We Just Saved 66% on Shampoo and Conditioner

by Kevin on July 26, 2008

I mentioned earlier this week that there were discounts and deals we might look into on the grocery and personal care front. Rite Aid has Dove shampoo and conditioner for Buy 1 Get 1 free; Walgreen’s had $1 off any 12 oz. Dove shampoo or conditioner.

Every month Walgreens publishes the Easy Saver catalog. It lists all of the things that you can either get coupons for or get for free after rebate onto a Walgreens giftcard (+10%). It’s a pretty sweet deal, especially for the free after rebate items. I’ve written about this before when we actually got paid $0.17 to buy toothpaste thanks to the +10% bonus for receiving the rebate on the gift card.

Remember to Calculate Distance Costs to Get to Discounts

We wanted to get the Dove shampoo/conditioner at Rite Aid, but there’s a catch. Rite Aid is not close to our house. Walgreens is right off the main highway that runs past our house, I drive past it twice per day during the week.

Let’s say that Rite Aid is 10 round trip miles further than Walgreen’s. At 25 miles per gallon we are using 40% of one gallon of gas to get the discount. The price was not published for Rite Aid, but let’s assume each bottle of Dove is $4.49. Buy 1 Get 1 Free equates to each bottle costing half of that, or $2.245. But the extra gas — four tenths of one gallon — at $3.89 per gallon (most recent price) is $1.556. If we drove the extra distance to Rite Aid we would only really save $0.689. Not a whole lot.

But Walgreens was offering a simple $1 off. And it was right on the path we were taking to do some shopping this morning. We picked up two of the coupon books thinking that at the very least I could buy one for $1 off, and she could buy one for $1 off.

A Good Deal Turns into a Great Deal

We get back to the shampoo aisle and they are running an extra sale on the Dove products — you can get one for $4.49 or two for $4.99. Almost buy one get one free… buy one, get one for 50 cents.

We grab one of each and head to the check out. The kid at the register gave me a little pushback for using two of the same coupon, but it specifically says on the coupon “Limit 1 item per coupon” … not “One coupon per customer”. He ran them up, it worked.

Net result? We walked out of Walgreens with one each of Dove’s Shampoo annd Conditioner. At $4.49 each, it should have cost us $8.98 before tax. Due to the deal they were running, we were able to walk out for a grand total of $2.99 plus tax. $4.99 (B1G1 for 50 cents) – $1 off coupon – $1 off coupon. We spent $2.99 but saved $5.99.

As I always mention with these types of posts, some people may read this and go “wow, that guy must be desparate to save money… and he is way too excited about it.” But I agree to disagree — this is just another step in the frugal mentality. Being aware of deals and taking advantage of them. (Or in this case, being aware of one deal and being able to sweeten it with one you didn’t even know about!)

The $1 off coupon is only good through today. I think the Dove B1G1 for 50 cents deal runs through August 30th. Still a pretty good deal.

What do you think? Am I too excited about saving money on shampoo and conditioner?

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Frugal Bachelor July 26, 2008 at 3:33 pm

Shampoo is around 0.01% of my annual budget. Wake me up when you’ve found a way to save 66% on Housing, Energy, Food, … i.e. the things that matter.

Scott @ The Passive Dad July 27, 2008 at 12:19 am

You’ve definitely got the frugal concept down and can understand how saving money can get you excited. I personally don’t get excited about shampoo, as I buy it in bulk at Costco twice a year and put it in the closet. What’s important is you have the frugal bug, and that’s awesome!

Kevin July 27, 2008 at 7:50 am

@Frugal Bachelor: Through couponing you can save a ton of money on food. Haven’t figured out the energy on yet unless you want to live in Arizona and install solar for 30 years. Housing? Easy — live in a smaller house.

Last time I checked, $6 saved is still $6 saved. Money that we can put toward another goal.

@Scott: Thanks!

tiffanie July 29, 2008 at 3:52 am

i do Rite Aid and Walgreens every week because they are less than a mile from my apartment and are right next door to each other, haha. I’ve only been doing this for a month, but I’ve now got about a year’s worth of shampoo/conditioner, toothpaste, mouthwash, toothbrushes, razors, and deodorant…most of it purchased with both store’s rebate programs. In fact, I will be getting a $50 check back from Rite Aid for all of my July rebates and $15 from Walgreens. It’s become a game to see how much I can buy for how little $ spent.

Russell July 30, 2008 at 3:57 pm

I had commented awhile back on http://www.thegrocerygame.com which is about $10 for 8 weeks ($15 if you have two stores). The site gives you a checklist of advertised specials plus coupons, including what quantity to buy for the best price. (For example if there’s a five for $10.00 sale and a coupon in the newspaper $1.50 off of two, it will recommend you use the coupon and buy only two, for a cost of $0.25 each.)

I’ve been using this for Publix and Winn-Dixie, and saved about 30% from my grocery bill. This is a combination of buying the few things I truly need, and stocking up on the other items in the list that I will eat or use later.

My sister referred me to this site, and now she tells me of a FREE site called http://www.couponmom.com that provides a similar list of specials and coupons. It has Publix and Winn-Dixie in Florida, and also national specials for stores like Walgreen’s, CVS, Target, Wal-Mart. The web interface isn’t as slick looking, but the price is right.


Kevin July 30, 2008 at 10:42 pm

@Russell: I’ve heard of CouponMom in the past. I agree with you about the interface, but I haven’t tried it out personally. Have you found it to be very helpful?

Russell July 31, 2008 at 7:38 am

First, I should have checked my example, it was made up in my head. Five for $10.00, Coupon for $1.50 off of two. That would be $4.00 less $1.50 for $2.50 paid, cost $1.25 each. (I said $0.25 in my earlier comment.) Presuming that these are items that usually cost More Than Five for $10.00 you have saved at least 62%.

I did use a spreadsheet to compute my savings this week, so I think it’s accurate. It was 35.5% at Publix, and 30.73% at Winn-Dixie. In total I spent $82.75, without the savings I learned from thegrocerygame.com the same items would have been $122.44, for combined 32.4% saved.

I bought several items that were not on the list because I wanted them (milk, eggs, soda pop), so that reduced the percentage of my savings. I don’t use any coupons, I could do better if I had the newspaper coupons, or if I’d look at the online coupons these sites offer.

It’s helpful for me because I live alone, so I have less demands on what I “need to” purchase each week. On the other hand, because I don’t buy that many groceries, I’m not likely to travel every aisle in the store, and I might not see all these posted specials. With the printed list I review before I go, I use their check-off feature to only select the items I’ll want to buy, and print those giving me a compact list to carry to the store.

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