Save money; buy more movie tickets

Megan Burris | Staff Writer

Wouldn’t it be nice to buy an eight-pack of paper towels, a razor and a tube of toothpaste —all name brands—for $1.81? This is what many shoppers are doing at stores like Rite Aid, CVS and Walgreens. By using coupons, sales and reward programs together, it is even possible to make money shopping.

Learning to discount shop can be complicated but well worth the effort. Chantel Holloway, an employee of Rite Aid, says she understands customers who discount shop regularly because of tough times.

Laura Rogers, writer of the frugal shopping blog “Mrs. Rogers’ Frugal Neighborhood,” says that discount shopping gets easier with practice. The programs at each store are different, but she learned one store at a time and is now saving, on average, $1,000 a month.

The first step to saving is learning the lingo. “CRT” is cash register tape, the coupons that print at the end of a receipt. “Circulars” are booklets brimming with store coupons. Price Scanners available in some stores will print store coupons as well. “CFCs” are clip-free coupons, which the teller deducts automatically at checkout. CFCs usually last for an extended period. “MCs” are manufacturer’s coupons, and “$/$$” coupons are money off when a certain amount is spent (before coupons).

After mastering the language, the next step is to learn how to work the systems. “” is a website with several primers on how to shop inexpensively. The guide on CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreens store policies explains the reward programs and the order to present coupons at each store. The guides also discuss splitting transactions, a key element in discount shopping.

Next, build up a stash of coupons. There are many coupon sites on the web.,,, and are just a few examples. Find the coupons, pair manufacturer and store coupons, and pair them with any sales or clearances and the store reward programs, and it is possible to make money shopping.

Sometimes, the “money-maker” deals are on un-needed items. Buying them anyway will add to a shopper’s store credit, which can be used to buy essentials. Unwanted items can be donated, given as gifts or even sold on Ebay.

Some handy tips: always make a plan before going to the store. Many people maintain blogs online where they have already found the deals and posted them. Bring a calculator to the store, and be prepared for odd looks. Remember to be polite and let others go in front when more than two transactions have been planned. Watch expiration dates. Some stores will accept expired coupons but most will not.

Wilmington is a great place to discount shop. There are three CVS stores: one on Oleander, one on South 17th, and one on Carolina Beach Road. Walgreens has four locations: Oleander, 17th Street, Racine, and Market. Rite Aid has three stores located on Oleander, Carolina Beach Road, and Dawson Street. A quick search online will find exact addresses.