Coupon Rookies


The Drugstore Game

The point of the Drugstore Game is to buy items that you would need to buy on a regular basis anyway, but to buy them when they produce store credits (ECBs and RR). You then take your credit and use it to buy more items that produce credit. This is called “rolling” them. These stores frequently have items that are totally free after credit back. For example, this week EOS lip balm was $3 but produced 3RR. If I had a coupon to use in addition to the sale ($1, for example) I would pay $2 for the lip balm but it would still produce 3RR. This is called a MoneyMaker (MM). 

As with regular couponing, you're looking to stack manufacturer coupons with store coupons or sales to get the most bang out of your buck.

Walgreens has no card so essentially you can keep doing the same deal over and over as long as you alternate between the same deal. However, Walgreens can be difficult for rookies.  I’d suggest starting out with CVS and branching from there.

CVS

CVS is pretty user-friendly. They require a store card (Extra Care Card) that you can get in-store or online. Online would require shipping time so consider this before signing up online.

·        ECBs
o   Earned cash back for you purchases. Limits on these are clearly stated on the ad. Used as cash at CVS, these coupons have marked expiration dates on them.
·         Green Bag Tag
o   A promotion for the use of reusable bags. You scan it every visit where you don’t take a CVS plastic bag.
o   Found at the register. It costs 99 cents, but produces a $1 ECB after every 4th visit.
o   You can only get credit for one visit per store per day.
o   If I lose it? According to the website, a call to customer service will get you a 99 cent ECB to buy a new one. I've done this once already.
o   If I forget it? Call customer service and they’ll credit you for the visit. 

·         You'll recieve 2% of your sales back in ECB form automatically after every quarter

·         1 card per adult in household

·         Scan your Extra Care Card at the kiosk when you get to the store for extra coupons

·         They're willing to issue rainchecks, even for the ECBs. I haven’t tested this one yet. 
       
      Be aware of monthly and weekly deals. Your receipt will print what deal limits you've reached. Lately there have also been unadvertised ECB deals available in stores. Be on the lookout!




·  Walgreens      Walgreens can be frustrating because of their ratios. They require that you have an equal or greater number of items than coupons you’re using. RR and manufacturer coupons are all in the “coupon” category. This one’s gotten me flustered once or twice before. It’s important to have a backup plan and know where some cheap easy to grab fillers are before you head to the register, just in case. I've found the staff at Wags to be extremely helpful if I have questions, and can also help you with your transactions if they find a better way. Don't be afraid to ask questions.
·         Filler items
o   Filler items are used to get your ratio correct or up your total to use a RR.
·         ?/2 coupons
o   I found that when I use a coupon for something off 2 items, it counts like 2 manufacturer coupons. I’m not sure if this is all Walgreens, but that’s now my local store works.
·         RR
o   If you complete a deal that produces RR, you can use those RR to do the same deal again but will not receive your RR again. In order to get your RR every time you must “roll” them between like transactions.
·        

Pickup a monthly coupon booklet at the front of the store.

For a more detailed explanation I suggest checking out MoneySavingMom She’s great at what she does and there’s no improving on her CVS 101 and Walgreens 101 posts.


Grocery Deals:

As I'm growing and finding more deals in the NW Indiana region I will share them with you. Right now, the only stores I'm finding in the near vacinity that doubles are Wiseway (only with a coupon and up to $5) and Mejier. Kmart will have a promotion once in awhile that allows them also. Many stores do not give overage, either. I have found that Walmart does and I'll be exploring this more. 

Here's a list of current prices on Great Value Brand items. Thanks, IHeartTheMart for this compilation.

Misc Tips:

If I'm clipping newspaper coupons I clip everything. If I'm printing them, I only print what I know i'll use unless it's the end of the month and they're about to turn over.

There are several organizational methods, but I use a regular coupon holder wallet. Michael's usually has these in several designs for 99cents. They're cardstock but they hold up pretty well, unless Abby get ahold of them.

I also plan my trips ahead of time and have a separate envelope for each store. I sort my coupons before I leave and write a list of the item and number I should be buying. That way I can get to the register and not have to worry about where my coupons are. This makes shopping with a toddler much easier. This is crucial for CVS/Walgreens trips.

Beware of "smart" registers. Target registers will recognize a ?/2+ coupon as no higher than the price of a single item and will have to be manually changed. I also had this experience with Walmart, also, except the manager said the coupon was not able to be manually fixed.

The "giftcard glitch" is not an issue for Valparaiso or Merrillville Indiana Target stores. (Yay!!!)

I normally print all my coupons on "draft" mode to save ink. When talking to the Walmart manager from the previous incident, she asked where my coupons came from because the pictures were fuzzy. Apparently, that's one way they check for copied/fraudulent coupons. Copy them "draft" at your own risk.

Bricks sponsored coupons will normally print twice when you hit the back button and resend the request.

Watch for updates on my main page!