0.07 each. I was told to go for best value, but I had to get a second opinion before I did anything else. For me personally, best value trash bags = least expensive. On the other hand, a college student may think the best value includes the convenience of drawstrings. After consulting with my contact, I was told to do whatever I felt was best....

Today, I got lucky. I went to Sams Club to check out the prices. They had their store brand, Members Mark, drawstring trash bags in packs of 150, for $10.68 (after tax). This came out to $0.071 per bag. I figured that THIS was the best value. Drawstring bags at the approximate price I had found for the tie flap bags. Yeah, they aren't name brand, but for goodness sake, it's trash bags. I bought 3 packages for a total of $32.04 after tax.

The next item I bought was dishwasher packs. The list originally asked for the dishwasher liquid that you squirt into the compartment. I personally do not like this liquid because I think it's easy to become wasteful with it, annnnnd, it's way over priced. So I decided to go with dishwasher packs. I estimated that the dishwasher would need to be run once per day. This may need to be re-evaluated, but for purposes of shopping, I had a goal of purchasing around 365 packs.

I had a budget of $72.00 for dishwasher liquid. I converted this to the packs so $72/365 packs = $0.19 per pack. This is the low side of "normal" retail price. The Finish brand packs run about $0.19 each, where as the Cascade packs run around $0.24 each.

Sams Club had Cascade in packs of 115 for $19.96, or slightly more than 0.17 each. This was under budget, but I wanted to do better. Finish brand were in packs of 90 for $12.98, or slightly more than $0.14  each. I still wanted to do better. Plus, the advantage to Cascade versus Finish is that Finish packs are individually wrapped, which means you have to take them out of the plastic wrap before plopping them in the dishwasher. The Cascade ones go in as they are. I currently use Finish at home right now, because they were the most affordable option the last time I bought for myself....but I HATE the plastic wrap. I knew the these college students would not like it. Sooooo, I looked at the Members Mark brand, which was comparable to Cascade. Same type of packaging as Cascade, but came in packs of 110 for $12.88, or $13.78 after tax - This came out to less than $0.13 per pack. BINGO!

My only remaining dilemma with the dishwasher detergent was that I either needed to buy 3 boxes totalling 330 (35 less than the 365 I wanted) or buy 4 packs, which would put me at 440, or 75 over my target. I decided to err on the conservative side today and only go with 3. I can always go back for a 4th pack later if I need to. My total for 3 packs was $41.34.

So my shopping trip today resulted in 450 garbage bags, and 330 dishwasher packs for $73.38. My budget was $52+$72 = $124.00. I came in under budget by $50.62. Whoop Whoop! This under budget stuff is DEFINITELY going to help when I start going for the items that are more difficult to meet the 50% of retail target that was assigned to me. I'm working on the easy stuff for now... Will tackle those more difficult items later on.

So as a recap so far, here are the items I've purchased, and a breakdown of how far under budget I am:

Item Quantity Estimated Retail Budget(50%) Actual With Tax Final Comments
Toilet Paper 104 rolls $72.00 $36.00 $28.89 27 megarolls = 108 regular rolls bought
Trash Bags - Large/Tall 400 Bags $104.00 $52.00 $32.04 450 Trash Bags bought
Dishwasher Liquid 24 Bottles/365 packs $144.00 $72.00 $41.34 330 packs bought
Kleenex 12 Boxes $18.00 $9.00 $9.63 8 Family boxes = 14 regular boxes bought
Totels $338.00 $169.00 $111.90 $57.10 under budget, or $226.10 under estimated retail

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