Where is the best place to buy everyday items, from toilet paper to groceries? Here are some of my favorite options for getting highly discounted products.
Toiletries: Sign up for the in-store rewards cards from CVS, RiteAid and Walgreen's to receive reward incentives. You can always get toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, conditioner, razors and soap for a great price at your local drugstore. Benefit from going to Riteaid.com to use the program called "Load 2 Card," which allows you to load coupons onto your loyalty card.
One option that I use often is going to office supply stores online such as Staples.com to order toilet paper and have it shipped to the store; that way I don't have to pay shipping. Staples frequently offers promotional codes on its website for $5 off $25 worth of "break room supplies," making for some cheap toilet paper when it goes on sale.
Pet supplies: For pet food purchases, check Target and Wal-Mart first for the best prices. Target has mobile coupons that you can load on to your smartphone; they can be used with manufacturer coupons for additional savings. PetSmart and Petco will price match the competition if you shop in the store. Plus PetSmart's PetPerks loyalty program offers members in-store discounts.
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Magazine subscriptions: Going online is your best bet for free or cheap magazines. Valuemags.com always has many free magazines to be delivered to your house or download the digital version to your computer or iPad. At Freebizmag.com, answer some questions about your occupation and it will inform you what free magazines you qualify for.
Cleaning supplies: With manufacturer coupons and in-store sales, you are better off going to the grocery store for these products. Kroger will double coupons whose face value is 50 cents or lower (except in Northern Kentucky). You can also load digital coupons on to your loyalty card. Dollar stores — Family Dollar, Dollar General, Dollar Tree — all accept manufacturer's coupons; their websites also offer coupons to match with store coupons.
Photo printing and personalized photo gifts: MyPublisher.com offers very frequent discounts on prints, photo books and other gifts. When you join Shutterfly.com, you can get 50 free 4-by-6-inch prints. Artscow.com is offering a variety of discounts for its sixth anniversary; click on "special offers."
When ordering online, abandon your cart on purpose. Sometimes a retailer will email you asking why you forgot about your order and include promotional codes for additional discounts to finish your order.
Wisely use coupons in today's newspaper
■ The Oral-B Cross Action power toothbrush is $5.99. Use the $3 coupon and get $2 in rewards. Oral-B floss is $2.77; use the $1 coupon and get $1 in rewards. The Oral-B Pulsar toothbrush is $5.99; use the $1 coupon and get $3 in rewards.
■ Crest Pro-Health toothpaste is $3.49; use the $1 coupon and receive $1 in rewards.
■ Clear Scalp and Hair Therapy shampoo is $4.99; scan your loyalty card at the in-store coupon kiosk and get a $4.99 coupon.
■ Dawn dish detergent is on sale for 99 cents; use the 25-cent coupon.
■ Buy two Tide detergents for $5.94 each, using the $1.50 coupon; two Pantene shampoos or conditioners for $3 each, using the $3 coupon; two Gillette body washes for $3.50, using the $1 coupon; Always pantiliners for $3.99, using the $1 coupon; and Clairol Root Touch Up for $4.99, using the $2 coupon. You'll receive $10 in rewards, making all eight items $1.92 each.
■ Crest Pro-Health mouthwash is $4.99; use the $1.50 coupon plus the $1 in-store flier coupon.
■ Senior discount day is Wednesday. If you're 55 or older (proof required), receive 15 percent off your order.
■ Prilosec OTC Acid Reducer 42-count is $24.99; use the $1 coupon and receive $4 in rewards.
■ Crest Pro-Health mouthwash is $4.29; use the $1.50 coupon and get $2 in rewards.