vacationWe’ve all been there—packed everything but the kitchen sink in the car for vacation and still managed to forget something. Recently, we took a trip to the mountains and I remembered everything but my body wash. Yes, I have about ten full-size bottles at home on the shelf that I’ve paid next to nothing for, but I’m six hours away and paying full price for body wash isn’t that easy for me. Since starting to shop the KCL way, I’ve rarely paid full price for anything—be it groceries, personal products or even toys. So, I’ve come up with a way not to spend $4 on that needed body wash if I can help it—or a tube of toothpaste for that matter! If you’re like me and can’t bring yourself to purchase needed items without a coupon, here are five tips to avoid paying full price for routine items while vacationing.

1. Buy trial size

Most trial-size bottles are about 3 ounces. If you’re in need of shampoo or conditioner, trial size should last you until you get home. If you forgot your body wash, you may need a slightly larger size—probably about 4-5 ounces. A dollar is a wise investment when you’re saving more dollars by avoiding the purchase of full-price items! The same goes for trial-size toothpaste, hairspray, tampons, etc..

2. Borrow from a family member

Most of the time, I travel with close family members. I’m not really particular about brands so I don’t mind using an alternative brand if it keeps me from paying full price at the store. And the great thing is, you can give them a replacement bottle of the full-size product when you get home—who wouldn’t want that deal?!

3. Improvise

Baking soda is a cheap, common, household item sold everywhere. If you forget your deodorant, simply take a cotton ball and rub some baking soda under your arm. Maybe it’s not your first choice, but it’s better than paying $3.50 for a bottle of Secret. Use a teaspoon of baking soda and half a glass of water to treat heartburn. That’s cheaper than full price for a bottle of Rolaids! A little bit of baking soda works well as toothpaste, too.

4. Coupon anyway

Yes, I travel with my coupon binder. The three major drugstores, CVS, Walgreens and Rite Aid are national, so the chance that I’ll see one on vacation is high. But even if you don’t personally travel with your coupon binder, you can still take advantage of sales on necessities while on vacation. In the area where I live, we don’t have a Kroger’s, but on vacation, I found one!

5. Think outside the box

Forgetting a personal care item on vacation gives you the perfect opportunity to use register rewards. Why? Well, for me, it’s not as “real” as using actual money. Yes, it’s money I’ve saved on previous items, but if I’m on a strict budget or low on cash, this is a great way to purchase those necessities without feeling like I’m wasting money. Combine your rewards with a current sale and a coupon, and you may actually pay less out of pocket than you intended. This is also a great way to prevent rewards from expiring while on vacation!

This is a guest post by Tammy from St. Pauls, NC.