WRAL SmartShopper

WRAL SmartShopper

Thursday thoughts: Q & A

Posted January 20, 2011 2:56 p.m. EST
Updated January 20, 2011 3:05 p.m. EST

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?