Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Shopping Hints - Part 2: Walgreens

I do not profess to be an expert, but I have learned a thing or two about shopping at Walgreens with coupons.  The following is a conglomerate of helpful hints and tips to successfully shop at Walgreens.

Walgreens (Wags) is very different from any other store when it comes to couponing and rewards.  Their rewards are called Register Rewards (RR) and they print out as "Catalina" coupons after a qualifying transaction is completed.  RRs can ONLY be used at Wags.  They are considered a "coupon" and MUST have an item "assigned" to them at check out.  This means If you are purchasing 3 items and already using 3 manufacturers Qs, you still have to purchase a separate item for each of your RRs (if you are purchasing 3 items but are only using 1 Q, you can use up to 2 RRs with that purchase).

The RRs can NOT exceed the "pre-tax" total (subtotal before tax) or you will not be allowed to use them (Ex. if the purchase is 99c and the RR is $1, you will not be allowed to use the RR for this purchase).

A good idea is to use a "filler" item if you need an item to match to your RR.  A filler item is something extra you purchase if you need to have an item that is not "assigned" a Q.  These are usually sale items or clearance items that are very inexpensive (a lot of times right after a holiday, you can find things like pencils, cups, candy, etc. from the holiday that are very cheap).

If you look at the ad for Wags, you will notice that the RR purchases are usually marked as "limit 1".  This means that you can ONLY do the deal once.  If you do more than one of these in a single transaction, the register will only print ONE RR for that deal.

If you use a RR from a specific deal to purchase another of that same deal, the register will NOT print the RR for that purchase because it "knows" you already got that deal.

Some companies have their RRs linked preventing you from doing a deal on another product that they manufacture.  (Ex. You purchase toothpaste and get a RR for that purchase.  You want to do another deal for deodorant by the same manufacturer and use that RR.  Some RRs will not print because the RR is linked to the manufacturer instead of just the product.)

Wags puts out a monthly Coupon booklet that can be found on the ad rack at the front of the store.  These are Walgreens Qs (WQs = Qs that can only be used at Wags and do not count toward your coupon to item ratio) and can be "stacked" with a manufacturers Q (see my article on "Stacking").  There are other booklets put out periodically by Wags that have several WQs in them (Ex. Vitamins and Supplements, Baby, etc.).  Some of the BEST deals come from stacking a WQ with a ManuQ on a deal that gives a RR or uses an in-ad Q.

An in-ad Q is a WQ printed in the weekly ad that must be used to receive that price on the item.  It can ONLY be used on the week that the ad is good for (usually Sunday through Saturday).

Any WQ or in-ad Q does not have to be "surrendered" to the store during the transaction.  You can re-use them and even leave the store with them.  You do not even have to have the WQ with you if you can give the cashier the 4-digit numeric code from the bar code on the WQ.

If this seems confusing to you, it is easier if you start small and work up to stacking with a RR.  Be prepared to make a few mistakes; they even happen to the experienced couponers.  Good luck and happy couponing at Wags!!

Monday, August 15, 2011

The winner of the First TACC Contest

Thank you to all who participated in the first TACC. If you missed it, there will be others. Their was only one person who had enough qualifying referals to be entered in the drawing. And that was:

Holly Ellis Fults

She had 7 referals who liked our page as well as posted that they were sent by her. This got her 2 entries and therefore 2 prizes.

Holly has already contacted me with her selections of prizes:

1. The binder w/ accessories
and
2. The $10 gas card

Again, thank you to those who participated and to the referals who liked our page. I hope you will all continue to use the TACC page and blog as a source of deals and couponing information.

Shopping Hints - Part 1: CVS

Here are some helpful hints for shopping at CVS. This will be very good advice for NEW couponers.

Be sure to sign up for a CVS Extra Care card. This can be done right at the store. They will issue you a card on the spot. This card needs to be kept in a SAFE place and kept WITH you when you shop (if you forgot your card, the system can "look it up" by your phone number). You can get CVS store coupons by scanning your card at the "Magic Coupon Machine" (the price scanner at the front of the store)(scan the card a few times until the machine tells you to try again tomorrow). Be sure to register your Extra Care card at CVS.com (to get a sneak peek of the weekly ad) and Upromise.com (for college savings).

Buy a Green Bag Tag at your CVS store for 99c and have the cashier scan it during checkout when you use your own reusable shopping bags (or reuse some plastic grocery sacks). A friend of mine glued her CVS card to the back of her Green Bag Tag to keep them together. All Green Bag Tags have the same scan number, so you can share if shopping with a friend and one of you forgot yours.

Be sure to join the CVS Beauty Club. It rewards you with $5 in Extra Care Bucks for every $50 in qualifying Beauty supply purchases. These purchases are counted pre-coupon. In other words if the total before coupons is $20 and your coupons lowers it to $10, you still get credit for the $20. These totals are tallied up and kept track of on your CVS Extra Care account. You can view the balance on the bottom of your receipt or at CVS.com (after logging on).

Every quarter (seasonally by summer, fall, winter, and spring) the actual dollar amount spent at CVS using your Extra Care card during purchase, you will receive a reward of 2% reward back. All you have to do is scan your Extra Care card at the "Magic Coupon Machine" and it will print out for you. Or it will print at the bottom of your receipt on the first transaction after January 1st, April 1st, July 1st, and October 1st.

If you lose one of your Extra Care Bucks or want to print a Beauty Club or quarterly reward before going to the store, you can print them from your CVS.com account (after logging on).

When you register your email address with CVS.com, you will get a coupon emailed to you toward your next purchase at CVS (watch the expiration dates). Then periodically you will receive discount coupons in your email inbox (usually on a Thursday and expire on Sunday so they can be used on either week's ad).

When a sale in the weekly ad states that you must purchase a certain dollar amount to receive an Extra Care Bucks reward (ECB), it is common that you don't have to get exactly to the dollar amount to receive the reward. For example: If the ad states that you have to purchase $20 to receive a $10ECB, you could purchase 2 qualifying items at $9.99 (totaling $19.98) and still receive the $10ECB.

If you get to the store and an item is out of stock (OOS), you can always get a rain check. CVS is great about rain checks because they honor the ECB reward at a later date. It is a good practice to keep the ad page with the rain check for reference in case it is a few weeks before you are able to redeem the deal. That way there is little or no question about what the ad/deal stated.

These are a few of the most used couponer's tips for CVS. I hope you have found this information helpful.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Catch the Sale!! Quick!!!

Have you ever been to a store on the LAST day of a sale and they are OUT of the size of clothing you are needing? This happened to me the other day when I went shopping for school uniform shirts. They had plenty of shirts, but they were out of the size and/or color that I needed for my son. I was really disappointed because they were on sale for about 1/2 the regular price. Because this was a NEEDED item as opposed to a WANT, I was determined to get it for the sale price.

I looked through EVERY shirt on the display. I searched the store for more. I even asked the sales associates if there were any more in the store. I had a certificate worth enough money for 5 shirts, but they only had 1 that fit our needs. What was I to do?

I asked the sales associate about their exchange policy. I asked if I could exchanged for a different size at no additional charge at a later date if I purchased them today at the sale price. She said yes! Then I asked her when they expected their next shipment. I purchased 5 shirts on that day and saved the receipt in the bag with the 4 shirts I intended to exchange.

When I returned to the store after they had received the shipment of new stock, I explained to the associate behind the counter what I had done. I still had to hunt for the appropriate sizes, but I successfully found enough shirts in a variety of acceptable colors in the correct size. I made the exchange with nothing more out of pocket and left very HAPPY!!

This was a great buy for me and, because I was smart enough to use their policies in my favor, I didn't miss the sale! :o)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Want to add my "button" to your page or website?





<a href="http://www.tylerareacouponclub.blogspot.com" target="_blank"><img alt="TACC"
src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-_dzGYvrD_8A/TjgRUUs0C5I/AAAAAAAAAA8/HFltWKQZ8gc/s250/TACC%2Blogo.jpg"/></a>

Have You Tried Swagbucks Yet?


It's the easy rewards program that pays you back for doing things like
taking polls and surveys, watching videos, searching the web, and more.
Simply do your regular web searches through their site and earn points FAST!!

I got a $5 Amazon.com gift card for only 450 points. There are lots of other rewards, too.

CLICK HERE to sign up!!

The First Tyler Area Coupon Club Contest!! :o)

Here are the prizes:
  • Pair of coupon-clipping scissors
  • A set of child art supplies (glue, crayons, child scissors, construction and drawing paper)
  • $5 Amazon.com gift card
  • $10 Exxon/Mobil gas card
  • Complete Coupon binder with dividers, table of contents, and page protectors

Here are the ways to get into the drawing:
  • Tell your friends about the TACC fan page
  • Get them to "like" the page (must be NEW likes)
  • Then they MUST post a message on the wall that states that YOU sent them
  • For every 3 people who do this, you will get your name in the drawing (3-5 people = 1 entry, 6-8 people = 2 entries, etc.)
  • Each new "like" can only give credit to ONE person for referring them
The cut-off is at NOON Central time on Friday, 8/12/11.
The first drawing will take place on Monday. The name drawn will be announced on the fan page and the person will have 24 hours to contact me on the fan page with their choice of prize. If I am not contacted within 24 hours, the person will forfeit from the contest and I will draw another name. After each drawing of a name (every 24 hours), each person is given 24 hours to contact me with their selection of prize until all prizes are claimed.

If there are any questions, please post them to the fan page.

Thank you and I hope we can all have FUN with this!!! :o)

When to Complain: How I Got This Coupon


Have you ever purchased a favorite product only to realize that there was something wrong with it? Have you ever done something about it? If not, you should. I have gotten countless FREE products from a simple phone call to the company. There is usually a toll free phone number right on the packaging of most products. Now think about it; this is something you have purchased before and probably will purchase again, right? Most companies will reward your loyalty and thank you for pointing out a production error with a coupon for a FREE something from them.

Here are a few that I have gotten and why:

M&M's -- Candy-coated lump of petrified sugar in my bag (almost chipped a tooth) -- 3 FREE large bags
Coke -- 1 can was "soft" before opening -- 1 FREE 12pk.
Capri Sun -- 1 pouch had a hole in it and had leaked all over entire box -- 1 FREE 10pk.
Frito-Lay -- 1 bag in multi-pack was not sealed properly -- 3 FREE multi-pks.
Toilet Paper -- Not perforated on entire roll -- 1 FREE pk.
Bar-S hotdogs -- Only 7 in an 8pk. -- $11 in Qs
Baby gear -- Safety strap not up to standards -- Refund check

I am not a big complainer mind you, but when you come to trust the quality and standards of a product you expect it.

When you call the company, they will usually ask you for certain information about the defective product. They will also ask for some information off of the packaging or the original container (example: can of Coke and box it came in). I suggest you keep these items in a safe place until you receive a letter from the company. I usually receive a letter from a company within about 4 weeks, but it can take longer. In some instances, the company will ask you to send them the defective product (M&M sent me a mailer to send the "rock" to them for analysis and the baby gear was requested back as well. They even sent a parcel service to my home for pickup).

If you are completely satisfied with a product but wish you could pay less for it, another option is to call the company and express your satisfaction and loyalty to them and simply request some coupons. It may not work, but if it does you and the company will both benefit.

Friday, August 5, 2011

"Simplify, Simplify, Simplify!" Learn to Say NO, Stop multi-tasking, and Declutter our Lives and Homes

From the works of Henry David Thoreau, "Simplify, simplify, simplify!" is the motto I will now strive to follow. Many times I have found myself up until odd hours of the morning only to meet myself going and realize that I have accomplished NOTHING but making myself worthlessly TIRED the next day. Or I work away from the home for most of the day, then come home tired and look around at the mess in my house I have lazily created by being too tired to do anything about it.

No more!! I recently reduced my workload to concentrate on more important and productive things. Now I have decided that this house is going to be (as I like to call) "lived-in clean" (not spotless, mind you). After all, I don't want to convey the stiff front that would make visitors afraid to touch anything, but I also don't want to be considered for the next episode of "HOARDERS" either. So "lived-in clean" is good enough for me.

I am going to learn to say "no" when I know I do not have the time to do a good enough job for someone else. Often I am asked by a friend or family member to do something (even small things) that would take away from my family's time and needs to accomplish. I am going to step back and look over my scheduled time and then remember that it IS okay to say "no" at times. This act will help me to declutter my daily life.

I used to be a list maker (and still am to a degree). But I have discovered that by becoming a "multi-tasker" I have found myself getting sidetracked from my main objectives and not accomplishing as much of my list as I would have if I had stayed focused on the items intended for the day. Now, I don't mean you can't stop something long enough to go changed out your laundry. You just can't get so sidetracked in doing this that you never return to the original task. Multi-tasking can do more harm than good if it is not managed properly.

Now, here is my challenge for readers:

I have a few empty boxes that I consider to be medium to large sized. I am going to challenge myself (and anyone who would like to do the same themselves) to fill those boxes with items from the home that are no longer used or needed. These filled boxes will then either be donated to a local charity or put into the next yard sale. I am going to begin decluttering my home by deciding if an item is necessary or not and then not be afraid to get rid of it. (I was a "military brat" growing up, so every few years we moved and with each move came the GIANT sale that got rid of a lot of childhood memories. I attribute this to the reason I have trouble "letting go" of EVERYTHING."

(I have some "before" pictures of my home, but I will not be sharing them until I have the "after" shots.)

By getting rid of the things that clutter my home as well as getting rid of the things that clutter my daily life, I feel I will relieve many of the stressors that I have allowed to slip in and hang on me like excess baggage. I do not want to be weighed down by the things that are unnecessary any longer. I WILL BE FREE!!!