Thursday, February 17, 2011

Couponing Step #4-Rite Aid!

It's time to start talking about how to save money on your toiletries and medicines, and the secret is to shop at drug stores! Really, unless you have a medical condition and need a special brand, you should never pay for toothpaste again! Before I knew this, I only went in a drug store if it was an "emergency" since overall their prices are higher than Walmart or a grocery store, but if you go regularly you can buy almost everything for rock-bottom prices or even free. Rite Aid is my favorite one, so I will start there. You can use the same system of matching coupons with sales, and if you use southernsavers Jenny also lists possible scenarios at the bottom to get you started. She tells you exactly what to buy and which coupons to use, very helpful when you're first learning.

First you will need to get Rite Aid's frequent shopper card and scan it every time you go. You accumulate points based on how much you spend, and once you have 500 points you will get 10% off everything in the store that is not already on sale. By December I had accumulated enough points (1,000) to move to the 20% off discount, where I will remain. So now I purchase all of our diapers at Rite Aid (with two kids in diapers, we go through a lot!). A large box is normally $20, so with my discount I pay $16, then after coupons I usually pay around $13-14/box.

Next, you will want to go to Rite Aid's website, , and register for their online rebates. Scroll down the page until you see "Single Check Rebates" in the middle and click on it. They have done all the work for you, and so when you see rebates for items you will never have to mail a single receipt, just login and enter your receipt information. I do this as soon as we get home and it takes me about 45 seconds. I just login, click on the picture of a receipt (instead of the other picture for an online order) and enter my store #, register #, transaction # and date--all information at the top of my receipt. At the end of the month I click on "mail my check" and it's as easy as that! Rite Aid frequently has great rebates on medicine and contact solution-many of them for the full price, and if you have a coupon then you actually get a "profit" to use toward another item. My highest month ever was last October when I received a rebate check from Rite Aid for $107!

If you would like to print Rite Aid store coupons at home you will need to create a login for that as well. It is in the middle of Rite Aid's page, and it's called "Rite Aid Video Values". Basically, you watch a short "video" (aka: commercial) of a product and then you can print a coupon for it. Most commercials are 15-45 seconds and you have to enter the verification code at the end in order to get credit for it. The nice thing about this is that you can combine them with manufacturer coupons to save twice as much on one item! Also, there is usually a coupon for $5 off any $25 purchase if you watch a 2 minute video. The first time I used one of those coupons, I had a total of $21 in my cart--then I realized if I spent $4 more that my coupon would bring my total down to $20. I couldn't believe that adding two bags of oreos to my purchase actually brought my total down! Talk about excitement ;-)

Last, you need to learn about and save your +UP rewards. Some sale items also have +UP rewards that will print on the bottom of your receipt, it is money you can use towards your next purchase--even a purchase made a few minutes later. I know some people will have several transactions so that they can keep using their previous +UP rewards, but to save time and confusion I just carry mine over each week. Just be careful not to lose them, because they cannot reissue them! I have had mine expire (they are good for 2-4 weeks) but the store was still nice enough to honor them-I think that was an exception though, so try not to let them expire.

So here is what a typical Rite Aid trip looks like for me:

1. Get on and make my Rite Aid list. Print.
2. Find my coupons and write the number of items for each.
3. Go shop, check-out in one transaction.
4. Give them my rewards card, then items, then coupons, then UP+ rewards.
5. Enter receipt online as soon as I get home.
6. File +UP rewards in my coupon folder.

Now in case you are thinking "I don't want some terrible store brand products", don't worry I don't either. I'm buying the same brands or better than I was before! It all depends on what you prefer and what you'd like to spend. I can get Pantene for free, but I'd rather spend $1-$2 and get John Freida. It's not the lowest price, but it's still less than I was paying before, so we're still saving money. If it's a product I'm never going to use, it doesn't matter how good the deal is, I won't buy it.

*One more thing. Rite Aid has been doing an extra +UP rewards promo for the last few months, $20 +UP when you spend $100 on participating items. In each month, I didn't make an effort at all to purchase the special items, yet each time I easily got to the $100 by making my regular purchases. Since the value you get credit for is before rebates and coupons, I probably spent around $10 instead of $100, and then got the $20 credit! I have no idea if they are going to continue this program each month, but I sure hope so!

I have found that Rite Aid cashiers are the most helpful when I have questions, and they are usually very friendly. I now know their names, all about their children and spend 15-20 minutes chatting each time. One day I left some extra diaper coupons in front of the Huggies and the next time I went in the cashier said she found and used them and thanked me. Now I always bring my extra coupons for the Rite Aid girls and they let me know which items are on clearance but not marked yet. So please be patient and kind, most people don't go to Rite Aid and get a cart full of items and hand them a stack of coupons.

Now go get your deals, and don't forget to leave me a comment of how much you saved or post a photo on my facebook page!!/pages/I-Wish-I-Could-Afford-to-Stay-At-Home-With-My-Kids/126908260707764

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