One of the ways to save with coupons is to combine them with the deals going on at stores. Walgreens and CVS each has their own programs that give you, what I call, paper cash. They will print out on/after your receipt and they are like cash (with exclusions!) that can be used on future purchases. Once you fully understand how each stores’ program works, you’ll really be able to start saving BIG! I’ll try and outline each of the “basics” for each store.
1) Walgreens puts out their own store coupons. These are usually in their ads or sometimes you’ll find them throughout the store. These will say Walgreens coupon—and no where on it will it say manufacturer’s coupon. When you find coupons, such as these, you can “stack” them with a manufacturer’s coupon for the same product.
2) Walgreens will have weekly and monthly items that when purchased, will produce a Catalina called “Register Rewards” (RRs) that can basically be used like cash on your next order. But there a few important things to understand about them:
a) Some exclusions do apply, such as they can’t be used on gift cards, stamps, alcohol, etc.
b) Some RRs are rolling, some are not. By rolling, this means you can repeat the same transaction over and over and another RR will print. Usually, you can only use one from the same manufacturer. In those cases, if you were to do the same transaction again, an RR wouldn’t print.
c) You need to spend more than the value of the RR. For example, if you have a $10RR, you’d need to spend at least $10.01 when you checkout.
d) An RR is considered a coupon. When you check-out, you must have as many items as you do coupons. So if you are “stacking” coupons and have two for any particular item, you must make sure that you have another item that doesn’t have a coupon in order to use it. Also, since they are considered to be coupons, when Walgreens puts out one of their $$ off coupons, such as their “$5 off $25 purchase coupons,” the amount of the RR must be discounted before the $25 total.
3) When you hand over your coupons, the order you hand them over is important. There is nothing wrong with using RRs, store coupons and manufacturer’s coupons all at once, they just should be in this order: RRs first, then manufacturer’s coupons then store coupons.
4) Register Rewards typically have a two week expiration date. So don’t lose money by forgetting to use them!
5) Currently, “competitors” will take Register Rewards slips that say “Manufacturer’s Coupon” on them. (Jewel, Dominick’s, CVS.) But always ask at the Customer Service desk of stores to be sure.
6) Ideally, what you want to do is keep “rolling” Register Rewards for other items (of a different manufacturer) that print out Register Rewards.
How Deals Will Look On Blogs for Walgreens
If you get big into couponing, you’ll want to follow a few blogs. They’ll help you find some really great deals and break them out for you on what coupons to use, etc. Here are a few examples of what a Walgreens deal would look like:
Buy 1 St. Ives Body Wash at $2.99, Get $2.99 Register Rewards
*Use $1.50/1 coupon from 5/10 Smart Source insert
FINAL PRICE = Free plus $1.50 in overage after coupon and Register Reward
In that instance, you’ll pay $1.49 plus tax if you have the coupon. After you pay, a Register Rewards slip will print out for $2.99. You can then use this on your next purchase that is NOT a St. Ives product.
Buy 8 select Dove Products, Get $10 Register Rewards
Buy 8 Dove Bar Soaps (2-packs)--on sale for $2.24 each
*Use 8 - $1/1 Dove Face Care coupons from the 5/17 or 6/7 RedPlum inserts
Spend $9.92 plus tax out of pocket, Get $10 Register Rewards
FINAL PRICE = Free after coupons and Register Rewards
In this instance, you’ll pay $9.92 plus tax if you had the 8 coupons. After you pay, a Register Rewards slip will print out for $10. You can then use that on your next purchase that is NOT a Dove product. If you had bought the St. Ives prior to this, you could have used the $2.99 Register Rewards on this purchase and only paid $6.93 plus tax out of pocket and received the $10 Register Rewards. (See what I mean about “rolling?”)
Before you can start getting deals at CVS, you’ll need a CVS card. If you don’t have one, just ask at the register for a form to fill out and they’ll give you a card that same day when you turn the form in.
1) CVS has a program called “Extra Care Bucks” that will generate “paper cash” on the bottom of your receipt that you can use on your next purchase. Again, there are exclusions that do apply, such as the ECBs can’t be used on gift cards, postage stamps, etc. With the ECB program, you also earn a certain percentage of your purchase, currently 2% that you will receive quarterly.
2) Whenever you checkout, you’ll need to have them scan your CVS card to get the prices that are advertised and for the ECBs to print. (Remember, the ECBs are on the bottom of your receipt—so don’t throw it away!)
3) Like Walgreens, CVS has their own store coupons. These can be “stacked” with manufacturer’s coupons on the same item. Unlike Walgreens, though, you do not need as many items as you have coupons.
4) In some CVS stores, there is a machine where you can scan your card and extra coupons will print out. If you have one of these machines, make sure you always scan your card before shopping. You might receive a coupon for $$ off your purchase or on a better product that may alter your shopping “game plan.”
5) Each week/month, CVS puts out certain items that will produce the ECBs. Except for the general ECB exclusions, you can use these on anything and keep “rolling” deals, buying the same thing over and over. BUT you must always check the limits on deals in the ads. Some will not list a limit. Others will say limit 1. Some may even say limit of 5. Your CVS card will keep track of what you buy so there’s no sneaking in an extra item if you’ve reached your limit. At the bottom of your receipt, it will list what you’ve bought and if you’ve reached the limit for that deal. So keep track of your receipts.
6) The amount of your purchase must be higher than the value of your ECB. For example, if you have an ECB for $5, your purchase must be at least $5.01.
How Deals Will Look On Blogs for CVS
Buy 1 Crest Pro-Health Toothpaste, Rinse, or Oral B Floss at $2.99, Get $2 ECBs (Limit 1)
*Use $0.50/1 coupon from the 6/7 P&G insert
FINAL PRICE = $0.49 after coupon and ECBs
In the instance above, you’ll spend $2.49 plus tax out of pocket, if you have the coupon. After you checkout, an ECB for $2 will be on the bottom of your receipt that you can use on your next order. Now, since this is only a limit of 1, you cannot buy this deal again and have the ECBs print out.
Buy 1 Schick Quattro Titanium Razor or Trimmer at $7.99, Get $3 ECBs (Limit 3)
*Use $4/1 coupon from the 4/19 RedPlum insert
FINAL PRICE = $0.99 after coupon and ECBs
In the instance above, you’ll spend $3.99 out of pocket, if you have the coupon. After you checkout, an ECB for $4 will be on the bottom of your receipt. Since this deal is a limit of 3, you could buy this deal two more times and ECBs will print out. If you ran the Crest deal before this one, you could have used the $2 ECB on this order, making your total out of pocket only $1.99 plus tax. This is called “Rolling ECBs.”
OTHER STORES THAT STACK COUPONS
One of the ways to get a really great deal is to be able to “stack” store and manufacturer coupons for the same item. This may sound weird to you but this is how it works – the store pays for the one coupon and the manufacturer for the other. This is why you can “stack.” (Otherwise, it is illegal to use more than one coupon on the same item.) The thing to always remember for a “store” coupon to really be a STORE coupon—no where on the coupon can it say “Manufacturer’s coupon” as some will list a store but state that. Here are a few other stores, in addition to Walgreens and CVS that stack:
TARGET – They have coupons on Target.com or through Target Generators on other sites.
JEWEL-OSCO – They will mail out coupons or have some in their ads or in-store. Make sure you register your preferred card under Avenu on their site. These are considered to be “clip-free” coupons and are taken off automatically when you check out.
MEIJER – Visit their site under Meijer Mealbox for coupons.
These are just some of the stores in my area. Check your local stores to see if they have their own store coupons and if they allow "stacking." You'll find out that most will.