I was at Albertsons yesterday with coupon in hand and walked out of there with about $100 worth of groceries for about $50 now that isn’t to bad but it gets better.
How about a dozen eggs for $1? Sounds like a swell deal to me. This is what last week’s Safeway ad had to offer me. Just as I was getting all worked up for the dollar-a-dozen deal, I fixed my eyes on something written in tiny letters! Oh yes, the fine print, and most coupons do have these for your information.The coupon said that I had to make a purchase of $10 to avail of this discount. Given my shopping items list, all I wanted to buy was eggs, and really, nothing else!
Nevertheless, I cruised around the store for some penny items and managed to crack up some things. And yes, with this shopping done, I could also get done buying the eggs!
Just so you know, these small disclaimers can often prove to be a nuisance, if not understood properly. Forget understanding, not many people even bother to read it. Here are some well designed Frugal hacks that will help you get around these pesky disclaimers.
Frugal hack No. 1: If the coupon asks you to buy something to avail of the discount, buy some really cheap things.
Better than the dollar store
Forgive me for thinking like a miser here, but that’s what I manage to do every time the coupon forces me to buy some things. Not sure though if it is a good shopping practice. But it surely is an effective one though!
Frugal hack No. 2: Jo-ann and Michael’s coupons to be used in the Dollar Store.
Use top billing coupons in the Dollar store, and just before you check out, do this – Subscribe to their email list. Sure, your email inbox could get inundated with emails, but amongst them, would also lie some coupons for you.
Frugal hack No. 3: Check with your store if they entertain coupons from your competitors. If they do, bargain for the best price possible.
Two four packs of toilet paper for 9 cents each! Sounds like a deal to be cracked. I was able to achieve this rather impossible looking task by keeping my eyes open. And thus, when I paid my cash for shopping for toilet papers, which were on sale, I landed another coupon, which allowed me to get another pack.
Someone’s loss is your gain, but who really cares! At the end of the day, I could walk away with toilet papers, which I must agree are precious commodities. Stocking them is not much of a challenge, and my efforts for hoarding will still continue unabated, so long as I land deals like this one.
Frugal hack No. 4: Watch for print-at-register coupons, including ones that other people leave behind.
Talk shopping to me
Some stores, like Home Depot and Walgreens, offer cash prizes to take phone surveys about your shopping experiences. An 800 number is printed on store receipts. I do these even though the odds of winning are probably slim.
However, I’ve sometimes encountered a sure-thing prize, also from Albertsons: take a two-minute survey and receive a code redeemable for a free loaf of French bread. Naturally I was willing, since French bread turns leftover soup into a nice supper and also makes fabulous toast.
But here’s the cool part: When I redeemed the code for the free bread, another survey offer printed out. And when I redeemed that one later on, a third one printed out. This is better than the used bread store.
Frugal hack No. 5: Keep an eye out for prizes. Instant rebate, no stamp needed.
In addition to its monthly rebate program, Walgreens offers a “rebate” that prints out as a coupon. When you buy a certain number of advertised specials you get this “Register Reward” good for your next visit; I’ve gotten $2 and $5 coupons this way.
The CVS chain “Extra Care Rewards” program gives these rewards every three months, based on how much you bought each quarter. (Back in Oak Park, Ill., I lived just one block away from a CVS but that chain doesn’t operate here in Seattle. Sigh.)
The Walgreens rewards have relatively short expiration dates, leading me to come up with my own definition of “next” visit. First I buy only the things I need to get the reward. Then I pay for the rest of my items in a separate transaction, using the coupon I was just awarded.
Not a single cashier has demurred; in fact, a store manager once rang me up in this fashion. If any objection were to arise, I’d simply put my purchases in the car and come back in to finish shopping — my “next” visit.
When possible, use manufacturers coupons in conjunction with the reward program. For example, this week with coupons and the instant rebate I could get two Gillette Fusion razors (power or manual) plus a can of shave gel for $6.45.
Not that I need two razors or shave gel, but I could either donate them to a shelter or use them as stocking stuffers for the grownups in my family. A Pirates of the Caribbean puzzle or a frog bath mitt both sound like more fun, though.
Frugal hack No. 6: If a store offers instant rebates, try to use the coupon the same day. If you can’t, pay close attention to its expiration date. Use manufacturers coupons to make these deals even better.