Tag Archives: coupons

Count your coupons before shopping at Walgreens

Walgreens is not my favorite place to shop. I find the structure of its rewards program frustrating, and it can be tough to find sale items in stock. In fact, in a previous blog post, I explained why Walgreens’ Register Rewards program isn’t worth the effort.

Occasionally, though, I ignore my own advice and shop at Walgreens to cash in on a good deal. A recent shopping trip brought trip to light a part of the Walgreens coupon policy I was not aware of, and it’s one you need to know before you shop at this drugstore: “The number of manufacturer coupons, including Register RewardsTM manufacturer coupons, may not exceed the number of items in the transaction. ”

Say I am buying two tubes of toothpaste that are on sale and want to use a manufacturer’s coupon on each. I’ll need to purchase another item in that trip to use a Register Rewards coupon, and it needs to be an item to which I don’t intend to apply a manufacturer’s coupon.

Non-sale items at Walgreens can be expensive, so buying something extra just so you can use another coupon may not be a wise financial choice. Before you shop at Walgreens, check out the sales ad and count your coupons so you won’t overpay for items at checkout.

Other notable provisions of the Walgreens coupon policy:

  • You can use one manufacturer’s coupon and one Walgreens store coupon per item, unless this is prohibited by the wording on either coupon.
  • The total value of your coupons can’t exceed the total purchase price of your items. If a coupon’s value exceeds the sale price of the item, Walgreens will only deduct the actual cost of the item from your transaction.
  • Walgreens accept coupons printed from the Internet as long as the barcode is clear and scannable.

You can view the full Walgreens coupon policy online.

Have you encountered a similar policy about the number of coupons vs. the number of items at another store?

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Bad coupon experience a reminder to “know before you go”

Happy 2012 to all! Now that the rush of the holidays is over, I’ll be back to posting detailed blog entries on a regular basis. In addition to coupon codes and sale deals like those offered at Christmas, I’ll post information on other ways to save money and avoid customer service headaches.

For me, 2011 ended with a disappointing customer service experience at Meijer, a grocery store chain serving Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Illinois and Michigan. I don’t normally shop there because I live closer to another chain store, but I went to Meijer because it sells a brand of yogurt my regular store does not. I had a set of coupons expiring soon, and I wanted to take advantage of the store’s double coupon program to get a good deal.

The yogurt was $1 per container, and my coupons had a face value of 50 cents off two containers. When the coupon was doubled, my final cost would be 50 cents per container, a great deal for Greek yogurt. I grabbed 12 containers of yogurt, pulled six coupons from my folder and headed to the self-checkout lane. As I scanned the first couple of coupons, I watched the monitor to be sure they were doubling. Then, I scanned the remainder, paid the checkout total and left.

When I got to my car, I looked over my receipt and realized only two of the six coupons had been doubled. I went back into the store and asked the customer service staff why this was the case. The woman who assisted me explained that Meijer only doubles the first two coupons for a set of like items. So, whether I bought two yogurt or 20, only two coupons would be doubled, unless I purchased the containers in separate transactions. She said Meijer mentions this in the fine print in its newspaper ads.

This experience was a good reminder to me to review the coupon policies of stores at which you rarely shop before heading there to make a purchase. However, when I checked Meijer’s coupon policy online today, I couldn’t find a mention of the limitations on double coupons; in fact, there’s no mention of double coupons at all. Another page on the site states the store doesn’t regularly double coupons at all, information that should be included in the coupon policy itself. This is poor customer service; even a shopper who attempts to be informed can’t easily find accurate information on the store’s website.

To be sure you know all the provisions of a store’s policy, call or stop by the customer service desk before you begin filling your shopping cart. Ask about specifics that apply to your shopping scenario, such as a limit on the number of coupons you can use or when those coupons will be doubled. Also, find out if you are allowed to use a store coupon and a manufacturer’s coupon for the same item.

What “lessons learned” have you experienced while couponing? Please share your advice so others can avoid the same headaches.

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Walgreens’ Register Rewards program not worth the effort

I recently highlighted how you can use the CVS Extra Bucks program to get cheap and free items without spending a lot of time clipping coupons. Walgreens has a similar program called Register Rewards. Unlike the CVS program, you don’t have to register to participate in Register Rewards. While this is an admirable feature of the program, it fails to deliver a good overall experience.

With Register Rewards, Walgreens offers select items at a sale price each week, then gives you extra savings in the form of a coupon you can use on most merchandise during a future shopping trip. Here’s why I think the program isn’t as good as the CVS Extra Bucks promotions:

Prices: Walgreens generally charges more than CVS for similar products. This week, Walgreens had Softsoap body wash for 2 for $4 with Register Rewards; the CVS price with Extra Bucks was 2 for $2. Even when items are on sale at Walgreens, you can often get them cheaper at a discount retailer like Walmart.

Expiration dates: CVS usually gives you a month to redeem the Extra Bucks coupons you receive. Walgreens only gives you two weeks. Sometimes, Walgreens doesn’t have anything on sale I want within two weeks, and I have to use the coupons on something else.

Bonuses: CVS gives you bonus Extra Bucks on a seasonal basis, based on how much you’ve spent in the store in the preceding months. Walgreens can’t offer this feature since you don’t register to use the Register Rewards program.

Signage: I have lived in two different states this year and shopped at Walgreens stores in both locations. I consistently find the stores do a poor job of putting up signs to help you identify which specific products are included in the Register Rewards program that week. For example, there may be 15 types of Colgate toothpaste on the shelf, but only one specific type and size qualifies for the reward.

In-store coupons: To get sale prices on many of its items, Walgreens requires you to redeem coupons you must clip out of its weekly ads. This is just silly. If it’s on sale, just give me the sales price without the hassle.

The disadvantages of shopping at Walgreens and using its rewards program far outweigh the benefits. I recommend spending your time targeting savings at other stores.

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Ebates: an easy way to get extra cash back when shopping online

One of my favorite ways to save money on online purchase is through Ebates, a website that gives you cash back on all purchases initiated through its website. When shopping, just go to Ebates, then use the search box or retail categories to find the store where you want to make a purchase. Click the link provided, and you’re done! Ebates sends you to your destination website and initiates a “tracking ticket” that automatically notifies Ebates of your purchase amount at the chosen store. Ebates converts a percentage of your purchase into a cash rebate, then sends your accumulated rebates to you on a quarterly basis. You can get your cash deposited into your PayPal account, request a check for your earnings or give the money to a charity or family member.

Cash back amounts range from 1 percent to 25 percent and are available at hundreds of stores and service providers, including Petsmart, Target, Kohl’s, Barnes and Noble, Toys R Us, Shutterfly, Travelocity, Nordstrom, Teleflora, Crate and Barrel and Vera Bradley. Ebates also gives you coupon codes that can help you save more money on your purchase when entered on the retailer’s website.

Membership in Ebates is free. Just fill out the simple registration form, and start shopping. Right now, Ebates is offering you a free gift card for a major retailer just for signing up.

Keep a few tips in mind to make the most of your Ebates experiences:

    • Make your purchase only in the retailer window opened by Ebates. If you accidentally close it, go back to Ebates and link to the website again to open another tracking ticket. Unless you go through Ebates to get to your store’s website, you won’t earn any cash back.
    • Take advantage of Ebates for big purchases you would normally make in a local store. For example, when if you’re buying a new appliance, buy it through the Lowe’s, Sears or Home Depot website. Purchase a new computer from Best Buy, Dell, HP, OfficeMax and other retailers to rack up more bucks. You can earn substantial cash back on large purchase like these and still apply any discount coupons you have for the retailer.
  • Ebates offers special promotions that increase the percentage of cash back available at select retailers. If there’s an item you aren’t in a hurry to purchase, monitor the cash back percentage to get the most bang for your buck. The Web site also offers a “daily double” feature on its home page that double the cash back for a different retailer each day.

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