Post #41 – Perfect Storm of Awesomeness

Total Paid: $58.45 Total Savings: $347.65 Total Points: 6,600 ($13.86) Free Gift Cards: $50

101.3% in Savings (Sensational Calculation) (1-(58.45-13.86-50)/(58.45+347.65))

87.5% in Savings (Ivesian Calculation) (1 – 58.45/(58.45+347.65+50+13.86))

Last night I decided to put in an Ocean’s 11 amount of detail into how I was going to shake down Shopper’s Drug Mart today…I used three tools: Senior’s Discount Day, manufacturer’s coupons, and night before recon. Using all three of these resources I was ready to take full advantage of SDM today…

Senior’s Discount Day:  I recruited my mother, thanks to her for helping. Today was Senior’s Discount Day: if a senior spends $50 (before in-store coupons and manufacturer’s coupons) they get 20% off and a $10 gift card.

Manufacturer’s coupons: My friend, AFG, reminded me that coupons could reduce the amount of the $50 without affecting the bonus, since coupons are like money to retailers, they just cash in from the manufacturer. How do you get coupons on short notice? Just google “product X coupons” and you will find them.

Night Before Recon: I went and took a look around the store last night to see what was marked down. I knew baby formula was heavily marked down, but last night I noticed that they had marked down Life brand allergy medicine from $8.79 per box to $0.79 per box. That means if you buy 5 boxes, for $3.95 you were almost at the $50 limit (since the original price was of 5 boxes was $43.95). This knowledge meant I could stratagize at home, before going shopping. It also meant I knew what coupons to be downloading…I ended up saving $24 because I had gone to look at what was on sale before going to look for coupons.

My original plan was to walk in and out of the store over and over again…but when I got there I saw a day manager I know to be sympathetic to the cause (the cause of saving as much as I can). So, my mother and I loaded up the cart with everything I wanted to buy. Almost everything today was going to charity, and I wanted to get it as close to free as possible.

One strategy when you are dealing with having to hit a certain limit is knowing where things are easily grabbable if you are slightly under the limit. For rookies, this is usually a chocolate bar or some gum. There is a certain snack that people will buy from me at work that cost $2 per box, so I have a bunch of these on hand if I need to bump up an order.

When we got to the cash I asked to deal with the sympathetic day manager…I knew processing our orders was going to take A LONG TIME and I didn’t want to cause a line up behind us. The lone cashier working was more than happy to off-load me into being someone else’s problem so she called him up. It was almost like VIP checkout…I have one to one service and we could take our time and make sure I was optimizing correctly.

The manager was very impressed with my “mad skillz” (my words, not his). I, as I had figured out, was getting purchases for below the $10 that we were getting in gift cards. He found this pretty funny. I was more than happy to keep playing the game.

With a bit of calculation, all while playing within their rules, I managed to “win” and “win” big! Here is the skinny on my take:

Total cash out of pocket: $58.45

Total value of the product leaving SDM with me: $406.10

Total savings from things being on special: $76.95 (this includes $59.96 of product that I convinced Manager of another Shopper’s to donate in products)

Total in-store coupons: $183.00

Total manufacturer’s coupons: $24.00

Total saved due to Senior’s Day 20% off: $63.70

Total Optimum points collected: 6,600 (this includes 2,000 because I bought a Shopper’s gift card for $200 to do all the transactions)

Total in gift cards collected: $50.00

So, my mother netted me $113.70, AFG saved me $24 for reminding me to print off coupons first and me just being me saved me another $260ish.

This is what I got for my $58.45

IMG_20150827_102423338_HDR[1](click to enlarge)

This is what I turned around and donated to the Youville Centre today:

IMG_20150827_103224747_HDR[1](click to enlarge)

Yes, I did trade the Tassimo hot chocolate, extra strength allergy pills  and 100 calorie snacks for toys, sidewalk chalk and bubbles in the shape of popsicles….Being a kid in a family that might be struggling to put food on the table can’t be all that fun…When donating stuff people should also remember to give toys for the kids!

A nice little footnote is that the Tassimo hot chocolates were a mistake, even at $3 per box…I meant to look for Kuerig stuff…When I got to work, and before I sat down, one of my coworkers asked about the hot chocolate…I managed to sell the two boxes for $6 total without even trying, so really it was like I only spent $2.65 today! AMAZING!


Post #40 – Me versus Shopper’s Drug Mart – I almost always win! 58,670 Optimum Points Weekend!

Total Bill: $120.00 Total Savings: $321.59 Total Points: 58,670 ($123.20) – 102.6% in Savings.

First off, I’m relaunching this blog in September…There are too many gaps between posts and I want to get it a bit more coherent and a bit more focused on charity…

Second off, I struggle to calculate the percentage discount I get in these scenarios. “Hey Gavin, buy $441.59 worth of stuff for $120 and we will give you a gift certificate for $123.20…Sound good?”…”Umm, yeah it does Shopper’s Drug Mart, but how do I express that as a percentage?” … “Who cares!?!?!?” shouts Shopper’s Drug Mart as it rides off on it’s horse firing 6 shooters in the air (if this was the Wild West)…

So, I cheat a little bit on how I value points, and in the relaunch I am going to be better at it…Here is the problem. Optimum points are cashable in incremental redemption amounts:

8,000 gets $10 (my 58,670 is worth $73.34 in this case)

22,000 gets $30 (my 58,670 is worth $80 in this case)

38,000 gets $60 (my 58,670 is worth $92.63 in this case)

50,000 gets $85 (my 58,670 is worth $99.73 in this case)

95,000 gets $170 (my 58,670 is worth $104.99 in this case)

95,000 gets $22 on bonus redeem days (my 58,670 is worth $123.20 in this case)

Still, the question should be: How do I get so many points on such a little dollar amount?

The answer is in-store coupons. WTF are in-store coupons? These babies!!!:

IMG_20150823_201950722_HDR[1]Double bonus since it is $16.50 on sale!

So, why are in-store coupons the answer? Because the amount BEFORE the coupons counts towards bonuses, but you pay the amount after…So, this weekend was buy $75 get 18,500 in points (use whatever multiplier you want above, I’m still going to cheat and use $2.10 per 1,000 points)…So, if I can find $75 worth of stuff, I will get $38.85 worth of points, but that is before coupons…Let’s use the Green’s powder above…Let’s say by magic I could buy 1.51 tubs of this stuff, my before tax total would be $75, getting me $38.85 in points…Not a bad deal, but this is the kicker…I now get to deduct the stickers! Each tub came with $30 worth of stickers, since I am buying (magically) 1.51 tubs, my bill is now $75-$45.30=$29.70+tax (so $33.56). So if I buy $33.56 worth of Green’s powders I get $38.85 in points! They are basically paying me to take the powder!

So, if you can find items where the in-store coupons comes close to the asking price, you will end up winning! Take another example: Relacore: Stress Mitigating Compound…What the heck is that you ask? I asked the same thing, it is this:


Why do I need this stuff? My life is totally stress free! Yeah, I know! But let’s do the math…this gem comes in at $31.99 this week because it is on sale, but it also came with $20 worth of in-store coupons and is tax free! Again, let’s make it magic math…In the store I do it a little trickier, adding things together to make $75, but lets buy 2.34 boxes. I get $38.85 in points, but pay only ($31.99-$20)*2.34=$28.06…So I get $75 worth of Relacore for the equivalent of $-10.79. I pay $28.06 for the Relacore, but then I could use the points (on bonus redeem day) to buy $38.85 worth of toilet paper, toothpaste or whatever!

Anybody want 3 boxes of Relacore for free? You can read about it here:

So, I have started shopping for things that have crazy stickers on them, but I may have no need for…Echinacea pills? Paid $4.51 for them, and got $5.90 in points…

If I find things that have at least 51.8% in stickers, on bonus redeem days I am making money by buying them and doing nothing with them…MANY things that have in-store coupons and are on sale come in at way better than 51.8%…Here is an example…

Pediatric Electrolyte Rehydration Therapy…What the heck is that? I asked the same thing, it is this:


“Gavin, why on earth do you buy this stuff?” READ THIS POST! I BUY IT FOR THE POINTS!…This one is one of the great ones though…This one cost $7.99 and is taxable, each box netted $4.30 in points…but wait for the in-store coupons…Each box had $9 in in-store coupons. So each box PAID ME $1.01 and netted me $4.30 in points. I got 9 boxes (all they had) netting me $9.09 in real money and about $38.70 in points! Shopper’s effectively paid me $47.79 to walk out of the store with 9 boxes of this stuff! 

Anyone need 9 boxes of Pediatric Electrolyte? Message me quick, because I am giving them to charity tomorrow…