Avoiding The Unreliable Cashier During Checkout

During my very recent visit to the supermarket, I was using a few coupons and only one of which was a print-at-home and also a Manufacturer’s coupon. The others were original paper ones you see in the newspaper from SmartSource, Redplum and the likes.

When I handed the cashier the coupons I was using on my checkout, she informed me that I could not use the print-at-home coupon I had printed some time ago. It wasn’t expired, I checked the date, and scanned it quickly when she handed it back to me. I wanted to use that coupon, so I went into my coupon binder and took the paper ones from the newspaper that I clipped and gave that to her in place of that – both coupons were valued at the same amount. I had managed to get about four or five of the same coupons because I purchased two newspapers and I also was able to print the amount of two per computer that every coupon site allows you. This rule of thumb is one EVERY couponer should know. Each website like Coupons.com or SmartSource.com only allow you to print two coupons per computer. If you have more than one computer you have access to, then you have access to more coupons!

Nonetheless when I whipped out my coupon binder (which amazed her) and quickly spotted the coupon, I handed it to the cashier to scan and my checkout was then complete. I informed her that there was nothing wrong with the print-at-home coupon. I knew the store’s policy in which they DO accept legal, not copied print-at-home internet coupons.

The cashier told me, “The manager told me not to accept any coupons that are copied.”

I informed her that it wasn’t and that it was an original photocopied print-at-home coupon. Certain cashiers won’t be very knowledgeable in what fraudulent coupons look like or what an internet coupon is and how to tell the difference between the two. Rather than calling the manager over for one coupon, I used another that I had. No biggie. Next time, however, I will remember she isn’t very aware of the difference between coupons and so I will probably seek out a different cashier if she’s on the register during my next visit.

It also might be worth the time to send a letter to the supermarket or call their customer service to let them know about the cashier giving you a bit of trouble during your experience to prevent other cashiers from making those mistakes in the future.

Mailing Companies Letters Gets You Coupons

In my recent blog research and readings, I’ve noticed that there are SO many ways to obtain coupons and free samples. While you can get coupons through marketeers, newspapers, online and bloggers who may post various other coupon finds..another tool of the trade to get coupons you might not find that you are really looking for is by e-mailing or snail mailing your favorite brand companies with simple queries or suggestions and positive comments. In turn, they send you coupons as a way of giving them feedback!

I’ve seen many couponers and friends who coupon do this and they tell me all of the time that they get free things sometimes and coupons in the mail whenever they write their favorite companies. It’s a win-win situation and you can never go wrong by writing a letter.

About two to three weeks ago I wrote to Fiber One, which is manufactured through General Mills and Turkey Hill. I wrote both companies because I enjoy Fiber One 90 calorie bars, but I only ever see coupons for Fiber One Cereal and not the latter. I wrote Turkey Hill because though their ice cream usually is always on sale, I never seem to see their coupons.

Between yesterday and today, I got in the mail coupons for General Mills products which will allow me to use them on the Fiber One bars along with a letter pretty much explaining their cents-off programs and that they will advise its marketing staff of my interest in more frequent placement and distribution of cents-off certificates. With Turkey Hill, I received EIGHT! (8) coupons, 5 individual cents & dollars off coupons for their ice creams and 3 individual ones for their beverages. In the packet they wrote,

“Dear Margarita, Thank you for contacting Turkey Hill Dairy. We appreciate your comments. Enclosed are a few coupons you can use to continue enjoying Turkey Hill’s delicious drinks and frozen desserts.

Sincerely, The Folks at Turkey Hill Dairy”

The best part is that all of these coupons don’t expire until the end of this year or 2012! I was able to get these coupons just by writing a letter online or in the mail that went something like this:

“Dear (Company),

I am writing to you to tell you how much I love (name of product). In our home, we use this about 4-6 times a week and it is a staple for us! Our favorite flavor is (name of flavor). We love that your prices are affordable, however we always look to use coupons whenever we shop to keep our costs low. We have not seen many coupons for (name of item) and we would like to know what (name of company) is doing for your customers about this concern. We hope that you will consider this for the customer who especially love these products as much as we do!

Sincerely, 

(Name of Person Writing or Family Name)”

Take a look below at what could be waiting for you in the mail the next time you open it up!

Watch Those Expiration Dates!

Before you know it, you will start to have more coupons than you can count. Which in turn means that your coupon pile will begin to expire, especially if you aren’t going on shopping hauls that often or at least using more than a few dozen or so coupons on each haul.

The best way to keep track of your coupons’ expiration dates is by writing them down in however fashion you keep your coupons in order. Some couponers like to keep their coupons solely in the order based on the date they expire. Then they manage to sort them by their type like produce, beauty and so forth. Managing to stay on top of the coupons’ expiration dates is crucial because you could be missing out on a good sale. Make sure you’re checking weekly fliers of the stores you follow to check for the sales and if you have a coupon for those items. You might also want to do a weekly walk through of the stores, too, just to see what else might be in stock that isn’t advertised in the flier, but is a temporary price cut or a price drop. This is crucial to how you use your coupons before they expire!

Dining on a Budget (and using a coupon!)

Since I’ve told you about the site I love to use to grab up some retail coupons, Dealspl.us, they are also good for getting some restaurant and fast food coupons if you are on the go. Though I use them often for retail, I can’t say I happen to use that site to stick with my coupons for restaurants.

If you’re looking to save when dining out at eateries that might normally burn you out or your wallet that is, websites like Living Social and Restaurant.com always have deals. Sites like these will offer a bunch of deals like $25 off of a meal and you only have to pay $10.

For just a few days, between June 9th and June 12th, Ebates.com is offering a promo code worth 80% off at Restaurant.com, bringing it to about $2 for $25 off of an order. You have to read the fine print with each restaurant because some restaurants will only accept the coupon during certain days and times. I just scored two coupons at two restaurants in my neighborhood worth $50 for just $4.

I just started using Ebates and it seems like a great site. It gives you rebates and cash back when you use their coupons and codes. All you have to do is register your e-mail address and you’re all set to get money back once you start shopping through the site. I just spent $4 and for my first time shopping through Ebates, customers get a $5 cash back bonus, so it’s like I’m getting my restaurant coupons for free AND money back! Now that’s what I call a bargain!

Coupons = Free Money!

Yes. Free Money. Don’t let coupons deter you from thinking otherwise, either. Coupons might be paper, but so is the green thing we all use to pay for rent, bills, and when we’re shopping. When we swipe a plastic credit card, it’s still money either way you look at it. And money isn’t free. But coupons are! Minus the ones you have to get in a newspaper, which in turn you have to buy. When you’re buying a newspaper, though, you’re pretty much getting your money back..and then some.

Since I became a frugal user of coupons, I really have started seeing just how much coupons have helped me in my purchases. It might only be $10-20 here and there deducted from each of my checkouts, but I think of it as $10-20 of free money used from coupons. Now imagine if you could double that later down the line? Look at the savings then!

It’s all a matter of strategy, really. And seeing coupons as money is never a bad thing. It’s just a better way at looking at the upside of couponing and saving money. Also, in keeping more money in your pocket than in the conglomerates’.

Before You Go Anywhere on a Shopping Trip…

As a rule of thumb, there’s one thing you should always do before going on a shopping trip and I think by now you might already have an idea. Sure, you should be checking your coupons for which ones you want to use and base it on the sales that are already going on. In addition to that, if you’re going shopping on a day that a store releases their weekly flier or on a Sunday, one thing you want to make sure you do is

CHECK YOUR LOCAL NEWSPAPERS FOR COUPONS!

If you’re going shopping on a Sunday, the first thing you’ll want to do is check your papers for new coupons.

Aside from the newspaper, going online for new coupons is also another must do before going on a shopping trip. Make sure you’re clipping coupons and keeping them organized on your trip and pull coupons that you know you are going to use while also keeping an eye on the coupons you might want to use if things have been reduced or on a temporary price cut and might have not been put in the flier.

Happy Shopping!

Keeping a Coupon Binder

In order to keep track of your coupons on a day to day basis, it’s really crucial to have some organization. Hence, keeping a binder or folders of some kind for your coupons is the best way to go. If you are keeping some type of organization that works best for your couponing, it will allow you to follow your savings and of course, your coupons!

So what does a coupon binder look like, you ask? Let me show you. Mine is still small, but it is growing every day as I continue to build my binder. When I get over 3,000 coupons I promise I will share my binder with you! For now I will just share some photos of images I pulled off of the web of what some binders look like that are similar to my own.


This binder just uses plain baseball card sleeves to fill coupons, with what appears as no tabs for categories. This can work for anyone if they know what is in their binder and if they are using it frequently.


The second binder has tabs with different categories labeled with things like “Produce.” This can be VERY helpful. I use this type of setup in my binder as it narrows down my search when I’m looking for a particular coupon. I have my coupons sorted then in each tab category with the coupons in the order of their expiration date, so that I can then know which coupons will be expiring soon.

There are a ton of different systems that work for everyone like the filing system in the basic file, too. Whatever works for you, then do it! Don’t over-exhaust yourself with finding a method that just doesn’t seem to work or is too over the top. Find something that is simple enough to start with and if later on you need to move on to something, then you can.

If you shop at stores like Target that create their own coupons which you can use with manufacturer coupons, then you might want to consider making a tab or category of its own to keep those coupons separate from manufacturer coupons.

You can look online and find how-to make your own binder. I was able to Google one and found an easy do it yourself guide on a coupon blogger’s site, Queenbee Coupons.

Happy Clipping!