Condo Blues: How I Get Free Reusable Shopping Tote Bags

Thursday, April 9, 2009

How I Get Free Reusable Shopping Tote Bags

Like any good parent, Husband and I look for places and activities where we can take our kid. It just so happens that our kid is dog, so that limits where it’s appropriate or legal for us to take him for family fun.

Cabin fever, a discount coupon, and the fact that we could take Blitzkrieg with us, had us visiting the Columbus Pet Expo in order to
get free stuffspend some quality time together.

The handsome men of Condo Blues!

Mission accomplished on the free stuff. Blitzkrieg got free treats so he was happy.

Blitzkrieg did not get this bone as a free treat. But he sure wanted me to buy it for him because it’s almost as big as he is!

Husband got a free cloth baseball cap to wear and get sweaty when running. He promptly broke it in after we got home. Side note: I washed his hat in our washing machine and it survived! Neither of us expected that to happen. I didn’t stick it the dryer though. I let it dry on its own.

I got a freebie tote bag. I didn’t realize until I got it home that it has a side pocket for a water bottle. I stuck my Earthlust bottle in the pocket so you can see it. Lo and behold once I cover up the logo, I think I found the new Dog Mommy Bag!

Even though my kid’s a dog, he, like a human child, requires that I take a lot of stuff with me when we go out (treats, pickup bags, dog water bottle dish (he hates using a community water dish) etc.) I now understand why all of my mommy friends all carry big Mommy Purses/Totes. Just sayin’…

I try to get a freebie swag tote bag at events I attend because I use them as reusable shopping tote bags. I also find that the freebie nylon backpacks are great for trips to the dog park, or for Husband to carry stuff in (keys, wallet, etc.) when he runs, and they’re very useful if you suddenly find yourself on crutches and you need to carry something around the house – guess how I found that one out?

If I don’t feel like being a walking ad for the sponsor, I just turn the backpack around so the logo faces my back. Or I cover up the logo with something .

Another thing I like about the freebie reusable tote bags is that if someone says they need a reusable tote and don’t have one (or are going to be on crutches) I just give them one of mine - no sweat. They don’t have to feel guilty or offer to pay me because they know I didn’t lay out a wad of cash for it.

Personally I don’t mind if my reusable shopping bag has a logo that is different from the store I’m shopping at but I know some people do. My favorite tote bags are two canvas bags I bought from Kroger an eon ago. They are the first bags I fill from the stash. I figure if Meijer hates the fact that I bring my sturdy Kroger bag into their store then they can give me a Meijer branded tote bag for my groceries – at no charge. Funny, that never happens; they just pack up my purchases and send me on my merry way.

Plus using a free swag bag tote bag is an easy way to find out if you can make the reusable shopping tote bag thing work for you without laying out any cash. You can always upgrade your bags to something sturdier if you decide that you like it.

How do you feel about logoed tote bags? Love them? Hate them? Do you reuse them, revamp them, or toss them aside?
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This post is part of Thrifty Green Thursday.


Erika Jean said...

Some stores I hear, will take off like 10 cents from your bill or so if you use re-usable!

Another helpful hint. To stop groceries from rolling around in the car (I hate when my 2liter of pop lands on the bread) re-use old boxes in the truck. just fold down or cut off the flaps. It keeps the cushable food away from the crushing food :-)

I tend to foget my re-usable bags :-/ I never make a list either. I find my self just buying one or two every once and awhile...

Lisa said...

A lot of mine are from doing reviews, my hubby has bought me a lot as well and some were free or given to me.

I do want to get some more freebies because I want to have extras with me to give to people. Had a clerk at Target tell me thanks for bring my bags and then was shocked at how many I have (a must since I only grocery shop monthly) and said she only has a few, I wish I had one for her then.

Meg said...

My dogs have what my fiance and I call the "puppy overnight bag" it's a white tote bag with a big gold strap that I got free with a bottle of perfume I bought. While I NEVER would have paid for a bag this ugly it's perfect for when we head out of town and drop the pups off at the parent's house for a night or when they travel with us. It's large enough to fit leashes, collars, food, treats, bowls, a couple tennis balls and a rope toy.

I also have noticed that while planning my wedding I've acquired a few extra reusable bags... one from the bridal shop where I got my dress and one from Macy's when I did my registry.

Lisa Nelsen-Woods said...

Erika Jean - We have a couple of stores like that here too. Trader Joe's puts you in a monthly drawing for free groceries everytime you bring your own bag. Wild Oats (it's now a Whole Foods)used to give you cents off or a wooden nickel for every bag you brought with you. You but the wooden nickel into the collection box of that month's local charities & the store gave the amount to them as a donation. Of couse it's not just the "yuppie" stores. I shop at Aldi and they don't provide free bags. You bring your own or have to buy them. Great incentive for remembering your own bags!

Lisa - I need to get a couple of fold up bags for my purse. I remember my bags for grocery shopping but not always when I'm buything something unexpected.

Meg - Bltizkrieg has a doggie overnight bag too! I have a blue beach that's been with me forever because it's the perfect sized tote bag for the beach or for overnight dog trips. We call it The Blue Bag of Happiness. The funny thing is that Blitzkrieg recognizes that it's "his" bag and if I start filling it up he knows he's going on a trip with us. He's brillant!

Decor To Adore said...

Adorable family you have.
I keep several cloth bags in my car and have recently attended 2 new supermarket opening just so I could get the free bag. :)
I too use the Fresh and Easy bags at Trader Joes and vice versa. :)

Greenbaby said...

Great photos! I too am always on the lookout for free, useful loot whenever we visit festivals or events. My husband and I went to the olympic track and field try-outs and found a booth that gave out high quality, lightweight totes perfect for groceries. I have to confess that we visited it more than once and now have a full set of lovely bags to choose from. Since they're more attractive and convenient than our grubby ones, we also feel quite comfortable lugging them into any grocery store.

Thanks for joining us this week for Thrifty Green Thursday!

Sarah Eliza @ devastateboredom said...

Love the reusable bags... lately there have been several specials at the grocery store for free ones (buy two of such-and-such, get a free canvas bag!) so that has been fun...

Especially now that I'm doing a little better on actually remembering to use them... :P

Lizzie said...

i love that idea for turning the logo around or covering it up! great advice :) thanks for stopping by my log the other day!

Rebecca said...

You can't beat free! I was just trying to figure out how much I've saved by taking reusable bags to the store, considering they give me 5-10 cents off my bill each time. I estimated I have saved about $10.00 a year. Okay, so that's not much . . . but it's something.

I prefer getting the 5-10 cents back every time to the lottery ticket system at Trader Joe's. Mostly because I've been filling out thos tickets for years and have never won!

Storm, The Psychotic Housewife said...

The Pudgy Princess has her own doggy diaper bag we keep in the car for her too, lol.

I don't mind logos on my totes, but I tend to keep those in the car just for the grocery stores. The ones without a logo I'll use for other things too.

I did cover a logo once on a really nice tote with a patch, and no one was wiser.

Lisa Nelsen-Woods said...

Laura Ingalls Gunn, Greenbaby - I hear you about attending/buying stuff just for the free tote bag. Husband and I bought wine at Meijer once just so we'd get a free wine tote bag. :)

Rebecca - Yeah. I never win the monthly Trader Joe's contest either. Of couse, half the time it's only when I've left the store w/ my reusable bags filled up with stuff that I remember that I didn't enter the contest. D'oh!

Anonymous said...

While a bit OT, I have a big dog or as I call him, my purse with legs. Doggie backpacks rock. The medium sized dogs have backpacks too. The twenty pound dog, she'll wear hers but isn't able to bear a large amount of weight.

Farmer's market days, Butch goes with me, backpack on, and he totes the fruits and veggies that won't bruise if he decides to lay down or roll on the ground. He also has to go visit the stall selling home made dog biscuits for several free samples while we are at the market. Target and Petco sell the backpacks.

Headed to the dollar store to see if they have the reusuable produce bags I saw on this blog. Farmer's market, the vendors are tossing veggies in plastic shopping or bread bags, which defeats the purpose.

Like the cloth bags since the plastic T-shirt bags twist and dig in my palm if I have to walk the length of the market.

The Queen said...

You totally inspired me to cover up the fugly logos on my shopping bags. I was always having to explain to cashiers that no, I'm not a librarian, I just went to a book conference, etc. I did NOT have a giant needle punch kit laying around (sad), but I do have a sewing machine and a giant box of scraps! DH thought I had gone nuts, and I did. In good way. Really. I took all my giant fugly-logoes totes and put prettypretty pockets on them. Yay, place to put coupons and no more logos. Thanks for the idea.

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