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Part IV » GROCERIES - Rebates and Rewards
The fourth frontier in Guerilla grocery shopping is to collect rebates and rewards --R&R. R&R usually stands for “rest and relaxation.” There’s nothing restful or relaxing about cashing in rebates and rewards, but it can be truly lucrative, so don’t tune me out just yet. Rebates are offers you have to apply for and rewards are offers that give you store credit. They are available at some grocery stores, but drugstores are the real hotbed.

True Guerilla Grocery Shoppers say their approach is to save so much at the drugstore that they have more money to spend at the grocery store. It’s such a smart strategy. I mean, wouldn’t you rather put your money into T-Bone steak than toilet bowl cleaner? I will detail programs at CVS and Walgreen’s in this chapter, because they are the biggest. Rite-Aid has similar savings programs and you can apply many of these principals at regional drugstore chains too. Get good at using rebates and rewards and you will not only save money but make money.

In this chapter, learn to SAVE BIG by:

  • Applying for rebates only when they’re worth your while.
  • Tracking your rebates online so stores will be forced to honor them.
  • Maximizing your savings at Walgreen’s by understanding its programs.
  • Making money at CVS by rolling this months savings over to next month’s purchases.


Rebates are a pain. There, I’ve said it. But they are also full of possibility. That’s why we’re going to talk about them anyway. Rebates are those offers where you have to mail in your proof of purchase and other paperwork and the company sends you a check. That’s the pain. Here’s the possibility: because you can often combine rebates with coupons or sales, you sometimes makemoney on them. If your purchase price was low enough, then your rebate check represents a profit. That,I like! If you don’t pursue rebates you are leaving money on the table.

But in this book I am ever mindful of the need to save time as well as money. So is it worth it to apply for rebates? Maybe. It depends how much time you have. A personal story, my eye doctor recently suggested that I hold a warm wash cloth to my eyes for two minutes every evening to help my dry eyes, and I told her, “I’m sorry. I can’t do that. I don’t havetwo minutes to spare.” Really. If your life is crazy like that, set a threshold for yourself. Decide how generous a rebate has to be before you’ll apply. $5? $20? $50? Whatever amount is meaningful to you. Forget the rest. It’s Small Stuff. Savings.

BIG SECRET: Don’t miss out on coupon codes and promotional codes when you shop online.

Ever notice that little box when you’re checking out that says “enter promotional code here?” If you aren’t entering one, you may be missing out. Whenever you shop online, google the name of the store in quotes, i.e. “Company Store” and the phrase “coupon code.” Very often that E-tailer is offering a promotion that’s only available to people who look for it. There are also generous volunteers who post coupon codes online that they have received in the mail. Give it a try and SAVE BIG!

Finding Rebate Offers

If you’re going to cash in on rebates, learn to look for them. Some are obvious, because they’re advertised or they show up on your register receipt, but there are other rebates available that you may not know about. Here are some sources of rebates:

  • Sunday manufacturer circulars.
  • Manufacturer websites in the promotions section.
  • Your grocery store customer service desk. All you have to do is ask. .
  • Drugstore rebate books.
  • Rebate websites

Rebate Websites

Rebate websites are a source of rebate offers, but they also provide other valuable services. Some allow you to apply for your rebate online instead of doing the endless cutting and pasting and mailing of forms. These sites also help you track your rebates. It’s great! You are putting the company that made the offer on notice that you are watching. They can track that you are tracking them. This helps solve the common complaint that rebate checks never arrive.

Stephen B. of Marylandsets up computer networks for people. He buys a lot of equipment eligible for a lot of rebates. He’s a friendly, funny guy but he is serious about getting his rebate money. Stephen says he has never failed to get a rebate returned to him because he always registers his rebate application online. Guerilla Grocery Shoppers can do the same with pricey grocery items.

Here are some websites that list rebate offers, let you apply for them and then track their progress. Some are geared toward groceries, others toward electronics.


Rewards programs are easier to take advantage of than rebate offers because you don’t have to apply. I define rewards programs as those that give you a store credit for making certain purchases. Your credit is usually in the form of a register receipt. The key is to vigilantly use the credits you receive this month to make your purchases next month. Don’t let them expire on you like I sometimes do. Doh!

Walgreen’s Rewards

At Walgreen’s, the bonanza continues with “Register Rewards.” These usually take the form of a buy X and get Y deal, like spend $30 and get $5 in Register Rewards. These Register Rewards are a credit that you can use on your next shopping trip. They spit out of the register when you make your purchase. You don’t have to do anything special to get them. All you have to do is pay attention to make sure you use them. Walgreen’s Register Rewards do expire, so lee[ track of the date.

A couple of rules you should know about:

1. One reward per item:You’re only allowed to use one Register Reward for each thing you purchase. So if you are buying a ten dollar makeup item, you would not be able to apply both a 3-dollar and a 2-dollar register reward to it.

2. No change:You do not get change back when you spend a Register Rewards credit. So, for maximum impact, Guerilla Grocery Shoppers will buy something that is just a tiny bit more expensive than their Register Reward.

BIG SECRET: Reap Rebates and Rewards Online

If there’s not a CVS or Walgreen’s near you, try shopping them online. Both drugstore chains make some or all of the same bargains and coupons available to cyber shoppers. Just go to their websites, and to read the rules.

CVS Rewards

If this is possible, CVS Rewards are even more over-the-top than the Walgreen’s ones. Kristin and Chrissy of report cutting their drugstore costs 75-percent by learning the ins and outs of CVS offers.

CVS calls its rewards “Extra Care Bucks.” Like at Walgreen’s, they print out at the end of your receipt. A CVS Extra Care reward is almost as good as cash on your next visit to CVS. Guerilla Grocery Shoppers who use these Extra Care Bucks strategically can get loads of merchandise for free or even earn money back.

There are three ways to get Extra Care Bucks:

1. First, CVS gives you a reward of two percent of your spending each quarter. You don’t have to be a regular. As long as you have a CVS Extra Care card, you can earn this credit.

2. The second way is to take advantage of offers listed in the monthly CVS Extra Care catalog. For example, one frequent offer is buy $20 worth of products and get $10 in Extra Care Bucks.

3. The third method is to buy specific products advertised in the Extra Care catalog that are eligible for an Extra Care Bucks reward. For example, the offer could be that if you buy a four-pack of GE lightbulbs for $4.99, you will be awarded $2 in Extra Care Bucks.

The CVS Extra Care Catalog is different from the CVS circular. It is available only in CVS stores. But here’s a hot tip: the Guerilla Grocery Shoppers at scan the CVS Extra Care catalog and post it online so you can look for great deals from the comfort of home.

BIG SECRET: Store clerks often forget to enter your loyalty card.

If you shop at a store where you swipe your own loyalty card or enter your phone number, then it’s up to you to remember. But if your store has you hand your card to the clerk, make sure they do enter it. Serious shoppers report getting home only to find that they weren’t given the store club card savings. Since so many sales are only available to members, this is a big deal. Drugstore deals are even more tied to your loyalty card so check your receipt before you leave.

Here are the rules you need to know to take full advantage of CVS Extra Care Bucks:

1. Expiration date: CVS Extra Care Bucks expire a month after the register spits them out.

2. No change: Like at Walgreen’s, you don’t get change back when you redeem one. So it’s important to plan a purchase that is slightly over the amount of Extra Care Bucks you want to redeem.

3. Higher purchase:Your total bill must be more than the amount of your Extra Care Bucks. If it is less, you need to add another item to your purchase to make it higher.

There are also some CVS policies that work in your favor. You can do Coupon Combos using Extra Care Bucks! You can combine them with sales, with manufacturer coupons and even with other CVS store coupons for a quadruple whammy! Here are a couple of example where we combine four different savings strategies for a deep discount. First, one for the ladies:

Clairol Perfect 10 Haircolor

Regular price: $11.88

Sale price: $9.99

Manufacturer coupon: $3

Extra Care Bucks: $2

Final Price= $4.99


Now, another for the guys:

Schick Intuition Razor cartridges

Regular price: $9.06

Sale price: $6.99

Extra Care Bucks: $2

Manufacturer coupon: $2

Final Price= $2.99


The amazing thing at the drugstore chains is that Guerilla Grocery Shoppers can actually makemoney on their purchases, in the form of a store credit. Here’s a really basic one. Oral B Mouthwash costs $2.99, but CVS is offering $2.99 in Extra Care Bucks if you buy it. Great, free mouthwash. But wait! There is also a one dollar manufacturer coupon for Oral B Mouthwash. Since the two savings opportunities come from different sources, you can combine them and get money back!

Oral B Mouthwash

Regular price: $2.99

Extra Care Bucks: $2.99

Manufacturer coupon: $1


There you have it. We paid negative one dollar for a bottle of mouthwash. We got money back! Guerilla Grocery Shoppers who work the angles at CVS end up with 15 to 20 dollars in credit each month, which they use to make their next purchases. If those purchases are also eligible for Extra Care Bucks, the cycle of savings continues.

BIG SECRET: Scan your CVS card to print out coupons.

Each CVS has a couple of price check boxes somewhere in the store. If you scan the bar code on your CVS Extra Care Card, the machine will spit out instant store coupons. These are great because they can be combined with Extra Care Bucks and with manufacturer coupons. You can scan your card twice each time you visit.

I once did a GMA segment with Kristin McKee and Chrissy Pate, the two Missouri moms who became Guerilla Grocery Shoppers to feed their families. Now, they run a website called where they teach others how to SAVE BIG. We loaded up a table full of a hundred different groceries that would normally cost $369.75. Then, we asked our studio audience to try to guess how much Kristin and Chrissy paid for the entire pile.

Not one person got the answer right. You know why? Because their cost was better than free! They actually got a store creditof $6.20! That’s right. The store paid Chrissy and Kristin to take all those goodies home! And it was drugstore rebate and reward purchases that made this little coup possible.


  • Register at rebate redemption websites so stores can track that you’re tracking them.
  • Apply for Walgreen’s rebates online once a month.
  • Go back to Walgreen’s cyclically to use your Register Rewards.
  • Combine CVS Extra Care Bucks with sales, manufacturer coupons and store coupons.
  • Make sure you use your rewards before they expire.

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