Sunday, May 8, 2011

Extreme Couponing... NOT!

I was finally able to watch an episode of Extreme Couponing a few weeks ago.  Wow! All I could think about was how 'sharp' their minds must be to figure out such huge transactions. I almost blow a brain cell just doing a few transactions at a time.

I've been going with a friend a couple times a month to show her the 'ropes' in getting free items at the drugstores in our area. I'll be the first to admit that I just don't have what it takes at this age of life to go extreme in this couponing arena. But I'm very happy about what I have learned. 

 I'm able to get free or nearly free body soaps, bar soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, conditioner, floss, hair scrunches, chap stick and aspirin to help stretch my $200/mo. grocery/household budget. I try to get 3 or 4 items ahead to last until the next free deal.

 Normally I'll look through the Sunday ads for RiteAid, CVS and Walgreens flyers to see if they are offering any free items that give out Register Rewards. I'll circle those deals in my newspaper which I will end up taking to the store. I'll also go back through the same ads and circle any other items that are on sale.  I will also circle 3 or 4 items that cost $1.00 or less (I'll tell you why later).

I then check out REFUND CENTS to see their write up on the drugstore deals. They list every deal that the drugstores offer.  I used to have a list of websites that posted drugstore deals but it was a lot more work and not always reliable. I pay around $1.25 a month to use their service and it's definitely been worth it. Next time I plan on splitting the subscription with my friend. I will not order the magazine next time because it was full of rebate offers that I really wasn't interested in.

I also check out HOT COUPON WORLD  and use their coupon database to see if there are any coupons that I have missed. You can 'stack' manufacture coupons with store coupons and Register Reward deals.  Every coupon available is listed on this site and tells you where you can find it.

Next, I look for which free deal offers the highest Register Rewards. That will be my first deal at the cash register. If I can find a manufacturer coupon I will save even more money. I then take the Register Rewards and use them to purchase the next Register Reward deal and so on and so forth down the line.

I've learned to stack my grocery cart with low cost items I can use just in case I've miscalculated. Walgreen's cash registers have a bunch of rules I'm still trying to figure out like you have to use as many coupons as you have items. I think another rule is that they only count the bottom line cost AFTER Register Rewards so I keep these low cost items in the cart to grab in case I'm short on items to spend with my RR's.

Does this make any sense? Please feel free to ask questions.