How to Coupon - Part 39
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How to Coupon

Some Do Not Double Coupons Actually Do Double!

Posted on Tuesday, April 19th, 2011 at 4:12 pm
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A little known secret of the couponing world is that some do not double coupons will actually double after all, depending on the store and its policies. Here is how to tell.

Why “Do Not Double?”

I’ve always wondered why manufacturers take the trouble to mark “Do Not Double” on some coupons. After all, they don’t pay for the doubling only for the original discount. When a store chooses to double, it takes on the cost of the second discount.

You would think that the manufacturer would be happy if a store doubles their coupons because this means that the coupon is probably more likely to be used in the first place and their product will be tried.

Research shows that people tend to go back and repurchase something that they have bought with a coupon, even if they don’t have a subsequent coupon for the second time they buy it.

I did a little research to help me figure out why some coupons are listed as Do Not Double. The reason behind it is that some manufacturers want to make sure that it is very clear to the stores that they will not pay the double or triple value of a coupon.

Another reason is that they don’t want to devalue their product. They don’t want shoppers to get the idea that the price of a certain product shouldn’t cost more than the amount it is after a doubled coupon.

When Do Not Double Actually Doubles

Some stores will actually double Do Not Double coupons anyway. The store assumes the extra discount. They do this in order to remain competitive against other stores. It is the store’s decision.

Some coupons will not double regardless of the store policy. This is because of the bar code printed on the coupon. The code tells the register systems whether to double or not to double. A code that starts with a 9 will never double (unless the manager overrides it). A good example of this are the blinkie coupons that come out of the machines. They always start with a 9 in the code.

Those codes that begin with a 5 can double automatically. The majority of coupons have a bar code that starts with a 5. So you may find that your do not double coupons do actually double. For stores that do not want to double to Do Not Double coupons they either train cashiers are trained to spot them and take off the doubling, or they update their register systems to spot these coupons automatically.

Lowes is one of these stores that are very careful about the Do Not Double coupons, but I haven’t heard of any others so far. Have you?

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Do Stores Lose Money on Coupons?

Posted on Monday, April 18th, 2011 at 10:12 am
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There have been a couple of debates here at FreeCoupons.com about whether grocery coupons cause a store to lose money when they accept them. There are so many rules these days about using coupons in the stores. So, I thought I would clarify things just a little bit and talk about what happens when you use a grocery coupon at the store.

What Happens When You Use a Grocery Coupon?

When you use a legitimate coupon and turn it in to the cashier, it gets scanned into the register to reflect your discount, and the cashier puts the coupon in the register. It is treated just like cash. At the end of the day or the week, the store balances the accounts and takes all of the coupon amounts into consideration.

Next, the coupons are usually sent to the store’s corporate headquarters. There, the coupons are either sorted and counted or sent out to a coupon clearinghouse that does the work for them. All of the coupons are added up, and an invoice bill is sent to the manufacturers. Each coupon is redeemed at face value plus an additional eight cents for handling.

If a store chooses to double a coupon, then it takes the loss of that doubling amount. Some stores are choosing to double only the first coupon when there are multiple coupons for the same product, thus reducing their loss to doubled coupons.

Fraudulent Coupons

After a store submits an invoice so it can get reimbursed for the grocery coupons that have been used, the manufacturers sometimes debate the invoice or do their own accounting on the coupons. Any coupons that are fraudulent won’t be paid by the manufacturer. This includes fake printed or Internet coupons, expired coupons, coupons that have been copied or coupons used on the wrong products.

Stores don’t get paid for these bad coupons, which is why they try to be so diligent about weeding out bad coupons at the point of purchase. Any couponer knows that they sometimes have to explain even good coupons to a cashier or empty an already packed grocery bag to prove they have bought the product as part of the deal with using coupons. It is because the store wants to make sure that they are paid for any grocery coupons that are being used.

So as long as things work the right way, stores are not losing money on coupons, except sometimes in the case of doubling.

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How to Deal with Coupon Mistakes

Posted on Saturday, April 16th, 2011 at 4:12 pm
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There is nothing more frustrating, I think, when you finish checking out and realize that your grocery total came to more than you expected it to, discounts weren’t taken or those catalina coupons that you were counting on just didn’t print.

The other day, I did a deal that was supposed to give me an instant $7 off plus print out two catalina coupons for $4 off my next order ($8 total). Unfortunately, the $7 never came off and the catalina machine literally ate the second $4 catalina leaving a smudged mess and a ripped and torn paper.

When the catalina got caught in the machine, the cashier ripped it off and then threw it in the trash. I waited. She started ringing up the next customer. I was out $4 plus the instant $7. That was a lot to me and would affect my grocery budget.

Coupon mistakes can happen for a number of reasons. Sometimes they are caused by a cashier who forgets to scan a coupon or isn’t knowledgeable about the store’s coupon policy. Sometimes sales or price amounts aren’t properly entered into the store’s database, so they don’t automatically reflect the right price. Sometimes the shopper makes a mistake in her own calculations or inadvertently offers an expired coupon.

If a coupon mistake happens, it is best to deal with it right away. Going back to the store can be inconvenient, so you probably won’t do it. Also, if you address something immediately, the deal and the circumstances will be fresh in your mind.

First review your grocery receipt to see what happened. Look for instant savings, sales prices, coupons and doubled or tripled coupon discounts. Bring the receipt, store flyer and your groceries over to the customer service desk.

Go ahead and circle sales information on your copy of the store flyer to make it easier to explain the issue. Be pleasant and polite and explain the discrepancy. Most customer service people are more than happy to help clear up a concern, especially if you are nice about it.

If you need to return something because a deal didn’t work out, it can be easier to do it at the customer service desk. Often the cashiers are overwhelmed and have to call over a manager anyway, causing a delay to everyone in line behind you.

Finally, one way to avoid coupon mistakes is to be prepared ahead of time. You should double check your deals at home before you get to the store and roughly add up the cost of your items. This will help you identify any mistakes quickly. Also double check your coupons to make sure that none of them are expired. Make a note of any that have limitations or restrictions. Carrying a copy of the official store coupon policy when you go shopping can help as well.

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How to Use the CVS Price Scanner for Coupons

Posted on Friday, March 4th, 2011 at 1:12 pm
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If your CVS store has a price scanner, you can use it for more than just checking prices. The CVS scanner will print out coupons for you, too. These coupons are generally a great value on CVS products and can often be combined with manufacturer coupons.

For example, right now the scanner is printing out a coupon for $1 off CVS shampoo. You can use this coupon to get a free bottle, as many of the CVS shampoo is priced at $.99!

In order to use the scanner for coupons, you will need a CVS store card. Then, scan your card at the scanner for your coupons. It is that easy.

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How to Use Coupons to Get Free Groceries

Posted on Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011 at 1:00 pm
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Coupon experts know how to get every last bit of value out of their coupons. Now you can too. Some people save more money with coupons than do other people. Learn the secrets that will help you get the most value from your grocery coupons, including free groceries!

Match Coupons with Sales and Promotions

Combining coupons with sales is the number one way to get the very best deals, including free products. For example, if pasta sauce is on sale for $.99 and you have a $.50 coupon, you can often double that coupon to $1, getting the pasta sauce for free.

$1 coupons that often won’t double can be usually be used on trial size, travel size or single serve products. These smaller versions are often priced at $1 or less each, again making them free.

Get Multiple Copies of Coupons

Get or print multiple copies of coupons if you can. Having multiple versions of coupons means that you can often stock up on great deals. Imagine never ever paying for toothpaste again or getting enough free waffles to fill your freezer?

Whenever you find a good deal to use your coupons on, purchase enough of the product with your multiple coupons to last you until the next sale.

Do you know those buy one get one free sales? Yes, you can use a coupon for each item, doubling your savings, often giving your both products for free or close to free.

Take Advantage of Rewards

Many stores offer rewards for buying certain products. Drugstores are especially known for this, but I have seen rewards offered in supermarkets, too. Rewards may come in the form of cash back or coupons good for money off of your next offer. They may also come in the form of rebates.

Take advantage of these rewards by combining them with your coupons. Not only can you get free items this way, but you can often get paid to buy these products!

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How to Get Free Coupon Inserts

Posted on Thursday, February 17th, 2011 at 8:10 am
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Get More Coupons

Get More Coupons

Sunday insert coupons are a great way to save a good amount of money at the grocery store. You can use these coupons to stock up on great deals, especially when you combine the coupons with store sales. Many times, you can actually get a nice chunk of your groceries for free.

In this day and age, most families have to use coupons, in order to be able to afford to feed their family without going into debt.

The problem with Sunday insert coupons, though, is that you usually have to pay anywhere from $1.50 to $2 for the Sunday paper. While this doesn’t see like much, it can really add up when you need several copies of the same coupons each week. While you still can save money even when you have to buy multiple Sunday papers for the coupons, how much more can you save when you can get the coupon inserts for free?

Here are some ideas that you can try to help you get free coupon inserts.

Ask Everyone!

So many people get the newspaper but throw away or recycle the coupons because they can’t be bothered with them. Ask your friends, relatives, neighbors and the people you work with to save the coupon inserts for you.

I belong to a weekly woman’s bible study, and I’ve asked the members of the group to save their coupons for me.

Re-Recycle

Recycling bins can be another great source of Sunday insert coupons. Whether it is the recycle bin at work or the ones that are available for town residents, you can often pick up 15-20 full coupon inserts, just by reaching into a recycling bin during the week.

You’ll obviously want a nice clean newspaper only recycling bin to dive into, since this will be the easiest and fastest way to find your coupons. The couple of minutes you take to rescue even just a few coupon inserts will be worth a lot of money back in savings.

Find the Source

If you get friendly with your local convenience store manager or someone who delivers the Sunday newspaper, you can always ask for extra inserts. On Sunday night or Monday morning, newspapers are often dissembled and recycled. And newspaper carriers are often given extra inserts that they have to insert themselves.

You might find that simply asking for the coupons will yield you more than you can use!

Do you have a favorite way to get free Sunday insert coupons? If so, please leave a comment and tell us.

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How to Get the Best Facebook Samples and Coupons

Posted on Friday, January 28th, 2011 at 8:11 am
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Get your online deals today!

Get your online deals today!

Facebook can be a great source of free samples and high value coupons. Many brands offer some great stuff as motivation to get you to “like” them and build awareness of their brand. From contests, to coupons, to full sized samples, you can take advantage of these promotions to get the best Facebook goodies.

So how can you get started with getting all of the best offers? First you have to get familiar with Facebook. If you don’t already have an account, you’ll need to sign up for one. Make sure that you visit the account settings and adjust your privacy and security settings to where you need them to be.

Next, it is just a matter of finding the offers and knowing what you have to do to complete them. Most Facebook promotions simply encourage you to like the brand page in order to get your offer. That is pretty easy to do. You can always unlike a page once you print your coupon or request the offer.

Some of the best offers, such as full sized products for free make you do a little bit more to complete the offer and get the gift. We will talk more about that below, as well as specific strategies to make it easier for you win.

Watch for Offers

Some Facebook offers come and go quickly, while others may linger for a while. Whenever you hear about a new Facebook offer, you should check it out. Also, sometimes Facebook coupons can be reset, so you may be able to reprint a coupon that you already printed days or weeks earlier.

Check the FreeCoupons blog frequently to learn about the latest Facebook coupons and offers.

You can also see what brands your friends “like.” If you see a particular brand name come up frequently, then this is usually a clue that there is a good offer available or about to appear.

Follow your Favorites

If you have a favorite brand that your family always uses, such as Tide or Tylenol or Pampers, it makes sense to follow that brand and watch for announcements of offers. You can either like the page right away and then pay attention to status updates, or simply make visiting the pages of your favorites on a regular basis as part of your routine.

Brands will often announce in advance when an offer is about to be made available.

Ready, Set, Go!

One of the new ways that brands are promoting their products and getting people to check in frequently with them is by giving away freebies for a short limited time. These giveways can be hard to win and are often gone within the first minute.

There are two ways this works. The usual way is for a brand to announce a giveaway that will happen at a certain time. Once that time passes, a link will be posted. Click on the link, fill out the form, and if you are one of the first people to complete it, you’ll win one of the items. It is very hard to be one of the first people on popular products, even when there are thousands of gifts available.

The other way this type of giveaway works is that the brand will announce that there will be an offer, but it won’t announce exactly when the offer will appear. Anyone who is interested in the offer will have to check in on the page many times a day in order to find the offer when it is posted.

When applying for these hard to get offers, there are a couple of strategies that you can employ.

First, make sure to like the page ahead of time. This way, you won’t lose valuable time if the offer requires you to be a fan of the page.

Next, use the fastest computer and connection that you have available. When everyone starts hitting the server for the link, you’ll be glad to be able to get in before the traffic shuts you out.

When the time is close, refresh the page every few seconds so you can get the link right away.

Make sure you are ready to type fast, or use the auto-fill feature on your browser. This will help you fill out the form in as little time as possible. You often won’t know if you missed the offer until after you have already put in all your information. If you have to do all fo that work anyway, do it fast and get the freebie!

Finally, work in a team with another friend or two. You can share alerts about different offers and remind each other when an offer is scheduled to appear.

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No Printer? You Can Still Get Printable Coupons

Posted on Saturday, January 8th, 2011 at 12:24 pm
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Using Coupons is like Printing Money

Using Coupons is like Printing Money

It seems these days that the majority of great coupons are all in printable form. You visit a website, select your coupons and print them out at home. Or, you click on a website and the coupons print automatically.

Manufacturers love printable coupons. It saves them the money of having to print and distribute them to customers, they can better limit how many coupons are produced and used, and they can track which coupons are getting printed (and know which coupons interest consumers).

Me, personally I would rather have all of my coupons already printed in Sunday insert form. Why? Well, it costs me more money to print the coupons than they are sometimes worth, I often have trouble printing coupons, and with so many coupons on the Internet and these coupons changing all of the time, I find it harder to organize my coupons and get all of my match ups done than I did when there were no printable coupons.

Still, we can’t ignore printable coupons, or we will be missing out on big savings and a reduced grocery bill. But what if the issue you have with printable coupons is not just a dislike for them but the lack of a printer? Well, there are still a few ways that you can get around this problem and still print or get those printable coupons even when you don’t have a printer available.

Some printable coupons allow you to preview them first. They don’t go straight to your printer. If this is the case, such and with Bath & Body Works or Rite-Aid coupons, you should be able to save these coupons in jpg or pdf form. Once saved, you can print them elsewhere, such as through a friend or the library.

Your library may also allow you to print directly from the Internet and get your coupons. Library policies vary on printing. You might not be allowed to download the applet needed to print the coupons. Some libraries give you a certain number of pages for free, while others charge a small fee. You can group your coupon images on a single page to reduce the cost and the waste.

Some printable coupons, even the ones that go directly to the printer, give you the opportunity to request the coupons by mail. Usually, you only get one coupon even if the print limit is higher, and it may take a while to get your coupon in the mail. Still, it is an easy way to get the printable coupon when you don’t have a printer.

Target offers kiosks in their store that have printing capabilities. You can use these kiosks right there to print your Target printable coupons.

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Top 7 Things to Do with Expired Coupons

Posted on Thursday, December 23rd, 2010 at 2:48 pm
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  1. Donate them to military families who can often use coupons long after they’ve expired, usually up to six months. This is probably the best use for expired coupons. There are a couple of different programs that will help you get the coupons to military families. Keep in mind that they can only use manufacturer’s coupons not store coupons.
  2. Decoupage them onto small cardboard boxes for fun storage containers.
  3. Use Origami to turn them into piggy banks, Christmas ornaments or simple art.
  4. Ask the store manager if he or she will accept them anyway. Some stores, such as Bed, Bath & Beyond will do this for you.
  5. Give them to your kids and have them make a pretend grocery shopping list using the coupons. They can have fun, and you can teach them how to use a grocery budget wisely.
  6. Use whole Sunday inserts to wrap packages. This would be a cute theme idea if you had kitchen or food related gifts to wrap.
  7. Another use for whole Sunday inserts is to fold them into envelopes. You could then use those envelopes to hold, what else, coupons!

Anyone else have any ideas?

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Coupons.com Coupons

Posted on Tuesday, December 21st, 2010 at 6:16 am
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If you want a ton of printable coupons to use to reduce your grocery bill and have an easy way to save money on your monthly food expense, then you’ll definitely want to take advantage of Coupons.com coupons.

Coupons.com is a free service that provides printable coupons from all of the major brands. Kellogg’s, Stouffers, Pledge, Tide, Listerine, Marie Calendars, Colgate, YoPlait, General Mills, Dove, Nestle, Aleve, Pillsbury, Purina, Betty Crocker and more are among the coupons that you will frequently find on Coupons.com. You’ll also find coupons for DVDs and magazines, as well.

Because we know that you love coupons, we have asked Coupons.com to provide you with the best, most up to date printable coupons. We add them to our printable coupon database for your convenience.

There are some things that you should know about Coupons.com coupons in order to make sure that you always get the best coupons while they are available. The hottest coupons don’t last long, so it is important to check the printable coupons section on a daily basis. In general, you can print two of the same coupon per computer.

Printing more than one coupon for the same product means that you can often take advantage of store coupon match ups that require a multiple purchase, such as a buy one get one free deal.

Some people do have problems printing out Coupons.com coupons. Sometimes on older systems, especially Macs, an old coupon may get stuck in the coupon history. This leads to the same expired coupon printing whenever you want to print a new coupon.

In order to eliminate this problem, you may need to upgrade your computer system or your software. I’ve run into this problem myself, and my solution has been to use another computer to print out my Coupons.com coupons.

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