Get things free after coupons

How I Legally Rob Drugstores

The last time I actually purchased a tube of toothpaste was nearly five years ago.

No, my dentist doesn’t cringe every time she sees me, and I still brush my teeth twice a day (and occasionally floss). But I’ve learned how you can use coupons to never pay retail price for anything at a drug store.

Most of us have probably watched or at least heard of the TLC television show Extreme Couponing. Well, that’s not me. I don’t have an entire room of my house filled with 65 boxes of Rice-a-Roni and 30 cases of toilet paper. Instead, I have a small shelf filled with five or six tubes of toothpaste, 10 bottles of shampoo, and other personal care items for my family.

So how do I get my products for almost nothing?

The answer is simple. I stay up to date on what store is having a sale on the products my family needs. I don’t pay attention to the items we don’t use — my wife and I don’t have dentures, so just because I can get a tube of denture cream for $25 doesn’t mean I need to rush out and clear the shelves.

Each week, I go through the sales fliers for both Walgreens and Rite Aid, and I check out all the deals for that week. Once I’ve identified products I currently need, I check to see if I have a coupon to use.

It’s very important to understand the coupon policy for each store you are shopping at. For example, both Walgreens and Rite Aid allow you to use a store coupon and a manufacturer coupon for the same item. That helps to maximize your savings.

So when do I actually make a purchase? When a store is having a sale, they have an in-store promotion and there’s a coupon available. The following deal is one that’s currently going on at my Walgreens:

  • Buy Colgate Total toothpaste for $3.29
  • Use 75-cents-off coupon from Colgate.com
  • Receive a $3 Register Reward (coupon to be used on any future purchase)

Final price? Free after coupons. You actually have 46 cents extra!

As you can see from this deal, Walgreens is actually paying people to take products off their shelves. The Register Reward you receive is a coupon that can be used on any product within 14 days.

How do I get all of my coupons?

Each week, I have two different copies of the Sunday paper delivered to my house. This gives me two sets of all the coupon inserts for the week. If there’s a week that has some great coupons, I’ll order extras through Coupon Dede’s Clipping Service.

Other than in the Sunday paper, I also use online resources like Coupons.com, Redplum.com, and Smartsource.com.

Wrapping it up

Couponing became popular during the recession and hasn’t lost its appeal for most. The ability to save a little money on the items you use is important for any family. With a little practice you will be able to establish different purchase price points.

For me, I have realized that I will never pick up toothpaste if my net cost isn’t free.

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