I love me some CVS, but let's not forget about Walgreens, my friends! Walgreens is easy peasy too. You just have to know the Register Reward Rules. You see, Extra Care Bucks (ECB) is to CVS as Register Rewards (RR) is to Walgreens, but there's no card or anything, so there's never a limit on what you buy, but I'm jumping ahead. We don't even have to playpretend like we did for the ABCs of CVS (not that I don't love pretend shopping with you, friend!).
Remember how you learned about all the good deals at CVS? You always want to stop by www.onefabulousmama.com or visit the One Fabulous Mama facebook page before you go to Walgreens! You want a plan!
Now, RR are really manufacturer coupons generated when you buy a product on sale by the Catalina machines at the register. (Catalina machines are the little machines are what print those coupons at the grocery store.) RR are good only at Walgreens. When you use the RR, Walgreens turns around and submits it to a specific manufacturer for reimbursement. You with me? Even if you don't get that part, that's okay. Here's the important stuff to know.
RR are linked to specific items (like Olay Body Wash or Coke or Keebler Cookies). The RR are generated when you purchase a specific amount of that item. Sometimes, it's only one. Sometimes, it's a certain dollar amount. This will always be listed in the sales ad. And always, always listed on my blog.
You can't use RR to purchase the same item. Scenario: I purchase three 12 packs of Coke and get back $5RR. I can't turn back around and use that $5RR from Coke to purchase three more 12 packs. They just don't work that way.
You can use RR to purchase a different item. This is called "rolling."
Your RR are good for most often three weeks. It can be tricky keeping up with the expiration dates. I like to get them out of my hands quickly.
I know you'd like to playpretend at least one shopping trip to Walgreens with me, friends. And I get it. As far as middle aged mamas go, I am pretty darn fun to hand with. I'll give you two Walgreens' scenarios.
You purchase the following items:
Renu Contact Solution at $7.49
Herbal Essence Shampoo at $2.99
Your total before coupons is $10.48.
You use the following coupons:
$2/1 Renu Contact Solution from the newspaper
$1/1 Herbal Essence product from the newspaper
Your total OOP is $7.48.
You get back $10.48 in RR.
You purchase the following:
four 12 packs of Coke at $3 each
Your total before RR is $12.
You use $10.48 RR.
Your total OOP is $1.52 and you receive $5 RR back!
That Walgreens trip cost $9 for $22.48 worth of products and you still have $5 RR to use on your next trip. Magic!
If the Walgreens Scene is still confusing, friends, just message me on facebook or email me at email@example.com. I'll be happy to help! Peace, B.
Let's playpretend you've never, ever even been inside a CVS. This may be true for some of you, so playpretending will be easy peasy. Everyone else, just enjoy my sassy charm for the duration. CVS has a customer loyalty program called "ExtraCare." Isn't that sweet? EXTRA Care? Just like with those grocery store loyalty programs, you have to have a card to participate. You can do this in the stores or you can register online, but if you register online, you have to have the card mailed to you and you can't start saving right this very minute. Just go to the store, friends.
Still playpretending? Good. Let's say you're in a CVS, you've registered for your card with the super helpful cashier, and you're ready to work some frugal magic! Wait right there, Ms. Ready-To-Save! Be sure to give your email address to the cashier so you can receive the get started email with some cool coupons. CVS will send you coupons each week too. That's EXTRA care, friends.So... there you are, standing in CVS with your new extracare card! Don't you feel like a winner already?! Just like with those grocery store cards, you always have to show your extracare card to receive the benefits. You won't save money off normal prices, but you will receive extracare bucks (ECB). ECB are rewards you receive after you make your purchase. ECB print on your receipt and then, you use them on a future purchase for anything you want in CVS. The products that will print ECB are advertised weekly. You'll see them with catchy phrases like "Free after ECB!" or "Get $2 ECB after purchase!" Earning those ECB are an important step in the whole ABCs of CVS!But, Beth, you say, how in the world is this saving me money?! CVS is so overpriced! How could shopping there be frugal and fabulous?! Well, hold on a minute, my young padawan shopper, CVS can be frugal AND fabulous IF you plan just a little with One Fabulous Mama. We're still playpretending, remember? You're ready to start saving money and scoring FREE stuff at the CVS. You have your extracare card and you are already a winner. Let's use a deal from this week's CVS sales paper as an example. You purchase one Power Bar for 99 cents and you get a 99 cent ECB back on your receipt! Now, this is you're first time at CVS, so you'll pay that 99 cents out of pocket (OOP), so this first time through, it's not free, but next time it will be! Just wait. Let's say you turn right back around and grab one more Power Bar because you see in the sales paper that the limit is two. You purchase the Power Bar and use that 99 cent ECB. You pay a few pennies tax, but it was FREE and guess what? You get another 99 cent ECB! I know! It's like magic! Now, make a note here that you can continue doing this until the limit is reached or they no longer have that item. That's pretty nice, Beth, you're saying to me on this playpretend CVS shopping adventure, but I read your posts where you score a lot of stuff. I just got two lousy Power Bars for free. Alright, alright. You had your first taste of CVS freebies and you want more. I getcha, friends. Let's take it to the next level. Using ECBs and coupons together to earn even more.Now, we're playpretending that you've gotten your email from CVS with a faboo coupon for $4/$20 purchase (and you will because that's just how CVS rolls). You have your 99 cent ECB from the Power Bar purchase (because that's just how you roll). This week, CVS is offering a deal on Colgate toothpaste ($2 ECB back), Pantene shampoo and conditioner ($3.99 ECB back), and Listerine ($3.49 ECB back). Here's how the transaction plays out:You purchase:two Colgate toothpaste for $2.99
two Pantene Shampoo for $3.99
two Listerine for $3.49Your total before coupons is $20.94.You use:
$4/$20 purchase CVS coupon from your email
two $1/1 Colgate coupons from the newspaper
two $1/1 Pantene coupons from the newspaper
two $1/1 Listerine coupons from the internet
99 cent ECBYour total due OOP after coupons and ECB is $9.95.
BUT GUESS WHAT?! You get $20.94 back in ECB!Are we still on that playpretend shopping trip? Well, I'm gonna hafta hug your neck because look at what you just did! Scored $20.94 worth of stuff for only $9.95 AND earned another $20.94 in ECB! Woohoo! Good job! Now, guess what we're gonna do? We're gonna walk right back in and grab something else- another of the same items if we want to and we haven't reached out limit for our extracare card. Use that $20.94 in ECB and get another $20.94 in ECB! Now, you've score $41.84 in products, you've paid $9.95 OOP, and you STILL have another $20.94 in ECB to spend! Good googley moogley, you're a natural, friend!Now, hold up there, Beth, you say as you struggle to hold all of your freebies and your ECB. How is the world did I know to use all those coupons and where did I find them?!Well now, friend. I'll tell you how. You checked One Fabulous Mama on facebook or visited the website at www.onefabulousmama.com and you were READY to go. You knew what was on sale, when it was on sale, and what coupons to use. You are one smart shopper, friend! Once you begin your love affair with CVS, you won't be able to stop. We have a dresser in our hallway that acts as catchall for the gajillion hair bobs our three daughters and I use and the various mallets and drum sticks the three drummers in our family use. It's now filled to bursting with body wash, toothpaste, razors, soap, shampoo, conditioner, mouth wash, aspirin, deodorant, and toothbrushes. I may have made an initial $10 or so investment in my CVS love affair, but it's been well worth it when I look at the mini CVS stockroom I have stashed in the hallway.Are you still a little hazy on the whole ABCs of CVS, friends? Just message me on facebook or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll be happy to help you. I LOVE strolling into my CVS, paying nothing for $40 worth of stuff, and leaving with another $40 in ECB to do it all again on my next trip. I LOVE being able to donate items to charities that need them. I LOVE saving so much money by scoring FREE stuff. Now, you can too and you won't even have to playpretend! Peace, B.Here's a few more tips and tricks to the ABCs of CVS. Still easy peasy, but important nonetheless.-Make sure you use the $4/$20 CVS coupon first (or whatever CVS coupon you are using). In the playpretend scenario above, if you had used the manufacturer coupons first, your total would have been below $20. - Always print or make your list of what you want to get. I post directly from Southern Savers and it couldn't be easier, my friends.- Make sure you aren't wasting your ECB. Try to spend just a few pennies more than you have in ECB. You don't want to spend a $10 ECB on $6 worth of merchandise. CVS won't give you ECB change back!- Make sure you have a plan if your CVS is out of something. You want to be able to use that $4/20 coupon, but you'll have to know how to get to $20. When you're close to your target amount, you may need what we call a "filler," something low in price like a candy bar or pack of gum to get you over the amount needed to use the coupon. - The ECB generated from one extracare card has to be used with that card.- You can use as many ECB per transaction as you want. - If you lose your ECB or your ECB are in some way damaged by the sun or are unreadable for some reason, there is nothing CVS can do to help you. The moral of this tip? Protect your ECB!- Despite what some CVS employees will tell you, you can have more than one CVS card per household. Everyone who lives there can have one according to customer service, so you can use multiple cards, but you'll have to keep those ECB straight!
-ECB generally are good for one month. Don't let your ECB expire, friends. That's like throwing away money!
I just love things like this!
These are pretty cute and you can personalize them too. Peace, B.
Thought I'd show y'all what just straight up coupons and internet specials can get you. (I'm not gonna get into the total Walgreens trip with four more Reach toothbrushes and six more packs of Noxema razors for free because that involved a rain check and RR.) Just making little pit stops today when I was out with the family, I scored the following items by using deals I have posted on this blog:
six pints of blueberries at Publix (saved $9)
two Olay body washes from Target (saved $6.98)
two Science Diet doggie treats from Petsmart (saved $9.98)
two 8X10 photo collages from Walgreens (saved $7.98)
three cans of Chicken of the Sea tuna from Publix (saved $2.04 PLUS got back 96 cents!!)
Digorno Pizza, Flavorful Crackers, OM Bologna, Kool Aid at Publix (saved $12.07)
Philly Cream Cheese (saved 94 cents PLUS got back 6 cents!!)
Total savings: $48.99
Earned: $1.02 (not in RR or ECB, but cash, my friends)
I know some of y'all feel that using the ECB and RR isn't like real money- even though I addressed that recently. I just wanted to illustrate here how using coupons and deals posted on One Fabulous Mama can score you FREE food and other items you will use. If you have questions, just scroll through the last few posts on the blog and look at the deals. You'll see there is no magic or brillance behind them. Just planning and executing a legitimate deal offered by stores and manufacturers. Easy peasy! Peace, B.
Times are tough all over, friends. I can remember when my biggest grocery saving strategy was to eat out less and cook more meals at home. Nowadays, that's just not enough. You have to be a smart, thoughtful, and prepared consumer. And that's just to put food on the table for a lot of people. I've been a frugal shopper and yes, homemaker (did you cringe, my independent soul sisters?), for going on 18 years now. I grew up poor and spent the first few years of my married life in college, raising our oldest child. Living frugally was simply necessary for the survival of my young family. Our family is bigger, our budget is larger, but these are still my tried and true strategies and tips for making the most out of our grocery budget. Hope you find them useful too. Peace, B.
I can't stress the importance of coupons plus sales. This is where I save the most money. The key to using this strategy is being flexible, being open to having what's on sale instead of a family favorite and knowing how much things cost. My family loves the thrill of what they'll find in the pantry after my once a week quickie trips. These quickie trips are where I score free or nearly free items. It may be something we've never tried before (a new hot dog chili) or it could be something one of us really, really likes (boxed pasta salad). I stock up because it works for my family. If I can get cereal for free or for 50 cents, I am willing to stock up on it. Same goes for canned goods, box mac and cheese, and meat I can freeze. Why wouldn't I stock up if it will save my family money in the coming months? Many of you have asked me to have a coupon class and I am working on it. Promise!
I often purchase food through Angel Food Ministries. It's a sure fire way to save big on meats and veggies. This program is intended to help poor people put food on their tables and, friends, it's less than half of what you'd pay in the store. It may not be for you and we don't use it every month, but check out Angelfood Ministries for yourself and decide.
PLAN AHEAD! I get a lot of teasing from friends and family about my monthly menu, but this saves my family sooooooo much money and time. Plus, it's pretty simple to do. Especially if you are stocking up on things from those coupons plus sales! How often have you been on your way home from work or the ball park or wherever in the middle of the week at 6 pm wondering what in the world you're gonna feed your family? You have no idea what's in the pantry or the freezer and no idea what you need, right? Well, with a planned menu, you have everything you need for a bunch of different meals already on hand. You aren't ordering out, popping convenience food in the microwave, or running by the store again because you don't know what to make.
Shop for ethnic foods at ethnic food stores, not at your regular grocery store! I save a ton of money by going to an Asian grocery for things like coconut milk, jasmine rice, and roasted chestnuts. Same is true for my Mexican grocery. I can pick up sauces, cheeses, and tortillas for far less money. I love the spices I can find at ethnic groceries and I love that I pay a fraction of the cost. Saffron runs close to $11 at the grocery store, but I can get it for $3 at the Asian market. Same for vanilla beans at the Mexican market. We always make new friends and learn how to make new dishes too!
Shopping at discount food stores can offer up some very cool deals. My favorite is Aldi's because I can find inexpensive, decadent treats for myself in their European hazlenut candy bars! I can also usually find potatoes for under $3 for 10 pounds, good prices on mac and cheese and canned veggies, and meat. It's not my Go To grocery store, but I make a trip or two a month to see what's what. The same is true of places like Dollar General and Family Dollar. They aren't great on everything you need, but you'd be surprised by what you can find there. Spice staples like oregano, pepper, cinnamon are so much cheaper. Just explore and see what you find that suits your needs.
Always, always check the unit price of whatever you're buying! Whip out that calculator if it isn't on the shelf label. You would be amazed at how often manufacturers try to get you purchase a larger amount of an item. Just because the package reads "VALUE PACK!" doesn't mean it's a real value. Recently, I had to do the math when purchasing canned drinks. The bigger 20 pack was not the real value and I was already putting them in my cart!
Meatless meals save money! And that's just the truth. You can replace meat with another protein like eggs, beans, and lentils. A couple of times a month, my family has breakfast for supper. This means grits casserole and eggs or waffles or pancakes. Soups heavy with seasonal veggies and beans are a favorite as well. Inexpensive and fun! You can make healthier choices and save money, friends. For my family, eating meatless meals can be a struggle. Some of us are fine with it and some of us really want meat and potatoes almost every night. The trick is being open to try new things and to being flexible with your menu.
Pack it yourself! Plain and simple, friends. If you work away from home, why throw money away on expensive, unhealthy foods when you can pack your own and save a ton of money?! Same is true for school lunches. It would cost me $29 a week to feed both my husband and teenage daughter at the high school. That adds up to over a quarter of my monthly food budget! They usually pack leftovers from the night before, but they are fond of wraps, soups, and sammies. For a fraction of the cost. Apply this principle to vacations and day trips. Whenever the two youngest Hallmans and I are out and about, we'll take a picnic lunch and find a great spot to enjoy it. Even when we vacationed at Disney this past winter, we often packed a picnic lunch! Going to a Braves game? Bring your own snacks! You can save, save, save big money if you just plan ahead and pack it yourself!
I couldn't decide where to place this info, friends. I love Clara just because she's so interesting and wonderful, but I decided to place her here because I use so many of her recipes to stretch our food budget. So, here's the story...
"Great Depression Cooking with Clara is the popular online cooking show created by Christopher Cannucciari and starring the 94 year old cook, Clara. In each episode, Clara prepares recipes that her mother made during the Great Depression. Clara shows stories and wisdom from the Depression as she shows you how to make simple, inexpensive, and delicious meals."
You can visit her website or her you tube channel.
I hope you find Clara as engaging and enriching as we do, friends. Some of my favorite Clara recipes are Poor Man's Meal, Depression Breakfast, Poor Man's Feast, and Egg Drop Soup. Peace, B.
Get your FREE sample of Dove Daily Treatment Conditioner!
Thanks, Amy S! Peace, B.
Alrighty, friends. Another easy, peasy one. Just buy one Scrubbing Bubbles Extend-A-Clean Starter Kit for $6.99. Use the $5/1 Target gift card when you buy 1 Scrubbing Bubbles Extend-A-Clean Target coupon from the 05.02.10 newspaper. Stack this with the $5/1 Scrubbing Bubbles Extend-A-Clean Starter Kit coupon from the 06.13.10 newspaper. You'll pay $1.99 and get that $5 gift card! You just got that Scrubbing Bubbles product for FREE and you scored $3! WOOHOO! Peace, B.
4 razors, 4 body washes, 2 toilet bowl cleaners, 2 toothbrushes, 2 deodorants, 1 lotion, and 1 fabric & air deodorizer
First, my sweet friends, you have to start paying attention to the posts on the One Fabulous Mama "frugal is fabulous" blog!!! The rest is pretty darn easy! Out of pocket (OOP) was 93 cents (84 cents at Target and 9 cents at Walgreens). I earned $24 in Extra Care Bucks (ECB) at CVS and Register Rewards (RR) at Walgreens.
What I get most often from those of you with whom I am personally connected on facebook is "Why do you consider these ECB and RR money?" Well, because that's exactly what they are! I turned right back around with the $14 I had in RR at Walgreens and purchased lightbulbs, milk, bacon, and chips. I usually don't spend my RR and ECB on things like that because you can get those things cheaper at Target or Dollar General, but we needed those things and with coupons, I was able to score them cheaper and make that "free" money go even farther. So, friends, you can treat those RR and ECB like cash money at CVS and Walgreens.
Now, back to paying attention to those posts. I recently posted the Walgreens and CVS deals for this week. At the bottom of both of those nifty links from Southern Savers are scenarios you can use to save big money. This is precisely what I did. I also recently posted deals at Target, CVS, Walgreens, and another one at Target. That's everything you see in the picture above (excluding the J&J safety swabs- I was heading by my donation place with the baby stuff in tow, so I dropped those off before I came home).
If you are new to shopping at Walgreens and CVS, then your OOP would have been higher in this case, but you still would have earned more ECB and RR than you would have spent OOP. If you are new to couponing, it may seem strange to be able to use multiple coupons on one item, but stacking is allowed by all of these stores, so you save so much more. You can cut and/or print all of these coupons yourself and score these same deals!
I hope this helps some of you who are hesitant to begin couponing. Trust me. If it wasn't easy, I wouldn't do it. Peace, B.
P.S. Someone recently messaged me and asked what would I do if the cashier or manager refused a coupon and caused a scene. First, cashiers don't get to refuse coupons. I ask for a manager immediately if a cashier has an issue with a coupon I am using or if there is a problem with my CVS or Walgreens purchase and then, I ask the manager for an explanation. If the explanation is reasonable, I take my coupon back and ask to have the item in question removed from my purchase. If the explanation makes no sense, I ask for corporate contact info and abandon my entire purchase. This rarely happens, but it's effective. Am I embarrassed? Um, no. I am always polite, always clear, and always friendly. If the employees aren't, corporate will hear alllllllll about it. I'm telling you, friends... my Walgreens, CVS, Target, Kroger, Ingles, and Publix know me. They know I am not going to pull any fast ones and they know they better provide stellar customer service. Today, I shopped out of town and had a great experience as well, but knowing the people at your regular stores just helps when you are a frugal shopper. So, just get over all that silly, I am afraid to use coupons because I don't know how or I might be wrong or I might hold up the line (what are you racing someone?). Just start. Start with the deals above. Get your feet wet and see how easy it is.
Scoring free stuff just never gets old, friends. This week at Target, you can score Vanish Toilet Bowl Cleaner and Johnson & Johnson Safety Swabs for FREE (or super close to it!). Here's whatcha do:
Buy two Vanish Toilet Bowl Cleaner (2 packs at $2.14 each). Use one B1G1 Vanish Drop Ins Continuous Toilet Bowl Cleaner coupon. Use one B1G1 Vanish Drop Ins Continuous Toilet Bowl Cleaner Target coupon. Lookie there! You got them for FREE!
Buy two Johnson & Johnson Safety Swabs (55 count at $1.39 each). use one 75 cents/2 Johnson's baby toiletry item Target coupon. Use two $1/1 Johnson's baby product from the 06.06.10 newspaper insert. Lookie there! You just scored these swabs for 2 cents each!