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The Depends Dilemma: Why I Buy Items I Won’t Use (Guest Post)

Should you buy items you don’t need or can’t use if it will save you money in the long-run? Kimberlee sent me the following guest post on why she does just that and I thought it might be a good start to a great discussion. I appreciate her honesty and I think she provides some interesting food for thought. Read her post and then I’d love to have you chime in with your thoughts. – Crystal

Guest Post by Kimberlee at The Peaceful Mom

Question: Why did I buy the Depends at CVS this week if I won’t use them?

Answer: They are part of my overall plan to save money.

(If you are unfamiliar with the CVS customer rewards program, Extra Care, you can read more about it here.)

I use this program for several reasons:

1. To Make Money to Purchase Other Items

My daughter has severe eczema and we have found that a CVS-brand ointment is the best product for her to use. I bought the Depends for $6.99, but I used a $2 off coupon so my net expenditure was $4.99 plus tax. I then received $6.99 in ECBs, thereby making an extra $2 to spend on the ointment or special body wash.

2. To “Roll” My Extra Care Bucks

Extra Care Bucks have an expiration date. So as not to lose them, I occasionally buy something I won’t use, but will give me “fresh” Extra Care Bucks in return.  I strive to buy only things which will give me the same or a greater amount of ECBs so that I spend as little cash as possible out of pocket.

3. To Donate

Even though we have quite the stockpile of toothpaste, when I can get free toothpaste (almost every week at CVS!), I do. Why? Because I can give them to friends who don’t coupon or donate them to our church’s homeless ministry. Body wash is another item that I can regularly purchase free (by combining sales, coupons and ECBs) and is a welcome donation at any battered women’s or homeless shelter.

So even if I won’t use the Depends, they will go to a good home and I made a little extra money to buy my daughter’s expensive necessities. I think that is a win-win scenario.

Kimberlee is the wife of one very patient husband and the homeschooling mom of four hilarious children ages 9-15.  She regularly feeds her family of six for less than $450 a month and in her “spare” time she enjoys writing, planting things, and getting free stuff from CVS.  You can visit her at

What do you think? Do you buy products you know you won’t use? Why or why not?

I understand we may have differing opinions and I welcome friendly discussion, even when there’s a need to agree to disagree. However, as always, any comments which are attacking, demeaning or mean-spirited will be deleted.

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  • Diana says:

    I agree 100%. Some people don’t understand why I would by Depends when I won’t use them nor anyone in my family. My thought process was the same, It gave me an extra $2 off my total purchase and gave me fresh ECB’s.

  • sunny says:

    Sometimes I’ll use coupons to get food for free or almost free that I know we won’t eat, but then I give it foods drives when they ask. This weekend I’ll have canned greens and cereal to the postal carrier food drive.

  • Katie Martin says:

    I agree totally. Usually I can find someone who uses them or donate it. My rule of thumb is I will only buy something to donate (except food products) if they are free or a moneymaker otherwise I will pass.

  • kristen says:

    I have thought about buying things I won’t use, but I have decided that I already spend enough time getting the things I do use as cheap as possible. I have found that for me I have to limit myself to meijer and possibly one drug store that has a really good deal on something that I want each week or I will be going all around town and spending way too much time on “saving”. I have also found that for me the deals where you earn dollars off your next purchase seem more like a burden to use. I frequently just use them in another transaction right when I earn them so I don’t have the expiration date hanging over my head to force me back into the store. This is what I have found works for me.

  • I do too. I “buy” foods and items that are free or almost free so that I can donate to my local food bank.

  • Sarah says:

    I donate a lot of extra items to a local women’s shelter if I know I won’t use them. I admit, though, the first thing I thought of when I saw the Depends deal was that they would make a great white elephant/gag gift!

  • There are so many fundraisers out there that are in need of items and if you know how and when to get free stuff why not pass it on to someone else if anything else you could give the items you dont use to a homeless shelter which is also always looking for donations. Just because you don’t use an item does not mean that someone else doesn’t.
    I also bought the depends because it incresed my “play money” to buy other items that no coupons are issued for such as milk or higher cost items like a digital camera. The depends is going to be donated to a nursing home in my area and they could really use these since may of them are on fixed income.

    • Andrea says:

      @Dinamarie Gonzalez, Yes…I heard that Medicaid/Medicare (can’t remember which one) only allows a resident four Depends per day. Any extras they need are to be provided by the family. Well, not all seniors have family able/willing to provide these. I’m sure a nursing home would gladly accept these!!

      • @Andrea, Nursing homes most certainly will accept donations of things like Depends. When my mom passed away, we donated all her unused (and some unopened) Depends/Poise/chux pads, etc… as well as (non)latex gloves, dressings, sealed IV tubing and the like. Especially private or church-based nursing homes that get little to no Federal funding.

    • @Dinamarie Gonzalez,
      My church has a Care Ministry, and as part of the Care Ministry we collect nonperishable food items and personal care items to donate to people in need in our church and the community. As part of the ministry, I have started a blog/website dedicated to teaching and educating about “extreme couponing”- and one of the things I like to focus my attention on is “kind couponing”- glorifying God through couponing. While I do encourage people to purchase items that will be cheap or free to donate to people in need, I STRONGLY encourage everyone to not be a shelf-clearer. Many people will go and purchase ALL the items JUST BECAUSE they are free, and this is unfair. If you are using it for ministry purposes, absolutely pick up some extra- but leave some for other people with a legitimate need. It is never glorifying to God to coupon selfishly. We are a new blog (find us on FB at Fab Steals and Deals). 🙂 Our mission is to educate people about couponing while helping our families and our communities while glorifying God. I LOVE this website, and love this community of couponers who are kingdom-minded!
      I think that this was a GREAT post. 🙂

      • Em says:

        @Katie at Fabstealsanddeals,

        I help support several charities financially and also donate tons of items to charity (both church-based assistance ministries and secular shelters) simply because it’s the right thing to do and because I cannot ignore the incredible, ongoing, unmet, need when I have the power to help in some small way. I’m an atheist and I do it just because it’s the right thing to do.

        I applaud everyone of any faith (or lack thereof) who seeks to meet some of the needs of the underpriviledged in our communities, whatever your background. On behalf of all of our our local communities/charities – thanks to everyone here who cares. <3

      • gwenn says:

        @Katie at Fabstealsanddeals,
        I love how you said glorifying God thru couponing. I have started a ministry at my church called Save More Give More. I share all of my free or nearly free finds with those at my church. We even have a small box on the table if they want to make a donation to the church building fund.

  • Christy says:

    I have struggled with this idea as well. I have other women in my church that have so much toothpaste, soap, cereal… that I wonder if this is being a good stewart. I don’t tell them they are wrong, but have just decided not to take that route. As a pastor’s wife, I have people watching what I do and think that balance is a must. I do have a couple of extra toothpaste, deodorant, and body wash that I am collecting for nursing home baskets that my preschool class at church are making. However, I don’t have draws full of things that I am not going to use and would have to find things to donate to. I guess if you have a specific thing you are collecting for then I feel its good. I have had the local manager of my CVS thank me for not just buying because I can. I will actually not do the CVS run for the week unless there is actually something my family needs. And guess what, he noticed. He has been so wonderful to us coupon ladies that I don’t want him to have to change policy because we are abusing the system. Other local places have because corporate has sent mandates and I never want that to be my fault. I know every person has to evaluate their family and make a personal decision, but this is what my husband and I have decided. Just food for thought, God Bless.

    • Carrie says:

      @Christy, I have had people ask me at the cash register about my couponing. Sometimes they state that they wouldn’t buy things that they wouldn’t use just for a good deal. I always tell them that I try to spend $5 OOP each week on items that my church collects for the local food bank (they accept anything. If something is donated that they wouldn’t use then they turn around and give to another organization (ex: local women’s shelter) that can use it.) Each time this has happened, it has allowed me to talk about God and plants the seed for others to give to our local food bank. When this same scenerio happened at CVS, it was the cashier who asked me about it and she then told me that at one point in her life she was in a women’s shelter and how much she appreciated things others had donated. I’ve heard of church’s that have coupon groups who get together and donate what they’ve purchased. They use it as one of their local ministries. Maybe this is a ministry your church could start.

      You are correct that as a pastor’s wife, you are watched more closely than others. This would be a great opportunity to show others how to be good stewards of our money by passing on our savings (and stockpile) to others. As for the manager at CVS, if a comment was made that you are purchasing just because you can, that would have been a good opportunity to state that even though you wouldn’t use it, you are giving it to someone who can and just doing the leg work for them.

      Since I am not eloquent with words, I find it difficult to get a conversation about God started with complete strangers. I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how often I’ve been able to talk about God to someone because couponing has opened the door. Not to be bragging in any way (I want any praise God wants to give me to come from Him, not man), but to show how much can be donated through couponing, as of the end of March (I’m behind in getting my April totals on my spreadsheet), I’ve donated $500 dollars worth of products and have spent $50 OOP. All this has been through store sales, coupons, RRs and ECBs and rebates.

  • shoppingninja says:

    Depends are also great for keeping in the car to soak up spills- that is one place where you probably won’t have a towel on hand!

    • TopazTook says:


      Actually, I do keep an old towel in the car. Wish my mom had used this trick when she let my daughter go down the park slide after a rain (drying off slides is the towel’s “official” purpose).

  • Lisa says:

    Within reason, I, too, buy items that I won’t use so that I can earn the money and then donate them. I try to do this only in moderation because there are plenty of people who use these items and want them at a good price. I would hate to clear out a shelf when their are people truly in need excited about getting that one item at a great price- people who will never be receiving my donated item.

    • @Lisa, I completely agree…moderation is the key to making this a win/win/win for all!

    • Preparedmom says:

      @Lisa, I totally agree with the part about not buying something because there are people truly in need excited about getting that one item at a great price- people who will never be receiving my donated item.

      Everything in moderation, including deals.

      • Christy says:

        @Preparedmom, While I am not advocating going overboard, remember that CVS gives rainchecks so if someone really uses that product and the shelves were empty, they could get a raincheck and pick it up “free” the next week.

        • Preparedmom says:

          @Christy, True, providing that the corresponding coupon doesn’t expire first and that that ECB will print. My CVS will give a raincheck for the sale price but will not accomodate the ECB deal tied to it (i.e. item on sale for $4.99, buy 1 get $4.99 ECB, use $1/1 coupon and get item for free plus coupon overage…they’ll give a raincheck for the $4.99 sale price, but no ECB will print if it’s a one week deal only.) Hope that makes sense!

  • Stephanie says:

    Right now I’m in my stage of couponing where I only buy what I will use, and only the quanities I think I will use (in other words, even though I can get several body washes for free, I only buy enough to get me through to the next sale). I have found that I don’t have enough space to store lots of extra stuff. With that said though, if you do have the time and space to purchase things you don’t need to donate- you are a wonderful person!

  • Adriane says:

    I will frequently buy items that I don’t use if I’m able to make “money” on them. I used to pass these up, fearing that if I bought something that I wouldn’t use, then the people who do use that item would not be able to get it at a great price (free).

    I still take this approach at some stores, but CVS has a very good rain-check policy. I often miss out on good deals if I don’t shop at the beginning of the week, but I’m able to get a rain check. I’ve actually found these to be better than getting an item during the sale, because
    1. their rain checks don’t expire
    2. I can get the item later when my stash is low and/or I have good coupons

    In a case like this (or diabetes monitors, or Fixodent, etc), the store’s rain check policy is really my deciding factor. If someone who needs the item has easy access to a rain check, I don’t mind “buying” it – but when stores are stingy with rain checks, I prefer to leave the specialty items for those with the conditions for which they’re made.

    • Preparedmom says:

      @Adriane, My thoughts, exactly!

    • @Adriane, CVS, in particular, usually has limits of 1 item per account, not just per transaction. It’s much harder for an avid deal-seeker to clear a shelf so others can’t participate. Walgreens is 1 item per transaction and there are lots of people who clear a shelf by splitting purchases. I’ll only get multiples (when possible) if it’s something we definitely need/use, but I’ll get 1 of something that we might use or that someone else can use if it’s free or makes money.

      • Adriane says:

        @Amanda Fletcher, That’s true…but even with the strict limits that CVS has in place, if I don’t go to the store on Sunday morning, the money-maker deals are usually gone. That’s not anyone else’s fault, but because I know it’s not uncommon for the stock to run out, I would probably not buy specialty items like this if I didn’t know that people who use those items could get a rain check.

      • Marlana says:

        @Adrian: I previously lived in a city that had a CVS and I preferred to shop there compared to WG. CVS does have an account ‘policy’ however, I found that some families were getting cards for their kids and having the kids to shop, also, as a way of ‘overriding’ the system. I had one card for my family and loved their system….I even went as far as to write WG and asked them to consider a similar idea…..haven’t ever heard from them???

        • Sandra says:


          Every CVS seems to have a different stance on this policy. Our CVS manager told us that you could have one card per adult member in the household. She even went so far as to tell my friend that she could get a card for each of her teenage children too since they’ll use deoderant and shampoo too.

      • Mary says:

        Unfortunately a lot of people in my area have more than one card (even though the CVS policy says one per household). They will use their “mother’s” “sister’s” “husband’s” card and clear the shelves. It’s unfortunate some people are so greedy that they can’t let others get the deals as well. I have to be at CVS 8 am Sunday morning to get anything.

  • Sarah D. says:

    I had never thought about doing that until I read this post! I’ll have to look harder at the Walgreens flyers now to see if deals like that are possible for me. I’m sure I could find people to pass those things on to. Well, I don’t know about the Depends, but we do have a missionary shelf at church that can always use more items.

  • Becky says:

    I think it’s wonderful! I see it similar to using a free coupon for a pet product that comes in the Sunday mailer. Might as well pick that item up and donate it to a shelter or pass it along to someone who has a pet & could use it. I’ll admit when I first started doing these rebate/rewards programs, I had great intentions for donating some items like this, but it just kept moving around the house until I forced myself to deal with it. I learned my lesson about that, and now have reservations about doing this myself, but being organized about donating these items is a different issue altogether! 🙂

    • Christy says:

      @Becky, I teach at a pubic elem school and our guidance dept. keeps a stockpile of toiletry items for families in need. Our church also has boxes by the welcome desks for veteran’s donations or haiti or whatever the current drive is, so as soon as I get something for “free” that I intend on donating, it goes back out to school or to a box at church within a few days so it doesn’t clutter up my home!

  • sherri says:

    I bought them and donated them to our clothing ministry at church. Someone may just need them and can’t really afford them for a loved one. Several of us did that at our church.

  • Elena says:

    I agree with everyone about donating… I recently donated 10 glucose meters, that I got for free thanks to those sales, to a pair of senior homes in the neighborhood… It feels so good to do so, plus you get ecbs/rrs!!!!

    • Karen says:

      @Elena, glucose meters are one thing that many people don’t realize they can donate. I can only afford to get these when they are free or better after coupons/sale, and the ones that are most useful are those that include test strips. I’ve found many places over the years that have appreciated them: homeless shelters, veterans’ homes, schools, my local EMTs. I have offered them on Freecycle, and if I have a yard sale I put them out with a “free” sign. I see it as doing the company a favor (people are now using their product) as well as the recipients – so it/s a win/win/win. 🙂

  • Annette says:

    I have a good stockpile after 6 months of couponing, so I’m trying to cut back on getting all the deals. But I will sometimes buy something I don’t need if it’s an amazing deal. For example, a month or so ago Walgreens had Dulcolax for $10 with a $10 register reward. I had $4 off coupons, so I did buy a few of them because I was able to roll my RR and not have to pay anything out of pocket and then I had more RR to use on things I needed. So if I don’t have to pay anything out of pocket, I’m willing to buy something I don’t need.

    Another recent scenario- with the Kellogg’s cereal catalina promos going on, I’ve been getting the Toy Story 3 marked boxes for the codes to get my 2 year old some stuff. I bought 17 boxes total, spent $13 out of pocket, and still have $7 in catalinas left over. I gave about 5 boxes to my family, kept a few for us and I will donate the rest of them. I didn’t need to buy 17 boxes of cereal, but for $13, I got my son a Hamm piggy bank, a movie ticket and $10 of concession cash. That’s all worth more than $13!

  • Tammy says:

    If you can get something for free or almost to donate then go for it.Better to buy for the purpose of donating when you want to then to feel like you should when you have little money for the extras to donate because your church is having a donation drive for what ever reason.

  • christina says:

    i often do this, and i was able to donate a lot of things for the haiti relief operation at my church when they needed it most!! keep up the good work =)

  • I have to agree! If I can get something for free (or make money on the deal!), I usually go ahead and buy the product even if my shelf is full or if it’s a product I don’t use. If it’s something we would never use, it goes in the donations bag. If it’s something we will eventually use, I add it to my stockpile, but am willing to part with it if I need something to donate to special cause or event. I also find that I have seasons when I can spend the time required to get the great deals, but, likewise, I have seasons when that deal making just doesn’t fit my schedule. The abundant supply in my closet gets me through so I don’t have to decide between breaking open the piggy bank and brushing our teeth!!

  • Ashley says:

    For me, I have found that I must have balance. I do not have a problem buying something I don’t use if it is a money-maker and if I know I have a place to donate it to. Also, I will not drive across town, just to get one item I know we do not use…it is not worth my time or gas money. BUT, if I am already going to that store, or driving by, and my coupons are ready, I don’t have a problem, using the overage on the money-maker item to get things I do need.

    If I am getting overage on a product, I make sure that my “filler” item is something we need, not just something to clutter up the cabinets.

    I also try to not keep those “freebie” products we don’t use around the house…I try to donate as soon as possible!

  • Jennifer says:

    I completely agree with Kristin. I’m sorry, but it just seems like a huge time waster to me. FOR me, personally. Maybe if I didn’t work and had the extra time to invest running all over time and following things like ECBs, it would make sense. But as a single mom of a busy teenager, working full time, it would be a net loss for me. I clip my coupons and use them when the items go on sale at Meijer, which doubles the coupons. That has allowed me to cut my grocery budget by 1/3 over the past year. But going through lines multiple times to use catalinas, buying things I don’t use just to get a couple dollars off something I will…. not for me.

  • Megan says:

    I “buy” all the “free” things that are available and then I donate them or give them to my family. I just keep a box in my closet for the battered women’s shelter and bring over a huge donation every couple of months. They’re thrilled to get it and I never pay very much for all of it. I personally love to get free things, can use the ECBs/overage to buy other things, and it makes me feel good to give large donations.

  • Sarah says:

    I think many people are saying the same thing. It matters what works FOR YOU, at this stage in your life. With a 4 year old and 5 month old, I only take the time to do the deals that our family will really use. Many times, when I have them in tow, I get so flustered that I mess up the deal anyway and don’t get anything free. Ha ha. More power to those of you who are able to profit from it and donate to worthy causes as well.

    • Monica says:


      I get like this too. The deals I plan on getting are always out or I get flustered but one day I will be good at this and then I will be able to donate.

  • Cheri says:

    I love being able to get things for free and be able to donate it. I’ll be donating cereal and canned items to the postal carrier this weekend and other food drives and worthy causes.

    I really have mixed emotions, though, about certain deals like the recent glucose meters and RR that Walgreens had. I really don’t think people that do not have the need should be taking a lot of those items. Some places will not take them as donations, and I’ve been told that the $ is not in meters, it’s in the strips. I’ve heard of people that really had diabetes that couldn’t them, and I think that’s a shame.

    I have a daughter with severe eczema and allergies, including food, so I’m well aware with trying to make the dollars stretch. We also pay out-of-pocket for allergy treatment because our insurance will not pay for the treatment we want.

    • Anna says:

      @Cheri, Cheri, I agree with you about the glucose meters. (I left a comment below explaining this.) But you are right, a couple of months ago I ran out of test strips (I’m a Type I diabetic) and my prescription had already expired. Walgreens had a deal for free meters that week so I figured I would get one and use it and the sample test strips they come with for a couple of days until I could get to the doctor. I went to 3 different Walgreens and they were all out.

      • gwenn says:

        I agree that they seem to be out, but I think the store just doesn’t stock many. I look for them when it is a good deal so I can share them with people in my church that need them.

    • Tammy says:

      @Cheri, I have to agree with you, Cheri about the glucose meters. My husband is a physician and has quite a supply of meters at his office. Drug companies give them to him, of course, hoping he will give them out to his patients. The profitability comes when patients then have to buy the test strips, where the real money is for the drug company. I just don’t think that there are many places that can use the meters…the strips, however would be welcome for most diabetics. Now, if only we could work deals on those, then we’d really be doing some good!

  • Karen Rucker says:

    I usually don’t. Although I agree with every item mentioned by Kimberlee, I usually don’t buy free items I won’t personally use because:

    1. I don’t want to hurt the store’s bottom line. I depend on Walgreen’s and Rite Aid for a lot of my freebies, so if they go out of business my easiest source of freebies disappears. Giving away products costs them money.

    2. I am trying to minimize my shopping to save gas and time. Extra shopping trips for things I won’t use doesn’t make sense.

    3. While I do agree that gifting to charity is worthwhile, I tend to give money. When I worked for a charity I realized that donated freebies are great but they don’t pay the electric, the water, or for the workers. And if they aren’t needed right away, they take up valuable room to store. So unless a charity is asking for donations of goods, I try to give money that they’ll be able to use for basic operating costs. Part of what I enjoy about couponing is that it gives me a little extra room in my budget so that I can afford to give cash. And if I’m worried that my money won’t be well spent, I just make the check out directly to the electric company with a note written on it that it’s for the charity’s account.

    • Erin says:

      @Karen Rucker,

      I do not see how this hurts the stores bottom line. They get reimbursed for the coupon. they choose to give out the ECB’s to get you back shopping at their store. Even if I only “bought” free stuff and moneymakers, I loved CVs so much that I transferred my RX’s there. Now they make money from me purchasing those there. A store is not going to allow themselves to go under by promoting a program that gives you rewards. CVS has only grown financially year by year.

      I wont run out to speciafically get a freebie but mixed in with my regular shopping…it hurts nothing.

      I give money to charity AND freebies I pick up that I wont use. Heres an example… husbands friend is in the military. he found out a member of his unit was living out of his car because he lost his home. he asked the guy what he could do to help and immediatley the guy asked for toothpaste and deoderant. I went to my stock and pulled out 2 of each and told him when those were gone I would keep him supplied as long as he needed. I was able to directly bless a person that I feel God sent my way because I had a stockpile. And I think the people at CVS would have been elated that the free toothpaste I purchased from them with a coupon blessed a homeless man that will be heading off to Iraq to serve this country.

    • Amber says:

      @Karen Rucker, I absolutely “buy” freebies that I dont use or that will make me money to use on other things- as long as I am already at the store for sometihing else. I see your point about donating money b/c they need to pay for things too- BUT, for those of us that are in a point where WE should be the ones getting things from these charity places, we dont have the money to donate, but the products we get for free can be donated and still be helping. While we are far from living comfortably right now, I feel truely blessed that I can get food and personal care items for cheap/free and that I can donate the rest to others who are in nedd as well. I am thankful that b/c of my couponing I have managed to keep us of of government assistance AND that I can give so much to these shelters too. I would much rather donate free items to people b/c I can either donate a few bags full every couple months or give them maybe $5 or $10 just as often. I can give them more in items than I ever could in money.

  • Heather says:

    No, I don’t. It’s a time and clutter issue. Donating these items is nice, but I am short on space, and they would just be cluttering up my house until I could donate them (time driving).

    • Kimberly says:


      I’m really short on space as well, and only have enough space to keep 1 or 2 extras on hand. It is not worth it to me to buy things I’m not going to use, even if they are free. Donating items would be great and I have done it in the past, but right now it is just not going to work for me.

  • Anna says:

    I think donating items you wouldn’t normally use is a great idea! I also wanted to point out something that maybe some people don’t realize, but the reason glucose meters are often free is b/c the real cost is in the test strips that go with them. The meters will usually come with a sample of 10 strips, but then you have to buy additional strips which can cost as much as $70 for 100 . Each brand of meter has its own type of strip, so by giving away free meters, the companies are hoping you’ll stay with them and purchase the test strips. I’m not trying to discourage anyone from donating these, but a donated meter will only be useful for a couple of days without more test strips. Just an FYI.

  • Agreed! I do this myself. It’s the only reason I was able to fill 11 copy paper boxes full of toiletries for the domestic violence shelter in my area. I last donated in October (7 boxes). Since last October I saved up the CVS and Walgreens goodies that we do not have a use for. These included lots of body wash, tampons, cosmetics, lotions, pain relievers, first aid supplies, shampoo and conditioner. I have a stockpile that is more than plenty for my household, and this method allows me to give to others. I also give boxes full to my parents, who are currently both unemployed. I don’t go too crazy on getting the deals, and even at that rate in 7 months I filled up all those boxes!

    I can give so much more this way than if I were just sending in cash. The products I donated had a value of over $1,000 but I wouldn’t be able to donate that much cash.

  • Megan says:

    Donating the extra items is a wonderful idea. This Saturday, May 8th (at least in our area) is the Stamp Out Hunger program. What you do is leave a bag of non-perishable items for the mailman to pick up when he drops off your mail. The food goes back to the post office and they sort and donate the items to local shelters. This is a great opportunity to rid the cabinets of the extra cans of tuna and boxes of Hamburger Helper and to help out someone in need. Last year, our local shelter RAN OUT of food because so many were in need. Please participate or go to to see if your area is participating!

    • Andrea says:

      @Megan, LOL. I stocked up on Hamburger Helper during a Meijer sale. I had never bought it before. Well….the kids HATE it. They won’t touch it. I guess this is what I could do with it!

  • Valerie says:

    I think that it is a wonderful chance to contribute to charities where I may not have the opportunity to support financially otherwise. I give to charities that can use the products that I have a surplus of or products I don’t use and don’t understand why that would be an issue. The retailers offer these incentive programs to encourage return business, and they have me hooked!

  • Rebecca M. says:

    I don’t usually buy unwanted/unneeded items because

    1. I have limited storage space in my home
    2. I am in a coupon exchange group, so I only keep coupons for items I want (the rest go to other members of the group)
    3. Like many others, I only have enough time to figure out deal scenarios for the stuff I want!

  • Courtney says:

    Definitely! Especially since I’ve been couponing if I get something for free or nearly free ($1 or less) I will go ahead and buy it. I will often give the item to family (like free/cheap diapers to my sister) or donate to the local domestic violence shelter for women. I have done this a LOT with shampoo/toothbrushes and femenine care products. It has taught me to give more to charity and if I have a coupon, why not? Now, I probably wouldn’t go to a store just to purchase things that I could get for cheap/free if I was not going there for things for myself (sounds a bit selfish when I write it) as well, but I don’t know why anyone would have a problem with getting things for cheap/free as long as you were donating them or giving them to someone who could use them!

  • I should add- I got the depends too, for postpartum bleeding! I’m 7 months pregnant and will use the Depends when I get home from the hospital on those days when the bleeding is too heavy to mess with regular maxipads. I opened the package and they look just like the “underwear” I wore in the hospital after I had my daughter 3 years ago.

    • Dani says:

      @Milk Donor Mama, 🙂 At least I’m not the only one who used depends after giving birth! lol

      If I am going to a store anyway, I will definately pick up the free or extremely cheap things to donate to someone who needs it. If I have the time I will go to the store anyways, but thats not always the case. I’m a single mom of two, I have a 2 year old, a one year old, two jobs, and school, so as you can see I am pretty busy! I do try to help others as often as I can than though!

      • Chandler says:

        Wow, I wish I would have thought about that after I had my baby. The Depends would have worked great.

        I got the Depends this week at CVS to give to my grandmother who has Alzheimer’s. I don’t think you should take up alot of your spare time trying to get deals on items you don’t need or use, but if you can help out someone else while you are there shopping why not pick up the free item for them and share?

    • Candi says:

      @Milk Donor Mama, That is an awesome idea! I hated those little postpartum “panties”…these would have been perfect!

    • Andrea Q says:

      @Milk Donor Mama, My midwife actually recommended them to me. They are perfect!

  • Jenny says:

    I agree I don’t mind buying something if it is free because there is always someone out there in need of it and helping each other out is important for building a good character and a good example for our children it also builds better communities. The decline in the economy affects us all and some more than others. Being there to help someone in else who is in need helps them get back on there feet and we never know when we might need that same kind of help from others.

  • Helene says:

    I don’t do as many of the deals as I did when I started a couple years ago but I will get things to donate along with what we need. Several of my friends were laid off the past year and a half and many items were welcomed. CVS had jumbo pkg diapers at $4 clearance-I bought loads and donated them both to out of work friends and food pantry.
    I also keep in mind its not me who is donating as much as it is the companies who provide the coupons and deals.

  • Wendy says:

    I do “buy” the freebies to donate, especially when it is going to give me more to purchase the items I need. Since the stores get reimbursed by the manufacturers for my coupons I don’t feel that I’m hurting them, they’re just getting their money from someone other than me.

    As far as donating money, I think it’s great if you have it but right now that’s not a reality for us. However, shelters are usually thankful to get personal care & laundry items so this is my way of donating even when we have no money!

  • chelsea says:

    I have actually made somewhat of a business out of it. I will buy things on clearance (not perishable unless it’s something I will use) or at garage sales, etc. that are worth alot more than I paid. I then turn around and sell them on ebay for a profit. This has allowed me to stay at home with my babies rather than working (I usually net around 200-300 a month by doing this). I found I almost have to do this because I know that even if I won’t use it I CANNOT STOP MYSELF FROM BUYING IT if it’s really cheap or free. And things like the depends that really don’t sell well, hey if it gives me profit AND I can donate it then all the better.

    • Sandra says:

      @chelsea, I am totally in the same boat as you. I sell the items for a profit whether online or at a yearly garage sale. Now, I don’t let that stop me from giving extras to friends and family who could use them, but for the second year in a row, I’m about to pay for our entire family vacation with the proceeds from buying and selling these goodies from Walgreens & CVS. I feel like that is good stewardship too.

  • Kara says:

    This was a discussion topic at a coupon class held here in Eastern NC a couple weeks ago.
    I personally do not buy items that my family will not use, though I have thought about it. I am still trying to get my budget back under control and sort through the boxes in my garage (this is depends on where we are moving again this year).
    I do see myself buying and donating free items in the future.

  • Ellen says:

    I do buying like that for some of the same reasons. I had to giggle…I was hoping that you wouldn’t say…to buy ahead for when you are older older! I was wondering WHERE you would store it? 🙂

  • Stephanie says:

    If it is a money maker I will buy it and donate it. When WAGS had their 10% back on gift card I always bought all the items because the gift card did not expire. RR expire and unless I know I will be able to goback to wags to spend the RR sometimes I pass on the deal.

  • melanie keck says:

    You do have to be careful there are hoarders out there who buy stuff they don’t need because it is a great deal. They get a high off of it. I have had a bit of that tendency expecially in my younger years. I have to limit myself to only buying things that I am going to use right away. My sister goes over the top and buys stuff just because it is a great deal. My dad makes fun of her telling her that she is going broke saving money. Alot of it depends on a persons frame of mind! I know my limits and I am developing self dicipline in all parts of my life!

  • rox says:

    I love the idea of being able to donate the “extras”, however I can’t even get the deals I need for my fam a lot of times! You crazy (said entirely lovingly and with all admiration!!) ladies always seem to beat me to the stores!! I had a 10 item list for Wags last week and walked out with one item as everything else was already gone 🙂 Guess that’s what I get for shopping on Wednesday.. 😉

  • Abbie says:

    My general rule of thumb is I only buy stuff I personally won’t need if I know someone who does that I can give it to, or if it’s a moneymaker. Things like pads and tampons that I know shelters and food banks will need, I’ll buy. We don’t have a ton of space for storage in my house, so if I know I have a decent stockpile even of something we use all the time, I won’t buy unless it’s free or a moneymaker.

  • bethany m says:

    I don’t understand how buying something that is on sale, has ECB’s or RR’s available and allows you to use coupons with it is abusing the system. If you are following their sale, their corporate coupon policy and item limit then you are within your ethical right to purchase whatever you desire for whatever purpose you desire. I guess I’m just confused on how this will cause a store to possibly go out of business.

    • Erin says:

      @bethany m,
      THIS WON’T. CVS is FULLY aware that people get items for free and there are many sites dedicated to using their system. CVS has shown a bigger profit year after year. They are not going to let a rewards system drive them into the groud. People need to remember that they get reimbursed for coupons. Coupons are cash to them. Its not a secret from CVS that people get items for free. Seriously, it is totally ridiculous to think us couponers are going to bankrupt CVS. They are fully aware that an item is FREE AFTER ECB’s as they will put it in theor ad AND tell you there were coupons in Sundays papere to match.

  • Anitra says:

    I don’t buy things that I know I won’t use… I don’t really have the time to investigate where to give donated items.

  • I “buy” stuff for free or cheap knowing I can donate it. Usually only at the grocery store. For me I love cvs. I usually work deals on items we need or will use or I know there is a need for at church. We participate in operation shoe box thru the church. I try to pick up as many of the items I can with coupons. I figure I don’t have much extra money to donate but if I’m already going to the store why not pick up the extra cheaper items for donation. A few months ago I picked up 23 bars of soap for free to less then 0.50. I didn’t get these all at once but through out a months time. We need 300 for the shoe boxes so I purchased them for that intent. I don’t see a problem with using coupons to donate more. I’ve recently posted about it. I think its just another tool to help others in need.

  • In my house “things we will use” is sort of a loose term. Hypothetically, if we were planning ahead for snacks we might usually by popcorn. One week I find a really tremendous deal on pretzels, and I stock up. We wouldn’t normally go out and buy pretzels, but if we have them we will eat them in the same way we would have eaten popcorn. So I’ve saved money on the general category of snack foods even by buying something we wouldn’t normally buy. Just as an example. It’s sort of like the brand loyalty issue. For some items a lot of people just won’t switch at all (and I have a few of those myself), but in general if you’re willing to buy a different brand (Crest vs. Colgate for example) you might save a bundle.

    Sometimes I hear people say they only buy things for a deal if it’s something that they’ll use, and they mean that they have a set shopping list and if the deal item isn’t on it (because of the brand, type of thing, or they don’t need it *right now*) then the deal doesn’t matter and they won’t buy it. I shop the deals instead, and always have plenty of things around waiting to be used – sometimes creatively, but always used. And there’s very little I have to add to the list simply because I need it and don’t have it.

    It’s a different perspective, and like others have said, what works for you is what you should do. 🙂

  • Sharon says:

    I always get the free items even if I don’t use them. I have several outlets for those items. I have friend who lost her job due to cutbacks and I pass some of the items to her. My sister found out about a family of 5 who are having trouble making ends meet – job loss, again. The extra deoderant, shampoo, toothpaste, etc. goes to the nursing home. I keep a few baby items so I can make up gift baskets with full size bottles of shampoo, lotion, diaper rash cream, and diapers, and the rest go to the preschool at the church across the street or the first-start program at school (they really like the wipes). There are so many people that need help, and all it takes from me is a little time and effort. I don’t have the money to donate, but I can certainly give my time!

  • I don’t usually do this as I do not have the time. With homeschooling and making food from scratch, just taking care of my children, I don’t have time to hunt down deals for things i will not use, even if i can donate them.
    I get frustrated a bit when I see people who scored a deal on 50 things of toothpaste every month, yes, maybe they are donating them and good for them. We live in a small town though and when i get to go grocery shopping, often times the good deals get cleaned out fast and that is all there is.

  • Erica Gores says:

    I spoke with the manager at my local CVS. She said that ECB don’t actually expire. She said they are simply treated like a cash payment and that she doesn’t even understand why they have an expiration date on them. That was good to learn, because I have sometimes found some that have expired and THROWN THEM AWAY. Man, that was like throwing away real money.

    • CVS Employee says:

      @Erica Gores, Extracare bucks are like “CVS cash,” but they have an expiration date on them for a reason. Perhaps that store (and possibly district) follows the “TAKE THEM WHENEVER” policy, but not all stores do. And the only EC bucks that can be reset (if you lose them, they expire, etc.) are quarterly bucks. And we can only do that once for you. Please make sure that you know that just because one store does something does NOT mean other stores follow that same guideline.

  • Sarah B says:

    I’m kind of new into couponing, so I’m still figuring out what is good for me and my family.
    I did buy fixodent once because it was a money maker. When I got home I had no idea what to do with it and decided that’s something I won’t do again. I realized I don’t need to get things even if I’m going to earn $1 on it! I do still have to pay tax on the things I buy, and that doesn’t seem like very much, but honestly with my tiny budget it makes a difference!
    I did buy the depends this week though. I had ECBs I wanted to roll, plus a $4/$20 coupon that the $6.99 helped me use plus I used the $2 coupon, and I got to use my green bag tag. 🙂 This week it seemed like a good idea, but maybe next week it won’t be.

  • Erin says:

    I usually don’t buy things I don’t need, because I don’t want to find the space for them, since I will probably forget to donate. However, I completely support the idea of getting an item and donating it, so kudos to all of you who do!

  • Rebecca says:

    Oh dear, dare I comment…..Let me start out by saying that there are 6 of us in our family, 3 teenagers and one 12 year old and then us two adults, well sometimes we act like adults!

    If there is a sale, and I have a coupon I am buying it whether we will eat it or not.; use it or not; ever tried it or not and here is why:

    If I can “buy” something for free or almost free—we can learn to like it.
    For example a couple weeks ago I got a great deal on Yoplus yogurt for 25 cents for a 4 pack.
    All 6 of us had tried it before and really did not care for it. But I went ahead and bought 5 (4) packs (paid $1.25 for 5 packs) and used it for smoothies—everyone here loves smoothies.

    Banana Breakfast Smoothie:
    1 Banana, sliced
    1 cup skim milk
    3/4 cup yogurt, I just used 2 yogurt cups (from above)
    1/4 pineapple Juice
    1/2 TBLS Honey
    *Put in Blender, blend all together, add as much ice as you would like—then enjoy

  • Its all I can do to find deals that I use myself, so I don’t do this. I haven’t gotten too into the whole drugstore game though, so maybe I would if I was better at it 🙂

  • Laura W. says:

    I agree too. Yesterday I purchased the Depends (i am only 32 so don’t use them myself yet!!) but then I took them the same day to a local nursing home. I asked a nurse if I could donate them and she was VERY happy to take them telling me that most of their residents wear them and obviously they are quite expensive. So yes, I do buy things that I have no use for — but it usually makes the day of someone who does need it. Win-win I think.

  • Julie says:

    I just wanted to add that donations don’t always have to go to a shelter or pantry. Families who receive SNAP (formerly food stamps) may have a need for those hygiene products. SNAP benefits can be used only for food items, not for soap, cleaning products, over-the-counter medications like pain relievers, toilet tissue, and so on.

    • Dinamarie says:

      I agree is they are on food stamps they don’t make much money and could really use all the help they can get. Belive me I was there. I would also teach them of the bargains so that they could do it for themsleves so that they could also benefit well after so that they could feel selfsufficient and there not getting a free hand out.

  • I don’t buy anything we ourselves cannot use. I am concerned that many things that are donated may go to waste. That just uses resources unnecessarily. My rule is if we can’t use it, I won’t buy it – no matter how much money it saves me.

  • Karen says:

    Most of the time I will not buy a product if I’m not going to use it. The exception is when I know for sure I will donate the unused items. For example, I recently used coupons to score three free deoderants which we do use. But our food pantry also gives out hygience items with the food each week. I volunteer there so I know they will be used. Otherwise I’m cluttering my home, and I would rather give my unused coupons to someone who may use them. Another reason is I get frustrated sometimes when after putting in hours each week studying sales, checking my favorite blogs for the best deals, clipping, etc. to get to the grocery store and see an empty space for an item which I will definitely use. I applaud those of you who are donating, but please don’t get 20 items of something you don’t need, and then I or someone else must do without. By the way, I will always request a raincheck, but I have had coupons expire before the product was restocked.

  • Jessica Timm says:

    Right now, I have stockpile of personal care items to last our family a year! I simply cannot pass up something free though! I am starting a donation stockpile now!

  • Tara says:

    I am still considering doing this deal myself, but I ran into the problem, when I was working the CVS system in earnest, that I got overwhelmed by all the stuff – I am single and have a small living area. To keep the coupon momentum going and keep your ECBs fresh, you have to buy alot of stuff.

    I gave away 90% of items to friends, neighbors, co-workers and people in need and I still had more than I could use. At one point, I had $75 outstanding ECBs and nothing I really “needed” to spend them on. I “blew” those dollars on Christmas gifts and took a year-and-a-half hiatus from CVS and still had plenty of toothpaste, tampons and shampoo to last me a long time. Since my hiatus, CVS no longer sends me those great coupons like they used to. 🙁

  • Shannon W. says:

    I only buy thing I don’t need or will never use myself if I can get it for free out of pocket. If I wont use it, someone will. I have a large tote bag right now that is getting very full of things that my family wont use. Once that bag is as full as it can get, I will take it to a shelter or something. I have everything from instant coffee to razors, patiently waiting to go to a loving home 😀
    I don’t shop at CVS enogh to “work the system” like alot of people do. I think I may start though 😉

  • celeste says:

    I know lots of you are donating to church. A suggestion from someone who lives overseas is to make a basket up for them when missionaries come home-or extra to take back with them. You can even check to see what they might need (a family w/ small children might need diapers or children’s tylenol). My husband is a chaplain at a bi-lingual school in central america. We can’t get coupon deals here. My Mom is stockpiling some things for the brief time we will be home this summer and to send back with us as toiletries are very expensive here. And school supplies will go on sale just before we return. Missionaries appreciate you thinking of them as they have lots of extra expenses on furlough,and often they are still maintaining a home overseas while living in the US for a while. We won’t be around long enough to collect a lot of coupons and we don’t have a home-town anymore where we know how to shop a particular store. (Honestly the selection can be quite overwhelming). Our church has a food pantry that’s been a great blessing. Saving on my groceries helps with all the gas money we’re having to spend while home visiting churches. Many people aren’t able to give a monthly dollar gift, but they can help out with a few grocery items. It’s an extra way to give that costs little beside your time but is so appreciated by those who receive it.

  • Melinda M says:

    I also agree 100%. When I was hard-core couponing (I’ve slacked recently, but still couponing), I donated TONS of items to local charities. I don’t have the money to do it otherwise. I was thrilled that I could roll my ECBs and help out some local charities at the same time. And they were thrilled to receive the items.

  • Samantha N says:

    If there is something that I can get for “free” with a coupon out of the paper/printed off-line I will get it to donate it, if I am going to that store already. Otherwise I have found that even though I am staying home to spend time with my child I end up spending more time couponing and running around to stores. It’s like addicting, and I’ve had to control it. The coupon/free high

    I agree that there have been items that I have really wanted/needed to buy but they are out, and not sure but it could be because people got it just to get it. It does also concern me about the possibility that company’s may not be as willing to do coupon deals in the future because of negligent use of coupons. I am glad to see that so many are donating though!

  • Erin says:

    I do buy things I don’t need and want, but it can get burdensome because it is wasteful. No, I do not throw perfectly good products away. I donate to Goodwill, my aunt’s nursing home, my neighbor’s school, etc. We’d like to think that all our donations make it into the hands of someone who wants or needs it, but I don’t think that’s always the case. Our strange little castoffs are likely strange to the vast majority of the population. (Powergel bursts? Diet spray? Glade candle tins?) As others have said more eloquently than I, money and food are the donations that are truly needed. Lately, purchasing items for which I have no use (and/or are of questionable interest to the general public) has been depressing me, so I think I’m going to take a little break from buying such items.

  • kim says:

    I’m cautious about buying items for free that I know I don’t need with the intention of donating them, even though I do think donating them is a good idea. When I lost my job last year I made a stronger effort to coupon and to pick up the things my family needed for a a good price. I only had two sets of coupons to work with, mine and my mom’s, so I wasn’t stockpiling beyond 2 items. I was extremely frustrated to go to cvs or Rite Aid and find that the items I needed were all out of stock. I asked the store clerk at cvs who said that early Sunday morning they have a group of people, usually the same ones who come in and buy up all the deals with their coupons and what they don’t use they donate, isn’t that awesome? I was just about in tears because my family needed these things as well, however we were not a homeless shelter etc and I only wanted one or two items. I make an effort now to only get what I really need, because someone else out there needs it as well.

    • Michelle says:

      @kim, Sorry that was the case. I do shop for charities, but make an effort not to raid the shelves. Just remember at CVS and Rite Aid they will give rainchecks so you can get the item next time you come in.

    • Erin says:

      @kim, This is exactly why I hate coupon buying/selling on ebay. I don’t know why people feel the need to be so excessive. I never buy more than one or two of an item, yet I have plenty for my family *and* to donate.

  • Bethany says:

    One Depends product that everyone with babies can use is their Boost Pads. They’re flow-thru with no moisture barrier, and work GREAT as a diaper double for overnight!

  • Traci says:

    I buy free and even cheap items all the time! My children go to a Catholic school that does a lot of donation drives throughout the year – food drives, the veteran’s home, the battered women’s shelter, and a shelter for pregnant women. Even if the items aren’t 100% free, I know that by buying it – the money I spent goes further than if I had donated the equivalent in cash. I have often picked up baby items like pacifiers, outfits or bottles when they were 75% or more off because I can either use it as part of a baby gift or donate it to the shelter.

    Knowing I have a place I can send virtually anything, it’s hard not to pick it up! But, I don’t go crazy… I have one drawer in a filing cabinet that I keep all these items until donated. I don’t do a huge amount of stockpiling, but if I pick up 2-3 of a brand of soap or deodorant that we end up not liking, I know I can pass the extras along to someplace they will be used and appreciated.

  • Lori says:

    I do not for many of the same reasons mentioned, but I am surprised that only one person admitted to reselling. I have been to many a yard sale (and kids resales) where these items were being resold.

  • Crystal says:

    I WILL buy an item we don’t need to “make” money – but I have a few personal guidelines:

    1. I can’t go out of my way to get it (waste gas/time) tracking down items just to make a few bucks.

    2. It has to be a TRUE money maker – this means when I add in the tax I have to pay, am I really *making* money?

    3. It cannot be an item that people need for their health. Sounds weird, but I have a problem with clearing out all of the diabetic meters (even for donations) when there are those that NEED these – maybe they don’t qualify for assistance & wouldn’t go any where for donations, but they would like to use their coupons on these needed items.

    That said – I’m all about getting free food & toiletries (even if it’s not our family’s favorite) so that I have something to give to the Boy Scouts when they come knocking!

  • Julie says:

    Besides providing for my family, stockpiling at Walgreens and CVS allows me to refill the mission closet at church without taking money out of my family’s mouth. I’ve been able to teach the ladies at church how to do the same thing. We are “blessed to be a blessing” to others!

    • gwenn says:

      @Julie,I do this as well. I have a ministry that my daughter and I started called Save More Give More. We get all the great deals for a month and the set up a table after church for people to take the items if they need them. Many in our church, as in many others, have those that are struggling to get by so we offer the items to them. It has blessed many and I love doing it. We also have a small box on the table if they want to give a donation to the church building fund. Some really want to pay for it and this is there way of helping.

  • Rhiannon says:

    No, I don’t buy things I don’t need for savings in other areas. While I can understand why people would do that, I feel like it ends up being a “robbing Peter to pay Paul” situation for me.

    My husband and I have a VERY restricted budget thanks to him being in Law School (which is how I found you Crystal! Thanks for your inspiration!) and we have decided its better for us to focus on simple living, moderate couponing, envelope system-ing, and very careful planing to make our dollars S-T-R-E-T-C-H!!! Frankly, there is nothing at CVS that we would use so that we could get ECBs. By cutting back, we have figured out exactly how much shampoo, deoderant, razors, soap we need and buy that, maybe a bit more if it a good deal. We cloth diaper, I make my own laundry soap, and household cleaners for enviromental reasons with the added benefit of saving an extra $20-30 in our budget every month!
    We used to live right across the street to a CVS (before law school) and it was the WORST thing for our budget and waistlines! We bought so many crackers, cereals, etc. for and with ECBs. Within 2 months of school we had lost a combined 25 lbs and cut our budget in half!

    I just don’t feel like it right for me to buy things I don’t need, unless I have someone specific I can give it to. Then it’s not buying something you don’t need, it’s meeting the specific need of another!

  • ann says:

    I like the comments about “all things in moderation”. I think it is a great thought to donate items that we get for free from stores, but we also need to not look at it like WE are donating it. It is the store and the manufacturer that is donating it because WE paid nothing for it and sometimes they actually “pay” us to take that item. That being said, most large companies already have large philanthropic departments that take care of donations of products and funds. Coupons are intended and created by manufacturers to create loyalty to their products by offering them at a lower price so you will be willing to purchase them again. Remember, big business must be making a profit in order to produce a coupon.

    I live in Utah. Many of the Albertson’s in Utah just went out of business. I asked one of the managers helping in the takeover, why they were going under. He said that one of the factors was couponing abuse. Too many couponing families were not shopping in moderation. They would look for the great deals or free deals (many items that are intended for elderly shoppers) and come first thing in the morning and clear shelves. Regular shoppers would come in expecting an advertised deal (not intending to even use a coupon) only to find the shelves cleared out. And guess what happens next? The non-coupon shoppers, who are the ones that pay full price and make a profit for the store, start shopping somewhere else where they have a better chance at finding an item that is advertised. And when a store doesn’t make a profit, they can’t stay in business.
    I am all for couponing and even stocking up our own pantries. But we need to all be good stewards and realize that our extreme desires to get free stuff, or cheap stuff, sometimes ends up backfiring on us.

  • Carol says:

    I do buy things that I won’t use, if it’s free or makes money, in order to donate it……..but only if there is an ample supply on the shelf.
    I hate going to Walgreens, because there is another couponer that goes to the Walgreens near me, and by Monday morning, every week, the store is cleaned out of the RR deals!! It’s crazy.
    If I want a deal on something that I do use, I have to make sure to get there Sunday, right after church. I’ve seen her at CVS, too, but she can clear out the shelves because of the limits, so I have much better luck at CVS.

    I totally understand wanting to donate; but if it’s not something we definitely use, or need within the next six months or so, I think we need to leave some on the shelves for people who need it, and have a limited budget. A lot of people are in the “not on public assistance, but on a severely limited budget” category, so we need to be considerate.

    I love doing this, because it’s a way to be able to increase our giving, without having to generate more income. We already tithe, and support missionaries (and do missionary work ourselves), so there just isn’t one more dime I can give. But I still wanted to find a way to be able to increase what we give, and this is it!
    I brought $300. worth of personal care items to our local food pantry last week, and the net cost to me was nothing! ( And they were ecstatic to receive all of the tampons, pads, etc.! There’s always a desperate need for those things.)
    As a home school mom, this is the best way I can find to be extra generous, without having a job generating extra money. Yes, it’s a sacrifice of a few hours each week, but worth it to me :).

  • CVS Employee says:

    I work at CVS for Customer Relations, and although it is “corporate policy” to not accept expired CVS coupons, MANY store managers tell the employees to accept them. Some SMs won’t accept them at all, some will accept them if they’re 3 or 7 days expired, and my local store will accept them no matter HOW expired they are.
    I’d recommend checking with your store manager to see if they will accept them. But keep in mind, if they all of a sudden change the policy or if you go to another store, there’s no recourse — calling us at corporate will only get you an apology!

  • I don’t buy deals that I can’t use. Honestly, I just can’t be bothered. It would clutter up my home until I’m ready to take them somewhere. Now I will shop ahead on grocery items for my youth group when stuff is on sale. We had a retreat planned for a few weeks after Super Bowl Sunday. SBS is traditionally when soft drinks and chips are marked WAY down, so I bought with thoughts toward that. I’ll also buy things for the local food pantry that I know they need. But no, I do not buy Depends or glucose monitors or diapers or whatever. I prefer to leave those things on the shelves for those who actually need them.

    I’ve been very frustrated at times by selfish couponers who clean out the shelves just because it’s a deal. My most frustrating moment was when Target had some deal last year on tuna. I think it came out to being something like 19 or 29 cents a can. I went because my cat with kidney disease needs to drink as much as possible, and the “juice” from the cans that we otherwise drain off is a great treat and motivator for him, but it’s expensive to open tuna cans just for that. The rabid couponers had cleaned out the shelves completely by the time I got there shortly after the sale had started.

    So, with that in mind, I leave behind what I don’t need. If people are donating things to organizations that actually need and want the sale items, then that’s great. But I do have to question just how many charities are begging for glucose monitors.

  • Dsperin says:

    If I won’t use it, then I don’t buy it (or coupon it–whatever). Even for donating–I just don’t do it. In fact, if my stockpile is decent enough, I won’t even head out for most deals (for instance, I haven’t been to Walgreens in ages because I stocked so well in the middle of winter).

  • Leigh Jack says:

    I too often buy things that we are completely stockpiled on or that we may not need. My husband never asked me why he just rolled his eyes when I would bring home strange things. One day, he learned the usefulness of my shopping. He is an Officer in the Army and occassionally has soldiers that are having a hard time or can’t buy this or that. Well, he also has soldiers that are deployed and may not be able to find a “specific” brand of face wash or soap. My large inventory makes it easy to send care packages to soldiers in the Middle East and to help families in need. It brings me GREAT accomplishment and joy to know that I have helped someone and made their day a little better.

  • Faith says:

    I posted about something similar to this, but a little different, here:

    I am a new blog and haven’t built up much of a following (although I am thankful for what I have), so I really never got any feedback. It is about using codes off of products you didn’t purchase to score coupons. The particular deal ended up being a money maker. I would LOVE to hear what some of you ladies have to say about that:)

  • I do buy items I don’t need if I can get it free or to “roll” ECB’s or RR. I will limit myself to usually 1 of those items, though. Other’s may need it, so I won’t stock up unless I can use the item. There is an exception, if there are a lot of the item left on the shelf near the end of a sale I will purchase more do donate.

  • Nina T. says:

    I just posted this on “The Peaceful Mom”s site, but I think it’s a great idea. I just realized the other day that these things that I could be getting for free or practically nothing, to roll register rewards (or extra care bucks) could help out others in need. Just wish I had a CVS closer 😛

  • Krystal says:

    I tried CVSing and now do not. My reason is because of the other woman in our area cleaning the shelves by using questionable or selfish ethics. The come in at heaven knows what time, with a handful of CVS cards and make one transaction after another. The managers are frustrated and told me that they can’t make them stop until corprate changes the sale policies. He also told me that he has seen people come in and take all there was of each sale item. I think it’s great to donate and get a good deal on what you do give away. But is it realy right (Christ like) to behave in the way I just described? Some of you may say that this is only a few people and it doesn’t happen that often. After trying more that one store and running into frustrated managers I think it is a big problem. The nail in the coffin for giving up on CVSing was that some of the CVS staff has showed me irritation as soon as they see that I came in for deals. No matter how nice I was (and no I didn’t walk out with a pile of free stuff) they thought me as selfish as the the other CVSers. If that was thier impression of me, and I often couldn’t find the sales (@ 8am), then it isn’t worth it.

  • Heather says:

    I am still new to CVS-ing, but I did the Depends deal this week. I have a wonderful friend who needs them for her daughter. I made $2 and was able to bless my friend. Can’t beat that.

  • Jessica says:

    I generally don’t buy items I don’t need, because we only have Walgreens here and it becomes a hassle, doing multiple trips to roll over RRs when there is a line, because then I won’t ask for multiple transactions.

    But they are opening a CVS RIGHT across the street from Walgreens, and I think it is a common misconception people run “all over town” to save 50 cents. Both the Walgreens and CVS are walking distance from my house, I can leave the kids with my husband and be in and out in both of them in probably 30 minutes I figure. I also have 3 grocery stores within a mile, and a SuperTarget a few miles down the road. So I am not wasting gas or time, like many people think.

  • Alaine says:

    I generally don’t buy items I won’t use just because of the time and effort it takes to print the coupons, go to the store, etc. I can understand doing so if it is a money maker and the items are being donated, but I’m afraid I won’t ever get around to donating it (that takes more time, and that’s a precious commodity for me!) It’s gotten to the point that my stockpile is large enough that I won’t buy things I have mass quantities of (i.e. toothpaste!) even if it is free until my stockpile starts to get smaller. I don’t need more than 12 tubes of toothpaste, so I might as well leave it on the shelf for someone who does! The same goes for when an item is free after coupons – I’ll generally just buy one or two, but not go out of my way to get extra coupons and buy large quantities. It’s so disappointing when I go to the store and the free item I’m looking for is out of stock, so I try not to be greedy and only buy what we really need.

  • Kristy says:

    My rule has long been that if it something I don’t need, or something that I am already fully stocked on, I will only buy it free if I have a good home for it.

    A few years ago a number of friends were evacuated during the fires in San Diego County. Buy using this method I was able to help a friend almost completely stock her pantry at no cost to me, just my time. We have taken boxes to families who need a little help asking them to “just help me clear/sort out my stock pile would you?”

    Like all things, this is an area where we just need to use our common sense! 🙂

  • Stacie says:

    what a great idea! i hadn’t thought about it that way. i always see coupons for products i won’t use and i don’t clip them. but if i could make money off them to buy the things i will use…hmmmm. makes sense to me! i may start trying them. the trick for me is not to spend to much energy or effort figuring out which are the regular money maker items.

  • Michelle says:

    I do this all of the time. In fact did this several times this week at rite aid. I had several transactions with nivea bodywash and covergirl make-up which were free after coupons to get my total up to $25 and then used a $5 off $25 coupon. I did this several times and got organic toothpaste, bodywash, soap, and shampoo for free except for tax. I then took the items I didn’t need to the local feed pantry. The bodywash and other personal care items are in great need, because often there clients can get food stamps but these don’t cover any non-food items. The make-up they use for their make over days which they do once a month to give many of there clients a polished professional look so they are ready for interviews. I definitely see it as a win win situation. My family gets the products they prefer for almost nothing and the stuff I buy that we don’t need goes to someone who could really use it.

  • Mary says:

    I think it’s great that we are discussing not buying too much, donating what you can’t use, etc. – BUT – this conversation assumes that we are all making a living wage and have more in our lives than we need.

    Seven years ago I was making nearly $60k a year. I had just bought a house, had money to spare…bought a $400 lawn mower, for peet’s sake. Life was good!

    Jump to March, 2004 – I am laid off with nearly 90% of my department. I am now surviving on unemployment of $360 (untaxed, I have to save out money to pay income tax…) per week. Luckily, I knew it was coming so I had paid off most of my credit card debt, had a 401k worth $45k…I was sitting good. I used my good credit to get a small business loan and opened a consignment store. Go, me – it’s the American dream. I lived very frugally for the next five years, couponing, etc, trying to make a go of the shop. Last September, the bottom fell out in our town. Businesses are closing everywhere – unemployment in my county is now at 15%. I have credit card debt, a business loan, etc. and my business tanks. I’m now losing my house, 2 different distracted drivers totaled my (fully paid off) car twice last year so I’m even out reliable transpo. Can my life get any more complicated?

    I hit a point where I couldn’t even afford toothpaste or shampoo! I mentioned at my sister’s one day that I was out of toothpaste and she gave me a tube. That’s when I discovered extreme couponing.

    Seriously, it saved me – and now I’m doing what I can to educate others – including my family and friends – on how to get the stuff they need without spending a fortune. I’m also giving my extras to people in need, just the way my sister did for me.

    So, no, I don’t feel guilty about having 20 bottles of body wash. I keep two – that’s enough for me for a couple of months til it’s a good deal again. I make sure people who NEED it get the rest. I’m still deeply in debt, working to pay it all off, and still searching for that decent paying job again (right now I’m making $9/hour and I don’t get near 40 hours per week yet) so I can get back on my feet. Doing what it takes, paying back those that have helped me, and paying it forward when I can.

    Nothin’ wrong with that, in my opinion.

  • AM says:

    As at least 2 people here have noted, in the long run it’s much cheaper to buy exactly what you need and nothing else. Cloth diapers and non-disposable products go a long way to completely avoiding needing CVS or anything else from large chain stores. (There are even adult sized cloth diapers.)

    If you are saving money and time, you have both to give to the charity of your choice, who can then spend it on precisely what they need. (Does a women’s shelter need hundreds of tubes of toothpaste, etc???)

    Having some relatives who shop as a hobby or impulse, the idea of shopping and giving to charity appears to feed a questionable habit, rather than cure it. I never walked away with the impression that they were charitable or generous for shopping for that reason. Rather, I felt the “charity” reason was simply a way to justify their habit. And if you think it about, giving away stuff that cost you nothing to get is neither generous nor true charity.

    I dunno, I think giving money and time is much better than even 5 minutes spent at CVS. Most charities need those more than stuff that they give away free with coupons.

  • nanasewn says:

    Please consider sending some of your extras to the service men and women. is one site among many where you can fine someone to donate things to. Of course the mailing costs.
    They especially need wipes as many have no bathing facilities when out in the desert and these may be their only way to clean up. toothpaste etc is always appreciated.

  • Darla says:

    I do buy pet food that I do not use. I donate it to the SPCA for the homeless animals that they are trying to find homes for. Sometimes I do buy other items that I cannot use but not too often as I find that it takes me a while to buy and keep track of the items that I buy for my family. If I end up with extra items or items that I do not use I will donate them to a charity that will use them.

    • gwenn says:

      I do the same with the pet food. These shelters have a hard enough time keeping their doors open so I try to help by giving them food. As far as other items if you want a faith based ministry to donate to or fill a box yourself check out Operation Christmas Child at

  • Erika says:

    I don’t really buy anything my family will not use. I might pick up a few extra items of something if I know it will be used by my sister-in-law and her family (she has three kids of her own) if I have the coupons where I can get it for free or something, but overall…I just don’t believe in picking up a whole bunch of stuff to donate because then you are taking those items away from someone who might just be trying to get by.

    I gave up on Walgreens for this reason. If you don’t hit Walgreens by Monday morning when sales come out, the odds of a RR item being in stock…not good at all. And when you live in a state where inventory is 5 weeks out…once a store is out…they are out for quite a while. That and I found the Register Rewards system to be one heck of a racket and I just don’t have time to deal with it (but that’s just me :).

    That being said I will still be donating free cereal samples (a load of them) that I’ve gotten in the mail, some extra boxes of cereal that I got for free through different things (high value coupons from Vocalpoint combined with sales anyone?) and some canned goods I got dented and so forth to the Postal Food Drive tommorrow. Could I use the cereal and stuff I’m donating? Well…yeah. But, I don’t NEED it and still have enough to last my family till the next sale, so I’m just going to do it.

  • MaryEllen says:

    I have tried over and over to explain this to the cashiers and managers at my CVS. They think I’m hilarious, but, no, I’m just being frugal. Thanks for explaining this to others. Hopefully it will be a help to someone.

  • Cathi Carpenter says:

    I totally agree..!!! I do buy plenty of stuff that A) I’ll never use and/or B) have so much of I just don’t need THAT much…so…that’s what my church’s St. Vincent DePaul Pantry is for. I donate ALOT of over flow and things like Depends and Glucose Meters…I know someone, somewhere needs it. And if I have been blessed with the ability and stamina to do this crazy coupon thing then the very least I can do is give back.

  • Yes and no. I fill Christmas shoeboxes each year, and I like to send care packages to overseas soldiers. So if there is something I know will fit with one of those things that is free or a MM I will buy it to donate. I do not, however, buy any and every item that is free or a MM just because I can. I’ve never bought Depends or glucose meters for example. I keep it pretty simple compared to some because that is what works for me. I don’t make multiple transactions in a week for the same items. I only get one paper a week with Q’s and don’t purchase any. I don’t have multiple drug store reward accounts. I don’t clear shelves. I buy what I think my family, or someone I personally know, will eventually use, and if we end up with too much (which is surprisingly easy to do even without doing multiples each week), I will give some away, donate some, or put some in our garage sale boxes.

    • @Kimberly Bowen, Oh I forgot to say why that works for me. I guess, for me, it boils down to 3 things. 1. I don’t want to spend the time figuring out deals for items I know I won’t use. 2. I don’t want to waste space in my house on storing things I know I won’t use. and 3. My stores are small here with a small stock and I don’t feel comfortable buying something I know I won’t use when someone else might be wanting to buy it. My time, space, and comfort, are worth more than the few dollars I might make each week if I did buy the items I don’t want.

  • Cathi Carpenter says:

    I have to respond again, I have just re-read AM’s response.

    Well…let me tell you…. in this day … with the economy we are in …. whom has excess cash sitting around? And frankly as a working mom…. I work TWO jobs in addition to the best and hardest job as a wife and mother…. WHOM has TIME… EXTRA TIME? And quite frankly, I would rather GIVE items that can be used…no matter what it is…. Depends, toothpaste etc. than give cash. Let’s face it…no matter how much we like to believe in the goodness of people…. cash in hand suddenly can go “missing” … get “misplaced”…. or how about people that decide, “well, sure I’d like to buy some toothpaste and t.p…..but I’d much RATHER have ice cream, beer and cheetos!” So, don’t you think that supplying the supplies is better??? And to say that giving something that doesn’t cost anything isn’t generous or charity?????

    Well…haven’t you heard????? IT IS THE THOUGHT THAT COUNTS? And quite frankly…. you’re talking out of two ends here, sister…. you want to give of time….. Do you think that shopping, errands, driving, clipping coupons, reading blogs, etc….well…. I must be doing something wrong because ALL of that takes…hmmmmmmmmmm… say it with me coupon gals…. T I M E.

    And as for “feeding a habit”…well….maybe we all have a bit of one….but don’t you think that doing “it” this way is waaaaaaaaaaay more healthy, and can be generous, thank just racking up $$$$$ on good old Visa?

    • Erin says:

      commenting on AM;s post also
      @Cathi Carpenter,
      I agree. Again i was able to bless a homeless soldier with personal care items and I didnt have then in my basement ot feed my “habit.” I had them there for the EXACT reason. I dont have a lot of money to donate as we are a family of 5 on one income. If I can use my TIME cutting coupons and shopping to BLESS a person in need then I am giving of my time, talent, and money. We do pay tax on everything you know??? It takes me lots of time to match up deals and cut coupons. I do not clear shelves and I dont do this excessively.

      But PLEASE do not put down people for DONATING items. Yes. some womesn shelters may need hundreds of tubes of toothpaste. What is the difference with a person donatin money to a womens shelter and the shelter purchasing toothpaste with cash, or me purchasing toothpaste with a coupon and paying tax and donating that item to the shelter thus saving them money which they can then go and use on something else? explain that. THERE is no need to put down my donating toothpaste because you donate money. I am pretty sure that God doesnt specify exactly how to give int he bible and how one persons donations trump another

  • Erika says:

    A little know fact–food banks will take non-food items and redistribute them too!

    Another great place not mentioned to donate food and non-food –Salvation Army! They give items out every day! From people that have gone through house fires, homelessness, natural disasters, you name it!

  • Call me goofy, but here is my twisted morality.

    1. I will buy absolutely anything that is free after and specials, rebates, etc. When you calculate it, you are making and incredible hourly wage to buy something and maybe spend 2 minutes sending in the rebate.

    2. I always follow the store’s policy in regard to limits, single accounts, one per household, etc.

    3. I save a ton of time and money getting free mailing labels at vistaprint. They say “PLEASE SEND REBATE TO:” then my name and address. Menards and many others actually prefer labels because they prevent errors due to lousy handwriting like mine. For those that don’t, I print in the info in the miniscule space they provide AND put a sticker near it. My experience is that it really reduces “lost” rebates.

    4. I donate when there is need. For example, yes, I had over 100 tubes of toothpaste free, but when the local homeless shelter sent out a list of needs, they couldn’t believe how “generous” I was. Please…I am not generous, really. I shopped. Big woop…hardly as much effort as trying to live as a person with no home. Sharing is good.

    5. But for everything else, especially Walgreens, CVS, and Menards, I buy absolutely everything that is free. Then, I sell these things at my garage sale. The customer gets in incredible price they could never find in a retail store, I get 100% profit on each item, and everyone’s happy. I take some of the proceeds to “fund” my need for the original purchase “roll” of the next season’s items, and the rest is donated to wonderful cancer charities like Relay for Life, Scott Hamilton Cares, and www. bluefaery. org

    I am an educator with three kids. Rebating and coupon clipping takes about 30 minutes of planning each Sunday, and I run the errands when I am already taking the kids to a practice or whatever – never as a sole trip. I am also a mystery shopper, so I usually get free items or make money on overages, plus get the fee for the mystery shop, plus write off the mileage as a business-related expense.

    Finally, I am TOTALLY involved with Upromise. Every store, every item, etc. It’s free money for college and it really adds up. Getting a participating product free, then making money using a coupon, then selling it at a garage sale for 100% profit, and then knowing that on that item 16 cents went into my kids’ tax-free college fund for nothing makes me a happy man.

    That said, if all of us here took the Reiss Motivational Profile, I assure you we would all be off the scale on the “saving” factor. lol

    Finally, in the end, this is my hobby. I enjoy it, and it benefits my family. I know of other hobbies that detract from family and family time, or habits that are so harmful for families. Call me a rebate and coupon addict…I take it as a compliment!

    Regards to all of you. – The Rebate King

  • Sarah says:

    Often depends pads (not the full undergarment) are on sale and so much less expensive than sanitary napkins. Most often I use my reusable cloth sanitary napkins, but when traveling or for long days where it would be embarrassing to keep the used cloth pads, I use the disposable depends. Who says you are buying things you can’t use!

  • Cathi Carpenter says:

    Yeah Erika…Also the Red Cross does alot of those donations too…Our St. Vincent DePaul pantry will weekly put in our church bulletin what they are looking for …. this week, I’m “clearing out” my cleaning supplies shelf….I mean, how much Windex do I really need? LOL! I am so glad to hear other women out there that feel the same, that if we are blessed with health, the ability and brains that sharing the love…aka…payin it forward is the way to go!

  • Each week I highlight items on my blog that can be purchased for FREE, more than FREE, or for very little. I encourage people to take a few extra minutes to plan and clip to “purchase” items for donation. This is a great way to help others when money is tight at home. I have found that I am able to give so much more now than ever before!

  • Brenda says:

    I agree. I do the same thing if it is something that I can give away/donate or I know someone that is in need of that item or just using the item.

  • Elaine says:

    It all depends on the item and the sale I suppose. When I first started couponing, I spent HOURS clipping, organizing, making lists, driving to stores (I dragged my poor 3 year old son to 5 different stores in one day. Poor guy was exhausted!). It felt like an obsession. Now I’ve toned it down a LOT. My husband was getting annoyed (“Do we REALLY need all this deoderant!?” “Well….eventually we will….”).

    So, I check what the deals are, see what I need and go from there. If there’s an RR on something that I don’t necessarily need right now, but will use in the future (shampoo, soap, toothpaste…not deodorant since I went a little nuts in the beginning and now we each have enough to last us half the year…), then I’ll get it. My husband is a full time student who works part time and I’m a stay at home mom, so money is tight. I especially like RR’s on food, like pop tarts because I can use food stamps to buy the item and use the RR to purchase necessities (like diapers) that food stamps don’t cover. And pop tarts are the sort of “treat” that we don’t get to enjoy very often.

    But now I don’t really work too hard to find deals. Like everyone else has said, it’s about moderation. Not just in the quantities we buy, but in how much time we devote to the pursuit of “savings.” My time with my husband is worth a lot more than the few bucks I was saving.

    That being said, if you can balance it and donate it and stuff, I say go for it. I completely disagree with the idea that we should only donate cash. I think you need to find a good charity and find out what they need. If they don’t need the toothpaste you have, find one that does. There’s ALWAYS someone who needs it. I also find myself disturbed by the idea that we shouldn’t donate because we’re worried the money will be mis-used or the items won’t make it to the people they’re intended for. I’d much rather give the items and have some of them misused than miss a genuine opportunity to bless someone in need because I was suspicious. I give because it’s in my heart to give and because Christ gave everything for me. What someone else does with my gift is between them and God. I don’t judge. I just obey.

  • Jennifer says:

    I am going to cvs today and I plan to buy the depends. I donate many of my free items to local caharities and homeless shelters. I am unable to donate my time due to my schedule and I feel they truly appreciate every donation they recieve whether it be money, time, food, or personal care items.

  • Katherine says:

    I do this. I get items that are free or moneymakers after coupons and rewards programs for the same reasons – to make the money or to roll my rewards into fresh ones. I also have a rule that if I can get an item for less than a dollar that I don’t normally use (i.e. potatoes in a box), I will pick it up and add it to my food bank box. When the box is full, off it goes!

  • Tammy says:

    This completely boggles my mind. Time is money too, and I just don’t have the time, energy, or brain space to waste on buying unneeded items from the store!

  • Laura says:

    I was able to give away a lot of food and toiletry items last week at a collections site for victims of the flooding in Nashville. If I didn’t stock up or buy things when they were free or almost free, this would have not been possible. It felt so great to be able to give so much when we’re trying to get out of debt. It cost me next to nothing and was going to a great cause!

  • Laura says:

    I think that your plan works great especially since you donate so many extra items! Great! I do wonder, though, about some people (not meaning you) who completely clear the shelves as soon as a deal begins on Sundays. I’m sure you’ve been behind them too when they do multiple transactions – taking more than allotted per family. It’s a bit frustrating for the rest of us. There’s bargain hunting and then there’s greed.

  • Jeff Kaplan says:

    I think these are all great perspectives! I often pickup items that are free or very inexpensive after coupons/ECBs/rebates just for the purpose of donating. It’s also a great way to stockpile items (like toothpaste) that will last a long time, and you may eventually need. My broader family and friends use us as their free drugstore and we’re happy to share the wealth! The easiest experience I remember was for a supermarket deal on soups, where the Catalina discount made them free and you could go back over and over again. I don’t know if it was a coincidence but the store had put out a donations box right outside for a local food shelter – we only had to walk a few feet to donate our soup, over and over again!

    For those concerned about the time spent, you are right that if you are making a special trip (and using up gas to do it) then it might not make sense for everyone. But I am surprised at how many people will pass up the opportunity once they are already in the store. We advise people to always take a look at the store circular and any coupons that are available, to at least see if there is a good opportunity. The difference in cost between a full price item and one on sale + coupon can be 60-70% (or 100% in some cases) and that’s savings worth a moment to consider.

  • Jenn says:

    Found this through The Simple Dollar linkback. I do coupon for products I won’t use at home. My family went to one income last year, and couponing helped me maintain my donation levels to the local food bank and women’s shelter, plus helped me round out what would have been a fairly skimpy Christmas season.

    I keep a big cardboard box in my car to drop donations into, so they never clutter my house. When the box is full, I take it straight to the donation drop-off point. Plus, I’ve been able to pull things out and give them away on the spot when a family member forgets to buy something on their shopping list.

    Giving feels good!

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