Sunday, February 27, 2011

Did You Score Your FREE Motrin + RRs Today?

So did you score your FREE Motrin PM PLUS get your $3.00 Register Rewards today? If you didn't, then it is probably too late to take advantage of this deal. Since there was a big buzz about it on the Walgreens websites, the folks in the know most likely grabbed up the Motrin PMs already. It was a really sweet deal. For every Motrin PM 20 count you purchased, you got $3.00 in RRs. But wait...THERE'S MORE!!! There were also coupons out there for $6.00 off any two Motrin PMs. Since these Motrins are on sale for $3.00 each, that means you could have gotten two Motrin PMs for FREE as well as scoring $3.00 in Register Rewards.

The Coupon Whisperer got up bright and early this morning and a good thing he did. Although I scored a bunch of these Motrins early, it started slowing down by 11:oo AM since the smart folks were clearing them off the shelves. I had a dry spell that lasted over an hour in the afternoon but I lucked out at about 1:30 when I found a Walgreens with 20 in stock on its shelf. In total, I scored a grand total of 76 Motrin PMs which also yielded me 38 $3 Register Rewards worth a total of $114. Nothing OOP. I still have 3 of those $6.00 off 2 Motrin PM coupons left and perhaps I can still use them later in the week IF Walgreens restocks but I'm not really counting on it.

Meanwhile I have plenty of Register Rewards "ammunition" to play with this week. Luckily there are a PLETHORA of great RR deals this week at Walgreens so buying more stuff will yield me even more Register Rewards especially with coupons that make many of these deals moneymakers (MM). I am thinking of the Colgate Total Advanced deal as one example. A tube that is on sale for $2.99 yields $3 in RRs. Since I have coupons that knock that cost down to just 99 cents, this would actually INCREASE the value of my current Register Rewards. I am thinking that just ONE $3 RR can be used to buy the Colgate plus a $1.99 Polygrip which yields a $2.00 RR. Therefore by just spending sales tax OOP and the $3.00 RRs, I would get both these items PLUS $5.00 in Register Rewards. This is why it was important to score all those Motrin PMs earlier today so as to get lots of RRs to play with.

BTW, I have already used some RRs on food items. I had a $10 RR left over from a Neuragen deal last week. Since the WAG Wings are just $2.99, I figured I would use that RR plus $2.00 OOP to buy 4 boxes of WAG Wings. However, imagine my surprise when the WAG Wings rang up at just $2.50 each. An unadvertised sale which meant I spent NOTHING OOP to score those four WAG Wing boxes. I also used 2 of my $3 Motrin PM RRs to buy 2 59 oz bottles of Simply Orange OJ bottles which were on sale at 2 for $6.

Moral of the story here: Be alert in ADVANCE to the good deals because they run out FAST.

p.s. Am now working on a coupon method which might shave several dollars per gallon off your price of gasoline. If I can work this out, then please prostrate yourselves before The Coupon Whisperer and worship the ground upon which he treads. Hey, humility is my middle name!

Monday, February 21, 2011

FREE McDonalds Breakfasts and MORE!!!

Had you checked out the back page of yesterday's Red Plum Sunday coupon insert, you would have found a GOLD MINE in FREE McDonalds breakfasts as well as a bunch of other Mickey D freebies. The big coupons are for the FREE Fruit & Maple Oatmeal as well as another coupon for a FREE Fruit & Maple Oatmeal with purchase of medium beverage. My strategy tomorrow will be to buy a medium coffee, score my freebie oatmeal, and then use the the straight freebie coupon to get oatmeal seconds. This is obviously a marketing attempt by McDonalds to introduce the public to their new Oatmeals which was introduced at the beginning of this year. I don't know how good it will be but at the price of FREE I can't go wrong.

Yesterday's Red Plum also had some other great McDonalds coupons on the same page such as a FREE Filet-O-Fish sandwich with the purchase of the same. Same BOGO deal for breakfast sandwiches and any regular menu sandwich. So why pay full price when you can score Mickey D meals for FREE or half price? All these deals are good thru March 27.

This is the best fast food coupon deal I've seen since KFC offered FREE chicken sandwiches with the purchase of a soda. The Coupon Whisperer is often on the road getting his bargains and always appreciates those fast food coupon deals.

Finally, are there any other Arizona Iced Tea addicts out there? If you are, then the good news is that you can get the large 23 oz cans of Arizona Iced Tea at Walgreens until Saturday. Just use the coupon inside the weekly flyer. Limit of 4 cans which means The Coupon Whisperer will be making several stock up trips to WAGS. I much prefer this iced tea to soda.

Next week will have many register rewards opportunities and one thing you might want to consider using those RRs on are the WAG Wings which is the Walgreens brand of chicken and buffalo wings. I already had them and give them a hearty thumbs up in the taste department. You should score so well with the RRs that you will be looking for stuff to spend them on and you can't go wrong with WAG Wings if they are on sale for $2.99 each.

p.s. I hope McDonalds has better luck with their new Oatmeal serving than they did with McRibs. The latter was a bigtime flop but they tried to revive it after many years but it also flopped on the second run.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sensible Stockpiling

Okay, many of you have learned some of the fundamentals of the art of couponing and you have gone HOG WILD! Suddenly you are stockpiling vast quantities of FREE (or almost free) stuff. However, you might also find out that you are quickly running out of space for storing all those freebies.

Welcome to the club. When I first began couponing in a big way nearly 2 years ago, I went overboard in the couponing department. Suddenly I had like a year's supply of toilet paper covering my walls. However, after a few weeks I had to ask myself whether I really enjoyed sitting down to dinner next to a wall covered with TP. The answer was NO. Therefore, after my TP supply began running low after nearly a year, I only stockpiled a modest amount which was completely hidden from view. My couponing skills have grown to the point where I never worry about running out of TP so I keep no more than about a 3 month supply on hand. Trust me, my tush will never do without TP because there are FREQUENT deals on TP as well as paper towels.

So do you really need to stockpile? On a modest level, yes. I have about a 6 month supply of BO sticks which has the advantage of being stored in a very small space under my bathroom sink. Ditto the body wash, shampoo, hair conditioner, etc.. I have Colgates aplenty to last me until this summer. Sometime before then, I have every confidence that I will once again score more Colgate to last me until next Autumn.

Anyway, this was one of the reasons why I had to laugh when watching that "Extreme Couponing" show on TLC a couple of months ago. I mean, come on, a woman who gets all emotionally full of pride over the fact that her walls are covered with rolls of toilet paper? Scoring free/cheap TP is NO big deal and can be done over and over again. The only thing I got slightly emotional about this past year (other than getting a laptop for FREE via coupons) was scoring really cheap milk to the tune of 76 cents per gallon. It was Lactaid. The coupons at the store were Blinkies for $2 and no size restrictions which meant I could buy quart sizes of Lactaid for just 19 cents each ($2.19 minus the $2.00 coupon) or 76 cents per gallon. I didn't mind the lack of lactose especially at that price. My refrigerator size sort of put a limitation on the amount of milk I could stockpile but since this deal lasted about a couple of months, I ended up with about 3 months of incredibly cheap milk.

So go ahead an stockpile but do it sensibly. Remember, almost all the good deals return again so you can relax and live in a home without TP lining your walls.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Restaurant.Com Review

Most of you have probably heard of Restaurant.Com and are probably wondering if the hype lives up to the reality. In a simple word: Yes! However, there are certain things you must be aware of to properly use your Restaurant.Com gift certificates...

The basic way that Restaurant.Com works is that you buy a gift certificate ($25, $50, $75, and $100) which you can use to apply toward paying your total restaurant bill. Officially a $25 gift certificate costs $10 but The Coupon Whisperer is telling you to NEVER pay that amount. Why? Because several times a month, Restaurant.Com certificates sell for an 80% (sometimes 90%) discount which means that a $25 gift will sell for only $2 after you apply the coupon code they supply you. The higher denomination gift certificates also can be purchased for these same steep discounts.

There are a few simple rules that must be observed in order to use these gift certificates. In the case of the $25 gift certificates you usually have to have a total bill of at least $35 and leave a tip of at least 18% of the total undiscounted bill. No big deal for The Coupon Whisperer since he always leaves a tip of at least 20% (easier to calculate).

So how does this work in a real life application? Well, I have used Restaurant.Com certificates at the nearby Cannoli Kitchen which serves excellent oven baked pizzas. My last bill for a couple of extra large pizzas came to about $37. After applying my $25 Restaurant.Com gift certificate, that was reduced down to just $12. The tip brought my cost up to $20 so with the $2 cost of that gift certificate the total cost came to just $22. Had I not used the Restaurant.Com certificate, my bill would have been $37 plus $8 tip for a total cost of $45. Therefore my net savings were $23 or more than half.

The best deals you get with Restaurant.Com are for $25 where the total bill must be at least $35. For some reason the $50 gift certificates and higher have to be used on total bills of double or more of the certificate face value.

So what are the pitfalls of using Restaurant.Com? The biggest problem is that while the certificates themselves don't expire, the restaurants often do. In October I bought a bunch of Restaurant.Com certificates including for a Japanese sushi restaurant and a Chinese restaurant. Guess what? Both are now closed. So my advice to you would be to CALL the restaurants for which you are planning to buy gift certificates to make sure they are still in business plus don't wait too long before using your gift certificates to avoid any restaurants that might expire before you can visit them.

It is FREE to join and you can search via your zip code to see what restaurants are available to use the certificates at in your area. You can even take a look at their menus online.

Once you decide on restaurants for which you want to buy certificates, simply enter the discount code (remember, NEVER pay the full amount) and pay via credit card. You can either print out the certificates from online immediately or print them out later from your account to avoid losing them.

Remember, the 80% discounts are offered several times a month so no need to panic and think the deal won't come around again. Restaurant.Com will notify you via e-mail of these discounts.

Bottom line is that with this service available, you would be crazy to pay full price for your restaurant meals. Just follow the simple rules (regarding total bill and tips) and you will save BIG by using Restaurant.Com.

Happy dining, Couponeers!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

"You're Cheating the System"

"You do know that you're cheating the system."

Those were the actual words said to me by a clueless cashier the other day.

Cheating? How? Was I using counterfeit coupons? No.

Was I using coupons for unauthorized items? No.

Was I using too many coupons? No.

My only "crime" was INTELLIGENTLY using coupons for the greatest price reduction possible.

Of course, that ignorant statement by the cashier drove me NUts!!! I replied by asking him how I was cheating. He could not answer with other than a general grumbling that I was somehow cheating.

The store manager noticed this scene and quickly took the place of the cashier who was embarrassing his outlet.

Anyway, I got to thinking that all store cashiers need to be thoroughly educated in the subject of coupons. In fact, it is because of coupons that most cashiers have their jobs. Just imagine what would happen if a store were to suddenly announce that it was no longer taking coupons. The first result would be an immediate drop in at least half (and probably a lot more) of its business with the result that many cashiers, including those who were badmouthing coupons, would be laid off.

It is the fantasy of The Coupon Whisperer that all retail establishments hold weekly Coupon Worship Services for their coupons. Attendance by their cashiers would be mandatory. Among the worship activities for the cashiers would be to drop to their knees and shout out in praise of the blessed coupons.

"HALLELUJAH! These coupons have given us our daily bread in the form of our jobs! Blessed be these coupons for we shall not want nor shall we be led unto unemployment."

Finally, there should be reeducation classes for the hard core anti-coupon cashiers such as the one who made the statement to about "cheating" the system. The reeducation instructor should hold up a coupon in his hand and ask the cashiers what they see.

"Coupons," they would respond.

The reeducation instructor would slam his swagger stick hard upon the desk and scream, "NO! What you see is MONEY! It is the same thing since your store gets reimbursed for the full amount plus a handling fee. Actually it is BETTER than money since it pulls in customers resulting in you keeping your cashier jobs. Now drop to your knees and shout 'Hallelujah' to the mighty coupon!"

As you can imagine, my fellow Couponeers, any cashier who gives The Coupon Whisperer grief about using coupons gets an earful from Yours Truly.

p.s. And the item for which the cashier in the incident above complained about has a normal retail value of $29.99 but after intelligent use of coupons, it only cost me a total 42 cents which also included a Valentine's pencil filler.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Learn From The Coupon Jedi Masters

Hello Couponeers!

Today we shall learn that you can NEVER stop learning about effective couponing. Just when you THINK you might know all there is to know about coupons, whole new previously undiscovered worlds can open up to you. And in the case of The Coupon Whisperer the world of PDF file coupons opened up for me last night.

You see, I have been operating under the assumption that you can only print out a couple of coupons of a particular type from the Web. In most cases that is true. However, as I learned last night, there is a BIG exception to this rule.

Some of you might recall that I previously MENTIONED the Walgreens Yoda. Here is part of what I said about the Walgreens Yoda:

Sometimes, when I am out on a coupon run, I cross paths with the Walgreens Yoda. The Walgreens Yoda is a friend who eats, breaths, lives for couponing at Walgreens. He basically knows all the deals and is usually armed with hundreds (sometimes thousands) of dollars of Register Rewards stuffed in thick envelops...

So last evening as I made my last Walgreens run of the day, who should I run into but the legendary Walgreens Yoda. Of course, I looked inside his cart to see what deals he was working on. I saw lots of Colgate which was great since that is what I was also buying. However, I also saw a whole bunch of Arnicare gel along with a stack of Arnicare gel coupons. It is selling for $5.99 with a Register Rewards of $6.00. However, sans the online $2.00 coupon, it was just a bit steep for me. So seeing all those Arnicare coupons in the Walgreens Yoda cart, I asked him how he could print so many since the online limit is usually just a couple. The Walgreen's Yoda answered me wearily:

"That coupon is a PDF file. There is no print limit."

Huh? That was NEWS to me. So late this afternoon I checked it out. Of course, the Walgreens Yoda was exactly RIGHT. No print limit so I printed out 20 of those Arnicare coupons. (BTW, I took advantage of a $1 ink cartridge refill day at Walgreens last year and am waiting for another such day.)

So there you have it. Don't assume you know everything. Even The Coupon Whisperer can be wrong and in this case I was spectacularly wrong so a course correction is in order for the rest of the week. In my case I am thinking of playing coupon Ping-Pong between the Arnicare and Neuragen PN. See, the Neuragen which normally sells for $29.99 is on sale this week (unadvertised special) for only $14.99. Using a $10 Diabetes & You coupon knocks it down to only $4.99. Then using the $6.00 Arnicare RR buys me the remainder of the Neuragen with a buck left over for whatever else I want. But wait...THERE'S MORE!!!

That Neuragen also spits out a RR for a whole $10 which I will Ping-Pong back to buying another Arnicare for just $4.00 after the printout coupon. And the remaining $6? Well, I have some terrific Colgate coupons which knock the $2.99 Colgate Total (6 oz) sales price down to just 99 cents each which means that $6 left over when buying the Arnicare will be used to purchase half a dozen Colgate tubes. Wash, rinse, repeat. PING-PONG!

Remember, the coupon learning process NEVER ends. And when you are around a coupon Jedi Master, observe and pay attention.


Today's couponing adventure included me catering to a case of the munchies. It was late afternoon and I was getting hungry for a FREE/CHEAP supper. Sooooo.... I used a couple of $3 Natrol coupons to buy a couple of Natrol Melatonin bottles which sold for $3 each making them FREE! However the best part is that each bottle gave me $3 in RRs for a total of $6. Then using those $6 in RR plus my $10 Neuragena coupon, I bought a Neuragena plus a couple of cheap candies to account for the coupons I had to use plus bring my total over $6. Total OOP was only 56 cents and while the Walgreens Catalina machine was spitting out my $10 in RRs, I told the female cashier that the real purpose was to buy MY SECRET LOVE. The cashier looked at me with curiosity.

A few minutes later I returned to her with a couple of large DiGiorno pizzas in my hands that were on sale for 2/$10. As I approached the cashier I broke out into the Doris Day "My Secret Love" song which I saw her perform a few days ago on the tube as "Calamity Jane." Imagine the scene there with me singing horribly off key as I used the $10 Neuragena RR to pay for the pizzas while blaring out this SONG to my two beautiful DiGiornos:

Once I had a secret love
That lived within the heart of me
All too soon my secret love
Became impatient to be free

So I told a friendly star
The way that dreamers often do
Just how wonderful you are
And why I'm so in love with you

Now, I shout it from the highest hills
Even told the golden daffodils
At last my hearts an open door
And my secret love's no secret anymore

My intent was to give the cashier a bit of a break from her dreary routine. Didn't exactly work out that way since my rendition of singing "My Secret Love" to my two pizzas only seemed to irk her a bit. But, hey, I had fun and it made my couponing that much more interesting.

p.s. The DiGiorno pizzas purchase which was FREE spit out a RR of $1. Therefore calculating the 56 cents I spent OOP to buy the Neuragena that means Walgreens paid me 22 cents to eat my pizza tonight ($1 minus 56 cents equals 44 cents or 22 cents per pizza in my favor.)