Extreme Couponing Tip: Fillers

“Fillers” are inexpensive items used to bring a total–either dollar amount or item number count–into balance.  Below are two instances where a filler may need to be used:

  1. Evening up total items: At Walgreens, customers need to have at least as many items as manufacturer coupons (including Register Rewards). If you are purchasing one item and have 1 manufacturer coupon and 1 Register Reward, you will need to add an extra item in your transaction to even up the item total.
  2. Reaching a dollar amount: If you have a coupon for $5 off a $50 purchase, but you only have $49.75 worth of product, adding an inexpensive filler item is a great way to reach your required total dollar amount. Another instance is if a store does not permit overage (the value of the coupon being over the dollar amount of your purchase total), a filler item may sometimes be needed to absorb the cost and keep your total from going below $0.

Great filler ideas: pocket tissue packs, postcards, pencils, Sunday papers, individually wrapped candy, greeting cards, gum, erasers, or clearance items.

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60 thoughts on “Extreme Couponing Tip: Fillers”

  1. Lisa says:

    The way I look at it is if I buy something as a filler that I wouldn’t otherwise buy, I am wasting my money. (As a rule, I try to avoid buying candy, especially individual bars or pieces, which come out to be very expensive per ounce.) Over time, you can waste a lot of money this way. Instead, I try to have something in mind for that week that is on sale (e.g. tuna, chicken broth, etc.). If there are no items of that sort for that week, I check to see if I need rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, epsom salts, etc. Sometimes I will buy the supplements I normally take that happen to be 2 for 1 that week. Almost every week they have some sort of vitamins or supplements on sale. Last resort: I will buy an item that I normally use that seldom, if ever, goes on sale, such as Nasalcrom nasal spray, genereric over-the-counter medications, etc. In other words, limiting yourself to CHEAP fillers is not always the best deal.

  2. Lisa says:

    The way I look at it is if I buy something as a filler that I wouldn’t otherwise buy, I am wasting my money. (As a rule, I try to avoid buying candy, especially individual bars or pieces, which come out to be very expensive per ounce.) Over time, you can waste a lot of money this way. Instead, I try to have something in mind for that week that is on sale (e.g. tuna, chicken broth, etc.). If there are no items of that sort for that week, I check to see if I need rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, epsom salts, etc. Sometimes I will buy the supplements I normally take that happen to be 2 for 1 that week. Almost every week they have some sort of vitamins or supplements on sale. Last resort: I will buy an item that I normally use that seldom, if ever, goes on sale, such as Nasalcrom nasal spray, genereric over-the-counter medications, etc. In other words, limiting yourself to CHEAP fillers is not always the best deal.

  3. Lisa says:

    The way I look at it is if I buy something as a filler that I wouldn’t otherwise buy, I am wasting my money. (As a rule, I try to avoid buying candy, especially individual bars or pieces, which come out to be very expensive per ounce.) Over time, you can waste a lot of money this way. Instead, I try to have something in mind for that week that is on sale (e.g. tuna, chicken broth, etc.). If there are no items of that sort for that week, I check to see if I need rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, epsom salts, etc. Sometimes I will buy the supplements I normally take that happen to be 2 for 1 that week. Almost every week they have some sort of vitamins or supplements on sale. Last resort: I will buy an item that I normally use that seldom, if ever, goes on sale, such as Nasalcrom nasal spray, genereric over-the-counter medications, etc. In other words, limiting yourself to CHEAP fillers is not always the best deal.

  4. Laniece says:

    I was listening to the extreme couponing in an everyday world and the new target policy states that you cannot get the “overage from a item” so if the item is .95 and you have a $1 off coupon, you cannot get the 0.05 overage. I do not think that is necessarily True (KCL, I am not stating that their facts are wrong, I am just stating off pure experience). I went to target to get the Ivory (because it was 0.95) and I got the for free and the 0.30 overage towards other items.

    • Anonymous says:

      Some stores’ registers may still apply the overage to the basket total. The biggest thing is that they won’t give you cash back if the total goes under $0.

  5. Akbc427 says:

    I asked the cashier at my Walgreens the other day what was the cheapest thing in the store and she had to think for a second and said the .33 candy (she thinks). I’m going to ask how much a box of matches cost the next time I go, we could always use them for the grill or fireplace. But the school supplies idea was a very good one, I may use that. But all the examples always say “.10 filler item”, I have yet to find a .10 item in my Walgreens, maybe I should look at the erasers or greeting cards, can never have enough greeting cards on hand. Thanks for all you do KCL, you make my couponing life easier! :o)

  6. Akbc427 says:

    I asked the cashier at my Walgreens the other day what was the cheapest thing in the store and she had to think for a second and said the .33 candy (she thinks). I’m going to ask how much a box of matches cost the next time I go, we could always use them for the grill or fireplace. But the school supplies idea was a very good one, I may use that. But all the examples always say “.10 filler item”, I have yet to find a .10 item in my Walgreens, maybe I should look at the erasers or greeting cards, can never have enough greeting cards on hand. Thanks for all you do KCL, you make my couponing life easier! :o)

  7. cahugh4 says:

    Another situation to use a filler could be at rite aid with up rewards. I went to rite aid today to use some up(s) that were expiring tomorrow, and I ended up needing .33 cents more in order to use my UP(s). You cannot use UP(s) to pay tax and I needed .33 more cents before I could use all my UP(s). So the cashier grabbed a single cella candy which happened to be . . . .33 cents! So I was able to use my UP(s).

  8. cahugh4 says:

    Another situation to use a filler could be at rite aid with up rewards. I went to rite aid today to use some up(s) that were expiring tomorrow, and I ended up needing .33 cents more in order to use my UP(s). You cannot use UP(s) to pay tax and I needed .33 more cents before I could use all my UP(s). So the cashier grabbed a single cella candy which happened to be . . . .33 cents! So I was able to use my UP(s).

  9. angie says:

    I recently printed some coupons, though, ink on printer was low so the picture of the items barely show up,everything else was fine. Would the stores still accept them so long as they scan?? Will they even scan fine??

  10. angie says:

    I recently printed some coupons, though, ink on printer was low so the picture of the items barely show up,everything else was fine. Would the stores still accept them so long as they scan?? Will they even scan fine??

    • Ahayman says:

      As long as the bar-code shows up, what the total off shows up, what the coupon is for shows up, you can read that it says manufacture coupon, when it expires, and where the store can be reimbursed from (address to the company) then you should be fine. I don’t use color ink to save money, and the picture never shows up on mine. Most coupons (if not all) have a description of what the coupon is for, and majority of the time it doesn’t have to be what is in the picture.

  11. Jackie says:

    I often times pick up things I know we will need when kids go back to school. For instance a ream of paper, pack of erasers, pack of pens or pencils, glue and folders. I keep these things handy in a box labeled school and office supplies.

  12. Jackie says:

    I often times pick up things I know we will need when kids go back to school. For instance a ream of paper, pack of erasers, pack of pens or pencils, glue and folders. I keep these things handy in a box labeled school and office supplies.

  13. mcthrifty says:

    My filler item is cans of Friskies cat food. Usually 0.50 cents each. I never have to buy it as a regular grocery item anymore.

  14. Holly says:

    I always use jello as a filler and it is usually less then 20 cents! it can be used in soo many things from jigglers to fruit salads, to drinks!

  15. Coloradocouponer says:

    I have also used the Nivea travel hand lotion. It come in a small flat round container. It is 99 cents but is a nice thing to keep in a pocket or purse and no calories doesn’t hurt either.

  16. Kristin says:

    I have started uploading photos to the Walgreens photo center. One print can be on sale for .10, but it’s usually .19 cents. It’s something that I actually want, and it won’t contribute to me growing out of my jeans.

  17. AmyP says:

    fillers might make good stocking stuffers- only 6 more months until Christmas :)

    • Rebecca says:

      This is how I made 10 easter baskets for the little kids in my family. With the sales and buying “fillers” I was able to do easter baskets with values over $20/ea for only $2.62/ea!!

      • Anonymous says:

        And I love using the non-perishable clearance items after a holiday– gift bows, wrapping paper, pencils, toys, baskets, etc. as my filler items!

      • Anonymous says:

        And I love using the non-perishable clearance items after a holiday– gift bows, wrapping paper, pencils, toys, baskets, etc. as my filler items!

  18. Donna says:

    well,i had ONE coupon fro 1.00/3 boxes of kelloggs cereal and i tried to use a RR and they wouldnt take it.

    • Lori says:

      I had same problem-the coupon attaches to all three items-essentially counting them as one item- was how it was explained to me. Of course I agrued the point (nicely) and the cashier was told to use register reward first, then the my coupon- and it worked!

    • Lori says:

      I had same problem-the coupon attaches to all three items-essentially counting them as one item- was how it was explained to me. Of course I agrued the point (nicely) and the cashier was told to use register reward first, then the my coupon- and it worked!

  19. Kerricrg says:

    Awesome idea’s I have grabbed candy on sale fr .39c

  20. Elsa says:

    I’m usually around 80 cents under so i always get the individually wrapped caramel chews, one for me the other one for my husband. He loves those candies, such a great treat!

  21. Chrissie says:

    What about if you have 3 coupons–store, manufacturer, and RR? Do you have to purchase 3 items?

  22. Jenni Saake says:

    I’m still learning. Is it OK to stack a register reward (labeled as “manufacturer’s coupon”) with a different manufacturer’s coupon like from a website or the newspaper, on the same item? I figured if they were both manufacturer’s coupons, I couldn’t do that?
    Also, if I get coupons printed off at the end of a purchase at one store, do I have to redeem them at the same store, or can I use them at other stores? I was guessing that if they truly are manufacturer’s coupons then they could be used anywhere, but I’m still in the learning stage for sure!
    Thanks for any/all input! :)

    • Lindsey P says:

      you can use a RR with another coupon. but if you do, you have to buy 2 items (one being a “filler” as explained above) since the RR is considered a coupon. You have to have the same number of items as you have coupons.

      You can use the RRs at any Walgreens, but you cannot use them at any other store (like CVS, Walmart, etc)

    • Coya4321 says:

      no you cant stack manuf Qs with manf Qs..you can stack storre coupons with them though..

  23. amyloumomof2 says:

    so at Walgreen’s do you not need to include in-ad coupons to make sure you have enough items?

  24. amyloumomof2 says:

    so at Walgreen’s do you not need to include in-ad coupons to make sure you have enough items?

  25. Britt says:

    I often use bottled water – esp. on a hot day if I am really thirsty!

  26. Britt says:

    I often use bottled water – esp. on a hot day if I am really thirsty!

  27. Nishi99 says:

    If you have a coupon for $5 off $50 – does this total ($50) need to be before any coupons, or does it usually have to be after coupons?

    • Anonymous says:

      At CVS it is before coupons, but you have to scan the $5 off coupon before your coupons for individual items that will make your total under $50.

      • Anonymous says:

        It depends on the store, but it will almost always say in the ad whether the total is before or after coupons. If it doesn’t, feel free to ask customer service for a decisive answer.

      • Anonymous says:

        It depends on the store, but it will almost always say in the ad whether the total is before or after coupons. If it doesn’t, feel free to ask customer service for a decisive answer.

    • Penn says:

      At Alberston’s, daily products will not be counted towards your $50 purchase for the $5 Alberston’s coupon. I discovered this last month when I purchase 2 1/2 gallon ice cream. Lucky for me, the $.99 BBQ sauce was by the cashier. I just grab a couple bottles and still paid under $50 after taxes and coupon.

  28. Nishi99 says:

    If you have a coupon for $5 off $50 – does this total ($50) need to be before any coupons, or does it usually have to be after coupons?

  29. Anonymous says:

    I realized the importance of keeping trace of this stuff when I came home from shopping the other day and realized that it was the last day of a promotion that would have given be a $15 credit to use on my next trip if I had just spent $5 more dollars on that day. I learn something new everyday :-)