Saturday, September 19, 2009

CVS Highlights - Week of 9/20

This isn't really the best week at CVS, but there are a couple good deals:

4 oz. Wheat Thins @ $1
Use $1 printable coupon here (Firefox) or here (IE)
Final cost = free
***If you hit the back button on your browser, you will probably be able to print the coupon twice.

(2) Snickers candy bars @ 2/$1
Use $1/2 coupon from 8/23 insert
Final cost = free

Dry Idea deodorant @ $2.99
Use $2/1 printable coupon (unfortunately, the coupon is no longer available - I printed these a few months ago)
Pay $.99 and get back $1 ECB; final cost = FREE

If you're new to CVS shopping, you will probably want to read this post, which explains how the CVS system works and how you can get the best deals there.

Walgreens Highlights - Week of 9/20

Walgreens has some really great deals again this week! Here are the best ones I see:

Quaker Quick 1-Minutes Oats, $3.19, B1G1.
Use $1.25/2 coupon from 8/30 insert
Final cost = $1.94/2, or $.97 each

Reese's Pumpkin @ $.50 (with in-ad coupon)
Use $.55/1 any Reese's product from 8/23 insert
Final cost = -$.05 each
***Note: It works best to hand the cashier the manufacturer coupon first, then have them scan the in-ad coupon at the end. Otherwise, the manufacturer coupon may beep, in which case the cashier may or may not want to take it.

Formula 409 @ 2/$5
Use (2) $1/1 coupon from 8/30 insert
Pay $3 and get $2 Register Reward (RR); final cost = 2/$1, or $.50 each after coupons and RR

Roots of Nature Hair Care @ $6
Pay $6 and get $6 RR; final cost = free after RR

(2) Tylenol Cold products @ $5.99
Use (2) $2/1 printable coupons and the $1/1 Walgreens store coupon from the Healthy Savings booklet (the store coupon will take off $1 for each bottle)
Pay $5.98 and get $5 RR; final cost = $.98/2, or $.49 each

Thermacare Heat Wrap (single pack, trial size) @ $2.49
Pay $2.49 and get $2.49 in RR; final cost = free after RR

(2) Oral-B Indicator Toothbrushes @ 2/$4
Use B1G1 coupon from 8/30 P&G insert
Pay $2 and get $2 RR; final cost = 2 free after coupon and RR

If you are new to shopping at Walgreens, you will probably want to read my post here, which explains how to get the most out of Walgreens' deals.

9/20 Coupon Highlights

ETA 9-20: I get the Chicago Tribune, and I have typed up a spreadsheet of the coupons we got here: Chicago Tribune 9-20 inserts

There are a few good coupons in tomorrow's inserts, but honestly, it doesn't seem like an extremely great week to me. Here are the few that stood out to me as potentially being useful:

$2 off Bic Comfort3 Shaver 4-pk, Bic3 Shaver 8-pk, Comfort3 Shaver 4-pk or 8-pk, etc., exp. 11/1/09
$3 off Bic Soleil Disposable Shaver, exp. 11/01/09
These coupons could possibly make for some free or very cheap razors if there's a sale at CVS, Kmart during super doubles, or Walgreens.

B1G1 Hershey Bliss Bar, 1.3oz, up to .79, exp. 12/31/09
If there is a sale, these coupons could come in handy at Walgreens, CVS, or Kmart to get some free chocolate.

$2 off Infusium 23, exp. 10/31/09
Depending the on the price of this shampoo at your local Kmart, this coupon could make it free or cheap if your store does super doubles.

$2 off Tylenol 8 hr Product, any 24 ct.+, exp. 12-31-09
I have used quite a few of these coupons in the past to get free Tylenol at Walgreens when they have a sale.

If you want to see a full list of tomorrow's coupons, go here.

Note: Not all coupon inserts are created equal - there are regional differences in the selection and wording of some coupons. Typically the bigger cities' newspapers get the "best" coupons. I get the Chicago Tribune because the coupons are much, much better than the ones in our local paper. Also, if your paper publishes an early Sunday edition on Saturday, it will probably have the same coupons in it, and will be a little cheaper at most stores. Or, if you're really just interested in a few coupons, you might want to check out a coupon clipping service like The Coupon Clippers (see my post here or the link in my sidebar), where you can pick and choose your coupons and get multiples of the things you really want.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Coupon Myths & Misinformation...and the Truth

If you use coupons for any significant length of time, at some point, you will probably encounter a cashier who may not want to accept your coupons, even if you're using a perfectly legitimate coupon in a perfectly legitimate way. Unfortunately, some stores don't train their cashiers very well when it comes to dealing with coupons, which can create frustration for customers who use them. Here are some common lines you might hear from cashiers, plus the truth about how coupons can really be used:

1) "One per purchase": This phrase is found on many coupons, and some cashiers interpret it to mean that you can only use one like coupon per transaction. However, the truth is that each item you buy is a "purchase" - this phrase actually means that you can only use one coupon per item purchased. Some coupons actually phrase it this way, which eliminates any confusion.

2) "No double couponing": Like "one per purchase," this phrase is also sometimes misinterpreted to mean that you can only use one like coupon per transaction. However, "double couponing" actually has nothing to do with the number of coupons you use per transaction - it refers to some stores' practice of matching coupon values; for instance, our Kroger doubles coupons up to $.50, meaning that a $.50 coupon actually takes off $1.

3) Coupons beeping when scanned: If a coupon beeps when scanned, some cashiers assume that you didn't buy the correct product. This can definitely be true, but not always. Sometimes coupons beep because they are not coded properly. A while back, I had coupons for "any RightGuard product," which beeped on every single stick of RightGuard deodorant I bought. At some stores, coupons will also beep if the coupon value exceeds the value of the item. This problem is usually solved by adjusting down the value of the coupon, but some registers do not prompt the cashiers to do this.

4) "You're not getting what's in the picture": Legally, what a coupon can or cannot be used on is defined by the wording on the coupon, not the pictures. However, some cashiers will tell you that they can't take your coupon unless your product exactly matches the item in the picture. Clearly, this is not true. For example, if a coupon is for $1 off any Pantene, it would be virtually impossible to include every single variety and size of Pantene shampoo, conditioner, and styler in a picture on the coupon - there is simply not enough room, so this is not a realistic expectation.

5) Coupons that equal or exceed the value of the item: Some cashiers object to coupons that equal or exceed the value of the item you're purchasing because then "you'd be getting it for free." Well, yes, you are. But that's okay! There's nothing wrong with getting it for free - you're just being a smart shopper. Coupons are really just another form of payment, since stores get reimbursed for them.

6) ____ won't print if you use coupons: Fill in the blank with Extra Bucks at CVS, Register Rewards at Walgreens, or Catalina coupons at grocery stores. If you were supposed to get some sort of promotional incentive at the end of your transaction but didn't, some cashiers will tell you that it was because you used coupons. This is not true. In reality, there are usually three main reasons why your incentive didn't print: 1) the store's system is offline or not working properly, 2) you didn't buy the correct item, or 3) the register system is not correctly programmed (if this is the case, the problem is usually chainwide and will have to be fixed by the corporate office).

If the cashier absolutely refuses to accept your coupon, you have every right to ask to speak to a manager. Managers *usually* know more about coupons, and they may be able to shed some light on the situation. Keep your cool and explain what you know to be true. If you don't want to hold up the check-out line, you can always pay and then go the customer service desk, get it straightened out, and get a refund as needed. If they still won't accept the coupons, you can also return the items if you don't want to pay full price.

It's true that using coupons does sometimes make the check-out process longer, and sometimes encounters with store personnel can be slightly stressful. However, if you use coupons a lot on a regular basis, you'll get used to it and develop a thicker skin. In my opinion, it's well worth it to spend a little extra time checking out if I can slash our grocery budget to a fraction of what it used to be!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

$10 off Jr. Fashions at Sears (no minimum purchase)

If you need juniors clothes, you should definitely check out this coupon - $10 off any juniors clothing purchase. There is no minimum purchase requirement, which means that you can find something for around $10 and get it either free or really cheap. You can also use the code 17SEARSAPPAREL and get the same discount online.

Free or Cheap Campbell's Soup @ Jewel

Starting tomorrow, Jewel is running a promotion on select Campbell's, Pepperidge Farm, V8, Swanson, and Prego products: Buy $15, get a coupon for $5 off your next order. When Jewel runs these promotions, the $15 threshhold is based on whatever the item rings up before you scan your preferred card. This can make for some pretty great deals!

The best deals I see in this promotion are a couple different kinds of Campbell's soup.

Campbell's Tomato or Chicken Noodle Soup - 20/$10 sale price; 20/$15 shelf price
Campbell's Select Microwave Soup Bowls - 4/$5 sale price, 4/$8.60 shelf price

Here are a couple possible scenarios:

Buy 20 tomato or chicken noodle soups @ 20/$10 (total shelf price = $15)
Use $1 on 2 printable coupon or $.40 on 4 coupon from 9/13 insert
Depending on the combination of coupons you use, you would pay anywhere from $0 to $8 out of pocket.
Get back a coupon for $5 off your next order, making your final cost anywhere from a profit of $5 to a cost of $3. (Even with a cost of $3, it's still only $.15/can, which is still pretty good!)

Buy 7 microwave soup bowls @ 4/$5 (total shelf price = $15.05)
Use 3 $1 on 2 coupons from 8/30 insert
Pay $5.75 after coupons and get back a $5 coupon
Final cost = $.75/7, or $.11 each

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

In-Store Blinkie Coupons

The coupons listed below may soon be coming to a store near you! Look for most of them in blinkie machines similar to the one pictured above; a few may also be found on tearpads or in other in-store dispensers. Stores that may have them include drug stores, grocery stores, Kmart, Family Dollar, and Dollar General (and possibly others too?). It is unlikely that all these coupons will be found in any one store, but this will at least give you an idea of what to look out for.

$1.00 off any Baby Orajel teething product, exp. 4/30/10

$1.00 off any package of Frigo Cheese Heads string cheese (10oz or larger), exp. 12/31/09

$1.00 off any 2 Temptations treats for cats (2.1 or 3oz. pouch), exp. 11/01/09

$.75 off 6 or more rolls of Scott Naturals paper towels, exp. 11/01/09

$.50 off any 3 packages of Kleenex or any 1 bundle pack (not good on Kleenex pocket pack or soft packs), exp. 11/29/09

Buy 2, get 1 free (up to 1.09) any 1 NEW Pedigree+ food for dogs, exp. 10/31/09

$1.00 off any 1 Sun laundry detergent (175oz or larger), exp. 10/25/09

$.50 off any 1 Sun laundry detergent (117oz or larger), exp. 10/25/09

$1.00 off Tide stain release, exp. 8/31/10

$3.00 off any 2 Johnson & Johnson Red Cross products, exp. 12/31/09

Buy 1, get 1 free (up to 1.29) any single pack of Dentyne gum, exp. 12/31/09

$.75 off 4 or more rolls of Scott Naturals bath tissue, exp. 11/01/09

$1.00 off any Orajel toothache product, exp. 5/31/10

$.75 off any 2 Viva towels big roll packages or 1 bundle pack, exp. 10/18/09

$.55 off any Nestle Toll House refrigerated cookie dough, exp. 11/15/09

$1.00 off any 2 Red Baron Fire-Baked Pizzas, exp. 11/1/09

$1.00 off any 1 Whiskas Purrfectly Dry or Wet Food for Cats, 10pk, exp. 11/30/09

$1.00 off any Oscar Mayer Deli Fresh chicken breast strips or cuts, exp. 10/31/09

$1.00 off any 2 packages of Kellogg's cereal (11oz.+, any flavor, mix or match), exp. 11/04/09

$.75 off 3 Pillsbury refrigerated baked goods products (excludes cookies), exp. 11/1/09

$1.00 off any Community Coffee Red bag, 12oz.+, exp. 12/31/09

$.55 off any 1 Activia drinks, 4pk, exp. 10/31/09

$1.00 off any 2 Birdseye Steam & Serve vegetables, exp. 10/31/09

$3.00 off any 10oz. candle or reed diffuser from The Fragrance Collection by Glade, exp. 12/07/09

$.55 off any 2 (3.1-3.05oz) boxes of Swedish fish or Sour Patch Soft & Chewy candy, exp. 11/30/09

$.55 off 1 Morton Season-All product, 5oz.+, exp. 10/31/09

Thanks to mysticme on HCW for the info!

Free Magazines!

This site has hundreds of free trade-specific magazines available for free to people who work in those industries. The magazines cover all sorts of topics, including education, ministry, healthcare, computers & technology, sales, finance, accounting, construction & home repairs, and much more.

Here are a couple that I thought might be especially interesting:

Education Magazines Click Here
Healthcare Magazines Click Here

Click Here to browse the whole selection.

All magazines are completely free, with no shipping costs and no credit card required. If they have something for your industry, it's hard to beat free!

Monday, September 14, 2009

$5 Luvs Diapers Coupon!!

When you go here and sign up for the Luvs Network, you can get a coupon for $5 off any Luvs (the coupon will come in the mail). I got this coupon last year too, and I was able to get a pack of diapers for $1.99! I'm guessing that such great coupons will go pretty quickly, so sign up quick if you need it!

Staples - Good Deals on Printer Paper

Staples has a couple pretty good deals on printer paper this week, although one of them is a bulk purchase.

Deal #1:
Buy (1) 500-sheet ream of HP multipurpose paper @ $7.29
Minus $2.30 "instant savings" - $3.99 easy rebate = Final cost of $1
Limit 2 rebates per household.

Deal #2:
Buy (2) 2,500-sheet cases of bright white multiuse paper @ $24.99 = $49.98
Buy a small filler (like maybe a pencil) to bump your pre-tax total up to $50.
Minus $24.99 easy rebate on 2 and $10/50 Office Depot printable coupon* = Final cost is $14.99/2, or $7.50 each
Limit 2 rebates per household - so you could potentially get a total of 4 cases of paper for $30 and change.
*Most, if not all, Staples take competitor coupons!

That may seem like a lot of money for paper, but considering that my husband will be needing to print multiple copies of his 300-page dissertation in the coming months, I'm thinking we might need it!

According to their ad, these rebates are both done through their Easy Rebate program. If you've never done a Staples rebate before, their "easy rebates" really are, well, easy. The rebate forms will print at the end of your transaction so you can mail it in, or you can submit it online here. Personally, I prefer to do the online submission because it's easy and I know I won't lose anything before mailing it in.

Walgreens - Some Triaminics are producing $10 in RR!

I bought 2 bottles of Triaminic Nighttime Cold & Cough this morning, which qualifies for the $5 Register Reward (RR) promotion. But it did not give me $5 RR - it gave me $10! Since I only paid $3 in RR + $.40 for the Triaminic to start with, after coupons, that is a profit of $7 in RR! Even if you don't have coupons, it's still a good deal (free). Others are reporting that the only kinds that produce the extra RR are the Nighttime Cold & Cough with the UPC ending with 145 and the 14 ct. thin strips in the light purple box (UPC ending in 143). If you really want the extra $5 from this deal, I would recommend doing it ASAP because I think it's likely the store may change it, since it's not actually advertised that way.

The absolute best deal would work like this:

Buy 2 Triaminic @ 2/$10
Use 2 $1.50 printable coupons (unfortunately, it looks like these are no longer available to print, so hopefully you printed them last week!) and the $2 coupon from the Walgreens Healthy Savings book, which will automatically take $2 off each bottle
Pay $3 and get back $10 in RR. Final cost = $7 profit after coupons and RR!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Kroger - Buy 10, Save $5

This week, Kroger stores are running what is usually called a "mega event," where $5 is deducted from your order when you buy 10 participating items (basically a $.50 discount per item). If you combine this sale with coupons, you can often get some pretty good deals.

A couple things to remember when shopping at Kroger: 1) They always double coupons up to $.50 (so $.50 coupons take off $1), although they may limit the number of like coupons that will be doubled per transaction, and 2) Kroger stores are divided into regions, and different regions start new sale ads at different times. Some parts of the country started this deal today, while others won't start until Thursday; prices on some items may also vary.

Here are the potential deals I see:

(2) Kraft cheese (slices, shreds, chunks, or snacking) @ $1.99 each = $3.98 - $.50/bag promo discount = $2.98
Use $1 on 2 coupon from 8/9 insert. Final cost = $1.98/2, or $.99 per bag after sale and coupons

Note: There are two coupons from the same insert that will work for the cheese - one is for slices, and the other is for shreds, chunks, etc. The coupons expire on 9/15, so if you want to use them, you'll need to do it before Tuesday.

Edy's ice cream @ $2.99 each - $.50 promo discount = $2.49
Use $1 coupon from 8/23 insert. Final cost = $1.49 after sale and coupons

Juicy Juice @ $2.49 - $.50 promo discount = $1.99
Use $1 coupon from 8/9 insert (exact coupon values may vary). Final cost = $.99 after sale and coupons

Capri Sun @ $1.87 - $.50 promo discount = $1.37
Use $.75 coupon from summer 2009 issue or Kraft Food & Family magazine or $.50 coupon (doubles to $1) from the fall issue. Final cost = $.37-$1.02 after sale and coupons
***If you're planning on doing the Nabisco Pack a Kraft Smile rebate I posted about, this would be a great time to buy the required drinks.
***Some Krogers may also "double" the $.75 coupon to $1; you may want to check with your local store and find out their coupon policy.

Hot Pockets @ $1.99 - $.50 promo discount = $1.49
Use $.50 coupon from 9/13 insert. Final cost = $.49 after sale and coupons
Note: Coupon is good only on certain kinds of pizza Hot Pockets products, and I'm not 100% certain that these products are included. I recommend checking at your store to make sure.

(2) Oscar Mayer hot dogs @ $1.99 = $3.98 - $.50/pkg. promo discount = $2.98
Use $1 on 2 coupon from the 8/23 insert or this printable coupon. Final cost = $1.98/2, or $.99 each after coupon and sale

Oscar Mayer Lunchables @ $2.49 - $.50 promo discount = $1.99
Use $1 coupon from 8/30 insert. Final cost = $.99 after coupon and sale

Wheat Thins Flatbread Crackers @ $2.29 - $.50 promo discount = $1.70
Use $1 printable coupon. Final cost = $.70 after coupon and sale

(2) Philadelphia Cream Cheese @ $1.49 = $2.98 - $.50/pkg. promo discount = $1.98
Use $1 on 2 coupon from 8/9 insert. Final cost = $.98/2, or $.49 each after coupon and sale

Nestle Cookie Dough @ $2.49 - $.50 promo discount = $1.99
Use $1 coupon from 9/13 insert. Final cost = $.99 after coupon and sale

Velveeta 2 lb. loaf @ $4.49 - $.50 promo discount = $3.99
Use $1 coupon from 8/9 insert. Final cost = $2.99 after coupon and sale
*Velveeta is one of those things that I have never seen a really great sale on. If you use it, this is probably about as good as it will get.

Easy Mac cups @ $1.09 - $.50 promo discount = $.59
A while back, there were $.55/2 and "buy 2, get 1 free" tearpad coupons in many stores. If you have these, the final cost could be as low as $.04 each after sale and coupons
***If you're doing the Nabisco Pack a Kraft Smile rebate, this would be a great time to get these!

(2) Jell-O @ $1.27 = $2.54 - $.50/box promo discount = $1.54
Use $.50/2 coupon (doubled) from 7/26 insert. Final cost = $.54/2, or $.27 each after sale and coupon