How to Coupon

Carefully Check that Coupon for Restrictions

Posted on Thursday, January 14th, 2016 at 7:05 am
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Grocery CouponsDid you find an excellent coupon that you are excited to use? Everyone loves to save money, and coupons are an easy way to do that. Make sure you take the time to carefully check that coupon for restrictions. What looks like a great coupon at first glance might turn out to be so limited that it isn’t very useful at all.

Some coupon restrictions are easy to spot. Coupons that say “buy one, get one free” in big letters on the front of the coupon make it clear that in order to get the freebie, you need to buy one of the same kind of product. Coupons have expiration dates that restrict the time frame under which it can be used. Most people understand how those restrictions work.

Unfortunately, not all restrictions are easy to see. Companies are making coupons that have a ton of teeny tiny fine print on them. In that small, hard to read, portion, are additional restrictions. This tactic is a mean trick played by stores.

The stores know that people will come in if they have an excellent coupon that they want to use. They know that consumers who visit a store in order to use a coupon will very likely make additional purchases. So, the store produces what appears to be a really good coupon.

Unfortunately, the store also chooses to be sneaky and load up that coupon with tons of restrictions. Those restrictions are listed in very small print that is frequently located on the back of the coupon. Consumers don’t learn about those restrictions until they are already at the register. Obviously, the result is a lot of angry people who feel like they were tricked by a coupon.

Here are a few things to look for in the fine print restrictions part of a coupon:

Restaurant coupons might restrict what days of the week the coupon can be used, or may restrict use of the coupon to dinner, only.

Department store coupons might have restrictions that prevent a consumer from using that coupon to get a discount on items from certain sections of the store. Often, the coupon cannot be used on electronics – but it is not unheard of for other sections of the store to be restricted as well.

Is the store having a sale or a big clearance? The awesome coupon you got that influenced you to come into the store more than likely has a restriction that prevents you from using it on items that have already been discounted.

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When Should You Pay Full Price?

Posted on Tuesday, January 12th, 2016 at 4:51 pm
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Everyone loves to save money with coupons and sales.  There are times when you really should pay full price for something.People who frequently use coupons are doing it because it is a way to save money. Extreme couponers take this concept and run with it. It is obviously important to save money, but there are situations where you really should pay full price.

When to Pay Full Price

When You Need to Buy Staples
The foods that your family most frequently uses are called “staples”. For many families, these include things like milk, eggs, and bread. It’s great when you can save money on these foods with a coupon or when there is a sale.

When the sale is over, and you don’t have a coupon, you should pay full price for the staples your family needs. Your family can’t really do without those foods. It’s normal for prices on these foods to fluctuate, so you will get to buy them for less than full price again in the future.

When You Love a Specific Brand
There are a lot of people who strongly prefer a specific brand of soda. That works out just fine when the preferred brand is on sale. Many grocery stores will have a special deal that makes a pack of soda cost less when you buy three or more packs.

Eventually, that special deal is going to end. If your family is not going to drink a different brand of soda, it won’t do you any good to buy a non-preferred brand, even if it is on sale. Foods that do not get consumed end up being a waste of money. You should pay full price for brand your family likes.

When Quality is the Most Important Thing
You’ve got a coupon for a brand of cheese that you don’t often use. When you read the ingredients, you discover that it contains a lot of stuff that you would prefer not to eat. There are other brands of cheese that have more natural ingredients, but you don’t have a coupon for any of them.

It is understandable that the quality of the ingredients in the food are important to you. In situations like this one, it is best to pay full price for “the good stuff”.

When Someone has Food Allergies
Is someone in your family allergic to dairy, eggs, fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, or wheat? There are now several products that are made without (at least some of) those ingredients.

Unfortunately, some (but not all) of the brands that are allergy-friendly tend to be more expensive than the “regular” version of the same food. It can be difficult to find coupons for these brands. You should pay full price for the allergy-free product that you, or a family member, can safely eat.

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Coupons Are Not Worth Fighting About

Posted on Thursday, January 7th, 2016 at 7:00 am
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Coupons Are Not Worth Fighting AboutThere are some couponers who will get extremely excited when they find a good coupon. They look forward to using it and saving money.

It is understandable that a person could feel disappointed, upset, or embarrassed, when the cashier refuses to honor their coupon. No matter what emotions you are feeling in that situation, coupons are not worth fighting about.

Some people believe that the best method of ensuring that they get the customer service they want is to throw a fit. They think that fighting with the cashier, demanding to speak to a manager, and holding up the line at the register is going to influence a cashier to take an expired coupon.

Why do people behave that way? It is probably because doing so has worked for them in the past. Some stores have policies in place to placate customers who are loud and disgruntled.

There are very good reasons why coupons are not worth fighting about. We live in a world where nearly everyone has a smartphone. People no longer hesitate to whip out their smartphone and take a video of a person who is behaving badly in public. The couponer who throws a fit may find a video of their bad behavior being circulated on the internet.

It is also possible that the fight a person chooses to start with a cashier could lead to legal issues. A grandmother and grandson discovered this after they started an argument with a cashier who would not accept their Coca-Cola coupon.

The grandson, who was a teenager, allegedly became very upset. The grandmother allegedly continued to yell at the cashier. Someone called the police. It is unclear who it was, but another shopper told police that he was offended by the profanity the grandmother was using. Long story short, the grandmother and grandson were booked on two counts of disorderly conduct (and other charges).

There are other reasons why you shouldn’t start a fight with a cashier over a coupon. Keep in mind that your cashier is not the person who created the store’s coupon policy. He or she has no authority to change it – not even when a customer starts screaming about a rejected coupon. Pushing a cashier to take an expired coupon might save you a little money, but it could cost that cashier his or her job.

What can you do when a cashier refuses to accept your coupon? Most people just shrug and recycle the coupon. One rejected coupon is not the end of the world. Your other coupons probably were accepted, so you ended up saving money anyway.

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Are You Couponing Correctly?

Posted on Tuesday, January 5th, 2016 at 7:00 am
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Coupons are great, but that doesn't mean they are always going to be your best choice for saving money.  You might be couponing incorrectly.People use coupons because they are a quick and easy way to save some money and stretch their dollars. Our love of coupons makes it easy for us to make mistakes that could end up costing money (instead of saving us money). Are you couponing incorrectly?

How to Avoid Couponing Mistakes

Your Family Doesn’t Like That Brand
The members of your family strongly prefer a specific brand of soda. You brought home a different brand because you had a coupon for it. Maybe it was the store’s version of that flavor of soda. Perhaps it was a similar soda from a competing brand.

You probably thought that coupon was going to save you money on soda this week. Instead, your family complains about the unfamiliar or unfavored brand of soda you brought home. The next day, your spouse brings home a case or two of the preferred brand. That coupon cost you more money than it saved you.

You Didn’t Do The Math
Busy people who have to rush through grocery shopping might not take the time to do the math and work out the best deal. You came to the store with a coupon for a specific brand of cereal. You find it, toss it in your cart, and continue shopping.

If you had taken a moment to look, you may have discovered that there was a better deal than the savings that the coupon gave you. That coupon saved you fifty cents on the cereal. The competing brand may have been seventy-five cents cheaper than the brand you selected (even with the discount from the coupon). The store brand might be even less expensive, especially if the store’s loyalty card gives you an automatic discount.

You Bought More Than You Can Use
Something happens when people see “Buy One, Get One Free” on a coupon. Everyone loves the opportunity to get something for free. At first glance, it sounds like that coupon saved you a lot of money.

Look closer, and it becomes clear that these kind of coupons are usually for the largest sizes of the product. If the product is something that your family uses, and consumes quickly, then the coupon may have given you a good deal. If not, you may end up throwing both products away before they got used up. That coupon made you waste money!

You Aren’t Using Couponing Apps
There’s nothing wrong with getting coupons from your Sunday paper. But, if you aren’t using at least a couple of couponing apps – you are really missing out! Couponing has gone mobile, and those apps offer special coupons, sales, and deals that you will never find in the Sunday paper.

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American Shoppers Prefer Paper Coupons

Posted on Thursday, December 17th, 2015 at 7:00 am
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Clipping CouponsIt is no secret that Americans love coupons. Anything that can simply, and reliably, save a person some money will always be popular. A survey discovered that American shoppers prefer certain kinds of coupons over the other varieties.

A survey was done by Gfk Custom Research North America. It was commissioned by a website called CreditCards.com. The researchers asked 1,000 American adults about their coupon habits. It appears that all the adults who were questioned had credit and/or debit cards.

The researchers discovered something unexpected. American shoppers prefer paper coupons over digital coupons and printable coupons. They prefer clipping paper coupons over loading digital coupons onto their phones.

A senior industry analyst at the credit website that commissioned the survey believes that the preference for paper coupons might decrease as technology advances and consumers and brands become more comfortable using coupons electronically. It has been estimated that once the eCoupon process gets easier for people that 85% will shift away from paper coupon use.

Here is what the survey found:

* 85% of Americans use coupons at least occasionally.

* 63% of the 1,000 people in the survey who use coupons said that they most frequently present cashiers with coupons that came from newspapers, mailings, and other paper products.

* Paper coupon usage decreases with income and increases with age. In other words, the less money you have – the more paper coupons you will use. The survey found that as people age, they tend to use more paper coupons.

* Despite the previous finding, the survey also discovered that people who are 18 to 24 years old are using paper coupons about twice as much as any other types of coupons.

* The majority of the 1,000 people in the survey indicated that paper coupons were their first choice. 17% of the people in the survey preferred the type of coupon that allows them to enter a discount code online. Only 15% of the people surveyed preferred to present a coupon or discount code that is on their phone to the cashier.

Why are the 18-24 year olds, the most technologically savvy generation, still using paper coupons? The survey did not say. Perhaps it is because this group tends to have a high amount of student loan debt, and little option to obtain a high-paying job after graduation.

It is possible that they are using plenty of digital coupons, too. The younger generation may have figured out that it is sometimes possible to use a digital coupon and a paper coupon at the same time – for an even bigger savings than if they only used one kind of coupon.

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Make Sure You Read the Fine Print on Coupons

Posted on Tuesday, December 15th, 2015 at 7:00 am
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PancakesPeople can get excited over a really good coupon. It is easy to see why. Coupons help people stretch their dollars and save money. It is really important to take a moment to read the fine print on a coupon or special offer before you use it. Failure to do so could have some embarrassing results.

Denny’s frequently offers coupons to their customers. It is important to read the fine print on Denny’s coupons, just in case the offer changed since the last time you used that kind of coupon. Make sure you fully understand the restrictions and limitations that are on the coupon (or special offer) or you could run into problems.

A woman in the Chicagoland area incorrectly interpreted a special offer at Denny’s. It isn’t entirely clear whether the woman was using a Denny’s coupon, or if she was confused by a special offer that was on the menu. She ordered a $4 all-you-can-eat pancake special.

The woman believed that it was ok to place one order and share the pancakes with all of her friends who were sitting with her at the same table. The server noticed what was happening and explained to the woman that she could not do that. The coupon (or special offer) was for one person only. Sharing was not allowed.

It would be extremely easy to make this kind of mistake. For example, a parent might think the coupon (or special offer) would allow the parent to share the $4 all-you-can-eat pancakes with their child. It can be embarrassing to have a server come over to explain that you misunderstood what was offered.

The woman in the Chicagoland area, unfortunately, didn’t take very kindly to being told she could not share the $4 all-you-can-eat pancakes with her friends. An argument occurred, and police got involved.

Keep this story in mind when you use a coupon for a buffet. Some coupons offer a discount on two adult dinners – but only if each adult also purchases a drink. Most buffets prohibit customers from purchasing a meal, sitting and eating it, and then bringing food home with them. If you want carry-out, you have to pay for that, get your food, and leave the buffet.

Coupons from fast food places always have an expiration date on them. Make sure you check the date before you try and use the coupon. Is the fast food place selling special glasses, or toys, that go with a movie that is currently in theaters? The ad you saw for those items will say “while supplies last”.

Grocery store coupons also can contain some fine print. Read it. You can save yourself the embarrassment of having the cashier refuse your coupon because you selected the wrong brand or product size.

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Where to Get Coupons from Bed, Bath & Beyond

Posted on Thursday, December 10th, 2015 at 7:00 am
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Bed Bath and Beyond LogoAre you still getting the big, blue and white, coupon from Bed, Bath & Beyond in the mail? Many people have come to depend on them, and won’t shop the store unless they have that coupon in their hand. You might be getting less of those lovely coupons in the future.

Bed, Bath & Beyond has a coupon problem. The company has sent out so many of their popular 20% off coupons that it is actually costing them money! There is potential that Bed, Bath & Beyond might not start sending out the coupon less frequently than they have in the past.

Fortunately, there are other places to get Bed, Bath & Beyond coupons from. Start at the Bed, Bath and Beyond official website. The instant you arrive, a pop-up will appear that asks that you “Sign Up & Save”. People who join the store’s email list (and are first-time subscribers) will get a 20% off one single item in-store savings certificate. It appears the coupon will arrive in your email.

Did you know that Bed, Bath & Beyond has an official blog? It is called Above & Beyond. There is an offer at the top of the blog that is identical to the one on the official Bed, Bath & Beyond website. Sign up for their email and receive a 20% off one single item in-store saving certificate. It doesn’t specifically mention that the offer is for new subscribers (but that might be the case).

Check out the Bed, Bath and Beyond Facebook page. You can only do that if you have a Facebook account. It seems that Facebook has started blocking some brand pages from people who aren’t signed into Facebook. A brand’s Facebook page is a good place to look for coupons and other special offers.

Bed, Bath & Beyond also has a Twitter account. The brand uses Twitter to feature certain products, to share recipes, and to let people know about sweepstakes and contests. There is potential that they could, perhaps, start posting coupon codes there someday.

There is one more option for people who have an upcoming birthday or if Christmas is just around the corner. Ask your family to buy you gift cards from Bed, Bath & Beyond. A gift card is sort of like a coupon because you can use it to make your purchase a bit less expensive.

Don’t forget to check your mailbox for the big, blue and white, coupon! Bed, Bath, & Beyond has not officially said that they will stop sending people the popular coupon… yet.

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Tips for Holiday Couponing

Posted on Tuesday, December 8th, 2015 at 7:00 am
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You can save money if you use coupons, and coupon codes, while doing your holiday shopping.People look forward to celebrating the holidays with loved ones. Nobody looks forward to how high their credit card bill will be after the festivities end. One way to keep the cost of decorations, gifts, and other holiday related expenses down is by using these tips for holiday couponing.

4 Tips for Successful Holiday Couponing

Sign Up for Email
Visit your favorite retailer’s websites and sign up to receive their email. Doing so will give you access to money saving offers that are not available to people who don’t get that store’s email. You might get a first time subscriber discount just for signing up.

Email from stores can contain special coupons that cannot be found anywhere else. Or, you might get a coupon code to use when you shop on the retailer’s website. Sometimes, stores give the customers who are on their email lists access to fresh sales before the general public can shop them.

Look for Daily Deals
Retailers are hoping to make a ton of money during the holidays. As such, they are all in competition with each other for the attention of shoppers. To find the Daily Deals, you need to visit a retailer’s website. Stores tend to make it really obvious that they have Daily Deals to offer.

Daily Deals are another good reason to sign up for a retailer’s email. That email could contain information about Daily Deals that are coming up. That knowledge could help you beat the rush on a Daily Deal for a product you simply must have. Shoppers who didn’t get the email generally do not get advance notice about upcoming Daily Deals.

In addition to Daily Deals, retailers may be offering special coupons (or coupon codes) on their websites. These coupons usually don’t stick around for long. Be sure to take a look at your favorite retailer’s website more than once a day.

Browse Social Media
Take the time to check out the social media pages of the brands that you want to shop from during the holidays. Doing so is a good way to discover upcoming sales that might not have been widely advertised. You might also find coupon codes posted on a brand’s Facebook or Twitter account. Every so often, a brand will offer a printable coupon on their social media pages.

Use More than One Coupon Code
Many shoppers use one coupon code and assume that is the best deal they are going to get. Not necessarily! Some retailers will let consumers use more than one coupon code. Don’t forget to use coupon codes that save you money on shipping! If you enter a coupon code, and the website gives you another box to enter a second one, it cannot hurt to give it a try!

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Why Your Newspaper Didn’t Have Black Friday Coupons

Posted on Thursday, December 3rd, 2015 at 7:00 am
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newspaper-couponsBlack Friday is, without a doubt, the biggest, most anticipated, shopping event of the entire year. In addition to the sales, there are special coupons that are only found in newspaper inserts. Did your newspaper lack those coupons this year?

According to ABC News, advertisers release loads of coupons for Black Friday. Those coupons are worth thousands of dollars in savings. This batch of newspaper inserts is the biggest one of the entire year.

This year, people who purchased a newspaper on the day the huge batch of coupons was included as an insert were disappointed. The coupon inserts that they wanted, that were their main reason for buying the paper, were missing. Thieves rushed in early in the morning, stole the coupon inserts, and left the newspapers on the stands.

There are some people who get so excited about couponing that they are willing to “dumpster dive” in search of coupons. They go through newspapers that someone else purchased, read, and recycled in the hopes that the coupons will still be there. The Black Friday coupon thieves decided to steal the coupon inserts before anyone had the opportunity to buy the newspapers.

These kinds of behaviors are considered to be coupon fraud. It is illegal to take the coupons out of a newspaper that you did not purchase. Taking any part of a newspaper – including the coupon inserts – is stealing. Some stores watch their newsstands closely and will prosecute coupon thieves.

What can you do to prevent thieves from stealing the coupon inserts from your newspaper? The easiest way to ensure that your newspaper always contains the coupon inserts that it is supposed to have is to buy a subscription. Have the paper delivered to your door.

Paying for a newspaper subscription has a benefit that many people don’t know about. If the paper arrives at your door without the coupon inserts, you can take it to the newspaper’s office. They will do the best they can to replace the ads that were missing from your copy.

Buy your newspaper from a store that keeps all the newspapers behind the counter. You will have to get in line, wait for your turn, and immediately buy the paper from the cashier. These extra steps deter coupon thieves. They also prevent people from grabbing a paper and reading it for free while they sit in a cafe.

Are you about to buy a newspaper from an unattended stand in a store? Before you purchase it, check to see if the coupon inserts are still inside. If not, let the store manager know that someone stole the coupons. If enough people complain, the store might start putting newspapers behind the registers.

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That 50% Off Everything Coupon is Fake

Posted on Tuesday, December 1st, 2015 at 7:00 am
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Online CouponBlack Friday and Cyber Monday have passed by, but we are still within the time of year when a whole lot of extra shopping happens. It can be difficult to fit it all into your budget. Unfortunately, scammers are trying to take advantage of your desire to be frugal by creating fake coupons.

Recently, there have been several varieties of fraudulent coupons being passed around on Facebook. Each one of these fake coupons says that you can use it to get 50% off your entire purchase. You may have seen one for Target or one for Walmart, and there could be others out there, too.

If something looks too good to be true – it probably is. This old saying applies to coupons that appear to give you such a huge savings that you become very tempted to use them. Keep in mind that if you use one of these fake coupons, you could get in trouble for coupon fraud. The stores are not going to accept these fake coupons, and that could lead to a very embarrassing shopping experience (as everyone behind you in line judges you).

One way to tell if a coupon is fake is to visit the Coupon Information Center and view their list of coupon alerts. If you find a coupon mentioned in that list – you can be absolutely certain it is a fake coupon. The reverse isn’t necessarily true. If the questionable coupon you found isn’t on the list, it means that the Coupon Information Center hasn’t become aware of it yet. Not being on the list does not mean a particular coupon is the real thing.

Target offers coupons on its website. Those coupons are specific to Target and cannot be used anywhere else. Walmart also has its own coupons on its website. Before you click on, print out, or share a coupon that you see on Facebook, take a second or two to see if that coupon appears on the store’s real website. If you can’t find that coupon on the legitimate website, there is a good chance coupon you see on Facebook leads to a scam website.

Does the coupon look funny? That is a very bad sign. Big stores (like Target and Walmart) can afford to create good looking coupons. If the coupon you see being passed around looks like someone ran it through a copy machine – that means it is a fake coupon.

Another sign is if the coupon lacks a bar code, or if there is no expiration date listed. Blurry lettering, or typing that doesn’t sit right is a bad sign. If the font style, or the color of the text, seems different from the usual coupons from that store – don’t use the coupon.

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