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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Stores, Rewards & Rules

The number 1 piece of advice that I got from my couponing teacher is keep the coupon policies to every store bookmarked on your phone. Read and study each store especially the ones you visit often. The reason is you will get the one cashier that doesn't know the rules or the manager that thinks they know but doesn't know. It becomes hard to keep your cool but again and again I've been told if you build good relationships with the cashiers and managers, they are easier and nicer the more you go.

It is very hard to keep your cool because for us, there is prejudice and judgement. They are afraid to take coupons because they don't want to be responsible if there is something wrong, Understood, so be polite and kind to those that accept and help us. Stay calm because more than likely you will go to that store again. If need be, pull up the policy and show them that you are aware and knowledgeable. More than many times I will remember the ones that are not willing to help me and those that are patient with me. You become known as a couponer but don't let me prejudge you or make you feel as if you are doing anything wrong. Couponing is a way of life and all you need is a little confidence. If the deal doesn't work, don't be afraid to walk away and say "nevermind. I don't want it." Don't over pay because it is your money and you never want to overspend.

Each store has its own rewards program. They offer rewards in different ways, but the concept is mostly the same. To keep you coming back to their store. Sometimes there are glitches in which you get to make money. Those are also known as RUN DEALS as in you better run and get it while its there before they end it or its gone! I am not a usual runner as I am afraid of not getting the deal. But its a rush and people love their deals. If you follow Tina with www.freestufffinder.com on instagram and a few other people they will post up the deal and mark it RUN!

CVS pharmacy

CVS has its ExtraCare Rewards Program . They reward ECB or Extra Care Bucks back on certain purchases. You have to sign up with a card. You can sign up for multiple cards but only the ECB issued to that card can be used with transactions only with that card. What that means is, if you have card #1 and you get ECBs back, you cannot use those with a transaction with card #2. It can only be used with another future transaction with card #1. Sometimes they are limited to a certain number of rewards to be received with each card. This is why people use multiple cards. They use coupon sorters to sort cards and the coordinating ecb coupons with those cards.

In each CVS store there is a red coupon machine. Here is where you scan your card and receive additional coupons from CVS. This is sometimes based on how you shop. They often print coupons that state offers like "$4 off $10 worth of mouthwash, toothpaste or oral care". If there is a deal and you have a MQ (see previous post regarding term), and there is a sale for this item. If you meet the requirements, you can use the CVS print Q, the sale, and the MQ to get a great deal. Sometimes you can make money if the ECB you get back with your transaction is more than what you pay! That's stacking! You literally stack coupons on top of coupons. Most CVS stores in Columbus also take expired coupons. I have tried it and it works, not by accident. Keep in mind you can roll ECBs toward another transaction with no limitations and earn more ECBs. Read more on the link ExtraCare Rewards Program.

  • Stack IP store coupons
  • Store deals
  • MQ
  • CVS coupons from your receipts
  • Coupon machines print coupons
  • ECB
  • Limited transactions / card

Walgreens or WAGS

Wags has 2 rewards programs. You sign up for their Balance reward card but it works for both programs. One is called Registered Rewards. This basically issues a Catilina type coupon from the register once you meet its requirements. Sometimes the sale will say "$2 in Registered Rewards with purchase of 2" so you will not get the reward if you buy only 1. The thing to keep in mind is there are no limits to how many rewards you get, but you can only get 1 reward per transaction. So if it is $2 for every 2, you will need to do 2 transactions to get 2 rewards for 4 items. Now that you know you will get $2 back you can use MQ to save more. Sometimes the RR are the money you make back and sometimes it makes your item free. Another thing to keep in mind about RR is that if a manufacturer issues you that RR, you cannot roll it or use it toward a transaction for items manufactured by that same company that earns additional RR. For example, Procter & Gamble or better known in the coupon world as P&G manufactures Pantene, Herbal Essence, Revlon, Venus, Swifter and so on. If you claim a deal with your Swifter and receive a RR that says "thank you from P&G" then you cannot use it toward Pantene and earn more RR. But you can use it for other products that earn RR as long as they are not the same manufacturer. It's confusing but you will get it the first time you miscalculate. We have all been there.


The second reward program is called Balance Rewards. This will be marked as so, different from RR. Basically this is a collection of points. You only collect points when requirements are met and it says they are offering Balance Pts. The more points you collect the more money its worth. See chart above. Sometime when you consider how much the points are worth, then stacking a MQ on top, you can either get it for free or make money. You can earn all you BP in one transaction unlike the RR, you do not have to do multiple transactions since there is nothing to print out. If you have pts on your card, you can redeem pts at the register when purchasing items. Couponers like to collect as many as they can to redeem on a good sale day for P&G deals for TIDE or DOWNY. These are the times you can really get the high quality detergent or products for free. *** DO NOT USE POINTS IF YOU ARE TRYING TO EARN PTS! ***  The number one mistake I always make is using points on a transaction where I am supposed to earn pts. They will not give you pts when you use pts. If you plan on using pts, put those items in a seperate transaction as the products in which you earn pts.

Walgreens have in-store coupons availabe to stack with MQ. They are called IVC or instant value coupons. These can be found in booklets that are good for the month (watch for end dates because they sometime end before the month does) or in the weekly ad that is good for the week. Dates are located on the ads so you can plan out trips to the store. These can be stacked on top of MQ and sales to receive back RR or BP. If you stack coupons and you have more coupons than items purchased, you have to buy what they call fillers. Fillers are small priced items to allow you to use your coupons. If you use an IVC and a MQ on one item, it is fine for the price but you must purchase another item for the register to accept the coupon or it will not take off the MQ amount. Sometime if you use so many coupons and there is money owed to you because of your coupons, they can either adjust the coupon to cover only up to the amount of your total or you can buy a filler and the money can be used toward your filler. These fillers can be found close to the registers.

I have also heard that Wags gives military discount yet I keep forgetting to ask every time I go!

  • 2 Reward programs
  • No limits of claiming deals within transactions
  • Military discounts
  • Stack in store IVC & MQ with current weekly deals
  • Weekly IVC deal in flyer and Monthly IVC deal booklet
  • Redeemable pts system and RR

Kroger Giant Eagle both double coupons up to $1 in Columbus, OH. This is only in our region as I learn they do not do so in California so do your math when looking up deals! What that means is on top of the sales that they have, you can use a coupons under a $1 and they will double the value. For instance, a MQ for $0.75 is doubled to $1.50 off item. They do not double any coupon $1 or more, or if the coupon states "Do Not Double". Kroger will accept up to 5 like coupons in one transaction. Giant Eagle will accept 12 like coupons in one transaction. When I am at Giant Eagle, I like to self scan. The Self Scan will accept 5 coupons without getting stuck and calling a Cashier. You can sometime ask the Cashier to release your machine to be able to scan more coupons. If you have more, you can go in the regular line and they will be more than happy to accept 12. They will count. When I say like coupons, I mean the same coupon. You can only use 1 coupon per item so the registers will count and prompt if you have more coupons than items. I have heard cases where if you are owed money, Krogers will give you cash back. I have yet to experience this moment!

Kroger often has a deal that gives back instant $5 when you buy 5 items on the list. This includes items through out the store so you are not limited to buy 5 of the same item so  you can spread through out the store. I like to buy the cheapest item, buy 5 and get the instant $5 plus use MQ on top to get items sometimes free. Plus when the coupon doubles its a great deal.

  • Doubles coupons
  • Kroger has instant deals (get $5 back when you buy 5 items, mix & match) 
  • Kroger takes 5 like qs / GE takes 12 like qs

Walmart has great sales to use with MQ but they do not double so keep that in mind. They do allow overage and I use this toward other items that I buy. These deals are also known as MONEY MAKERS or MM.

  • Overage
  • MM
  • No limit on coupons (I've used 20+ in one transaction with overage before)

Target stores are also a great store to stack at. You are able to sign up for mobile coupons that are usually high in value. They come in text form to be opened in a mobile browser so prepare of additional texting charges. In addition, they have a mobile ap called Target Cartwheel. You can ad deals which are usually a percentage off of a certain product or name. It can sometimes be general like 30% Women's Clothing or 5% off Angel Soft Toilet paper. In addition to these, you can print IP Target coupons and use MQs on top.If you have a Target credit card also known as the REDcard, you can get an additional 5% off. You can also apply to connect your bank card to the REDcard to get the discount without having another credit card. I've also heard if you use a green bag (not just Target green bags) you can get an additional 5% off also. So stack stack stack! I've done this and if the deal is right you can end up with free items! But don't forget to pull out your phone, connect to the wifi and have the cashier scan the bar codes off all your aps. Some sales and deals give back instant gift cards. Stack these on top to count your savings. It's always a good idea to keep them in your wallet to roll on deals giving out additional gift cards.

  • Cartwheel Mobile Ap
  • Target Mobile Coupon
  • Target IP Coupon
  •  MQ
  • REDcard
  • Green bags
  • Gift card savings /deals

Since there are no longer any Rite Aides in Columbus I will not discuss their rewards program. To be honest, I wish there were some here because they seem to have the best sales on items like Pantene  & Tide.

Any questions ASK!! Hope it helps you understand some!

-Bay N
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