How to Coupon - Part 35
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How to Coupon

Rules About Food Stamps and Coupons

Posted on Wednesday, April 25th, 2012 at 8:12 am
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Federal Food assistance programs, such as WIC or SNAP, and state food assistance programs, such as CalFresh, are designed to help low-income people to provide food and good nutrition for themselves and their families.  Many of these programs were once called Food Stamps.  There is some confusion about how food assistance programs work with coupons.  Here is some information that should help clear things up.

The first thing to realize is that food assistance programs no longer use actual food stamps.  Some of them may send people their benefits in the form of special coupons.  Most of these programs have updated they way that people receive their benefits to something much more convenient.  If you become eligible for a food assistance program today, it is very likely that your benefits will be distributed via an electronic debit card.

There has been some confusion about if people who are using what was once called Food Stamps are allowed to use grocery coupons.  The short answer is yes, (but there are some limitations).  A lot of people will find that when they first become eligible for a food assistance program, they are encouraged to use as many coupons as possible, in order to help them to save money.

The SNAP program is the new name for the federal Food Stamps program.  The WIC program is another federal food assistance program.  Each state will have their own programs, that may go by different names.  The exact type of foods that you can use your food assistance benefits on may vary by state.  For the federal programs, there are specific guidelines.

You can use SNAP benefits to buy breads and cereals, fruits and vegetables, meats, fish, poultry, and dairy products.  You can also use your benefits to purchase soft drinks, candy, cookies, snack crackers and ice cream.  Seafood, steak, and bakery cakes are also permitted.  Energy drinks that have a nutrition facts label are also okay.  Pumpkins are allowed.  It is perfectly acceptable to use coupons for those types of groceries along with your food assistance program benefits.

People who use food stamps or food assistance benefits are not supposed to be charged tax for grocery purchases.  However, it seems that several stores are charging people tax on the items that they used a coupon on.  This is due to a quirk with the registers.  They will automatically charge tax on couponed items. The stores then require the shopper to pay the tax in cash.  Check with a store manager before you shop, to see if that store charges tax on coupons used with food stamps.  Not all of them will.

 

 

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Printable Restaurant Coupons – Week of April 4, 2012

Posted on Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012 at 11:58 am
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It is easy to save money while you are dining out.  All you need are some printable restaurant coupons!  Here are a bunch that you can use this week.  Check over this list to see which coupons will work best for your family.

Mrs. Fields has a coupon with no expiration date!  The coupon is for six free cookies with your purchase of a 14” or larger Big Cookie Cake.

Jack in the Box has a coupon with no expiration date!  This coupon is for a free Birthday Dessert during the week of your birthday.  Choose from Chocolate Overload Cake or New York Cheesecake.  Be prepared to show your ID when you use this coupon.

Del Taco has a coupon for a Free Crispy Shrimp Taco with any purchase.  This coupon will expire on April 6, 2012.

Bob Evans has a coupon for a Free Breakfast, (with the purchase of a breakfast of equal or greater value).  This coupon is not valid on Sundays.  This coupon will expire on April 7, 2012.

Rubios has a coupon that will let you purchase a Cabo Plate for $8.49.  This coupon will expire on April 8, 2012.

Great American Cookies has a coupon that will give you either $2.00 off the purchase of a 16” or larger cookie cake, OR 6 free cookies.  This coupon will expire on April 8, 2012.

Buca di Beppo has two coupons for you.  Each offer is valid through April 8, 2012.  They are:

Get $10.00 off any purchase of $20.00 or more – valid for dine in only

Get $10.00 off any purchase of $30.00 or more – valid for to-go only.

Soupplantation has a printable coupon that is a “Buy One Breakfast, Get One for $1.00”.  This coupon will expire on April 8, 2012.

Boston Market has a coupon for $1.00 off Baked Whitefish Individual Meal, served with 2 sides and cornbread.  This coupon will expire on April 8, 2012.

Einstein Bros has a coupon for 25% off any purchase.  This coupon will expire on April 8, 2012.

Boston Market also has a coupon for $1.00 off any Whole Entree Salad.  This coupon will expire on April 10, 2012.

Corner Baker Cafe has a coupon for a free coffee with any freshly prepared breakfast item.  This coupon will expire on April 10, 2012.

Peet’s Coffee & Tea has a coupon for $2.00 off a pound, or $1.00 off a half pound of their new Medium Roast offerings (Cafe Solano or Cafe Domingo).  This coupon will expire on April 11, 2012.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Printable Restaurant Coupons – Week of March 27, 2012

Posted on Tuesday, March 27th, 2012 at 2:37 pm
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Before you go out to eat this week, check over this list of printable restaurant coupons.  These can save you some money!  Just print the coupon out before you leave the house, and bring it with you.

Chili’s Grill and Bar has a coupon for a free Kid’s Meal (with purchase of an entree).  This coupon will expire on March 28, 2012.

Chuck E. Cheese has four coupons for you.  Each will expire on March 28, 2012.  They are:

1 Large Pizza (1 topping), 3 Soft Drinks, 50 tokens for $19.99

1 Large Pizza (1 topping), 4 Soft Drinks, 110 tokens for $29.99

1 Large Pizza (1 topping), 4 Soft Drinks, 75 tokens for $24.99

1 Large Pizza (1 topping), 1 all you can eat Salad Bar, 4 Soft Drinks, 135 tokens for $39.99

Marie Callendar’s has a coupon for a half-price Entree.  Purchase any entree, and any two beverages, and get a second entree (of equal or lesser value), for half price.  This coupon will expire on March 29, 2012.

Souplaintation & Sweet Tomatoes has several coupons this week.  They are:

$6.99 Lunch – expires on March 29, 2012

$8.29 Dinner – expires on March 29, 2012

$14.99 Dinner for Two (when you buy 2 beverages, Monday through Thursday) – expires March 29, 2012

$19.99 Family Meal (use after 11:00 A.M.) – expires March 29, 2012

Buy One Breakfast, Get One for $1.00 – expires April 1, 2012

Outback Steakhouse has a coupon for $10.00 off two entrees.  To get the coupon, you have to click the Like Button on their Facebook page.  This coupon will expire on March 30, 2012.

Baskin Robbins has a coupon for Buy any cone, Get one for $0.99.  This excludes all waffle cone varieties.  This coupon will expire on March 31, 2012.

Buca di Beppo has two printable coupons for you.  One coupon is for $10.00 off a purchase of $20.00 or more at the restaurant.  The other coupon is for $10.00 off any purchase of $30.00 or more to-go.  Each of these coupons will expire on March 31, 2012.

Little Caesars has a coupon for a Crazy Combo for $1.99.  It gives you Crazy Bread and Crazy Sauce.  This coupon will expire on March 31, 2012.

Papa Murphy’s has a coupon for $3.00 off any Family Size, $2.00 off any Large, or $1.00 off any Medium size pizza.  This coupon will expire on March 31, 2012.

Denny’s has a coupon for 20% off your entire check (with entree purchase).  This coupon will expire on March 31, 2012.

Boston Market has a coupon for a FREE additional large side with the any Family Meal purchase.  This coupon will expire on April 3, 2012.

Einstein Bros. has two coupons for you.  One coupon is for $2.00 off a Maple Oatmeal Breakfast Egg Sandwich.  The other coupon is for a free regular sized espresso beverage, (with any food purchase).  You cannot combine these two offers.  Each coupon will expire on April 3, 2012.

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Stores That Have Their Own Coupons

Posted on Wednesday, March 14th, 2012 at 3:20 pm
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What could be nicer than discovering that your favorite store offers their own coupons?  You know that you are going to shop there.  There is absolutely no doubt that the store will accept the coupons that they created.  Here is a quick list of some stores that have their own coupons, and how you can get them.

Target has coupons on their website.  All of them are coupons that can only be used at Target.  Most of these coupons will be for grocery items, but they also throw in a coupon or two for toys, photo processing, clothing, and items for the home as well.

To get these coupons, the first thing you need to do is visit the Target website.  Click on the link for coupons.  If this is your first time getting coupons from Target, you might have to download some software before you can print them.  Select the coupons that you are interested in by clicking on them.  Make sure your printer is on, and is ready to go.  Click where it says “Print Selected Coupons”, and the ones you picked will automatically start printing out.

Fresh and Easy also has their own coupons.  One way to get them is to sign up to get email sent to you.  The email can contain coupons.  You should also get their Friends Card, (which won’t give you coupons, but will give you points that you can accrue and save you money).  When you shop at this grocery store, ask an employee for a coupon booklet.  Those booklets contain coupons that can save you a certain amount off your total order, (if you use it during a specific week).

Vons is doing something new called “Just For U”.  You need to have the Vons Club card in order to participate.  Sign up for “Just For U” and you will get 10% to 20% off the prices that are offered to people who have the Vons Club card.  Go back to the Vons website every week to get a special offer.  Visit their coupon center to get digital coupons that will automatically be loaded to your Vons card.  No printing, clipping, or cutting is required!

Ralphs will also give digital coupons and print-at-home coupons.  To get the printable coupons, all you have to do is select the ones that you want from the Ralph’s website and then print them out.  Again, make sure that your printer is ready to go!  Or, you can get digital coupons put directly onto Ralph’s Rewards card.

 

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The Best Grocery Coupons

Posted on Wednesday, March 14th, 2012 at 3:14 pm
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What are the best grocery coupons, and where can you find them?  The answer to that question is a bit subjective.  The coupons that might be the best for your family might not be the same as the grocery coupons that are the best for the family next door.  It all depends on your perception, and the needs of your family.

Many people would say that manufacturers coupons are the best coupons.  These coupons are accepted by most, if not all, grocery stores, without a problem.  These coupons usually have a very long expiration date.  Some of them will never expire.

Manufacturers coupons can give you a very nice discount on a particular product.  If the manufacturers coupon in your hand is for your favorite brand, then that makes the coupon even better!

Catalinas might also be called the best grocery coupons.  A catalina is the coupon that is printed out from the register when you are paying for your groceries.  These type of coupons come from some, but not all, grocery stores.  Not everyone will receive a catalina every time they shop.  In most cases, you have to “earn” them by purchasing a certain dollar amount of specific products.

Some would say that catalinas are the best grocery coupons because they can be used with other coupons.  In other words, you can use a coupon for a certain brand of cereal and a catalina for that same brand of cereal, and get the discount from both coupons when you make your purchase.

The best coupons might be the ones that are the most convenient to find and print out.  For example, right now you are reading a blog on FreeCoupons.com.  Click the link at the top of the page that says “Grocery Coupons”.  Instantly, you have access to coupons from Coupons.com, SmartSource, SavingStar, Cellfire, and RedPlum.  What could be more convenient than that?

Does someone in your family have food allergies?  If so, then the best grocery coupons are the ones for products that are safe for that family member to eat.  This could include coupons for brands like Silk, So Delicious, Glutino, Scharr, and more.  It might also include coupons for laundry detergent that has been designed to be safe for people who have skin allergies to use.

New parents, or parents of young children, would say that the best grocery coupons are the ones that help them save money on baby products.  Babies require a lot of diapers, baby wipes, baby formula, and baby food.  This can quickly become expensive!  For these families, coupons on Enfamil and Pampers are the very best grocery coupons.

 

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Show Your Children the Importance (and fun) of Couponing

Posted on Monday, March 5th, 2012 at 9:01 am
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People who use coupons know that it saves them money.  Many people get enjoyment, or excitement, from saving tons of money with coupons.  Your children, however, might not easily grasp why you are so interested in coupons.  Try using a hands on method that will help them to understand why couponing is both important and fun.

Children learn by doing.  This is especially true for young children.  You can explain that a coupon is useful because it saves you money on the product you purchase.  However, if the child doesn’t have a good grasp of how much things cost, or how much can be saved with coupons, they might not get why you enjoy using coupons all the time.

You are going to need to break the whole couponing process down into smaller, easier to understand, pieces for your child.  One way to start is to ask if your child wants to play a game that uses coupons.  Explain that your child will get to pick some coupons to use.  Then, you will both take a trip to the grocery store.

Let your child know that he or she will be able to keep the money that is saved by those coupons today.  Not all children understand how a coupon translates into savings.  All kids will get excited about the prospect of making some money, (especially if you put that money into their hand shortly after the shopping trip is over).

Next, you are going to need a pencil and a small notebook.  Have your child pick five coupons that he wants to use.  You could limit his or her choices to certain coupons that are already in your collection.  Or, if your child is older, then he or she could be ready to hunt for five coupons to use without your help.

Have your child write down the name of the product.  Then skip a line.  On the next line, write a minus sign, and the amount of money that the coupon saves.  Draw a line underneath it.  Leave the next line empty.  Your child now has five math problems that are waiting for a number to be entered into them.

As you shop for those items, make sure your child writes down what the price of each product would be if you didn’t use any coupons at all.  When you get home, it is time to do the math.  You can help your child, as needed.  Let him or her subtract the amount that the coupon saved you from the original price of each product.  Add up all of the answers.  Count out the money that was saved, and hand it to your child.  Savor the look of understanding that appears on your child’s face.

 

 

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Make a Meal Planner From Your Stock Pile

Posted on Monday, March 5th, 2012 at 8:55 am
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Now that you have gathered a great stock pile of groceries, it is time to figure out how to use it.  Ideally, you will want to make sure you use everything before it expires.  Another goal is to use the food that you already have, without having to spend much more to make a meal.  Here are some tips that can help you achieve these goals.

If you have been keeping up with the organization of your stock pile, then you should have a pretty good idea about what foods you already have at home.  The trick now is to find the most efficient, and most economical, way to use it.

One way to do this is write out all of the meals that you will be making for your family in a given week.  This includes breakfasts, lunches, and dinners.  Start filling in the blanks with food from your stockpile.

For example, for breakfast this week, you could alternate between the cereal that you have on your shelves with the frozen waffles that are in your freezer.  You might have stored away some maple syrup for the waffles.  So far, this isn’t costing you anything.  Check the sales papers from your local grocery store to see which one has milk and orange juice on sale this week.  Or, use up the frozen orange juice, if you bought some.

Dinner might include whatever meat you have stored in your freezer.  Make a note on your planner that you need to defrost the meat before you can cook it.  A quick, inexpensive, meal can come from hamburger, pasta, a can of tomato sauce, diced green pepper and onions.  Again, the sales paper from the grocery store can tell you if those vegetables are on sale.

If not, then you might try your local farmers’ market.  It may or may not be less costly than what the grocery store has.  However, it is a great source of fresh vegetables that have been grown locally.  Pick up a head of lettuce, and some fresh tomatoes.  Use up the croutons and salad dressing that is in your stock pile.  Serve it with your homemade version of Hamburger Helper.

Get into the habit of planning meals based around the foods that you already have on your shelves, and in your freezer.  It might take a little practice before you get the hang of it.  Ultimately, it is going to help you save money because you will be making sure you use everything before it expires.  This method can also prevent you from making unnecessary purchases.

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Find Couponing Tools at a Great Cost!

Posted on Sunday, March 4th, 2012 at 7:12 am
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Ready to get organized for couponing?  You are going to need some supplies.  This will require an initial investment on things that will last for years before they wear out.  You don’t necessarily have to spend a fortune in order to get the organizational tools that you will need.

If you have ever watched a television show that features extreme couponers, you probably noticed that all of them were carrying gigantic binders that were filed with all of the coupons that they have collected.  If you are going to get into extreme couponing yourself, the first thing you need is a binder.

I would recommend that you visit an office supply store to pick up your binder.  You can get one that is three inches thick.  Do some price checking before you shop.  Which store has those on sale, Office Max or Staples? To save even more money, bring a store coupon with you that will let you save some money on your entire purchase.

Extreme couponers use the same kind of plastic sheets in their binders as other people use to store baseball cards.  To get these, I would suggest visiting Hobby Lobby, or perhaps Michaels. In general,  it will cost less per sheet if you buy them in bulk.  Once you put the plastic sheets into the binder, you are ready to do some serious coupon organizing.

Where are you putting your stockpile?  Extreme couponers end up collecting a whole lot of food, and it all has to go somewhere.  No matter which room in your house you choose to dedicate to your stockpile, one thing will be true.  You are going to need some shelves!

There is more than one place to get inexpensive, yet sturdy, shelves from.  Sears tends to sell the type of shelves that one would typically use in their garage.  They might be made of thick, hard, plastic, or of metal.  Either way, they will be strong enough to hold all those cans, boxes, and bottles of groceries.

Another option is to visit the thrift stores in your area.  You never know what you will find there.  There is the potential that you could find some sturdy shelves for your stockpile for a low price.

Need a little coupon organizer for the times when you only plan on buying a few things?  You might find one at your local dollar store. This is also a good place to find an inexpensive planner that you can use to help you keep track of sales, (or of when a certain coupon will expire).  Pick up a cute, canvas, grocery tote at your favorite grocery store.  Many stores offer them in nice colors and styles now.

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Tips for Finding Time to Coupon

Posted on Friday, March 2nd, 2012 at 1:48 pm
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We all know that using coupons is a good way to save money.  The hardest part about couponing is finding the time to do it.  Most people don’t have hours to devote to locating, sorting, and organizing coupons.  Here are some tips that will help you to be able to find time to coupon.

The best way to find the time to do something is to make it fit with something that you are already doing.  You probably check your email at least once a day.  Many of us visit Facebook a few times a day.  We all have to go outside and get the mail several times a week.  Each of these activities can be used in ways that give you some time to coupon.

Get coupons in your email.  FreeCoupons.com as well as many of the other coupon websites, such as Coupons.com and RedPlum, will send printable coupons, (or links to printable coupons) right to your email.  Some of the manufacturers websites, such as Kellogg’s, and P&G, will also send you coupons when you sign up to get their emails.    Coupons will be in your inbox, waiting for you.

Are you on Facebook?  Here is a tip that will help you to quickly find coupons on Facebook.  Go to the fan pages of your favorite brands.  Click the “like” button.  Every time those companies post something new on their wall, it will appear in your news feed.  As you scan through your Facebook news, keep an eye out for those brands.  They will usually post something to let people know that they have a coupon available. Our FreeCoupons.com Facebook page will keep you up to date on the most timely coupons as well.  “Like us” to get the hottest coupons before they are gone.

Turn checking the mail into time to collect coupons.  Get into the habit of going through all the mail, especially the junk mail, immediately after you get back in the door.  Don’t put it somewhere and assume you will have time later on to search through it for coupons.  That time isn’t likely to appear!

Pull out the important mail, such as bills and birthday cards.  Scan over the junk mail right now, before you blindly throw it into the recycle bin.  There are probably at least a few coupons for fast food places in there.  Open the newspaper, and go directly to the inserts.  There will be coupons hiding there, too.  It won’t take long to go through the mail this way.

Immediately put your coupons into your organizer.  Take a minute or two to scan through the coupons, and remove the ones that have expired.  When you finish grocery shopping, put the coupons that come with your receipt into your organizer before you leave the store.  You just found plenty of time to coupon!

 

 

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Free Coupon Apps for Android Devices

Posted on Tuesday, January 10th, 2012 at 10:21 am
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One of the greatest things about smartphones is that people have created many, extremely useful, apps that can be used on them.  There are plenty of apps that will let you collect and use coupons, check weekly ads, and view social couponing websites.  Here are a few free apps that you can use on Android devices.

Coupons.com has an app that you can download for free, and use on your Android phone.  The app allows you to enjoy all the features of the Coupons.com website.  You can access printable coupons, Savings Card coupons, and add coupons to your grocery store Savings Card.

Groupon National Deals is another free app for Android devices.  It works just like Groupon.com.  The app reviews the Groupon website every day for deals that are redeemable in the city or town that you live in.  When it finds something, it shows it to you, so you can see the deal and decide if you want to go after it.

Everything Starbucks Free is an app that is free for you to download onto your Android device.  You can enter the number of your Starbucks card, and the app will tell you the balance that remains on that card.  If you registered your Starbucks card, then the app can show you how close you are to earning your next free drink, and it will keep track of your reward points.

Living Social app is another free app for Android devices.  This app works like the LivingSocial website does.  The app will show you the day’s deal at LivingSocial, so you can decide if you want to go after that deal.  You can also redeem vouchers using your phone – no printing necessary.

Target is a free app for Android devices.  This is the app created by Target.  The app will let you check prices on items at Target, without having to actually go to a Target store.  You can sign up to have weekly coupons sent to the app twice a month.  These are eCoupons that the cashier can scan directly from your phone.  The app also can show you Target’s weekly ad, and you can use it refill prescriptions.

Amazon Price Check is one of the most incredible apps I have ever heard of.  This one is also free, and can be used on Android devices.  Use this app to scan the barcode of any item that catches your attention while you are shopping.  The app will instantly show you the price of that same item at Amazon.com.  It makes it easy to compare prices, so you can get the best deal!

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