How to Coupon

Things to Know About Pharmaceutical Coupons

Posted on Tuesday, July 11th, 2017 at 7:00 am
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pillsThere are coupons for just about everything you can think of – including prescription medications. Pharmaceutical coupons (also called to as “drug coupons) are produced by companies that make medications. The company tells consumers that the coupon will lower the cost of the medication they need. But, that’s not exactly correct.

There are two kinds of pharmaceutical coupons. One gives the consumer a discount on a specific brand name prescription drug. This type of coupon is distributed by the manufacturer of the medication. People who are uninsured cannot use these coupons.

The other type is a copayment coupon. This coupon is distributed by a third party coupon vendor – not the person’s health insurance company. When the consumer uses that coupon at a pharmacy, he or she won’t have to pay their co-payment.

At a glance, it sounds like both of those types of coupons will save you money. But, that’s not always true. For example, let’s say a person uses a drug coupon to buy his name brand prescription medication. The coupon will allow him to buy that drug for less money than it typically costs.

There are many brand name drugs that have generic versions. Usually, the generic version costs less than the name brand does. The drug coupon for the name brand might save you money on the name brand – but you might save more money if you purchase the generic version and skip the coupon.

What happens if a consumer uses a coupon in place of their copayment? The consumer doesn’t have to pay their copayment. They save that money. But, that’s a short-term way of looking at it.

According to Modern Medical Network, these kinds of coupons actually end up costing consumers more money overall. “As coupons increasingly shift spending toward pricey brand-name drugs, the net effect is greater pharmaceutical spending and higher health insurance premiums, which hurt those same consumers.”

In short, these types of coupons might save you a little money right now. But, you will end up spending more money on higher priced pharmaceuticals and health insurance premiums later on as a result.

There is another thing to consider. Some states do not allow pharmaceutical companies to offer coupons for brand name drugs. California has a bill going through state congress that would prohibit these coupons. Market Watch says that federal health programs are barring those they insure from using these kinds of coupons.

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How Amazon’s Purchase of Whole Foods Affects Coupons

Posted on Tuesday, July 4th, 2017 at 7:00 am
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rsz_1whole-foods-logoWhole Foods CEO John Mackey announced that his company had been purchased by Amazon. In general, when one company buys another – some changes are made. How will Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods affect coupons? We won’t know for certain until the partnership is completed – but some speculation can be found online.

The Herald Whig newspaper reported that Amazon has made a habit of collecting information on customers. It seems that industry experts think that there may be some crossover in higher-income customers who patronize Whole Foods as well as Amazon Prime.

There is speculation that perhaps, sometime in the future, there might be special discounts on items from Whole Foods that will only be offered to people who have an Amazon Prime membership. Those who frequent Whole Foods might be tempted to get an Amazon Prime membership for those extra deals.

Recently, Amazon began offering a Prime Membership for $5.99 per month or people who have a valid EBT card. The Amazon partnership with Whole Foods could result in helping people who have very low incomes to purchase organic food at an affordable price.

CNBC reported that there is the possibility that Amazon will choose to lower the prices at Whole Foods. If so, that could mean shoppers would have less of a need for coupons. After all, the main purpose of using coupons is to lower one’s grocery bill.

In the same CNBC article, there is the implication that Whole Foods might stop issuing coupons entirely. The reason is not one you might have guessed. Grocery stores tends to offer weekly promotions and manufacturer coupons to entice customers to shop there. Amazon has sold food online for quite some time, but it has never functioned like a typical grocery store would.

It might be possible for customers who shop at Whole Foods to be able to use digital coupons. There are some apps that provide users with digital coupons that are not directly connected to one, specific, store. It might be best for people to call their local Whole Foods, and ask about their new coupon policy, after the merger with Amazon is complete.

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Burger King has been Sued Over BOGO Coupon

Posted on Tuesday, June 13th, 2017 at 7:00 am
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Burger KingBOGO stands for “Buy One, Get One Free”. When a customer uses a BOGO coupon it means that they must purchase one item in order to get a second item for free. A woman in Maryland sued Burger King because their BOGO coupon allegedly wasn’t being rung up correctly.

The woman filed a class action lawsuit about the Burger King BOGO coupon. A class action lawsuit is one where a person sues not only on behalf of themselves, but also for others “similarly situated.”

The Burger King Coupon says “Free Croissan’wich with the purchase of a Croissan’wich Sandwich.” The woman who sued used that coupon. She alleges that Burger King charged a higher price for the Croissan’wich sandwich that she had to pay for in order to get a second one for free.

The woman’s lawyer argues that a consumer who used the Burger King coupon would have the expectation that “they will pay the same regular price for two identical Croissan’wiches as they would pay for a single Croissan’wich.” Wording in the lawsuit alleges that customers who used the Burger King coupon “unknowingly are forced to pay an inflated price for the first Croissan’wich they purchase in order to receive the second one for ‘free’”.

It is unclear what the result of the lawsuit will be, or how long it will take to get through the court system. Burger King does not appear to have made any public statements regarding this lawsuit.

What can consumers learn from this? It is a good idea to do the math when you use a BOGO coupon. Pretend you didn’t have a BOGO coupon and wanted to buy one item. What does that one item cost? When you use the BOGO coupon, pay attention to the amount of money you spent. If the math doesn’t add up, it is time to ask some questions.

It is also a good idea to read the fine print on the BOGO coupon. Make sure the coupon has not expired. Check to see if the coupon has limitations on it. Can it only be used on certain days? Can you use it at any time, or only during a specific few hours of the day? Can the BOGO coupon be used if the item on the coupon is currently on sale?

Find out of the BOGO coupon can be combined with other offers. Many of them cannot. For example, if Burger King had a special deal going on that allowed customers to buy a Crossan’wich for $1, that doesn’t mean that the price of the Crossan’wich for people who used the BOGO coupon would be $1. Those are two, separate, offers.

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Don’t Sell Your Stockpile

Posted on Tuesday, June 6th, 2017 at 7:00 am
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pantry-groceries-listPeople who absolutely love couponing might end up with a stockpile of coupons. This is great, because it means they have plenty of options to save money on their next grocery shopping trip. Some people use their couponing skills to create an at-home stockpile of food for their family. Both of those practices are legal – until and unless someone tries to sell their stockpile.

The Coupon Information Center (CIC) is the consumer’s best friend when it comes to coupons and couponing. If you are unsure about how to use a coupon correctly, or what coupons are known to be fraudulent, the CIC can help you figure that out.

Stockpiling coupons is legal if you do it right. It is legal to subscribe to your local newspaper in order to receive the coupons that come with it. It is legal to go to Coupons.com and print out the coupons you want to use. It is legal to use coupon apps with digital coupons. All of this is fine.

Don’t steal other people’s newspapers and take their coupons. Coupon thieves can face felony charges. Purchasing extra coupons from your newspaper carrier is illegal. It is also illegal to photocopy coupons, and doing so means you could be charged with counterfeiting.

Sometimes, extreme couponers decide to stop. They might reduce their coupons to a smaller amount to make them more manageable. Or, they might be burned out and ready to quit collecting coupons. If this happens to you – DO NOT sell your stockpile of coupons. Selling coupons is illegal.

Extreme couponers tend to fill a portion of their home (or garage) with a stockpile of food. They use that stockpile to feed their family. Some couponers stockpile other goods, such as razors, deodorants, toothbrushes, and toilet paper. All of this is perfectly legal. Keep in mind, though, that selling your stockpile of products that you were able to get at a discount by using coupons is illegal.

The CIC says: “Coupons are intended to give individual consumers a good deal, not provide a method for people to set up unauthorized grocery stores or flea markets in their garages, basements, or backyards. Such sales usually violate the terms and conditions of the coupons themselves and may be in violation of local health codes.”

It is ok to give some of your stockpile to your son or daughter who is living away from home and attending college. You can safely, and legally, donate your stockpile to a food bank. Call them first and ask what they need. What you cannot do is turn your basement or garage into a resale shop.

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How to Coupon Without Going to Extremes

Posted on Tuesday, May 9th, 2017 at 7:00 am
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Android Smart PhoneThe extreme couponing fad may be over for most people. It takes a lot of time, effort, and organizational skills. If you don’t love doing it – it starts to feel like work. Fortunately, there are ways to get the most out of your couponing without going to extremes.

Extreme couponing became popular during the recession. People lost their jobs and suddenly had to find ways to keep their family fed on less income. This interest in extreme couponing led to television programs about extreme couponers (sometimes competing in contests). It gave people the impression that it was super easy to do, and some might have been disappointed to learn that extreme couponing requires a lot of work.

You don’t have to be an extreme couponer in order to get the most from the coupons that you use. Try some of these tips.

Be picky
You find a good coupon for a product that you just don’t see yourself using – or enjoying. Or, the coupon is for a product from a brand your family does not prefer. Don’t use that coupon! Instead, choose coupons for things that you, and your family, will actually use.

Use Coupon Apps
The coupon apps that connect to the store you shop at can save you both time and money. You won’t have to search the internet, and the newspapers, for coupons. The store has them all, right there, in the app. It takes seconds to select the coupons you want to use. These types of apps frequently offer special deals and coupons that are only found in the app.

Loyalty Cards
Get the loyalty card from your favorite grocery store. It doesn’t cost anything. Just like that, you have access to tons of deals all over the store. Those special discounts are only available to people who have the store’s loyalty card. The savings is automatically discounted at the register. You don’t have to spend any time hunting for coupons.

Some of the grocery store loyalty cards allow you to add digital coupons to it. Before you shop, take a minute to check the store’s website and load your loyalty card with coupons for products you were planning on buying.

Get Email from Brands
Some brands have switched from offering coupons on their website, to anyone who visits it, to limiting their coupon offers to customers who have signed up for the brand’s email. Sign up, and you can end up with coupons periodically emailed directly to you from the brand. Print out the coupon before you go shopping.

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Beware of Mother’s Day Coupon Scams

Posted on Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017 at 4:44 pm
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Scam sign from PixabayIn the United States, Mother’s Day always falls on a Sunday in May. This year, Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 14, 2017. People are looking for great gifts that they can give to their moms. Unfortunately, scammers are trying to take advantage of this situation. Beware of Mother’s Day coupon scams!

Many of this year’s Mother’s Day coupon scams are appearing on Facebook. One of them is a fake Lowe’s coupon that supposedly gives the coupon holder $50 off their next purchase. It is aimed toward people who have mothers who like to DIY.

The scam involving a fake Lowe’s coupon is a phishing scam. People assume the coupon is real because someone they trust posted it on Facebook. When a person clicks on the link connected to the fake coupon, they are asked to fill out a survey.

The survey asks for personal information. People think that they are giving that information to Lowe’s – but they are really giving it to a scammer. Just clicking on the link to that survey is dangerous because it could enable a scammer to put malware on someone’s computer.

The scam requires people to fill out the survey before they can get the too-good-to-be-true coupon. They also have to share the fake Lowe’s coupon post on Facebook (or whatever social media website they saw it on). People assume they will receive the coupon after doing those things. In this case, it appears that absolutely no one is receiving the coupon.

Even if they did receive the coupon, they couldn’t use it. People who use fake coupons are engaging in coupon fraud and could face serious legal consequences. Being unaware that the coupon was fake does not excuse the crime.

There is also a fake Bed Bath & Beyond coupon that is being passed around on social media right now. This fake coupon says that it gives a person $75 off their purchase. Bed Bath & Beyond has made a statement that the too-good-to-be-true coupon that is going around Facebook did not come from them. They are working with Facebook to have that fake coupon removed from the social media site.

If you see a Mother’s Day coupon scam on Facebook, you should report it. Don’t click on the link of anything that seems fishy. Report the scam to Facebook so they become aware of it.

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Wegmans Glitch Resulted In Extra Coupon Emails

Posted on Tuesday, April 11th, 2017 at 7:00 am
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WegmansA serious couponer’s wildest dream might be to have tons of digital coupons sent to their email from their favorite grocery store. Imagine the savings if you could use all those coupons in one trip! This event actually happened to some customers of Wegmans. It wasn’t what they were expecting.

Wegmans Food Markets introduced digital coupons last year. The program was designed to be easy to use, to help people save money, and to give people a better shopping experience.

The Wegmans digital coupon program did not require customers to have a smartphone. Customers could use their mobile device or their desktop computer to clip coupons digitally directly to their Shoppers Club account. Customers could browse coupons online. It appears that Wegmans sent out email to Shoppers Club account holders to alert them when new coupons were available.

Recently, a glitch in the Wegmans’ system sent duplicate emails to Wegmans Shoppers Club members. It wasn’t just a few emails, either. Some customers found that their inboxes had been filled with email from Wegmans. One customer posted on Twitter that she got 13 duplicate emails from Wegmans.

At first glance, this situation might sound like a couponer’s dream come true. Who doesn’t want lots and lots of easily accessible coupons? Unfortunately, the reality of what happened wasn’t quite what some people may have thought it would be. People wouldn’t actually be able to receive, and use, all those multiple digital coupons.

The verified Twitter account of Wegmans Food Markets apologized for the mistake. Their tweet said: “We’re excited about digital coupons, but that’s not why we sent so many emails to some customers. It was a system glitch and we apologize.” It was nice of them to let customers know what happened and to explain why the customers may have gotten way too many emails from Wegmans in their inboxes.

This strange situation is a good example of why couponers need to pay attention to things. If a coupon offer looks too good to be true, it probably is. Wegmans didn’t intend to send out so many emails about their digital coupons. It was an honest mistake.

It is important to use critical thinking when you are emailed an offer about coupons. If something looks “off” – be wary. Don’t click on any links in emails that seem questionable. When in doubt, check the Twitter account of the store that sent the email. There could be some useful information there about what happened!

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“Coupon Fairy” Can Never Use Coupons .com Again

Posted on Tuesday, April 4th, 2017 at 7:00 am
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Find out why the "Coupon Fairy" can never use Coupons .com again.Couponers love Coupons.com because it provides plenty of coupons for their favorite brands. It is a safe, legitimate, source of coupons. What would you do without Coupons.com? One woman is finding that out after being banned for life from the popular coupon website.

Coupons in the News reported about a lawsuit that was filed by Quotient Technology (owner of Coupons.com) against a “Coupon Fairy” who was not using Coupons.com in the way it was intended. That lawsuit has come to a settlement. The name of the “Coupon Fairy” has not been fully released, but Quotient Technology has that information.

A “Coupon Fairy” is a person who engages in coupon fraud. The person prints out more coupons than they are allowed to and attempts to sell them to other couponers. In short, the “Coupon Fairies” are making money off of coupons that people are generally able to get for free.

This particular “Coupon Fairy” got caught because of a post she made on Facebook. She used her Facebook account, with her real name on it, to post about where people could find her on Instagram. She was using her Instagram account to sell coupons. It appears that this is how Quotient Technology was able to put a name with the IP address that was using Coupons.com incorrectly.

The settlement between Quotient Technology requires the “Coupon Fairy” to destroy all Coupons.com coupons that were still in her possession. She also has to “perpetually cease and desist from selling, giving away, or otherwise transferring coupons obtained through any site in the Quotient Promotions Network for her own commercial purposes and/or personal gain.”

The “Coupon Fairy” provided Quotient Technology with a copy of the computer program that she used to get around Coupon.com’s print limits. She also had to tell Quotient Technology where she got that computer program from.

A little over a year ago, Coupons.com disabled the zip code changing function on their website. This change irritated some couponers who liked to put in different zip codes in order to obtain coupons that were not for the area that they lived in.

It is impossible to say if that change was what caused the “Coupon Fairy” to use Coupons.com in a way that it was not intended to be used. Sadly, her actions, (and those of other “Coupon Fairies) are going to cause coupons to become more scarce. A manufacturer stops accepting coupons after the print limit has been hit. This means people who legitimately obtained the coupons might not be able to use them because the scammers brought multiple copies of the coupon to the grocery store first!

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Texas Applebee’s Locations Will Take All Coupons in March

Posted on Tuesday, March 14th, 2017 at 7:00 am
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Some Applebee's locations in Texas are participating in a wild promotional offer during the month of March. They are accepting all kinds of coupons.Some Applebee’s locations in Texas are participating in a wild promotional offer during the month of March. They are accepting all kinds of coupons at certain locations. Will that offer influence you to take your family to Applebee’s in March of 2017?

Applebee’s locations in Texas are participating in a unique offer.  They are allowing customers to redeem any and all gift cards, gift certificates and coupons at their restaurants.

It appears that this unique offer is only good at the Texas Applebee’s locations – not in any other states. You can benefit from this promotion in 67 Applebee’s locations in Texas, including DFW, Houston, Austin, Waco, East Texas, and surrounding locations.

Apple Texas franchises 67 Applebee’s locations in Texas. It announced that it will honor all gift cards, expired or not, from any business through March 31, 2017. In addition, it will also accept coupons (including expired ones), and gift certificates, from any store. The promotion is not limited to coupons and gift cards from other restaurants, such as Olive Garden. They are have accepted coupons from Lowe’s and Kohl’s Cash.

To be more specific, the Applebee’s offer is for up to 50% off of food purchases with any paper/plastic/printed coupon or gift card. The offer may not be combined with any other Applebee’s discounted offers and may not be applied to alcohol. Guests are encouraged to call their local Applebee’s with any questions they may have.

If you happen to live near one of the Applebee’s locations that are participating in this unique offer, it may be worth it to dine there sometime in March. It is an opportunity to use up a great coupon that expired before you could take it to the grocery store. Did you get a gift card for Christmas from a store you never shop at? Take that gift card to Applebee’s and turn it into a meal.

CBS Austin compiled the following list of Austin-area Applebee’s that are participating:

  • 6315 S Interstate Highway 35, Austin
  • 5010 West Highway 290, Austin
  • 7522 N I-35 Service Rd S, Austin
  • 501 US Hwy. 290 West, Brenham
  • 11013 Lakeline Mall Drive, Cedar Park
  • 350 S Interstate Highway 35, Georgetown
  • 2700 Parker Rd Ste A, Round Rock
  • 103 Carlos G Parker Blvd NW, Taylor

Why would the Applebee’s locations in Texas make this offer? The reason is because it might generate sales. People who have never been to Applebee’s before may decide to give it a try – now that they can get a nice discount on their food. Other people, who used to dine at Applebee’s, and have since stopped, might come in again.

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Kroger Ends “Senior Day” and “Double Coupons”

Posted on Tuesday, March 7th, 2017 at 7:00 am
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The Kroger store near you will stop offering the "Senior Day" discount and will not longer double coupons.Kroger is about to end two of their discount programs. This decision will probably make some customers very disappointed. It appears that Kroger is making changes that it believes will enable more customers to benefit from lower prices.

Kroger used to have a discount program for seniors that many called “Senior Day”. It was a grocery discount that had been given for generations.

Originally, Kroger offered seniors a 10 percent discount one day a month. In 2014, Kroger cut that discount to 5 percent. The “Senior Day” program was available to anyone 59 years old and up. The discount could only be used on private label Kroger brands.

Some Kroger stores have already stopped offering the “Senior Day” discount. Others will stop offering it soon. The change effects 96 stores in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Indiana.

All Kroger stores will cease to offer the “Senior Day” discount on March 15, 2017. In addition, Kroger will stop allowing coupon doubling. This change is likely to annoy some extreme couponers.

Coupon Doubling is when a store takes your coupon and matches the value of it (up to a certain amount). For example, let’s say you have a coupon for $1 off a certain product. The store takes your coupon, gives you the $1 dollar discount – and gives you an additional $1 off that product. This will no longer be happening at Kroger stores.

Kroger issued a statement about why they made these changes:

“We are constantly working to bring every customer the most value for their grocery shopping dollar. We recognize some seniors have a limited budget to fulfill their personal grocery shopping needs. In recent years, we have introduced more ways than ever before to save at Kroger and on Kroger.com. We’ve committed to lowering thousands of prices on the items that our customers purchase most often, including Kroger (corporate) brand products. We continue to accept print coupons and we also offer 100s of digital coupons that are available to download at Kroger.com and on the free Kroger app. We encourage customers to view our weekly circular to find special pricing, promotions, and events.”

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