The Queen of Coupons Reigns......


Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Well-Padded Deal........

So I've been sitting here looking at the ads and I always save Rite-Aid and Walgreens till last. I was so pleased with my purchases at Rite-Aid last week, I was giddy--waiting to see what the deal of the week would be. It looks like they have recycled the buy $100 worth of the items that are designated with a blue label that says "Buy and Save"--and receive a $20 Up Reward. I've love those. If you stagger your purchases, not only are you getting the Up Rewards on your items, but you can also apply coupons. When you reach the $100 mark (the total before coupon usage), an additional Up Reward of $20 prints out on your receipt. Staggering deals if you have a mind for it.

So here's the savvy shopper's dilemma. Both stores have Stayfree feminine care products on sale. The price at Walgreen's is $1.99 for the 14-24 pack of Stayfree Maxi pads. The same pads are $2.99 at Rite-Aid...but they are marked with the blue "Buy and Save" and get credited towards the $100 Up Reward total for the $20 back.
Oh the choices! I was on looking at coupons and found two different ways to field this deal. There's coupons for "Buy One, Get One Free"--[making the 2 packages at Walgreen's $2.99 and 2 packages at Rite-Aid $1.99]. Or...they have $1 off per package coupons--[making the pads 99cents at Walgreens' and $1.99 at Rite-Aid]. But it all comes back to the extra Up Reward, huh? Ok...I'll get the Buy One, Get One Free coupons to use at Rite-Aid--because I don't have to pay for half as many of the pads to accrue the Up Reward kick back. I guess I just settled my own dilemma. It's just a numbers game that we volley around to see who has the better price when the deal's done.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Steal of a Deal

Through January 22nd, Rite Aid has been running a promotional deal where if you buy any of the products marked with a blue "Buy and Save" dot, totally $100 (before coupon discounts taken), you get a $20 Up-Reward. An Up-Reward is like the Catalina prints out on the bottom of the register tape and is like CASH towards anything on your next purchase. If you jockey your purchases around and accrue the Up-Rewards first, you can pay for subsequent transactions with the rewards, rather than money.

That's what I did a couple of nights ago. I was looking for birthday invitations at one store and didn't see anything I liked. I remembered that I had already received my Rite-Aid Up-Reward for all the household cleaners and mouthwashes I had purchased at a discount the week before. So it was like having a $20 bill burning a hole in my pocket. The invitations I found were only $4--leaving $16 of the Up-Reward to still use.

So I wandered down the school supply aisle, as I was looking for supplies for preschool, and came across several things that also regenerated new Up-Rewards. The best were on the sticker labels and paper clips. They were $2.49 each, but generated a $2 Up-reward each. Working the numbers...that means I'd only have to pay the "difference" of 49cents. [The Up-Rewards are like "paying it forward"--you pay the whole amount now, and then the store returns the Up-Reward portion for each item to you on the receipt, to be used on future purchases.]

I methodically worked out how to pay for everything with the littlest cash out of pocket. I bought all the office supplies first, making sure to watch the total as to not go too far over $20. I paid for that with my $20 Up-Reward. The Grand Total on that transaction: 6 cents. On the bottom of that receipt was almost another $20 in new Up-Rewards. We had several dear families bring us dinner in the last couple of weeks with Nathan's surgery and recent home care. I didn't want to send the dishes back without a token of appreciation, so I bought five of my favorite chocolates--Ferrero Rochers at $4.99 each. After the Up-Rewards were taken off the last total, I only paid $2.11 (basically--sales' tax). So all the goodies on the table only cost me $2.17 out of pocket (OOP)!!

It's amazing what a little forethought and strategy can accomplish in your shopping adventures. Mass purchasing doesn't have to cost a lot. Knowing the store programs and using them to your advantage means HUGE savings. Tip for new users: Up-Rewards do not mean you can't use coupons on the items. The best combination of savings is to put the coupon on the lowest priced items, generate a Catalina-style return to use on future purchases, and combine the two savings options! Pennies on the dollar, if not free, is always the BEST price in town!!

My purchases here would have easily totaled $46 before tax. I felt pretty good about only paying $2.17 for everything that night. That's a 95% savings! The particular Up-Reward program that just earned me $20, ends today--but there are on-going programs just like the one I used, going on at stores all the time. Rite-Aid and Walgreens are both awesome stores to get Health and Beauty aid needs, household cleaners, and OTC medicines and supplies. I'll never pay cash for most of these products again!