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  1. #1
    CPS Technician bp2002's Avatar
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    Coupons- How to shop for free

    So, I revealed that I do a lot of coupon shopping.. and am very willing to share my knowledge! There was some interest in this.. soo.. hit me with your questions...



    some general things /abbreviations.

    1) it takes some time to get used to how to coupon shop.
    2) You will stock pile some things.. to get the "deals" you might need to buy.. 6 deoderants, making them $0.10/each... but this will hold you over til the next good sale!
    3) If you are picky about brands, you might not save as much. (for example my mom will only use northern TP... me? I use charmin, cottenelle, and others depending what I can get a deal on)


    I am not as good with groceries due to diet restrictions.. I cant eat fish/nuts and I keep kosher.. soo Im not the best with all the food deals, but I can pass along what deals I've read about, and hopefully point you in the right direction to forums that deal with your local grocery stores.




    "coupon talk"
    mq= manufacturer coupon
    sq= store coupon.
    IP = internet printable

    Wags= walgreens
    RA= rite aid
    cvs is pretty self explanatory.

    wags uses RR = register rewards.. the machine they pop out of is called a catalina (this same machine is used at shaws, and other grocery stores too).. If you hear someone talk about a "cat" they are meaning the catalina machine/deals.

    wags= they do deals that you pay say.. $5..and get a $3 RR at the end of your transaction.. that $3RR can be used towards almost anything in the store.. EXCEPT to buy ANOTHER one of the same item. Wags also has a rule that you have to have the same or more items than #of coupons. In my opinion, wags is the hardest drug store to get the hang of.

    cvs uses ECB's. You have to sign up for the CVS card to get ECB's, but its free! These are like CVS money. You can use them towards anything, even more of the same item. However, some deals CVS limits to so many per card.
    CVS also has these red coupon/price scanner machines. Every week this machine will spit out different coupons, sometimes money off coupons, like $3 off a $15 purchase..

    this week it spit out a $2 off 8 pack or more bounty paper towel coupon.. this is a CVS store coupon.. they had an 8 pack of bounty on sale for $6.97... use the CVS coupon, and I had a $1 MQ, so I paid $3.97 for an 8 roll pack of bounty.. making them $0.50/roll, not bad for bounty!!

    CVS also has a "bag tag".. it costs $1 to buy (tho sometimes go on sale).. and is linked to your CVS card. You have it scanned everytime you check out with a reusable bag.. ( i keep it on my keys bc i use different bags each time ya know?).. you can scan it once a day. and after 4 scans, you get $1 ecb... so really, you MAKE money off of it.

    RA uses Up rewards
    SCR = RA single check rebate
    VV = video value coupon
    WQ= wellness program coupon.

    RA has GREAT deals.. but is confusing bc of HOW many coupons you use.. but I will explain it as best I can.. easiest to explain a scenario from the ad.



    sites I use online-

    hip2save.com blog filled with good deals, lets you know when coupons.com or redplum.com put up new coupons. She goes thru target, wags, cvs and RA every week (the ads) and explains the deals and how to get them.

    afullcup.com - forum much like this. has grocery stores and drug stores. a great place to ask questions.

    howtoshopforfree.net - local MA lady. for grocery stores is great for the NE.. but i dont hang out in the forums for other stores.. sooo dunno how it is for them..

    howtoshopforfree.net is great for RA shopping. The ladies on there now how to get a deal! I've learned TONS from them.

    other sites i know people like include. southernsavers.com, and totallytarget.com..


    so please.. shoot me some questions..

    im currently keeping up with diaper deals and baby deals (i dont normally pay too much attention to them..) because my neighbor and friend just told me she is having TRIPLETS!

    I also kick some butt at kohls shopping. Jenn (my neighbor) is gonna get soo much stuff for the kiddos..that i paid almost nothing for. (i do mean nothing sometimes.. and like. less than $0.50 for most everything)..



    hope this helps some people!!
    Lauren
    NICU RN, CPST and Nanny


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  3. #2
    CPS Technician bp2002's Avatar
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    Re: Coupons- How to shop for free

    Haha, I'll reply to myself


    Organizing coupons -


    To start out, you have to GET coupons.. I get 3 sunday papers.. 2 really local and the boston globe.. the globe has better coupons than my local papers... some coupons very by region..

    you can either, get a few sunday papers, or you can buy the coupon inserts.. or hit up stores that sell papers late sunday/early monday and they often will give them to you, or sell'm super cheap.

    some people buy coupons online. ebay sells them, as does.. couponclippers.com i believe. Ive only bought kohls coupons online.. i find with the internet and 3 papers, i get enough..

    also.. even if .. say.. dove shampoo is free at wags one week, I dont buy 50 bottles.. but I know people that do... so its up to you. I do donate some things to the local shelters, but I dont go crazy with it.


    oh oh.. more terms
    MM= money maker.. for example.. if an item at wags is FARR = free after register rewards.. you pay $5 for the item, and get $5 RR back.... well if you had a $2 coupon for it, you paid $3 for it, and got $ 5 back, so you made $2.

    YMMV = your milage may vary... some stores/workers are more coupon friendly and will happily take coupons.. some are jerky..and even tho what you're doing is not against the stores coupon policy...sometimes $1 is not worth a huge scene ya know?



    To organize-
    find what works for you... some people keep all the inserts together, and file them by insert adn date.. like the RP from 6/20 (rp = red plum, SS = smart source)... and then clip the coupons out as they need them.


    I cut out most coupons from each insert... i generally skip ones i know i wont use, like pet food, as I have no pets.

    I then organize them in a binder by category, I put each coupon in a baseball card holder ( i happened to have a ton of these from my ex's bbcard collection...).. and then with dividers..

    my sections are:

    cleaning products
    dish products (soap, dishwasher stuff, sponges)
    laundy products
    feminine /baby products
    paper products
    air fresheners
    random - batteries, bug spray/light bulbs
    startchy foods
    foreign foods
    breakfast foods
    frozen foods
    sauses/spices
    make up
    face products
    bodywash
    bodylotion
    dental care
    shaving needs
    deoderant
    haircare

    then some sections for resturaunt coupons, then store coupons.. like for RA or target..

    i do best with them in that scenario.. I take my binder into every store.. so if i come across something unexpected, I can leaf thru to that area and see if i have a coupon..

    like today, went to rite aid.. they had my moms liquid loreal make up on 75% off clearance.. from $14.99 down to $3.54...and I had a $1mq for any loreal makeup product.. so we paid $2.54 for her make up..



    I also right out what deals im interested in a notebook, and do it by store, by week... so when im in the store I dont forget what im there for.. and I can write.. " CVS 6/20 - bounty - have MQ for it" to remind myself to get my coupon .. otherwise id forget too!


    ok im sure i will think of more..
    Lauren
    NICU RN, CPST and Nanny

  4. #3
    CPS Technician bp2002's Avatar
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    Re: Coupons- How to shop for free

    Internet coupons = Wonderful things!!!

    IP= internet coupon..

    there are a few types, and you often have to install coupon printers.. a pain.. but worth it to me..

    coupon sites -
    coupons.com
    allyou.com
    redplum.com
    smartsource.com

    most of those sites restrict you to 2 of the same coupon per computer. sooo... use all the computers you can if you need more than 2.. (and sometimes you do for the best deals). I am lucky that I have access to a lot of computers.. but seriously, ask your mom or your sister or someone you're close with.. often if you seriously coupon, you could stock your household and your mom/sisters/friends because you end up getting sooo much for free/cheap!


    bricks coupons- they are internet coupons.. you often will get a link to it, and a page pops up like this..
    http://bricks.coupons.com/Start.asp?...=UL&p=WT1lG9HS


    im bad at links, i'll learn. that should be for a bricks coupon for pj changs home frozen meals (they really arent too bad, some are dairy and seafood free! )

    so you click and print a coupon.. dont close your browser! hit back, and reload and it will print again! most bricks will print 2 times.. if you're having trouble gettin them to print, it could be your browser, there are slightly different codes for IE, googlechrom and macs..
    Lauren
    NICU RN, CPST and Nanny

  5. #4
    CPST/Firefighter Judi's Avatar
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    Re: Coupons- How to shop for free


  6. #5
    Senior Community Member
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    Re: Coupons- How to shop for free

    When printing out coupons turn your printing setting to black and white fast draft. So you don't use up all your ink.

  7. #6
    CPS Technician bp2002's Avatar
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    Re: Coupons- How to shop for free

    A for example on the current deals:

    cvs and huggies diapers.

    this week if you have a CVS card- buy one box of huggies (the big box of em!)
    it cost $19.99.. and can use a $3 off coupon from coupons.com .. pay $16.99, but get $10 ECB.. so its like paying 6.99 for a box of diapers.. and if you use a bagtag you've earned $0.25 towards another ecb.

    another good deal this week at RA for colgate toothpaste-

    its on sale for 2.99 (certain ones, but includes the new clinical strength one)..
    there are $1 off colgate coupons from.. all you magazine and the newspaper over the last few weeks..

    go to ra, buy the $2.99 toothpaste , with your $1 coupon, spend $1.99.. and I believe you get $2 up rewards to use on whatever you want at RA, so Free toothpaste! (must be a member of upwards/wellness program, but its a free program like cvs)..


    so just an easy example...

    this week at ra i bought..

    1 toothpaste 2.99
    2 charmin @ 2.99 each
    1 fructis hair color @ 4.99
    2 boxes of U by kotex pads @ 2 for 7
    total : 20.96 before tax.

    then i used a $5 off 20 RA SQ
    15.96 then $1 off toothpaste MQ
    14.96 then $1 off 2 charmin MQ
    13.96 then $2 off haircolor VV q
    11.96 then $2 of 2 kotex MQ
    9.96 then 2 $1 off kotex VVQ
    7.96 - what i paid OOP (out of pocket)

    however, I got $ 2 in up rewards to use on my next purchase of anything
    and the kotex qualified for a $3 SCR (single check rebate, enter receipt online, at the end of the month get a check for all SCR from that month that you qualify for.. ive gotten $80 checks before)..

    so I paid 7.96, but got another $5 off in various rewards/rebates...

    so.. really 2.96 for toothpaste, toilet paper, hair color and 2 packs of kotex... Not bad!!
    Lauren
    NICU RN, CPST and Nanny

  8. #7
    CPS Technician bp2002's Avatar
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    Re: Coupons- How to shop for free

    yes, print in black and white.. and i use a laser printer for coupons bc its cheaper in the long run .. ink jets get pricey when you print a ton of coupons!

    also, if you get an adobe file with coupons, use the snapshot tool to "cut out" the coupon you need, and print it with word or whatever you use, so you dont have to print things you dont need, or the "decorations" on the coupon page.
    Lauren
    NICU RN, CPST and Nanny

  9. #8
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    Re: Coupons- How to shop for free

    I've just been getting into using coupons. I have a small stash of coupons and things. It takes a bit to get started but I am saving a ton of money.
    I really need to get a 2nd paper or 2. That would really help things on my end.
    Andraya-6 Nathaniel-4 Annalee Grace 18mon

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  10. #9
    CPS Technician bp2002's Avatar
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    Re: Coupons- How to shop for free

    Quote Originally Posted by jewlsvern View Post
    I've just been getting into using coupons. I have a small stash of coupons and things. It takes a bit to get started but I am saving a ton of money.
    I really need to get a 2nd paper or 2. That would really help things on my end.


    yup yup! it IS a lot to learn at once.. I'd recommend picking one store to learn at a time.. and yes w/o the multiple papers on sundays I wouldnt be able to get near the deals that I do.


    I will post a deal for aveeno products in the morning.. there is a deal at cvs next week that will mean free or practically free aveeno products

    Yeah for shopping for freeeee!
    Lauren
    NICU RN, CPST and Nanny

  11. #10
    CPST and ketchup snob ketchupqueen's Avatar
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    Re: Coupons- How to shop for free

    I miss couponing. I was never able to buy most shampoos and soaps and stuff like that (we have very sensitive skin, have to use certain kinds, ditto laundry detergent, etc., and my eldest has a sensory disorder and will only use ONE kind of toothpaste and, well, I do too, and ditto) but I used to save a lot on my food bill.

    Then my youngest daughter developed a food allergy. I still use coupons but I can use about 3 in each week's insert, as opposed to 1/3 or so of them. Very sad. I now pass most of them on to my friend.
    CPST and Mom to Emma, 15, Bridget, 13, Maggie, 11, Katie Sue, 6, Jimmy, born May 2019,
    and Becky, waiting for us as part of our eternal family.
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  12. #11
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    Re: Coupons- How to shop for free

    I really wish coupons were easier to come by in Canada. I don't know WHY, but it always seems like there are NEVER any coupons for ANYTHING I would actually buy up here. It's always for items I have absolutely NO use for. Sadface.

  13. #12
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    Re: Coupons- How to shop for free

    I just want to say THANK YOU Lauren for all the great tips!! keep them coming!!!!
    Momma to three munchkins! Own a Recaro ProSport, FR85, TF, Blvd70, Scenera, Radian, Britax Chaperone, Evenflo HBB, Evenflo NBB ... cruising around in a 2011 Ford Explorer and 2011 F-150

  14. #13
    CPS Technician bp2002's Avatar
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    Re: Coupons- How to shop for free

    Quote Originally Posted by zookeeper68 View Post
    I just want to say THANK YOU Lauren for all the great tips!! keep them coming!!!!

    Aww! Thanks I might sound kinda dumb.. but since I got sick and can't "work" like i used to.. I've made couponing my job of sorts. I have the time and can spend whatever time i want focused on this.. so its something i feel like I can still do.. (like, when im up at 3am... i can spend some time doing this if i want..).. and I like knowing im saving myself and my parents money.. especially my parents since they have done soo much for me since I got sick.


    And KQ, I def understand having restrictions on things! Hopefully you can pick up a few tips, and offer some as well!


    A quick one for people- if you get the marcel greenworks (greensomething..).. coupons.. the papertowels are OK. In my area they run a "$1 off or free single papertowel or roll of tp".. I always get the single roll papertowels, available at market basket in the NE, ... while not the best papertowels ever... they were great for cleanin the bbq, or a big spill.. not so great if you're gonna like, wipe your face!



    Another easy one.. im going to try to post a link to a pdf file.. this is NOT my strong suite, so bare with me if it doesnt work.

    this is a pdf printable for $1 off ANY scotch-brite product... SO, I buy the single sponges! WalMart and Market Basket sell them for $0.87-$0.99 in my area, so FREE with the coupon. Its good til the end of June, so jump on it. I only use it once per transaction, and the cashiers often have to "price it down" to the amount the sponge actually is.. tho some let it go thru as a $1, and you then get a little bit towards something else. So, stock up! I now have a bunch of new sponges, so I dont use each one for very long as they get gross... even with putting them in the dishwasher.

    ok here is the link.. (i hope)
    http://www.3m.com/us/home_leisure/sc...ver/coupon.pdf
    Lauren
    NICU RN, CPST and Nanny

  15. #14
    CPS Technician bp2002's Avatar
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    Re: Coupons- How to shop for free

    Here is a good link also... this is a link to homemadesimple.com coupon book... They send you a coupon book in the mail, full of coupons for dawn, cascade, febreeze, swiffers and others.. the best coupon is "$1 off dawn with olay", as this goes on sale alllll the time at cvs for $0.88-$1, making it FREE! They offer this coupon book many times a year.. so sign up! I'll post new links to new offers for the booklets when I get them..

    http://www.startsampling.com/sm/1010...101022&source=
    Lauren
    NICU RN, CPST and Nanny

  16. #15
    CPS Technician CommMom's Avatar
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    Re: Coupons- How to shop for free

    Quote Originally Posted by bp2002 View Post
    A quick one for people- if you get the marcel greenworks (greensomething..).. coupons.. the papertowels are OK. In my area they run a "$1 off or free single papertowel or roll of tp".. I always get the single roll papertowels, available at market basket in the NE, ... while not the best papertowels ever... they were great for cleanin the bbq, or a big spill.. not so great if you're gonna like, wipe your face!
    My Meijer doesn't carry the single roll papertowels in that brand, only the doubles. One time I decided I'd go ahead and get the double just to try (see if it was worth driving around to find a place where I could get the single roll to get it free) and use the coupon to get the $1. When they rang it at the register, it took off the full price of the double roll! I don't know if that will work at any Meijer or if they've fixed the "glitch" but it's worked for me several times.

  17. #16
    CPS Technician bp2002's Avatar
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    Re: Coupons- How to shop for free

    Quote Originally Posted by CommMom View Post
    My Meijer doesn't carry the single roll papertowels in that brand, only the doubles. One time I decided I'd go ahead and get the double just to try (see if it was worth driving around to find a place where I could get the single roll to get it free) and use the coupon to get the $1. When they rang it at the register, it took off the full price of the double roll! I don't know if that will work at any Meijer or if they've fixed the "glitch" but it's worked for me several times.
    Nice! Sometimes things just kinda.. work out.. lol.. i hate when coupons beep and I get the nasty looks. Oh, I'm so sorry you have to actually enter a price, or write on the coupon.. bc ya know, its not like thats part of your JOB as a cashier.. lol.. At target I go in certain lines to use cashiers I know are coupon friendly. Target has some good deals, but the one in my town can be soooooo annoying to deal with.
    Lauren
    NICU RN, CPST and Nanny

  18. #17
    CPS Technician CommMom's Avatar
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    Re: Coupons- How to shop for free

    Oh yeah! I have a mental list of cashiers that I will not check out with because they're not cool about my coupons. We have a few at Target who want to question you about every item if the register throws an error. There is also one cashier at Meijer that I avoid like the plague. If the register gives an error, she just refuses the coupon outright...even if I did get the correct item. Apparently she is not a fan of the override button. After the last time through with her, I made her go back and void out every item (plus dig them out of my bags) I got where she rejected the coupon. Now I just won't go through her line...even if it means I have to wait longer in somebody else's.

  19. #18
    CPS Technician bp2002's Avatar
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    Re: Coupons- How to shop for free

    OK so CHEAP aveeno stuff at CVS starting on Sunday!

    CVS is running a "spend $25 on the aveeno products below, get $10 ecb"..

    well Aveeno is running a rebate.. buy $25 of aveeno products in ONE transaction, get $10 rebate by mail. (i used to never do mail in rebates, but now i do, and ive had all but one work!)

    So... spend the $25, get $10 from cvs and $10 from aveen, so you've spent $5.. BEFORE COUPONS!

    In the sale... aveeno haircare is $6.49/bottle. Buy 3, and buy one body wash or lotion included in the sale for $5.99.

    this brings your total to $25.46 Perfect! Now, use some coupons with the deal..

    coupons.com has $1.50 off shampoo or conditioner. print 2 , now either use another computer, or try a different coupon site.. Allyou.com redplum.com, even cvs.com have coupons... (cvs coupon link at cvs.com is the top right of your screen)..

    there were some $2 off 2 lotion coupons, but Im not seeing them anymore.. and there were some aveeno coupons in last weeks paper.. (my binder is down in the car, so I cant tell ya exactly what those were)

    so you have $3 1.50 off coupons.. = $4.50 off..


    so recap, 3 shampoo/conditioners and a lotion = 25.46 before tax.
    give your 3 coupons for shampoo/conditioner = - 4.50 = 20.96
    you will get $10 in ECB , and qualify for the aveeno rebate!

    so.. $0.96 before tax, for 3 bottles of aveeno shampoo and a lotion! V05 costs more than that!!

    if you have ecb's you can use them to pay the initial $20 also.. and if you're new to cvs and got a new card.. they tend to give a lot of "x off an x amount purchase" to newbies... to keep ya coming back!!

    the rebates are for prices before coupons, so dont worry about not getting the rebate cuz ya used coupons!

    link to aveeno rebate :
    https://www.aveeno.com/sites/default...lineRebate.pdf
    Lauren
    NICU RN, CPST and Nanny

  20. #19
    Ambassador - CPS Technician CTPDMom's Avatar
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    Re: Coupons- How to shop for free

    Lauren is covering this so well...I just have a few pointers to add...

    For acquiring coupons:

    Check the local 'free' papers to see if coupon packs are inside of them.

    If you know anyone who works in a building with recycling bins...ask them to start checking the bins on Mondays for you! I get lots of packs of coupons that way, and it enables me to get 3, 6, sometimes 9 or a dozen free items because there are coupons in there for items that are free after the coupon and I can take advantage of the offer many times over. (One example, there was a great $3 Schick disposable coupon a while back. Walmart had Scick disposables for $2.97. I think I got 7 or 8 free packs of razors.)

    Ask your friends/neighbors to put aside any coupons they're not using.

    If a particular Sunday has great coupons, you might be able to purchase additional papers at your local dollar store...for a dollar.

    Also, watch your ads for 'register rewards'. They might be called different things, and sometimes it's not real obvious it's a great deal. My store runs a deal on Pompeian often. Cooking wines, vinegars, etc. Buy 5 Pompeian items, get $5 in register rewards good on your next purchase. It boldly shows the more expensive Pompeian items, but if you look carefully you see their vinegars for 4 for $5. or $1.25 each. Buy 5, and it costs $6.25. But you get $5 back so your net is $1.25 for 5 bottles, or a quarter each. That's before any coupons if you have them. (And they do have coupons occasionally for Pompeian.) What most people do, though, is buy 4...since the deal is 4 for $5. And then they miss out on the register rewards!

    Couponing can be overwhelming at first. I'd suggest choosing one store to start with. If anyone wants specific help, please post your local supermarkets/drugstores that you're willing to shop at. And your zip code (or the zip code of the stores you want to shop at) and we can point out some specific deals for that week. (Most places allow anyone to see the ads online using the zip code to search.) I'm happy to monitor the thread and give whatever help I can.
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  21. #20
    CPST Instructor LM4M's Avatar
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    Re: Coupons- How to shop for free

    Quote Originally Posted by bp2002 View Post
    OK so CHEAP aveeno stuff at CVS starting on Sunday!

    CVS is running a "spend $25 on the aveeno products below, get $10 ecb"..

    well Aveeno is running a rebate.. buy $25 of aveeno products in ONE transaction, get $10 rebate by mail. (i used to never do mail in rebates, but now i do, and ive had all but one work!)

    So... spend the $25, get $10 from cvs and $10 from aveen, so you've spent $5.. BEFORE COUPONS!

    In the sale... aveeno haircare is $6.49/bottle. Buy 3, and buy one body wash or lotion included in the sale for $5.99.

    this brings your total to $25.46 Perfect! Now, use some coupons with the deal..

    coupons.com has $1.50 off shampoo or conditioner. print 2 , now either use another computer, or try a different coupon site.. Allyou.com redplum.com, even cvs.com have coupons... (cvs coupon link at cvs.com is the top right of your screen)..

    there were some $2 off 2 lotion coupons, but Im not seeing them anymore.. and there were some aveeno coupons in last weeks paper.. (my binder is down in the car, so I cant tell ya exactly what those were)

    so you have $3 1.50 off coupons.. = $4.50 off..


    so recap, 3 shampoo/conditioners and a lotion = 25.46 before tax.
    give your 3 coupons for shampoo/conditioner = - 4.50 = 20.96
    you will get $10 in ECB , and qualify for the aveeno rebate!

    so.. $0.96 before tax, for 3 bottles of aveeno shampoo and a lotion! V05 costs more than that!!

    if you have ecb's you can use them to pay the initial $20 also.. and if you're new to cvs and got a new card.. they tend to give a lot of "x off an x amount purchase" to newbies... to keep ya coming back!!

    the rebates are for prices before coupons, so dont worry about not getting the rebate cuz ya used coupons!

    link to aveeno rebate :
    https://www.aveeno.com/sites/default...lineRebate.pdf
    Just an FYI, you can't get the mail in rebate from aveeno on this scenaro. You have to have $25 after coupons, and onc eyou use the coupons you're below $25 and will not get the rebate when you mail it in. Just in case anyone wanted to do this, thought I would point that out
    Kristen, CPST-I, driving a '15 Odyssey
    Kendall, 11 years, 5-stepping
    Riley, 9 years, FR90, Cambria
    Nolan, 8 years, Nauti, Cambria
    Parker, 5 years, FR90, TKD Foonf


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