I’m not an expert on this couponing thing. I’ve read the books, I peruse the blogs, I drool over photos of expert couponers’ stockpiles and wish I could do the same thing. I do try, though, to save money where ever I can. Well, this last week, by some celestial alignment of paycheck, organization, planning, and kid-free moments, I managed to hit CVS and Walgreens and saved more than 90% on some pricey products that I usually just buy at the Dollar Tree.
Here’s how I did it.
CVS has a special bonus program where different products each week will earn you ExtraBucks (EBs). Walgreens has a similar program, where products will earn you RegisterRewards (RRs). When planning my shopping trips, I look through the weekly ads to see what products have EBs or RRs attached to them AND that I have coupons for. (Oh yeah, you have to get the Sunday paper to get coupons. I subscribe to the Sunday paper and my aunt and cousin save their coupon inserts for me, so I get 3 copies of the inserts). However, this planning and matching up coupons with EBs and RRs can take a LONG time, so I let other people do the hard work and check out couponing websites for the best match-ups.
There’s a million coupon sites out there, but hands-down, my favorite is KrazyCouponLady.com because their site is super easy to use and has a fabulous search feature that lets me see exactly what I want. Also, when you click on CVS or Walgreens (or RiteAid, too, but we don’t have RiteAid in Arizona), the Krazy Ladies write up shopping plans for getting the most bang for $5. You can do this a few different ways. One strategy is to “roll” your transactions: buy a few items that will earn you rewards, then, take your rewards from that transaction and go purchase more items, paying for the second transaction with your rewards from the first transaction. That’s fun, but time consuming.
This week, I had all the kids with me on Friday, and didn’t want to spent 30 minutes at both stores rolling transactions, so I purchased all the items that had rewards AND that I had coupons for. Friday was pretty pricey:
CVS – $26.33 in product – $11.36 in coupons + $1.71 tax = paid $16.68 (40% savings) and received 6.75 ExtraBucks
Walgreens – $20.76 in product – $6.09 in coupons + $1.60 tax = paid $16.27 (27% savings) and received 10 RegisterRewards
On Sunday, the ads reset at the stores, so a whole new set of deals came out. I’d already spent our grocery budget, but because I had the EBs and RRs from Friday, I was able to use them to purchase the NEW deals for this week last night while Anthony watched the kids at home. I bought all the items shown in the photo at the top, and basically just had to pay the tax on everything. I learned last night that I’ll never be able to use coupons, EBs, or RRs to cover tax, which is kinda silly, I think. I had to scan my debit card to cover the tax last night (note to self: raid kids piggy bank for spare change next time).
CVS – after coupons and EBs: paid $2.62 (85% savings) and received 5 EBs
Walgreens – after coupons and RRs: paid $1.19 (94% savings) and received 4 RRs
Yes, it takes some coordinating, planning, and QUIET (seriously, whenever I try to coupon WITH my 4 kids, I never save as much), but it is worth it to get NICE products (I’m so excited to shave with the Venus razor!).
So what do you think? Have you thought about couponing or actually started couponing? What works for you? What doesn’t work for you? What’s the best deal you’ve scored?