We are re-visiting some of our Couponing 101 Series posts on behalf of all our new readers and fans, as well as anyone who may have missed any in the past!

I decided to start with the questions that are most frequently emailed to me and posted to our facebook page by those just starting out with Coupons.

Today’s FAQ’s are:

What is a Register Reward ( RR ) ?

What are ECB’s (ExtraCare Bucks) ?

What are +Up’s ?

All 3 of these are essential to use when shopping the drug stores to save hugely, shop for Free and for moneymaker scenarios.

RR’s = Register Rewards which are printed after your purchase of specific items each week at Walgreens
ECB’s = ExtraCare Bucks which are printed on the bottom of your receipt after purchase of specific items each week at CVS
+Up’s = +Up Dollars / Rewards which are printed on the bottom of your receipt after purchase of specific items each week at Rite Aid

These are NOT coupons-they are spendable in that store just like regular Cash Dollars. You’ll need to note that they DO have an expiration date.

Here are some recent reader questions that might also be helpful to someone else that is new:

” on the bottom of my receipt at cvs i have 5.99 ecb and a 25% percent off next purchase …can i use these together? ”
Yes! The ECB’s spend just like dollars – you can combine that with manufacturer coupons, store coupons and a total transaction Q (like the 25% off) . You want to make sure you hand over the 25% off coupon to be scanned AFTER all coupons but BEFORE you use any ECB’s.

” How does the extra care bucks work? does it just fly right off your bill? ”
” So with your coupon matchup that says it’s free after the $5 +Up, Do I just hand the cashier the tax and she’ll apply my $5 +Up? ”
We wish it worked like this ! The best way I can explain the advantage of the RR, +Up or ECB system if you are just starting out is this:

Yes, you will pay OOP (out of pocket) for the initial purchase. You will get the stated amount back after that purchase. For seasoned couponers, we rarely pay OOP because we have existing +Up, ECB’s or RR’s that we use instead of cash. If you’re just starting you will pay out of pocket until you get on a “roll” with it.

Here’s an example of how to work it to your advantage when you do have to pay OOP.

Say I need a gallon of milk. I go into drugstore X to get the milk. Instead of just paying for my milk, I grab their weekly circular and find an item that is offering +Ups, ECB’s or RR’s and match up any coupons I have to that item that will make it free or nearly free. I purchase that item in order to get those Reward Dollars back, which I then use to pay for my milk.

That way, I’ve spent the same amount of money I would have spent on the milk I needed, but I now also have another item that I basically got for Free.

As you shop each week and take advantage of each weeks offers, you will keep a “credit” of those reward dollars, so that your transactions “roll” and you pay very little out of pocket.

I hope I’ve explained this in a way that is easy to understand! I know it can be very confusing when you are just starting out, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be shopping for Free & Huge discounts each week to help save your family money!