WRAL SmartShopper

WRAL SmartShopper

Thursday thoughts: Q & A

Posted January 20, 2011

I have received a number of money saving questions via e-mail in the last few weeks and thought I would share some of them and my responses. If you have anything to ad to my answers, feel free to share in the comments section below. If you have any questions related to couponing, meal planning or anything related to saving money post them below as well.

From A: She was told she could not use a $1/2 coupon on a BOGO deal at Harris Teeter and wanted to know if this was really their policy.

My response: It is the policy of Harris Teeter to only accept 1 coupon for a BOGO deal. I have that posted on the top of the HT deals each week. The official policy is to not accept $1/2 coupons for 2 BOGO items because one is "Free" (even though we all know they both ring up half price). Some HT stores will allow it but clearly yours will not. In your store, you would be required to get 4 of the BOGO items to use a $1/2 coupon. In the deals I post for HT, I try not to post totals using $1/2 coupons for BOGO items because some stores will let you use them with 2 items and some require purchase of 4 to use a $1/2 on a BOGO deal. Is it confusing? Yes. But, it is the policy. I love the Lowes Foods BOGO policy!. They let you use a coupon on each BOGO item and you can use up to 4 identical coupons (vs the 3 HT lets you use).

From S: “I was reading your weekly Rite Aid deals, and saw the word/abbreviation UP but I didn't recall what that term meant. Could you refresh my memory please?”

My response: The +UP Rewards from Rite Aid are the deals that generate a coupon at the end of the transaction that can be used on your next transaction for anything in the store. For instance, if the deal is that Crest is on sale for $2.00 and you earn $1 +Up when you buy it, you will receive a $1 coupon at the end of your transaction to use on the next purchase. You can also use a manufacturer coupon on these deals to lower your out of pocket at the register. Even if the coupon brings your total at the register down below the amount you will get back in the +Up coupon, you still get the full amount back. It's what we refer to as a money maker and we like them very much.

There are more details on the various drug store reward programs (including +UP deals) in the box on the front page of the blog about Drug Store Reward Programs (and at the link in the box above).

From S: "This past summer you asked your readers to e-mail various companies for coupons. I was extremely busy this summer and was not able to participate. Do you have an archive area that I could go to see which companies provided coupons?"

My response: The Great Coupon Request Adventure was a 4 week challenge I issued to my fellow smart shoppers. The game was to contact companies for products you use and request coupons. The goal was to see how many companies would send coupons and how many they would send. In the box above, there is a link to the challenge with additional links to the various weeks where people posted what they were sent. I suggest you read the comments to see who sent the best coupons. This was a 4 week challenge so be sure to read the information from the previous weeks to see all the companies who sent freebies and coupons.

From the blog today: "Thank you for posting the spreadsheet at the beginning of the year. Could you please tell me if I use the total before taxes on the spreadsheet or the grand total after taxes?"

My response: On the grocery savings spreadsheet, for total spent, I actually use the total including taxes because that it what I actually did have to spend. Some folks do not include that in their total. I feel like including the taxes gives a more accurate cost of my groceries. The link to the spreadsheet is in the box above. Anyone have any other thoughts on including the total with or without taxes?



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  • hrpixie Jan 21, 2011

    abswitala - if you haven't already you should sign up for they have a lot of information on gluten free foods and diet and post and email coupons for products all the time hope this helps.

  • Faye Prosser - Smart Shopper Jan 21, 2011

    meandgin - I usually ask for coupons every 3 to 4 months.

    langley - what a wonderful thing you are doing for the family you are helping!

    senglish - thanks for posting the spreadsheet link for myockey. Have fun entering your totals!

  • myockey Jan 21, 2011

    Thanks senglish for pointing me in the direction of the spreadsheet. This should come in handy for tracking our savings! Thanks Faye for proving a great tool.

  • Nancy Jan 21, 2011

    "When you can purchase "free" items or very low cost items, it feels so good to share. I found out all of the items they use and I purchase for them, but I could NOT have done it without your techniques and knowledge. I guess this is called pay it forward." langley

    Isn't that the best!!!! That is one thing that motivates me daily, is not only providing for my own family, but others as well. That just intensifies the gratification of doing the coupon/deal hunting!

  • senglish27529 Jan 21, 2011

    Michelle -- if you click on the link in the box above (Thursday thoughts: Tracking your grocery spending and savings in 2011), it will take you to Faye's post earlier this year which includes her tracking spreadsheet.


  • citylefty Jan 21, 2011

    At Rite Aid you can use your UP reward right away if you make 2 transactions in the same visit. I recently bought Allign and got an $8 UP reward. Then I turned right around and used it for my wife's Olay purchase. All products were on sale plus we had mfg coupons as well so we saved a bundle. The only problem with UP awards is you have to remember to bring the receipt/coupon at the bottom and many tend to forget. You usually have 2 weeks.

  • langley103 Jan 21, 2011

    Thanks, Faye, for all you have done to help me. There are several things I've learned through my few months of couponing is that you have to be on your "a" game with math. A lot of my checkout receipts are wrong. Most clerks are extremely helpful and some are not happy to see "couponers". However, I remind myself how much I am helping my family. I also want to thank you because with my savings, I am helping a disabled family. When you can purchase "free" items or very low cost items, it feels so good to share. I found out all of the items they use and I purchase for them, but I could NOT have done it without your techniques and knowledge. I guess this is called pay it forward.

  • Nancy Jan 20, 2011

    For those interested in gluten free, as well as free of other additives, the meats at the deli at Lowes have numerous products you can buy! I discovered this when I was there and heard a customer ask, we got busy and started looking for information (including the meat counter associate because he didn't know) and sure enough, almost all the Boars Head is gluten free as well as some other products they carry.

    And those often go on sale!

  • meandgin Jan 20, 2011


    Thank you so much for your wisdom. It has greatly helped my family! In reference to asking companies for coupons, how often do you request them? I don't want to ruin a good thing!


  • cmbiglow Jan 20, 2011

    I am gluten free and emailed lots of companies who will send coupons to help out. It is more expensive but feeling better and being able to eat without feeling horrible is worth it!!