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Feed Readers: How to Keep Up with all of the deals

18 Oct

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For a long time, I saved all of my favorite blogs in my “Favorites” file and went to them one at a time every day.  Until I FINALLY decided to look into feed readers!  How unbelievably easy they are!  If you can manage an email account, then you will find a feed reader just as simple.  I wouldn’t consider myself an expert on them, but here’s a bit of information to get you started if you are interested.

 

What is a feed reader?

A feed reader is a tool that can be used to read all of the updates on the blogs as they happen.  It is a HUGE time saver for those of us who track several blogs.   Basically, the blogs you subscribe to will send new posts to your feed reader and you can scroll through them all at once without having to load multiple pages.

 

How much does it cost?

Nothing!

 

What are some popular feed readers that I can use?

About.com lists their Top 9 Free Windows RSS Feed Readers / News Aggregators here.  I use (and like) Google Reader.  However, I don’t have anything to compare it to. 

 

How do I get started?

  1. Go to Google Reader.
  2. Click create an account.
  3. After verifying your account, click on add a subscription.  Type in the name of your favorite blogs one at a time.  Click subscribe.  That’s it!

That’s it!  Check your feed like you do your email!  You can even sync it to your phone!  Never miss a post or a deal.

Jpeg/Pdf coupons

11 Oct

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Jpeg/ Pdf coupons are a format that coupons are sent in that allow you to print as many copies that you want.  Many times these are fraudulent coupons, but not always!

 

I was so trained to think 2 coupons per computer that when i first received a legitimate pdf coupon that allowed multiple prints, I felt guilty!  The key word here is legitimate.  If the coupon doesn’t come from the manufacturer’s website, is in a form of an email attachment, or you just suspect that it is fraudulent, it probably is!  If you suspect a coupon to be fraudulent, check out the Coupon Information Center (CIC) website to confirm.  It is a list of fraudulent coupons that stores commonly refer.

Fillers

27 Sep

 

A filler is a small, inexpensive item that you buy (typically at drugstores) just to make a deal work.  Below are some scenarios for each of the 3 major drugstore chains of which you may want to use a filler.

 

CVS

If you are at CVS and have $5 in Extra Care Bucks, but your item only costs $4.49, then you will want to find a $0.51 “filler”.  They will not give you change or credit, so if you don’t find a filler, then you lose the $0.51!  Candy, clearance merchandise, trial size items, baking soda, or salt are all items I commonly use as fillers. 

 

Bag Tags are a good purchase to make as a filler.  Why?  They only cost $0.99 and can end up making you money!  Simply buy a green bag tag and remember to bring it along with your reusable shopping bags each visit.  Every time you make a purchase, have them scan that card.  On every fourth visit, you will get $1 ECB!  Easy money maker!

 

Rite Aid

You are likely to need fillers at Rite Aid in order to use a $5/25 coupon.  If you are buying 2 packs of Huggies for $11.49 each, you will need a $2.02 filler in order to use your $5/25. 

 

Reinventing Beauty Magazine is the filler of choice if it is available at your store.  These Rite Aid specific beauty magazines cost $0.99 and have $30 worth of coupons in them! 

 

Walgreens

You are most likely to need a filler at Walgreens.  You are only allowed to use one coupon per item purchased, which includes register rewards.  So if you have 15 coupons, no matter the total, you must have 15 items.  In order to keep your costs down, if you are lacking a few items, look for any thing cheap!  Cheap as in less than $0.50.  (The cheaper the better.)  There used to be some caramels at the register for $0.03, but I haven’t seen them recently.   Also, SouthernSavers lists good fillers on every weekly list.  If all else fails, grab a few and take them to the register just in case.

 

Do you have any favorite filler items?

Mega event tip!

20 Sep

 

This tip was one that I picked up from the SouthernSavers workshop a few months back:

 

If Kroger (or some other store) is promoting a mega event where you must purchase 10 items to get the discount, be sure to bring along your reusable shopping bags.  As you are shopping, place the participating items in a reusable bag.  When you get 10 items, seal that bag and open another one.  That will assure that you get the discount you are working for and you won’t lose money by miscounting.  What a great idea!

Catalinas

14 Sep

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Catalina coupons are coupons that print out after you complete your transaction.  They will print, much like a receipt, as a result of making a qualifying purchase.  For example:  Buy 5 participating Pillsbury products and get $3 off your next order.  You buy the products, pay, and the catalina prints.  The machine is provided by the “Catalina Marketing” company, hence the name. 

 

Does your store provide Catalinas?

To find out if your store provides catalinas, simply look for the machine pictured above.  Don’t see the machine, but think they provide them?  Just ask. 

 

How to know what catalinas are printing:

1.  Online lists.  On occasion, I have seen a list of current Catalinas on SouthernSavers.  But to my knowledge, there is not one go-to place for a list of catalinas.

2.  Sale ads.  Many times catalina promotions will be listed in a sale ad.  If, for example, they are in Kroger’s ad, then they should also print at any store that offers catalinas. 

3.  Shelf tags.  The shelf tags advertising catalina promotions that I have encountered typically are right by the participating items, but you have to read the fine print for exact details.  Be on the look out!

 

What if it doesn’t print?

If your catalina doesn’t print, first double check that you made the qualifying purchase.  Nine times out of ten, it is a customer error.  However, if you know that you purchased the qualifying items and it still didn’t print, simply tell customer service.  You can also call Catalina Marketing at 1-888-8COUPON (1-888-826-8766) and leave a voicemail message. They’ll ask for some information off your receipt and look up your transaction, then mail you the coupon you’re owed.  That would be nice for times when I am home before I realize it didn’t print!

Using Coupon Policies to your advantage

7 Sep

 

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It is safe to assume that you now know more about the coupon policies and process than the majority of cashiers you will encounter.  Even if you know no more than what I have posted on my blog, you know more.  So don’t get mad at them for not understanding.  Make it simple.  Print out a copy of each store’s coupon policy where available and take it along with you just in case.  Don’t use it as a weapon!  Be nice!  You are educating them, not proving them wrong.  If a discrepancy arises, just say, “I think I have a copy of the coupon policy right here.  Let’s just see.”  

 

Go here for a list of links to store coupon policies.

How Coupons Work

30 Aug

 

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First, go here to learn All About Coupons.

 

Why is this information important?  We will all have cashiers who do not understand this process.  When an item is on sale for $2.99, and you want to use a $3 coupon, they will think you are stealing!  They may even say, “but that would make it free!”  If you understand this process, you won’t feel like you are stealing.  You will then know how to explain to the cashier that you are paying, but are paying with coupons rather than cash.  In essence, the manufacturer is paying them and receiving a coupon is the same as receiving cash. 

 

This site also explains why manufacturers use coupons – to boost sales!  They want you to use these coupons!  And the stores want you to come shop their sales!  Manufacturers are hoping you will love their product and be a repeat buyer.  Stores are hoping you will buy it, several other things, and come back for more.

how to read a coupon

16 Aug

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Parts  of a coupon:

 

  • Barcodes:  All manufacturer coupons start with either a 9 or a 5.  If they start with a 5, they will double in the computers at stores that allow doubling (regardless of the wording).  If the barcode starts with any other number, then it is a store coupon and not a manufacturer coupon to be used at the specific store listed. 

 

  • Wording:  The wording on the coupon is what actually determines what the coupon is for.  If it says “any” it means just that.  It can be used on any of their products.  If it says when you buy 2, you must buy 2!  If it has a size restriction, be sure to get the size indicated! Any other use is fraudulent and you could actually be prosecuted.

 

The wording/picture question has caused me trouble more than once, so just kindly remind the cashier/manager that the manufacturer could not possibly put a photograph of all of their products on one small coupon, and if that doesn’t work – come back later and use a different cashier.  It’s not worth an argument. 

 

  • Pictures:  Manufacturers put the most expensive items in the pictures for obvious reasons.  But again, the picture does not determine what the coupon is for:  the wording does. 

 

  • Tracking Numbers on Printables:  If you look at a printable coupon under a magnifying glass, you can see tiny tracking numbers that include your IP address and other numbers that track the number back to you around the expiration date as well as around the coupon itself (where you cut it).  So don’t ever be tempted to illegally copy coupons!!!  That would be fraudulent.

Overage, Profit, or Cheap means time to buy!!!

9 Aug

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If you see the words “overage”, “profit”, or “cheap” it means to buy it and either save it for when you do need it or donate it to a local charity. 

 

Overage is when a coupon is worth more than the value of the item.  For example, if there were a coupon for $2/1 Huggies wipes with no size restriction, you can possibly get a travel pack of wipes for $1.47 at Wal-Mart, and score an extra $0.53!  (To restate:  Coupon = $2.  Wipes = $1.47.  $0.53 comes off the rest of your purchase!)  The more you buy, the more “overage” you get!  Not all stores accept overage coupons.  Some stores scale the coupon down to the price of the item, so you still get the item for free, just not the bonus overage.

 

Profit is just what it sounds like.  It’s making money shopping and it is FABULOUS!  You will most likely see these deals at the drugstore, where you make a profit after the rebates.  Here is a pretend CVS scenario to demonstrate:

 

John Freida Hair Care is on sale for $5 each and you get back a $5 ECB when you buy 2.

Buy 2 = $10.

Give them (2) $3/1 coupons = $6 off.

Total Due = $4

Get back $5 in ECB to buy something you need!

You just made $1!!! PROFIT!  (To restate, you spent $4 instead of $5).

Cheap.  Cheap can mean alot of things to different people.  When I say cheap means time to buy, I mean that anything under say, $0.40 is probably worth buying!  However, if we’re talking charcoal, I would say $2 is CHEAP!!!  BUY!!! 

 

So when you are making your weekly grocery lists, be on the look out for these 3 magic words! 

THEY ARE FABULOUS!!!

Newsletters

12 Jul

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Signing up for newsletters is sometimes a great source for high value coupons.  A little hint, though – create a separate email account!  Otherwise you may be bombarded with newsletters and spam! 

 

 

Here are a few that I have signed up with and get good coupons from:

 

I KNOW there are many more!  Which newsletters do you get good tips from?