Extreme couponing 101: Walgreens
Guest post by Deidre of CuckooforCouponDeals.com
Have you been interested in this coupon craze feeding the nation? I’m sure you’ve wondered, “How do they do that?” or “Should they really be clearing those shelves?” and even “Those are hoarders!” When you become a couponer you can save money, spend valuable time with your families instead of working a second or third job, and donate to your local foodbanks, shelters and missions. It can be done ethically without shelf clearing or hoarding. No need to fear, underdog is here! Ok I just said that to see if you were paying attention. But I can rescue you from all your questions!
EXTREME COUPONING: BREAKING IT DOWN
First of all what you see on the TV show Extreme Couponing is extreme! This year, one episode of Extreme Couponing will be shown with a person couponing at Walgreen’s. During the show, you won’t figure out how they did it since it is so complicated. I am going to break it down for you, and teach you so you can do the deals yourself each week. You don’t even plan your shopping scenarios—I plan them for you here!
LEARN COUPONING LINGO
You are going to have to learn some coupon lingo from my guide to start. Each store has its own type of rewards and coupon policies. What could work at Walgreens might not work at another store. Start with one store. Once you’ve learned the ropes, you can add another store to your couponing knowledge.
Walgreens is many times referred to as Wags, and is one of the places professional couponers save the most money. Okay, at first the name Wags really threw me. Yes I see the first two letters, but then they just skip the L and take out a few more letters. So even though it doesn’t make sense to my very logical thinking mind I’ve grown used to it.
RR is another term people who shop at Wags use. This one makes a lot more sense to me. It means Register Rewards. Get it? They both start with R. This acronym makes sense! Register Rewards are like gift cards (for Wags) that print out after you pay for your purchase. They are triggered for buying certain products (I tell you each week which products are going to trigger RR’s). A Register Reward is typically good for “X” amount off of your next transaction and can be used on most any items in the store. They look like this:
REGISTER REWARDS RULES
There are some rules to using Register Rewards at Walgreens. As I walk you through a transaction I will explain. If you don’t understand you can go to my Walgreens Register Rewards Secrets and get more information (there’s even a video if you don’t want to read.)
Wags = Walgreens
RR = Register Rewards
I am going to pretend like I shopped at Walgreens last week. While there, I earned a $3 RR for buying G-U-M Dental Care Products last week. Why am I telling you what I bought last week which triggered the RR to print? Well that’s important when using register rewards. I have to make sure the RR I’m using to help pay for my current transaction is not from the same manufacturer. If I do use the same RR to pay for products from the same manufacturer it will not print me out any RR’s for this transaction. I’m going to bring the $3 RR with me this week to help pay for out of pocket (see lingo guide) cost for this transaction. (Of course, if you were buying an item that didn’t require a RR to print out you could use the RR from the same manufacturer – you better watch that video if you are getting confused!)
I made my list before I got to the store. Each week you can find the list of best deals at Walgreens with coupons over at Cuckoo’s Walgreen’s Page. Walgreen’s deals start on Sunday and end the following Saturday. Each Saturday I post the deals that will start the following Sunday, so you can get your coupons cut, organized, and ready to go before the sale starts. I always know which coupons to have ready. This will make your life a lot easier…good planning!
I’ll put the following items in my cart:
Buy 2 Pure Silk Shave Crème
I will use the in-ad coupon as shown above, you can find these in the ad circulars at the front of the store or in your Sunday newspaper. I’ll want to cut it out and take it with me. Do you see how it says there is a limit of 4? That means I cannot buy more than 4 of them. It also says, “except in NM” where they do not have limits.
I have a manufacturer coupon to go with this! Wait, I already used one….except it was a store coupon. See how the coupon above says, “W coupon Good at Walgreens?” That means it was specifically made to be used at Walgreens only. Great! That means I can still use a manufacturer coupon with it. This is called stacking.
I am going to use (2) $0.80 off one Pure Silk Shave Crème coupons that expire 9/30/11. I got these from my Red Plum coupon insert in my 07/10/11 newspaper. Notice how I held onto these coupons from July? If I had thrown them away I would never have gotten this deal!
With my coupons $.99 in-ad coupon, and my 2 manufacturer’s coupons, I will only pay $0.19 per shave cream!
Also, I buy 2 Crest Deep Clean Toothpaste, 5.8 oz as the ad states.
If you look at the ad you can see if I buy 2 of them it is $5 AND they’ll give me a $3 RR for buying them.
That would make them $1 a tube, but that price is too high! I have coupons for these. I will use these coupons:
Use (2) $1 off 1 Crest Toothpaste or Liquid Gel Excludes Cavity, Baking Soda, Tartar, expires 9/30/11. I cut these coupons out of the Proctor and Gamble Coupon inserts from my 8/28/11 newspaper.
Last thing on the list. Buy 1 Crest Toothpaste, 6.4 oz
I have to look at the ad closely to make sure I get the right size. It’s the 6.4oz for $1.99 and it states that I will get $1.00 RR for this purchase so it’s like I’m only paying $0.99. I can use another coupon! I will use $1 off 1 Crest Toothpaste or Liquid Gel Excludes Cavity, Baking Soda, Tartar, expires 9/30/11.
TIME TO CHECK OUT
I let the cashier ring up the items. There are no store loyalty cards at Walgreens that you need to scan. But you have to scan the coupons in a certain order. Remember the Walgreens Coupon Policy? This is one of the rules. I give the cashier my $3 RR from last week first, then my manufacturer coupons from the newspaper and last I hand her the in-store coupon.
Now I pay $1.37 out of pocket and I get $1 RR & a $3 RR to use on my next shopping trip. Wait! How did that work again?
Here’s the deal breakdown:*
2 Pure Silk Shave Creams, $.99 each
Crest Deep Clean Toothpastes, $5
Crest Toothpaste (6.4 oz), $1.99
MINUS: $4.60 in coupons used + my $3 RR from last week = $7.60 taken off my total
Final Price: $1.37 cash out of pocket paid, and after the transaction $4 in RR’s print ($1 from Crest 6.4 oz and $3 from Crest Deep Clean)
This does not include tax. Tax will also be paid out of pocket depending on your tax rate. You still have to pay the full tax rate even if your items are FREE. Uncle Sam doesn’t let you get away with it! You cannot use an RR to pay for tax either (one of those rules I told you about.)
STOP! ROLL THOSE RR’S
It’s important to use your RR’s each week to help pay for the next week. This is how you keep your out of pocket costs down. Each week you roll your register rewards into your purchase and your costs stay low! I don’t turn around and use RR’s once they print after I have done my planned transactions. I hold on to them and use them on next week’s sale items so the amount I pay cash is low each week.
Have you ever bought 3 tubes of toothpaste and 2 cans of shaving cream for $1.37 and got a $4 Credit to come back and shop again? That’s only $0.27 an item if you use your out of pocket costs! That’s how a cuckoo couponer shops at Wags!
*The deal in this example is an actual deal you can get at all Walgreens locations between the dates of 09/11/11 and 09/17/11