Is there some sort of Walgreens program that I need to know about? I just looked thru their website (for coupons) and their flyer (for sale items) and with the exception of a pack of loose leaf paper on sale (which everyone has right now), there was not one single thing I would buy. Out of around 50 items.
Same thing with the coupon sites. I've looked at three, and of all them, the only coupon that I even considered was for Scott TP, but I decided to switch to the napkin type TP, so that would be pointless, too. Out of 100+ coupons.
I bulk buy crunchy shampoo and dishsoap, I never buy yogurts or granola bars (I make them), I use cloth and a diaphragm so I have no use for Always or Tampax.
The problem I have is with things like Qtips and anitbiotic ointment and so forth is that I buy the store brand already, so the name brand with a coupon is rarely, if ever, cheaper. So taking the time (and ink!) to print the coupons off is a waste.
I took a look at that Jane4girls website, the one where she spends $800 a YEAR on groceries, including health and beauty. And it's pretty amazing. But even using those tactics (which I really couldn't, as we don't have those shopping options where I live), I run aground on principles of personal philosophy.
I don't want to use storebought, synthetic personal grooming items. So I limit what I use, make my own and buy what I can't make- which is cheaper than the "conventional" alternative, but more expensive than Jane's way.
Same thing with food. We just don't eat packaged, prepared food- our exceptions are the occaisional box of Morningstar Farms chicken wings, the rare bag of tater tots, and the very frequent bags of frozen breaded okra. We make everything else, from veggie burgers and sausage to meat sausage and bacon, to ricotta, which goes into (frozen) homemade spinach ravioli. If I brought home frozen waffles in a box, not only would no one eat them, DH would call me a philistine.
This isn't just me being a snob, though. DH and I have made a personal commitment to the environment, and buying a bunch of overpackaged stuff runs counter to that commitment. We put out one bag of trash per week, and 2/3 of that is cat litter (and I've been trying to figure out what to do about that for years- if you have any suggestions, please spam me!). We put out one large bag of paper/cardboard recycling per week, and one small bag of each plastic, glass, and metal per month. And I'd love to go lower. I'd be bummed if saving a few bucks meant more trash, more resources used.
Plus, I have this really out-there, hippy dream that someday we're going to homestead. I'm doing more all the time to do as much as I can here to live that lifestyle. My goal is to only need
to go to town for supplies once a year, the way I only shop once a month now.
So I guess I'm going to have to focus on buying in bulk even more, reducing where we can, and replacing what I can with durable goods.
Thanks to everyone whose responded, and thanks for all the suggestions, and thanks for listening to me whine as I figure this stuff out.