Saturday, August 8, 2009

August Any Soldier

Since I need to save big money for kitty vet expenses, I gave myself a budget of $15 (including shipping) for Any Soldier this month, with a goal of finding as much free stuff to send as possible. Here is the result:

Total Spent: $17.09 ($2.09 over)

Stuff From July:
As I said previously about July, I purchased multiples of things that were a good deal (or I thought so at the time). So I had no outlay this month for:
(1) Shampoo and Conditioner
(2) 2-pack of toothbrushes
(3) Blank cards

Free Stuff:
(1) Books: Playing with Fire was lying around, presumably from an airport bookstore before I had my Kindle. I can't remember if I bought The Message Promise Book with The Message or if it came free, but since I have the entire Bible, I never use it. Hopefully someone out there will be able to. I also found a second copy of A Game of Thrones, the first book in A Song of Fire and Ice, but I actually ran out of space in the box; I'll send it next month.
(2) Hand Lotion: Given to me for Christmas and never used.
(3) Toothpaste and Dental Floss: Gifts from my dentist. I have a terrible habit of misplacing my dental floss and then buying more; I think I have about 5 open packages right now. And I don't use Crest toothpaste.
(4) Instant Coffee: Taster's Choice sent me a sample pack of their new line of instant coffees in individual-sized packages. I don't drink coffee, and Mr. Goat won't touch instant with a ten foot pole. They didn't waste their money, though, as I think it's such a good idea that I'm planning to use the $1 coupon they sent me to buy more next month.
(5) Ibuprofen. CVS was giving away a free bottle of ibuprofen with any purchase this month. I'm not sure if soldiers have access to things like ibuprofen for cramps or not, but I've seen it requested before, so into the box it goes.

Semi-Free Stuff:
How can stuff be semi-free? If Rite Aid gives you a rebate on the purchase price, but not the sales tax. Since the sales tax out here is a lovely 9.5%, that's not a negligible expenditure. This is the first time I have ever tried to buy stuff at Rite-Aid and then claim the rebates, so I am not sure that it will work as advertised. Still, I am going to count my spending on this stuff as though I already had the rebate money in hand.
(1) Venus Spa Razor: With refill cartridges costing around $13 for five or so, the soldier who receives this will only get the two cartridges that come with the holder. Originally priced at $9.99, it was on sale for $7, I had a $2 coupon, and Rite-Aid will give me a $5 rebate. So, free except for sales tax. And it got great reviews on Amazon as a product that really does not require shaving cream. At ~ $.32 ea, I thought it was worthwhile to put in the box.
(2) Werther's Candy: Full rebate on the purchase price at Rite-Aid.

Paid Stuff (all prices include tax):
(1) Ivory Soap: On sale for $1 at CVS.
(2) Popcorn: Buy one (for $.69) get one free at Rite-Aid. With a $.75 off for 2 coupon, total cost for four packages was $.69.
(3) Pantyliners: $.99; used $.89 in extra bucks, so paid $.19.
(4) Tampons: On sale for $6.99, with a $.50 coupon and a $3 rebate from Rite-Aid, so paid $4.08, or a bit more than $.10/ea (less than what I've paid for store brand the last two months).

Shipping is $9.85, since I buy the postage online and print it out ($.50 savings).

Here is is, all ready to go:

For those of you who have posted comments about sending stuff to Any Soldier, I highly recommend sending to a female contact person (i.e., the name you send to found on the website), even if your stuff is for a male soldier, if you want a response. Although females have not given me a response 100% of the time, I have never had a response from a male soldier or a male contact, and I have been sending stuff for years. And one female contact sent a thank-you note for every package I sent, for the entire year her unit was there. I'm not sending stuff for the thank-you notes, obviously. But it is nice to get a response that lets you know that your package has arrived, and let you know what else they might want.

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