"That they (the older women) admonish the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed." Titus 2:4-5

Friday, November 7, 2008

How-To Beginners Series (4)

Now that I've explained coupons a little, I will explain a little bit of the world of drugstores. Drugstores are a great way to stretch your budget. The author of the Money Saving Mom blog says she only spends $40 a week on groceries and household products and one of the ways she accomplishes this is by using drugstores for most household products and some groceries. I find that usually I no longer pay anything for toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, conditioner, lotions, hair styling, body wash, feminine pads, most makeup and more. Things like deodorant, tampons, and food are a little bit harder, but not impossible!

I have become a very huge fan of Walgreens lately. They just opened up a new one near where I live and I love it! They will accept internet coupons which is a huge help. The best thing about Walgreens is their Easy Saver booklet. Every month, they put out a new booklet (which you can find in the store near the weekly ad) and it is filled with store coupons and rebates. I used to never bother with rebates because I didn't think they were worth it. Boy, how wrong I was!! Every month there are Free After Rebate items. Some of these items are useless to me (like Walgreens filter replacements) but others are VERY valuable, like lightbulbs, toothpaste, shampoos and conditioners. One thing is that you can't be too brand loyal, because it's different every month.

The great thing about the rebates is that they are very easy to do. After you buy the indicated items, simply go to www.walgreens.com (register/log in) and then click on the view more link near the top. Then select view rebates. You can view the monthly Easy Saver or go to claim rebates. Next, select start/add receipt. Click on the rebates you are claiming on the list and click on continue at the bottom. On the next screne, type in your Receipt Reference Number (RFN#) found at the top of your receipt and hit save receipt. Walgreens will review your receipt information and send you an email when they verify it. It may sound complicated at first, but believe me, it is SO easy! Just to be sure, keep all your receipts for the month with your Easy Saver booklet just in case there is an information problem.

At the end of the month, you will click on the review/submit rebate button. If you choose to receive your rebate on a Walgreens gift card, they will give you 10% more back (which I figure will cover the sales tax). They say it takes 4-6 weeks to get your first rebate gift card. After that, you can choose to have them "reload" your gift card each month with the rebates, which should only take a few weeks and they will send you a post card telling you they have reloaded it (it usually only takes a few days in my experience). After the first month or two, you should no longer need to pay out of pocket (OOP) money. You can just use your gift card and keep rolling the money over.

They also have what's called Register Rewards (RR). These are similar to CVS extra care bucks. If you meet the deal requirements, you will receive RR good on your next purchase-they are kinda like gift cards. Keep these in a safe place. Also, RR are not tied to a card which means you can come back multiple times to do the same deal. However, don't let these expire as they usually won't take expired ones! It's like throwing away cash (which unfortunately I've let happen!)

Some Tips
  • Grab more than one Easy Saver booklet. It has coupons and stuff in it. It's nice to have one to use for rebates and a couple for coupons
  • Try to wait to buy the "Free After Rebate" items till the end of the month. Very often a coupon will come out for that item and it's even better than free! Ex. Crest Pro-Health toothpaste is free after rebate this month. I was silly and bought it on Friday. Today there was a $1.00 off coupon in the Sunday newspaper ads (P&G 8/31). If I had used it, I would still have gotten the same amount of rebate money ($3.79) while only paying $2.79 for the item! They would have "paid" me $1.00 to buy the toothpaste! (This is why I said in the coupon post to NEVER throw away coupons, you never know what you'll need) Note: Sometimes they sell out of items very quickly and don't restock them. It's up to you how you want to handle when to buy them!
  • Manufacturer coupons (found in newspapers and online) can be combined with Easy Saver Coupons. One Easy Saver coupon will work on multiples of that same item. Example: If you're buying 4 toothbrushes and the ESC is for $1.00 off one, the register will take off 4X$1.00=$4.00. Other store coupons can also be combined with ESC. Example: the Walgreen's coloring book coupons can combine with the ESC, as well as the ones from their weekly ads
  • I've heard Walgreens cash registers can get goofy about coupons, so Money Saving Mom has suggested a few tips about how to use them. Always have the same amount or more items than coupons and give the cashiers the coupons in batches in this order: RR, manufacturer coupons and Easy Saver/Walgreens ad coupons. I usually don't follow this and haven't had a problem... yet. Refundcents.com does suggest manufacturer coupons first and then store coupons to maximize what it'll take off.
  • This takes practice!! Don't give up! I am still getting used to it, but I'm finding it to be well worth the time and patience. We'll get better and faster as we learn.

I will try every week to post the best Walgreens deals I can find. There are many websites that list them. If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment. You can also check out the post at http://www.moneysavingmom.com/money_saving_mom/2008/03/ive-been-shoppi.html which is another great post about how Walgreens works! refundcents.com also did a comprehensive guide to Walgreens that is a TON of information but you have to be a member to access it.



Blog Widget by LinkWithin