Coupons 101 part 4

Couponing 101 – Don’t make checkers cry

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Photo: ABC news

Couponing 101 Please follow simple basic rules for Extreme Couponing or even couponing every once and a while!

There are many people and sites that insist that the couponer is the main reason why stores stay in business. And by this they teach couponers to feel so empowered that they are the only one in the store and no else matters.

We have always tried to teach people how to use coupons. We feel that it is not an entitlement to coupon but rather a privileged to have the opportunity to save so much and are very thankful to stores, manufactures, managers and the cashiers that we befriend.

We are nobody’s mother, or father (since I am the one typing). We can only ask that we treat those that we shop with and from the same way that we would want to be treated. Just the other day Sarah was at a store she shops at frequently, and the cashier told her of a comment that a shopper had made. She said that a shopper told her that we ” A Thrifty Mom” said to do a transaction that wasn’t kosher. The cahier handled the situtation while thinking to her self, that she knew Sarah and knew Sarah would not of said that.

One thing we need to remember is that we are in a store with their rules. We need to follow proper ethics and be polite and kind with everyone in the store. A good example is when Sarah is at Walgreens, she almost always uses the cosmetic cashier to do her lengthy checkouts. When Sarah sees another person coming to check out there as well, she pulls her shopping cart aside, and insist that the customer go ahead of her. Sarah does this no matter if she just started her check out or is one or two transactions away from finishing. She feels that by allowing a customer who is purchasing normal items and is not trying to roll catalinas to go ahead. It not only shows respect and portrays kindness to the customer, but then the cashier too realizes how kind and thoughtful Sarah is to both the stores customers, and to the store employees also.

Now I know some cashier can be down right rude, and make couponing at nightmare.  But that is a whole different blog post.

One of our long time readers sent us this email below that inspired me to make an additional comments and include this in a post.

I was at Albertsons today and was talking to my favorite checker.  There was no one behind me so we had time to visit.  She told me a story that made me a bit upset.  One day last week she had a customer come through her line that had coupons.  Some of the coupons had been cut in a way that the expiration date was cut off.  My checker explained that she could not take coupons without an expiration date.  The lady then proceeded to throw a fit insisting yes she would take them.  She started screaming, being rude etc.  She informed the checker that “it is people like me who are unemployed and use coupons that are the reason you have your job”. She made such a scene that my checker said she (the checker) was in tears after it was over. Please don’t be this person when you coupon.  If you feel that the checker is wrong, which can happen, calmly ask for a manager.  You can even go to customer service after your transaction is finished and speak with someone.  Being calm and polite does not hurt anyone and will leave you feeling better as well as those you deal with

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coupon binder We were recently asked which coupon binder we think is best and do we still use it. We had never really thought about it much, but we have actually used our Case-It Binder for almost my entire coupon career! Never really thought about it but it has been close to 4 years now that we have used it. I used an old black briefcase looking binder for just a few months till it fell apart. We went out and got a 4 inch with a 2 inch- a double ring binder.

So check them out for your self .

If you are new to couponing check out our Extreme Couponing 101

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Many people worry about using fake coupons. I’m sure at least one point in our shopping adventures we may have used one and never realized it.  Even I worry about it, So how do you spot a Fake coupon?  It is not fool proof but here are a few ideas,

Look at the image – All numbers under the bar code are the same - Flag

The coupon is multiplied over and over 6 one one page???  Most coupons do not publish coupons in multiples - Flag

Look close at the image, they are cut and pasted, how can you tell? look at the edges, one image is higher then the other, one image is offset to the left more then the top row. Do you really think a company that makes millions of dollars would allow a coupon to look so home made? - Flag

No size limits listed on coupon Flag

No watermark printed on the coupon Flag

Only one set of Bar codes Flag

Look over the Counterfeit Coupon Alert at Cents Off This coupon is listed under Doritos.

It was flagged nationally read here - Flag

It was emailed by a friend. – Flag Many coupons turn out to be for just one person. For instance, if a person signed up for discounts from a company. And one day they get a coupon in their email, it is most likely just for that person. They may not have bar codes on the email, but their is usually some form of identification on them. So if your best friend sends you an email with a coupon, see how many flags pop up.

If it is too good to be true - Flag. One coupon like this per magazine, or per newspaper is most likely real. If you get multiple papers sure its real… you got them in a paper and purchased multiple papers… But if you are handed something from a friend, or emailed an image or PDF then its most likely is fake.

So what do you do? Politely tell your friend why you think they are fake, and let them decide for them self.  Sure they probably didn’t make them, they were given them too. But if we all used them and did not tell our friends not to use them then we will all suffer!

Why?

Stores make a profit off of coupons. For instance, you use a $1 off coupon. The store takes that coupon, gives you the $1 off out of their own pocket. Knowing that the store will get reimbursed. If it is a real coupon not only will they get reimbursed by the manufacture, but they are also paid on average 8 cents extra to process the coupon and mail it back to the manufacturer. It usually cost the store about 4 cents per coupon to process, pay the book keeper to enter, and submit for reimbursement. So on average the store will be paid $1.08 for that $1 off coupon you used. Minus processing of about 4 cents, the store is reimbursed the $1 and now has a 4 cent profit. It may not seem like much, but multiplied by the millions of coupons used, that is a huge profit for them.

Now if we all allowed our friends to use them, or if we use these fakes our self, then that 4 cent profit is lost, along with paying a book keeper 4 cent per coupon to process it! Not only that but the $1 off coupon is not reimbursable and the store will loose $1 for every fake $1 off coupon submitted by shoppers. And in the image we looked at in this post, the cost of each entire bag of Doritos (because they are labeled FREE)

When stores lose money they will STOP taking coupons all together to save their bottom line. We have all come across a store that has done this, at least for a while! So guard your store, help them make a profit or we will used the privileged of couponing.

Book mark this link HERE to scan over fake coupon alerts

Remember the Doritos coupon from yesterday? There is a $2500 reward for companies or individuals promoting this coupon as legitimate Read Here

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This is a two part post, the second is tomorrow.

This recently came up in a Facebook chat on our page. And it has been a long while since we talked about it here. With couponing and the Extreme Couponing show there has been a large growth of couponing, saving money, and more and more coupon moms. Which is great! With that each of us try and save money at every chance we can get. With the couponing is a seasonal work. Certain times of the year, certain coupons come out from the manufactures. So when that time has come and gone and we miss that coupon, or have used up our portion of the stockpile, we need to find ways to replace those items in the stockpile. But what if the manufacture decides to post pone a coupon? So people make their own coupon. Some may not know it is wrong. So as part of our education here on our site about finding great coupons, we also want to share what not to do and what to watch out for.

Many of us want to share a great coupon. Many times they are too good to be true. I recently was sent this PDF image of coupons. Not that PDF’s are fake, many are, but many legitimate companies do publish them. So how do you spot a fake coupon then? We want to empower you to help yourself and all of the other coupon moms by spotting and not using fake coupons. Why? A fake coupon may be scanned and work just fine  in a store and they would never know it… UNTIL they submit it for reimbursement. Then it is flagged and denied. The store will lose that value of the coupon multiplied by how many it took in. If fake coupons spread like wildfire, like they do, then stores will be forced to stop taking coupons all together, to avoid losing money.

Look at this image. It is the way I received it, minus the big circles that say FAKE… Can you spot all the clues just by looking at the image? Leave a post here telling all the reasons why you think it is fake. Click on the image to enlarge.

fake

Tomorrow we will post all of the answers!

Readers Update***I work for Walgreens, and the last two days I have seen several counterfeit coupons come through that I hope you can warn couponers about. They are for a free pack of Marlboro Cigarettes and $7.50 off Pampers. If you could let everyone know that these are not legit, hopefully it will save some companies some money. Thanks!

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Filed Under: Back to Basics, Coupons, Coupons 101 part 4

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Coupons 101 PART 4- How to organize your coupons
(To read my earlier post click link Part 1, Part 2, Part 3)
Since I wrote this post I have upgraded to this binder….it works great the the extreme coupon shopper! (ME)
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Once you start to collect coupons you will notice very quickly they turn into a huge pile of clutter. The only way I will use coupons is if I can easily find them, and have them organized. Everyone has their own way, I have used several different methods but this is what works for me. This is a photo of my coupon binder, I found the binder at Walmart for $24 it seems to cover all my needs.

In the front on my binder I have clear sheet protectors , I have them labeled for my catalina coupons and one for rebates for the month. I also have one for each store I shop at example, Albertsons, Target, Walgreens…. In side of each pocket I can put that weeks ad, coupons I plan to use at that store etc. That way if I don’t want to haul my whole binder in with me, I can just take that stores packet. But most the time I take my whole binder in with me, because I never now what I might find on clearance, or sale….and I will need my coupons for that.

I have 20 sections in my binder, each of which have several categories. I use 3 ring photo sheets, some have a spot for 4 photos and others only hold 3. I know some people use card collection sheets to hold their coupons. But I found the sections were too small for my coupons. One thing I like about using the binder I can always add or take out a page as my needs change.

I love that I can zip it closed, when I used a box I was always spilling my coupons all over the place. The binder keeps every thing in place really well.

Before I up graded to getting 6 papers a week, I used these small photo albums you can find for $1 just about anywhere. I clipped holes in the side and put them in my day planner. This worked great when I only got one paper. ?But now that I get 6 Sunday papers, I quickly out grew my day planner.
These are the categories I have in my binder,
  1. Dairy -milk, Ice cream, yogurt, sour cream, cottage cheese, butter, cheese, other dairy
  2. Breakfast-Kellogg’s cereal, Post cereal. GM cereal, other cereal, granola bars, Quaker products, breakfast mix, frozen breakfast, other breakfast
  3. Beverages- soda, fruit juice, veggie juice, powdered, other
  4. Canned- fruit, veggies, soup Campbell’s, soup other, broth, chili, sauce, other
  5. Condiments- mayo, pickles, olives, salad toppings, salad dressings, ketchup, mustard, peanut butter, jelly, other
  6. Grains-Dry pasta, mac& cheese, Hamburger helper, rice, side dishes, potatoes, baking- Brownies, cake, muffin, frosting, sugar, oil, flour, other
  7. Snacks-fruit snacks, nuts, popcorn, gum, candy, chocolate, crackers, cookies, chips, other
  8. Frozen- bread, rolls, pizza, dessert, pasta, veggies, dinners, meat, Asian, other
  9. Food misc.-diet, health, Mexican, Asian, ?meat, other
  10. Baby- diapers, soap, food, other
  11. Medication- laxatives, aspirin, Tylenol, cough drops, muscle pain, cold meds, tums and pepto, first aide supplies, other
  12. Paper – tissue, t.p., napkins, paper plates, cups, Ziploc bags, glad bags, other
  13. Soap-hand soap, body wash, Dove product’s, Olay products, Shampoo with 2 full sheets,
  14. Personal care- deodorant, feminine, razors, shave gel,
  15. Toothpaste- Colgate, crest, kids, mouthwash, toothbrush,
  16. Make up- cover girl, olay, Revlon, maybelline, other, skin care, lotion, chap stick,
  17. Dish soap- liquid, powdered, laundry soap and products,
  18. Home- other cleaners, carpet, floor, window, Clorox, Lysol, bathroom, glade, air wick, oust, febreze,
  19. Pets-food, care, other
  20. Batteries
This is my system and it works great for me.
Click here for coupon codes

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Please read

04/12/2010 2:46 pm · 1 comment

by Sarah A Thrifty Mom

sear

I just want to help every one who might need a link or wanted to reread a particular post. On the top right of our site you will see a box that says “Search A Thrifty Mom”. You can type in a key word or set of words and you can search our site for any topic or link you need.

I just want to help others, especially the readers who only read our site by way of feed or emails. We get a lot of surprised readers who didn’t know we actually have a site to read. Some think we just send out emails. Quite often we get questions like: can you please resend me the “such and such” link, or where can I find that recipe. I feel so bad that I can’t answer every email. When you get over 300 actual emails DAILY that are NOT spam, it takes some time to answer or even go through them all.

So if you are ever in need of a link or had a question about a topic, you can email us, but I hate to have our readers wait for a response. You can search for your answer in  our search box to quickly find the answer on your own. But remember, we are here for you we just want to help you find the answer quicker.

Thanks.

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