If you’re a Krazy couponer, you love scoring stuff for cheap or free once you have the know-how! Here are some ways to win big at the store:

Coupons: Coupons are the number one weapon in a savings arsenal!

Clip and collect coupons, then wait until a big sale comes along to stack those coupons with. The highest value coupons that lead to really cheap or free items often appear when a new product, flavor, size, or formula hits the market.

Manufacturers want to promote their product, and coupons are a big form of advertisement. You can also write your favorite companies, thank them for their product, and give them feedback. As a “thank you,” they will sometimes send coupons back to you! In addition, keep an eye out for limited-print coupons on product Facebook pages and websites as these tend to be high-value.

Rewards: National drugstores each have their own form of rewards: CVS has ExtraBucks, Rite Aid has +Up Rewards, and Walgreens has Register Rewards that print out after checkout. When used in conjunction with manufacturer coupons and store coupons, these reward deals can result in super-cheap or free products. To benefit from rewards, shop at a chosen drugstore on a frequent basis, using rewards earned in the past on current transactions.

Catalinas: Catalina coupon machines located at registers dispense long receipt-like coupons that may be used on future purchases. Catalinas refer to the coupons themselves (aka “Your Bucks”) which may be manufacturer or store coupons. Some Catalina coupons are advertised and some are generated based on consumer behavior. Ad circulars often feature “Save on Your Next Order” promotions where you’ll receive a Catalina for use on a future purchase. Stack these with coupons to create rock bottom, free, or moneymaker deals!

Rebates: With back-to-school sales in full swing, there are great rebate deals going on at the office supply stores! Items like pens, copy paper, batteries, and labels can be as low as a penny or free after rebates or store reward programs. Also look for rebates at stores like Rite Aid, which has Single Check Rebates, and manufacturer rebate promotions, which are often the mail-in format. Stack these with store and manufacturer coupons for some great savings.

Overage and Moneymakers: If you have a coupon value that exceeds the price of the product (i.e., a $1.00/1 coupon and a $0.97 product), many stores will adjust the value of the coupon down so that the item is free. However, some stores like Albertsons or Walmart will actually apply the extra savings to your basket purchase, or in Walmart’s case, give cash back!

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7 thoughts on “Extreme Couponing Tip: Learn the Different Ways to Get Free Items at the Store!”

  1. Cindy in AZ says:

    A while back, I called the manufacturer of T.G.I. Fridays Pasta Carbonara frozen skillet meal to let them know that it was absolutely awful. It was just that I didn’t like it, it was just plain gross (even my husband wouldn’t eat it and he’ll eat anything he didn’t have to cook himself). They sent me 2 free item coupons and a few other $1.00 of coupons.

    Recently, I wrote the manufacturer of Static Guard because TWO spray cans malfunctioned while they were still new. They sent me 2 free coupons.

    I even contacted Cello to let them know that the scrubby part was separating from a new sponge. They sent me a new package of sponges and all they asked was for me to send the bad one back with the wrapper (to notify the manufacturer), postage pre-paid.

    If you’re unhappy with a product, by all means, you should contact the company. They want happy customers and will try to make it right. There’s no reason to throw hard-earned money away on a bad product.

    • The Krazy Coupon Lady says:

      Very good tip, Cindy! It is important to give constructive feedback to stores and manufacturers so they can better their products and services (plus, customers may get great coupons like you did!).

  2. Randi S says:

    To expand on what Brittany said, I have found that when I enjoy a product and let the company know, they send me coupons. When a juice manufacturer changed their container from a hard-to-hold-onto round container to a nice rectangular bottle that fits better in the fridge, I wrote them to tell them “thanks.” They sent me a coupon for a free bottle. When I complimented a tea company on their fun packaging, they sent me coupons for free tea!

    One downside to getting items for free–has anyone else had problems with finding the products for which you have free coupons? I have lots of coupons for free products that are due to expire because I can’t find the product. [I hope it's ok to mention product names] I have a coupon for a free 2 liter Sierra Mist. No local stores, including WM, have it. I have 2 coupons for free bottles of Old Orchard juice, but my stores only carry the frozen. I have 2 BOGO coupons for Orange Crush, no one carries it. These are just 3 examples of the many I could list. Sometimes a store will carry the product but then won’t accept coupons printed from the computer. It gets very frustrating to think of the times I could shop for free if not for the item being unavailable. Anyone else have this issue?

    • Dottie2000 says:

      FYI, both Safeway and Albertsons in my area carry all 3 of your products listed, and Walgreens has both sodas (2L and 20oz) but not the juice. So if your local store doesn’t carry it they could order it for you since their warehouse stocks it for other locations…

  3. You can also get coupons for free items if you complain, although I wouldn’t recommend this as a “strategy.” We found a bone fragment in our lunch meat a few weeks back, politely called the company to let them know, and they sent us four coupons for $3.00 off any product. I’d rather not need to complain, but if there is a reason to, by all means mention it politely.

    • Anonymous says:

      Great tip! Feedback is always important, even when it’s a complaint. Thanks for sharing, Brittany! :)

    • dayna lloyd says:

      I’m not one to write to companies and complain, but a few years ago I wrote to a company because I noticed that their plastic seal packaging for frozen meals were partially ripped (the cardboard box wasn’t touched at all) I figured it may have been a bad batch so I didn’t really make a big deal about it. Then the same problem happened each week that I bought them for about a month. I e-mailed the company and they sent me about 3 coupons for free products and several coupons for $2 off. I think it is important to let the companies know about things like this that are happening.