How to save lots of money with coupons

May 30, 2010 · 8 comments

Recently, my sister, Cathy, introduced me to Walgreens Register Rewards and couponing. Some people use these deals at Walgreens and/or couponing to build a large stockpile of goods (soap, laundry detergent, groceries, etc). They wait until it’s on sale at the lowest price and use coupons to stack their purchases and buy in large quantities to build a stockpile. They end up paying very little for each item individually and end up paying a lot less for needed items over time.

While I won’t be starting a huge stockpile anytime soon (the hubs won’t allow it), I have learned to save a lot of money on things I was already going to buy or items I will need to buy soon.

Walgreens Register Rewards (RR) are coupons that print at the register for a particular item you purchased in your transaction. They are advertised as such in their Sunday ads. The key is to buy the item with a manufacturer’s coupon (MQ) and store coupons to save even more money. In some cases, you end up paying very little to nothing for items. My sister along with many others, do what is called rolling RRs which is when you use the RR to purchase more items that will provide even more RRs.

The key things to remember is that a new RR will not print if you use an RR to buy a same priced item from the same manufacturer. It usually says the name on the RR coupon. The other thing is you can’t use more coupons than the number of items in your transaction.

For a more in-depth explanation, visit: iheartwags.com.

There are many other great sites that I visit or subscribe to to keep up on all of the great deals as well as different money saving scenarios (they are updated daily, often multiple times daily):

Coupon Dad
Couponers United
Couponing 101
Cuckoo for Coupon Deals
I Heart Publix (A site that talks about my local grocery store’s deals, I’m sure there is a site for just about every grocery store in the country.)
Printable Coupons and Deals
Stockpiling Moms
Wild for Wags (Another Walgreens deals site)

Other sites to print coupons from:
Coupons.com
redplum
SmartSource

The above sites use a coupon printer that you have to install to control the number of coupons you print.

Some things I learned about couponing:

  • For a Buy 1 Get 1 Free deal, you can use 2 manufacturer’s coupons.
  • If you have a store coupon for an item, you can also use a manufacturer’s coupon for that item.
  • Most stores will not let you use more coupons than the number of items you have.
  • You can find a lot of sites where you can print coupons online and some people maximize their buys by buying coupons from clipping services.
  • Some people buy 2-6 or more of their Sunday papers and clip all of the coupons. I buy 1 paper each of the two major newspapers in my area.
  • I noticed something recently for some of the coupons I have clipped. The items that I have coupons for often go on sale or end up being buy 1 get 1 free offers at my local stores. Pretty interesting. That’s how you can save even more money.
  • It’s illegal to manipulate or reproduce a coupon so don’t do anything to the coupon before you print it.

Here’s an example using my first purchase at Walgreens using what I learned:

EOS Shave Gel 7oz. $2.99 (on sale & received a RR for $3)
(2) Palmolive Soap 10oz. $0.99 each (Walgreens store coupon)
(2) Walgreens branded Zyrtec 30 count 14.99 (Buy 1 Get 1 Free sale)
Aleve 50 count $4.99 (on sale & used $1 off MQ & received a RR for $2)
(2) Speed Stick deodorant 3oz. $3.29 (Buy 1 Get 1 Free sale)
(2) Caramel Creams 4oz. $0.39 each (on sale)
(4) Culturelle Probiotics 30 count $22.99 each (Buy 1 Get 1 Free Sale – used 4 MQs $3 off = $12 in coupons)

Total Purchase: $146.60
Store Sales/Coupons: $71.06
MQs Used: $13.00

Out of Pocket: $62.54

RR Rewards Received for future purchases: $5.00 (from Shave Gel and Aleve) – I don’t include RRs in my final cost of an item until I actually redeem the RR.

The Culturelle is what I saved the most on. We buy it at various stores ranging from $16-$22 depending if it’s on sale and always use a MQ for $3.00 off but the buy 1 get 1 free sale really helped us save tons more! A 30 count box lasts us 15 days so the four boxes I bought will last us 2 months! Everything else, we needed except I really don’t need Caramel Creams, do I? :) The only unplanned purchase was the deodorant. I didn’t know it was on sale until I got to the store and that’s the brand the hubs uses and they had the right scent. When I got home and showed him, it turned out, he was about to run out.

The other thing I’m finding out, is that I can buy my flexible spending items on sale and use coupons so I can stretch my FSA dollars even further, which is great!

I have already saved a bunch of money on my recent trips to Walgreens on items I will definitely use and now my goal is to bring down my weekly grocery bill down by at least 25-30%. Hope you have fun with this information and let me know if you have any questions or suggestions!

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

robyn May 30, 2010 at 10:51 am

Couponing has certainly changed over the years. Your explanation makes me want to get back into it. You’ve saved quite a bit and not had to go from store to store to find a great deal. hmmm. I think I may have to give this a try.

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Julie (thelittlekitchen) May 30, 2010 at 11:12 am

Robyn- let me know how it goes if you do start! I monitor my grocery store ads, Walgreens and also Target. BTW- Target has coupons on their website and some of them are not Target store specfic, they are MQs so you can use them anywhere.

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sburch79 May 31, 2010 at 2:13 am

Do you have to buy the paper or can you find the coupons online? And I’m sure if you found Star Wars collectable or some other cool stuff you could stock pile. He just doesn’t want to waste space on your crap:)

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Julie (thelittlekitchen) May 31, 2010 at 8:48 am

Hey Stephen-
You don’t have to buy the Sunday paper but it is convenient for you to plan your purchases since most of the store ads are in there (Walgreens, Target, CVS). I do both, buy the paper and print coupons online. The key is using coupons on items that are on sale so you save tons. BTW- Publix ads are from Thu-Wed so they don’t end up in the paper but sometimes there are coupon inserts in the paper. Re: Star Wars, you’re probably right. Curtis laughed when I read him your comment. His grandmother stockpiled and he doesn’t want to do the same thing. Also, we don’t have the room. I will buy 2/3 of something if the price is great and I have the extra coupons. HTH

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cathy June 2, 2010 at 3:09 pm

My publix trip last week:

2 MorningStar Farms Entrees, Assorted Varieties, 5.25 to 12 oz box, BOGO $3.99
1 DampRid Easy Fill System, $6.99
1 Damp Rid Refill, $5.39!
2 Bic Disposable Razors, Assorted Varieties, 3 to 8 ct pkg, BOGO $5.49

I used the following coupons:
-2x $1/1 MorningStar PRINT (http://www.morningstarfarms.com/coupon.aspx)
-2x $3/1 DampRid Easy-Fill System or Refill Green Advantage Buy Flyer (Publix coupon exp 6/11)
-2x $3/1 DampRid Easy Fill System or Refill – 05-23-10 SS
-2x $2/1 Bic Soleil PRINT (http://coupons2.smartsource.com/smartsource/index.jsp?Link=K73LP6CZXLGWC)

Total retail before sale prices (sales tax inluded): $33.38
Total after sale prices w/o coupons (sales tax included): $23.28
Total out of pocket: $5.28

I walked away as a happy camper! Note: My out of pocket costs would have been $2 less if I were able to find the publix greenwise spring magazine. Apparently, there were $1 off morning star publix coupons in them. Oh, well. :)

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cathy June 2, 2010 at 3:16 pm

Don’t forget: Publix accepts competitor coupons. Even ones from target! So combine them with the manufacturer’s coupon (MQ) for one item and save even more! Note: If you have more coupons than the number of items in your transaction at Publix (which can happen if you’re combining MQs and store coupons for the same item), this will need a manager override. You might not want to take the express lane if you know this will occur. :)

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Olivia Puyana Daghlarian July 5, 2010 at 2:46 pm

You should teach a class on using coupons. I know a couple of people who would attend (including myself!). Let me know if you ever decide to do this!
:) Olivia

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Ellen B. July 23, 2010 at 3:39 pm

Sounds almost like a fun game! Would take an investment of time, but I can see how it would pay off. Nice post!

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