BECOMING A COUPON PRO & CREATING A STOCKPILE
By week 4, you should have a nice supply of coupons piling up and you should have completed your first shopping trip using coupons. Hopefully, you have a better understanding as to how couponing works. This week, I challenge you to tackle a bigger shopping trip than last week and really put your learned skills to the test. You can even start to add your regular shopping to your spreadsheet so that you can get it all done in one trip. Your stockpile will start to take shape this week and that is one of the most exciting times. You can actually feel like you are saving money when you see it!
For those of you who took my advice and waited to learn CVS and Walgreens, now is the time to learn how to shop at these 2 stores. My spreadsheets for these 2 stores are a little different than the other stores because of the different rewards programs. Each store has their own Rewards program. Walgreens is called “Register Rewards” or “RR’s” and CVS is called “ExtraBucks” or “EB Rewards”. They are both essentially the same thing, just that each reward can only be used at its own store. These rewards are advertised weekly. The register will print out the reward at the end of your transaction. This reward is similar to cash and can be used on a future purchase at that store. Each store has its own limitations, so please check with your store to find out the limitations.
Here is an example:
An item is advertised on sale for $3.00 with $3.00 “Register Rewards”. You will purchase the item for $3.00 (paying any applicable taxes) and you will get a printout with your receipt for $3.00 “Register Rewards” good on a future use. You can either save that for the next time you are in or turn around and use it to purchase something else right then and there.
The main limitation on the rewards is that Walgreens does not allow you to “roll” the rewards. This means that you cannot use the rewards to purchase the exact same product. This would generate another “RR” and you could simply use them over and over and wipe them out of product. There is no limit, unless marked, on the number of times you can purchase the product and receive “RR’s”. The ad will specify limits, if there are any. You will have to pay the initial $3.00 plus applicable taxes. You would also have to perform separate transactions. You could accumulate multiple $3 RR’s that can be used on future purchases. Keep in mind that Walgreens will not allow you to have more coupons than products so you may need to grab fillers (I use the pocket Kleenex for $.39) to get the numbers to line up.
CVS puts limitations on the number of times you can receive the “EB’s” for the certain item. The ad will specify the limit. Also, “EB” rewards are linked to your CVS card and cannot be used with another card. Walgreens does not have their rewards linked to a card, so anyone could use your rewards if you lose them so, don’t let that happen.
Walgreens also has a new Balance Rewards program that gives you points for products purchased. This is in addition to the Register Rewards program, but that could change at any time. Each week, there are items in the weekly ad that will give you points when you purchase them. These points are linked to your Balance Rewards card and accumulate until you have enough to get the reward. 5000 points equals $5 in rewards. For more details, see the Balance Rewards Fact Sheet.
You can see why I waited to learn CVS and Walgreens. My spreadsheets are different for these stores for a reason. I learned CVS and Walgreens by trial and error (lots of error). Just ask the sales associates if you have any questions. My stores had wonderful people who were always willing to help. As always, questions can be submitted to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By the end of week 4, you should be on your way to becoming a Coupon Pro, or almost Pro. Remember, practice makes perfect and the more you shop, the more you will save! Each week, your plan of action should look something like this:
I hope you enjoyed the Couponing Bootcamp and are now ready to coupon on your own!