Extreme Couponing: Week 3 (July 11, 2011)

Welcome!

We’re now in week 3 of the ten week extreme couponing course. Go here to learn more about the free couponing course and review week 2 here.
This week we’re going to get over $27 in items at Walgreens for less than $2 using the premise of coupon match-ups. We’ve talked about this before, but let’s refresh:

What are Coupon Match Ups?

Week 3 is all about the more complex process of matching up coupons or “coupon match-ups” that we first dived into last week. To review, coupon match-ups are when you pair up different types of coupons and use them together.

There are two main types of coupons:

  • manufacturer’s coupons
  • store coupons

Manufacturer’s coupons are the coupons that come in the Sunday newspapers, or perhaps in a magazine you are reading, or inside the box of a product you buy. They are made by the manufacturer of the product and say so on the coupon.

Store coupons are coupons that a particular store puts out. Walgreens and CVS have weekly fliers with weekly deals and coupons you can use for that week.

One of the keys to saving big money and getting hundreds in free toiletries and household items every month is in matching up manufacturer’s coupons with store deals. When you learn how to do this, you can start getting amazing amounts of freebies each week! This is what we will be doing this week – doing coupon match ups at Walgreens to get free items!

At this point in the coupon course we are still not cutting any coupons, so these are all easy to print off the internet coupons for this week. However, I want you to start saving the Sunday papers you received every week and put them in a box or drawer as I explained in the Introduction. We will start using them next week!

Also make sure to stock up on printable coupons below!

Picture 7

At Walgreens this week you can get the following things FREE (and a couple for only $1 dollar!):

W Women’s 6 Blade Razor System – $3.99
Get $4.00 RR back
Final Cost FREE

GUM Micro or Super Tip Toothbrushes (2 ct.) or Floss (200 yds.) – $2.00
Get $2.00 RR back
Final Cost FREE

Hyland’s Teething Gel (0.5 oz.) – $5.00
Get $5.00 RR back
Use $1.00/1 coupon HERE
Final Cost FREE plus $1.00 overage

Infusium 23 Hair Care (8 or 16 oz.) – $5.99
Get $4.00 RR back
Use $1.00/1 coupon from the 7/10 SS insert or HERE
Final Cost $0.99

Air Wick Freshmatic Compact or Double Fresh Scented Oil or Lysol Neutra Air Freshmatic – $7.99
Use $4.00/1 Air Wick Freshmatic compact starter kit coupon from the 7/10 Smart Source insert in the Sunday paper
Get back $3.00 RR
Final Cost $0.99

Noxzema Disposable Razors (3-4 pk.) – BOGO (Bikini Shaver 3 ct. are $2.99 online, so $1.49 ea.)
Use 2 $2.00/1 Noxzema Spa Shave 4-Blade Shaver, 4-Pk., Or Super Smooth Triple Blade Shave, 4-Pk. Or 8-Pk., Or Premium-Pivot Twin Blade, 12-Pk., Or Bikini Shaver, 3-Pk. coupon from the 7/10 RP insert

Final Cost 2 FREE
Steps on How to Get the Items:

1. At home, print out all the printable coupons you need.

2. At the store, make your purchases and hand the cashier your printable coupons. If you buy all these items, you will spend out about $17 + taxes after the printable coupons you give the cashier plus taxes.

NOTE: If you would rather not spend all that out of pocket, then you should split up the purchases above into multiple transactions.

Here’s how:

First buy items 1 and 2, then use those Register Rewards to buy the next few items on the list! Then if you’re up for it do a third transaction for the remaining items!

3. The cashier will ring you up and will give you $18 in Register Rewards.

That’s it!

Extreme Couponing Class: Week 2 (July 4, 2011)

Welcome to Week 2 of the Extreme Couponing Class!

This week we’ll be looking at matching up different coupons, or “coupon match-ups” at CVS. Although it’s not an amazing week at the drugstores, there are some quality freebies we can pick up.

First, let’s look at what a coupon match-up is. 

What are Coupon Match Ups?

Coupon match-ups are when you match up different types of coupons. There are two main types of coupons:

  • manufacturer’s coupons
  • store coupons

Manufacturer’s coupons are the coupons that come in the Sunday newspapers, or perhaps in a magazine you are reading or at a website you are looking at (printable internet coupons), or inside the box of a product you buy. They are made by the manufacturer of the product and say so on the coupon.

Store coupons are coupons that a particular store puts out. Walgreens, for example, has a weekly flier with weekly deals inside and Walgreens coupons you can use for that week. CVS also has a weekly flier. The key to saving big money and getting hundreds in free toiletries and household items every month is in matching up these two coupons and combining them with ECBS at CVS, for instance.

How to Match up Coupons:

1. To succeed at matching up coupons you need a stash of manufacturer’s coupons. Every Sunday, you should be collecting the coupon inserts in the Sunday paper and putting them in a drawer or box devoted to this class and your coupons. There is no need to cut them yet.

2. Then, once a week you should come to a blog like Saving Money Plan that gives you a list of how the manufacturer’s coupons you have been stashing away in your coupon drawer match up with the weekly coupons and other deals going at various drugstores (Walgreens, CVS, Rite-Aid, etc.)

3. Print out that list from a blog like Saving Money Plan

4. Then go to your coupon drawer and find the coupons you need that you have stashed away (blogs like mine will list the inserts by the date of that Sunday paper, so while you’re learning I recommend not cutting any of your coupons and keeping the inserts intact so you can easily go back to that dated insert to find the coupon mentioned) and then use them.

5. Get any other coupons that that blog post says you need (sometimes there are links to new internet printable coupons, and sometimes the store deals are actual coupons that you need to cut out from the weekly store flier) Write a list of what you will be purchasing and how much it should cost (or follow one of the lists on a blog like this letter-by-letter). Take your calculator to the store.

6. Make your purchases! Ready to try?

This week we’ll be shopping at CVS. First, let’s take a step back to see how CVS works differently than Walgreens (where we were last week):

The CVS Extra Care Bucks (“ECB”) Program

The CVS system is based on the idea of the “extra care buck” or “ecb”. One ECB is worth one dollar, but ECBs are only good at CVS. So the key to CVS freebies are that you only get money back in the form of ECBs (coupons which are printed at the bottom of your receipt). If you buy something advertised as a product that will give you back ECBs those ECBs will print at the bottom of your receipt. These printed receipts are your money for you to use on the future at items at CVS. Thus, it is critical that you don’t throw out your receipts with ECBs printed on them!

If you buy something advertised as “free after ECBs”, then you will have the money in the form of an ECB coupon as soon as you leave the register. Many couponers *love* this because it means that then you can immediately use those free ECBs in a second “transaction” (purchase).

We’ll talk a bit more about that in later assignments, but here’s an example:

For instance, I walk into the store to pick up a $4.99 tube of lipstick that is advertised as “free after ECBs”. I purchase the lipstick (making sure they scan my ECB card) and immediately the $4.99 is printed out. So I can go back in the aisle, pick up some milk, come back to the cash register, and use the ECB coupons I received in the last transaction to pay, instead of paying with cash.

(Had I bought the milk and the lipstick all at one time, I would have paid out money for both, and had more ECB coupons to spend next time I come to CVS.) However, if you have an ECB for $4.99 and you only purchase $4 of stuff with it – you WON’T get a refund! So you want to always buy something worth a little more than the value of the ECBs you have.

First, you need to know how to hear about the CVS deals for the month and the week. You can sign up to get your CVS weekly store circular delivered to your email here. They also come in your Sunday newspaper, and you can also find the circular at the front of the store. Finally, many couponers these days don’t even both to look at the circulars and simply make sure to log into a blog like this one to see the list of deals for that week. Then you can print that blog post and just take it with you to CVS.

Simple!

This week, the first thing you will need to do is sign up for the CVS Extra Care Buck program. Although you can do this online, I recommend going into your store to do so, because you will get your card immediately, and won’t have to wait a few weeks for it to get sent to you. Ask for an application at the register if you don’t see one out.

Make sure your card is registered with your email address. You can do this on the original form, at CVS.com, or call 1-800-SHOP CVS. Eventually they will send you a $4/20 purchase coupon.

Now that you have your ECB card, you can start making your purchases. This week, I want you to go into your store and buy the following three items.

Here are the deals below I want you to do at CVS using the premise of coupon matchups.
The Deals:

Buy 1 Oral-B Advantage or Cross Action Toothbrush at $3, Get $1 ECB (Limit 2)
Use $2/1 coupon from the 7/3 Proctor and Gamble insert
= FREE

Buy 1 Oral-B Pulsar Toothbrush (1 pack) at $5.99, Get $3 ECBs (Limit 2)
Use $2/1 coupon from the 7/3 Proctor and Gamble insert
= $.99

Just For Men or Touch of Gray Hair Color $6.99
Submit for the Try Me Free Rebate
=Free

If you have some past Sunday papers, see if you have last month’s coupons to do these great bonus deals:

Buy 1 Listerine or Reach Select Products at $3.69, Get $1 ECB (Limit 2)
Use $2/1 coupon from the 5/8 SmartSource insert
= $0.69

Tampax Pearl Tampons 18 to 20 ct. or Always Infinity Pads 14 to 18 ct. $3.99
Earn $2 ECB (Limit 1)
Use $1.50/2 Tampax Products 6/5/2011 Proctor & Gamble Insert (exp 7/31/2011)
= $.59

So let’s review the steps this week:

    1. Go to your local CVS to sign up for your ECB card.
    2. Pick up the deals above.
    3. Make sure the cashier scans your ECB card before ringing you up.
    4. If you buy all the items and have all the coupons, your total will be $16.50 + tax Out Of Pocket (“OOP”). In return, you will get $7 in Extra Care Bucks printed and a $7 rebate that you have to mail in. Great deal, no?

If you have any questions at all about anything, make sure to email me at savingmoneyplan (at) gmail (dot) com or leave a comment on the blog and I’ll be sure to get back to you. I’m so looking forward to hearing your stories – the good stuff and the challenges – about how this worked for you this week!

Extreme Couponing Class: Week 1 (June 26, 2011)

Welcome to the Extreme Couponing Class at Saving Money Plan!

This week you’ll be getting more than $44 of items at Walgreens for FREE after rebate and register rewards – so make sure to take part! Want to learn more about this course? If you haven’t yet joined, sign up here! The couponing class is delivered every Monday to your inbox.

Week 1 Assignment

Walgreens uses a system called Register Rewards, which are like cash you can only use at Walgreens. Register Rewards print out when you make your purchases and the cashier gives them to you when you get your receipt. You can use them on your next transaction as if they were cash. However, if you use a register reward to buy something, you do NOT get change back.

However, any register reward you receive from the purchase of a product cannot then be used for the same product – or the same brand. So, let’s say you do a deal where get $2 in Register Rewards for buying Nivea lotion. You cannot then use that same Register Reward to buy more Nivea. Instead, you’d have to use it to buy another product. It can be confusing, but we’ll start simple this week.

At Walgreens this week, do this very simple transaction:

Reach Floss (30 yds.) or Reach Toothbrushes: Total Care (1 ct.), Advanced (2 ct.) for $2.99
Get back $2.00 RR
= $.99

To do this deal, and any of the Register Rewards deals, you will pay the cashier and then get your Register Rewards back. You cannot use Register Rewards for Brand A to then buy another Brand A product. Also, you will not get change on a Register Reward, so if you hand the cashier $5 Register Rewards for a $3 item, you have “lost” the extra $2.

All of these items will be free after mail-in rebate:

Renew Life Ultimate Flora Extra Care Probiotic (30 ct.) – $20.00=$20.00 MIR (Mail-in Rebate)
Use $2.00/1 coupon HERE
Submit Rebate that prints at register
= FREE plus $2.00 overage (this means you’d make money!)

Mycocide NS Antifungal Treatment (1 oz.) – $9.99=$9.99 MIR
Use $3.00/1 coupon HERE
Submit rebate that prints at register
= FREE plus $3.00 overage

Pro-Clearz Anti-Fungal Pen (.11 oz.) – $4.99=$4.99 MIR
Submit Rebate that prints at register
= FREE

Mueller Kinesiology Tape (2 in. x 16.4 ft.) – $6.99=$6.99 MIR
Submit Rebate that prints at register
= FREE

Steps on How to Get the Items:

1. At home, print out all the printable coupons you need.

2. At the store, make your purchases and hand the cashier your printable coupons. If you buy all these items, you will spend out about $40 after the printable coupons you give the cashier plus taxes.

3. The cashier will ring you up and will give you back your $2 Register Rewards (remember, this week was just a practice to ease into register rewards!).

4. Go home and submit the rebates for $42 back.

Write me at savingmoneyplan(at)gmail(dot)com.

Did it work for you this week? Did it not work for you? Let me know! I’d love to post your stories and pictures with a link back to your blog!

Extreme Couponing Class: New Class Starts Today (June 26!)

The next round of the free coupon class here at Saving Money Plan is here! Did you sign up yet?

Today I’ll be giving an introduction to what this all is about and getting you going on your first assignment!

The Introduction:

What is the purpose of the 10-step Couponing Course?

The premise of a coupon is simple. You get a coupon, you use it to save money. However, many people believe you can’t really save much money with coupons. These naysayers, you see, simply don’t know how to use them correctly. It’s time that you start reaping the rewards that thousands of thousands of Americans are enjoying – free toiletries and household items.

What you need if you want to participate:

1. You need to want to do this.

To me, this is fun. It’s also one of the best kept secrets about saving tons of money every month to free up your budget for fresh food items and other things on your list. I love getting tons of makeup, toiletries, face washes, razors, toilet paper, candy, non-perishable food and regular household products free. Now that I hardly ever pay for anything at CVS or Walgreens, it’s almost painful to watch all those people shelling out 20 bucks for shampoo. But heck, this whole couponing thing might sound like the most boring thing on the planet. If that’s you – don’t do it!

2. You need these items:

– A box or drawer you will devote to this project

– A marker or pen

– A notebook

– Envelopes

– A calculator

– A Sunday newspaper every Sunday

3. You need to commit to doing these 2 things every week if you want to see success:

– Come to this blog at least once a week to read what your directions are for what you need to do this week to get your free items.

– Go to Walgreens or CVS (or both, if you get excited by all the free stuff you are getting) that week following the directions.

Are you ready? Sign up here! You’ll get the first class sent to you Monday morning!

Extreme Couponing Class: Week 10 (June 6, 2011)

You’ve made it! After ten short weeks, you’ve learned the nuts and bolts of couponing!

If you didn’t manage to read all the Monday classes, you can always take part in the next free couponing course again!

Go here to learn more.

As we come to the end of this session of the ten week couponing class it’s time to reflect on all that you’ve learned, and what things are still puzzling or problematic to you. Specifically, I’d like to touch on three main themes that you should remember to keep in mind as you move forward. For those of you who are interested in taking part but haven’t yet had the chance to do so, there is a new class starting next week – so don’t worry. As always, the coupon class assignments are delivered on Mondays, and the rest of the deals and freebies come throughout the week.
So what do we want to review about couponing today?

There are three main ideas that will be coming up for you in the near future that I’d like to highlight today. In each of these three areas, you will see that gaining as much mastery as possible will benefit you enormously.

1. Stockpiling: The purpose of couponing, as we have discussed, is to always buy products at their lowest price point. You can do this by combining coupons in ways that take advantage of both manufacturers’ coupons, store coupons, and/or store deals. However, in order to truly get the lowest price on items, you cannot wait until you need something to buy it. Instead, you have to be constantly planning and looking towards the future to anticipate what you may need in the future. A frugal shopper knows to keep his or her eyes open for great deals, and snag them when they are at their best ever. Then, you can store the items until you need them. This is an important practice, and will always remain a keystone of your couponing life if you moved forward.

2. Unadvertised Deals (a good eye gets the deal): Another important element to couponing is remembering that there are many spontaneous or unexpected deals that are truly amazing, and well worth taking advantage of. There are a couple key ways to always find those unadvertised deals:

  • Make sure to scout the clearance shelf. Combining manufacturers’ coupons with clearance items is an amazing way to score near freebies!
  • Ask the manager if there are any unadvertised specials this week. Sometimes it helps to just ask someone who works at the store if there are any other deals that may not be listed in the circular that are particularly hot.
  • Always bring all your coupons with you. Although early on in the class I made it clear that you should only worry about the specific deals assigned for you to do that week, in moving forward you want to be prepared to take advantage of spontaneous deals. The way to do that is to make sure that you have all your coupons at your fingertips.

3. Streamlining Your Couponing System: As you move forward to become lifelong couponers I wanted to encourage you all to be thinking about what works for you and what doesn’t work for you in couponing. Over time, this will help you develop a personalized, streamlined way to both store, cut, and use your coupons in a way that is most efficient for you. People take part in couponing in different ways, and I wanted to give you the two main ways that individuals approach couponing:

  • Cut all your coupons and put them in a divided folder system that you can take with you to the stores
  • Store all your coupon inserts whole in a binder and carry this entire binder to the stores when you coupon.

freeflys

Which one appeals to you?

It’s okay if you are not sure yet, and I would encourage you to keep trying different methods to see what best appeals to you. Ultimately, this is the best way to find out what system works for you. Finally, I wanted to ask you personally how you are feeling about your couponing skills? Have you been able to make great strides in your family’s budget? I’d love to hear more thoughts from you readers that have learned things during this course, or those readers who still have more questions. As always, I’m here via email to answer any queries you may have at savingmoneyplan(at)gmail(dot)com. Thanks for taking part and happy couponing!