There it is. One of the biggest secrets to the DrugStore Game. Every so often, I have someone who sees my occasional deal brags on facebook and then says something like “Coupons don’t work for me because even with a coupon, the generic is still cheaper.” And, in most cases, I totally agree with that. Here are a couple of general tips:
1. Shop Sales/Promotions. If you go to the store and use your coupon on a regular price item, then yes it will probably still be at or above the price of the store brand. But, if you shop during a sale when the item is at rock-bottom price already, AND with a promotion (extra $$ off, rewards on your receipt–+UP, Extra Bucks, Catalinas, etc.) then you’ll be getting a great deal. For example, Rite Aid offers +UP rewards on receipts, and they also have a super-easy (electronic!) rebate program. Add all those together with sales and coupons and you can get things for free or super cheap!
2. MORE is [sometimes] LESS. Rite Aid, CVS, Kroger, and other stores often have coupons for dollars off if you spend a certain amount (like save $5 when you spend $25). For most people, these are a trap to get you to spend more money than you otherwise would have. To the extreme couponer, this is FREE money! But, you have to think outside the box.
Here is an example. Rite Aid this week has Ziploc bags on sale for B1G1 Free! The sizes included are priced at $2.99. If I bought 4 packages, it would have looked like this:
4 pkg Ziploc $5.98
-$3.00 +UP rewards from last week
Total: $2.34 after taxes.
$2.34 out of pocket is a great deal for 4 packages of ziploc bags! BUT, if you do a little extra figuring, it can get even crazier! Here is what I did:
4 Dry Idea Deoderant (B1G1 FREE sale): $8.58
Schick Hydro Razor $5.99
6 pkg Ziploc $8.97
Trial Size Tugaboo Diapers $.89
Total: $25.90 after taxes
-$5/25 coupon from Video Values
-$8.58 B1G1 FREE Dry Idea coupons (when paired with B1G1 sale, they are both free!)
-$3 (3) $1/2 ziploc coupons
-$5.00 Schick Hydro coupon from this week’s paper
-$3 +UP rewards from last week
Total after coupons and taxes: $1.02.
Yes, I paid $1.02 for ALL that stuff at Rite Aid. I paid LESS by getting MORE stuff! I’m not going to say it’s easy because sometimes it’s a little tedious to plan out, but it IS possible and there are “Deals” sites and blogs to help you out. It’s certainly not for everyone, but if you’re trying to stretch a really tight budget, it’s a great thing.