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Friday, 23 December 2011

Online Coupons Help Consumers and Restaurants

Daily online deals, or so-called "social coupons," help restaurants and consumers, according to a new report from the Cornell Center for Hospitality Research (CHR). Many restaurateurs' concerns about offering a social coupon -- including that coupon users might tip poorly, overwhelm the staff and won't return once the coupon period is over -- don't hold true, according to the study, "Restaurant Daily Deals: Customers' Responses to Social Couponing."

"There was some evidence of 'cannibalization,' as 44 percent of those using a social coupon reported being frequent customers, but the coupons also brought back infrequent customers and attracted a substantial percentage of new customers," said Sheryl Kimes, professor at Cornell's School of Hotel Administration who co-wrote the study with associate professor Utpal Dholakia of Rice University.

New customers in particular would not have tried the restaurant without the daily deal offer. All customer groups said they considered the restaurant to be a good value, even without the discount offer, she added.

Over the past year, restaurant operators report that they have been inundated with sales pitches from such social coupon websites as Groupon, LivingSocial, OpenTable, Restaurant.com and Savored to run daily deals for them via websites, Kimes said. With the rising popularity of social couponing, restaurateurs in many categories are considering the benefits and concerns related to group discount promotions.

Kimes and Dholakia surveyed 931 U.S. consumers to determine who uses restaurant daily deals, what they think about such deals, how they use them and whether they intend to return to the restaurant in the future.

The authors found few substantial differences between respondents who bought daily deals and those who hadn't. Both groups said they would tip on the full value of the check (not the discounted amount). They also said they felt equally well treated at the restaurant and would consider returning to the restaurant even if they had to pay the full price.

But there was one difference: Those who buy social coupons like to be "market mavens" who stay on the cusp of market trend and price information. In terms of demographics, they were significantly more likely to be younger, be married and have a higher income than those who didn't use coupons.

"These customers like to feel that they are ahead of the curve on market trends, and once you have provided them with good value, they will be just as loyal as other customer groups," Kimes said. "It seems fair to say that a well designed coupon deal will benefit both the restaurant operator and customer."

The full report is available at http://www.hotelschool.cornell.edu/research/chr/pubs/reports/abstract-15899.html.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

How To Resell Unwanted Groupon Coupons

Call it coupon remorse, that feeling you get after buying the daily deal from Groupon, LivingSocial, or any of their countless competitors. Either you no longer want the deal, or you can't take advantage of it for some reason. (The school play is the same night as those Cirque du Soleil tickets? Damn!)

Fortunately, several sites now offer you the chance to get some or all of your money back. At CoupRecoup.com, DealsGoRound.com, and Lifesta.com, you can sell your unused deals. For how much? That depends.

DealsGoRound, for example, takes a 10 percent cut of whatever price you set for your coupon--but there's no listing fee. At Lifesta, you pay 99 cents to get your deal listed, plus 8 percent of the sale price. Both sites handle both sides of the transaction, much like eBay.

If you prefer a more Craigslist-style (read: free) option, CoupRecoup charges no fees, instead simply putting interested buyers in touch with you directly. (Indeed, the site refers to itself as "Craigslist for Groupons.")

As you may have guessed, these sites also give buyers a chance to scoop up deals they may have missed, or to get an even lower price on a particular offer.

So, do these coupon resellers really work? This past spring, I used LivingSocial to buy a two-night stay at a B&B. But it turned out there was no way my wife and I would be able to use the voucher before it expired in March--so I listed it on DealsGoRound.

A few months went by, during which I forgot all about it--but, then, presto: somebody bought the coupon, and I'd made back most of my money. So it took a while, but the outcome was good.

If you're sitting on a coupon you don't want or can't use, consider reselling it. These sites make it pretty darn easy.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Coupon Booklets and Savings Cards

Saving Centsably: Coupon booklets and savings cards

From time to time you may be asked to make a purchase of a coupon book or booklet from an organization that is selling them to make money. While many people purchase these coupon books simply to help the organization, they overlook the true value these coupon books can really have.

Enjoy The City is a type of large coupon book available from organizations seeking to raise money. These books full of coupons are produced nationwide and typically focus on metropolitan areas. Each year the coupon book that handles the middle Georgia area focuses on coupons for Macon and Warner Robins, although companies in other surrounding counties might be included.
In addition to being available for purchase from fundraising organizations, this coupon book can also be found from time to time on daily deal buying sites. Remember with these daily deal sites that the more of them you register with, the more deals you will know about. While these books typically cost $20 each, I have seen the Enjoy the City books for as little as $25 for three books on a daily deal site.

So, what type of coupons come in this kind of book? All kinds. From savings on fast food, fine dining, museum admission, attraction discounts and more, there are all kinds of places for you to use coupons found in this type of coupon savings book. I bought three of these books in March. I spent $25 and got free shipping for the three books. Since then, we have saved at least $170 on free pizza, free oil changes, free doughnuts, and buy-one-get-one-free admissions to two museums and to an Atlanta Braves game. That savings was well worth the $25 investment.

Another type of large coupon book available nationwide is the “Entertainment Book.” This book, which is published for about 140 localities, is also available as a fundraiser. You’ve probably been asked to buy one by a band member or other teenager looking to help his or her club raise some extra money. These books run about $35 at the maximum. Throughout the year, there are coupons to help you save on that purchase price. And, as the year progresses and the value of the book begins to decrease, the cost begins to lower, too. The Entertainment Books can also be purchased in many drug stores. Visit a store or the Entertainment Book website (www. entertainment.com) to look into purchasing one.

Many times I have been approached by a group like the Boy Scouts or a teenager in a band asking me to purchase a discount card that offers me savings throughout our community. Honestly, I would rather buy these than purchase an overpriced bucket of cookie dough or popcorn.

The key to making these types of savings cards work for you is to do two things. First, you must be sure this discount card is with you anytime you are shopping. Keep it with your debit card or in your wallet with your checks. Just be sure that when you want to make a purchase with which you could get a discount using the card, that you actually have the card. Another thought is to keep the card with your coupon box or binder, since I’m sure you never leave home without it, either.

The second piece of advice I can offer you is to keep track of the cost of the card or coupon book and compare that with the amount of money you are able to save. Just like I can tell you that I spent $25 but have saved over six times that amount, you should be able to do the same. When the card or coupon booklet expires or you have used all the coupons, you should know whether buying the book again next year is beneficial to your family.

Some businesses also offer savings cards or coupon booklets that are available for purchase at a reduced price when compared to the value of the coupons themselves. The Chick-fil-A calendars available at their locations (and for sale by some charitable organizations) cost $6 but have more than $30 worth of coupons.

Our family buys one calendar for each person in our family - Chick-fil-A is great about allowing coupon stacking and we are able to have a couple of free meals for the whole family during the course of the year. In addition, Chick-fil-A’s coupons never actually expire, so if you have old Chick-fil-A calendars or coupons, don’t throw them out. Add them to your coupon box and use them. Other businesses offer a similar type of coupon booklet, so be on the lookout.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Know When to Pounce With a Coupon

Jill Cataldo saves hundreds on groceries by making the most of the common coupon. You can, too. Here's how.

Using a coupon at the opportune moment is key to saving big on groceries. If I have a $1 coupon for toothpaste, I don't want to use it when the toothpaste is selling for its full $2.99 price. I'll hold onto it until the price dips to $1. A dollar coupon matched to a dollar sale makes the toothpaste the best price of all: free!

But when you're new to couponing, how do you know what the best prices are? Is this week's sale on cereal a good time to use a coupon for that product, or should I wait for an even deeper discount in the future?

Modern coupon shoppers have many tools that help them plot the best time to buy. But before the advent of online coupon assistance, traditional couponers tracked store sales by creating a price book.

A price book is exactly that: a book of prices on the items you buy most, week by week, noting the highs and lows. In time, a cycle of pricing, low to high, will emerge for every product.

It's a lot of work to maintain a price book. To begin, write "Week One" on the first page of a notebook, take it to your local store and walk around with it, writing down the prices of everything you plan to buy on this trip and any trip in the next three months. Make note of the brand, size and price of a product, such as "Raisin Bran, 14 ounces, $1.99."

Next week, turn the page and copy the same list of products. Note the changes in sale prices from the previous week - "Raisin Bran, 14 ounces, $2.49." Most supermarkets operate on a 12-week cycle, during which time prices on all products in the store will hit both a high and low. After maintaining the book for three months, go back and create a master page, such as "Raisin Bran, 14 ounces - High: $3.79, Low: $1.69."

Now that you've got a physical guide, you can use it to recognize when the price of an item falls into the buy now range. Each cycle may vary, but you will develop a sense of the lowest price for the items you most frequently buy. Then you can match your coupons to those low-priced sales, and reduce the prices even more.

But that's a lot of work! Most of us don't have the time or patience to maintain a price book. The good news? We don't have to. There are many websites that track sales cycles, match coupons for items you want and show the total percent of savings. When you see a savings of 50 percent or more on an item, it's time to buy! These match-up sites also tell you exactly which coupon to use to cut the price even more and where it may be found, either by showing the week the coupon ran in the newspaper insert or by providing a link to an online coupon.

Here are some popular grocery list match-up sites:

• Savingsangel.com

This site has match-up lists for major supermarkets, drugstores and general merchandise stores around the country. It even assigns you an "angel," or mentor, who can help you use the site.

• Couponmom.com

Free match-up lists for stores in all 50 states, using coupons from newspapers or the Internet.

• Other match-up sites include grocerygame.com, grocerysmarts.com and groceryguide.com.

Knowing the best week to buy doesn't get much easier than this! If you can save half or more when purchasing an item you need, it's the right time to buy. These sites are match coupons to sales for you, saving time. Simply click the items you wish to buy this week and print a shopping list. Gather the appropriate coupons that the list calls for, and head to the store!

Jill Cataldo, a coupon workshop instructor, writer and mother of three, never passes up a good deal. Learn more about couponing at her website, www.jillcataldo.com. Email your couponing victories and questions to jill@ctwfeatures.com.

Source: www.lvrj.com

Thursday, 8 December 2011

10 Tips To Help Save Time And Money

1. Use coupons when items are on sale and/or buy-one-get-one-free. Use one coupon per item and stack coupons if possible (which means use a store coupon and manufacturer coupon on each item purchased).

2. Shop every week. A sales cycle is around every six to 12 weeks. Go to the store even if it's just for a few sale items.

3. Keep inserts whole and date them. Don't throw them away. Keep coupons even if you don't use that product. You never know when you will be able to get that item for free.

4. Avoid going overboard when organizing coupons.

5. Get the Sunday paper.

6. Always look for coupons. When in a store, be aware of coupons in the store as well.

7. Know the store's corporate coupon policy. Each store manager is responsible for coupon management in that particular store.

8. Be friendly and courteous. Be patient with cashiers when using a lot of coupons at once.

9. Don't try to pass off an expired or copied coupon or try to use a coupon on a product you didn't buy.

10. Use rebates. They often are overlooked.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Question & Answer With "Coupon Professor"

As coupons find new favor among consumers who, in some cases, have drastically cut grocery bills by aggressively working the system, the Extreme Coupon Professors have been finding a wider and wider audience.

The "professors" are Kim Bergeron and Alice Morette, two moms from Weare who have become known for their classes, which teach what they've been doing for years: saving a lot of money and, in many cases, even getting their groceries for free. They've also found a way to share some of their excess products with community food banks. NHBR spoke with Bergeron recently.

Q. Your coupon efforts go beyond grocery shopping, right?

A. We don't just focus on getting food deals. Our deals spill over into our lives. Clothes for the kids, their school supplies. With four kids, that's a lot of shoes. When it comes to doing fun things with the kids, we always make sure we have a deal. We always go where the deal is.

Q. Your website (extremecouponprofessors.blogspot.com) shows pictures of a $250 shopping spree at Old Navy. You paid $160, but then you got $70 worth of "super cash" from Old Navy, which means by time you're finished, you will have only spent $90.

A. We found the deal and posted it. Pretty much everything we do we put on the blog. We put it on to show everyone else it can be done.

Q. How did you get started with extreme couponing?

A. I've been doing shopping like this for eight years. I have four kids -- the youngest is eight. So pretty much this is how we shop. Our grocery bill would have been astronomical, and with doing the coupons, we were able to get it down to $50 or $60 a week.

What happened was all my friends were seeing all my groceries and how I paid hardly anything and their grocery bills were $300 or more and they'd ask, "How did you do this?" I was showing them all how to do it, even to the point where if they still didn't get it they'd say, "I want to follow you shopping." So, they'd actually follow me while I was grocery shopping.

Finally, when all the kids were in school, I thought, "I think I want to do this." I pretty much just popped it on my Facebook page saying, "This is what I'm going to do," and I had a whole long line of, "It's about time. I've been telling you to do this for four or five years."

Then Alice Morette, who was more of an acquaintance at the time and had couponed the way I did said, "Are you doing classes on this?" And I said, "Yes, do you want to join me?" And that's basically how it happened.

Q. Do you realize immediate savings or do you have to let it build over time?

A. Certainly the first time after you take a (public or home) class, we will teach you how to shop and you will have savings right away. Our class is $20, and the first time you'll pretty much save $20 on your first shopping.

To be able to shop the way that we do takes a whole year because of the store cycles. For instance, ketchup is going to be the cheapest you can get it in June, which is barbecue season. You won't get cheap ketchup in January, so we teach people how to shop with the cycles of the store, and you're able to get your prices down a lot lower just following that.

Q. You and your partner Alice each buy 20 copies of the Sunday paper. Do you recommend that for the average person?

A. We do ours as a business, so let's say you were to host a class at your house, the person who hosts the class and has 10 people come to their home, gets $50 or $60 in free items.

We've been doing four or five classes a week, so it's a lot more we have to give away as well. Typically I tell people starting out for their family to have at least four Sunday newspapers for the coupons. In our class, we teach you to get your coupons out of the paper. We also do some clipping services as well. It's about 50/50. Four is a nice number if you want to stock up on something. You want to have those coupons handy.

Q. You say this kind of couponing can be done in 15 minutes a week, which doesn't seem possible.

A. Before the business, with four little kids, I had 15 minutes I'd set aside to get my grocery list ready and my coupons ready and then I was done until I was ready to go shopping. And then when I went shopping, I went shopping with four little kids. They were all babies, very close in age, and I was in and out of that store because there's no way I wanted to be in the store for hours, and I didn't have time to be on the computer and figuring out the grocery list.

Indeed, 15 minutes a week was all I put into it for years. And my house was stocked most of the time for free. The other thing I tell people is that I hate shopping. People think it's funny that we do the coupon classes and we do all the shopping. I can't stand going to the grocery store so I want everything to be done very quickly, very efficiently and I'm out of there.

Q. What classes do you offer beyond grocery shopping?

A. We offer specialty classes, like the one we (had) for getting ready for school, helping with clothes shopping, all the school supplies, the snacks and breakfasts. We also had another specialty class around Thanksgiving called "The giving back," because as you know with the extreme coupon TV show, you see people going crazy buying all this stuff.

We teach to provide for your family and then be able to give some back. And this is especially the time we like to help people and give things back around the holidays, with Thanksgiving baskets for people who are losing their jobs.

It's a great feeling to be able to help a lot of people too.

Q. Extreme coupon reality shows are getting some bad press because some coupon users are hoarding products, making them scarce for other shoppers.

A. It's true. We don't hoard, I mean in my class people will ask, "Where do you put the stuff?" We pretty much buy what we have room for. I have a couple closets. I have a small kitchen with a few cabinets. Indeed, my kids would love it if I took their clothes out and put them in Ziploc bags and then put cookies in their drawers instead (laughs). We have things where they belong and we shop for our family and we shop to give back a little bit. By any means, we don't waste.

Source: http://www.nhbr.com/people/941962-292/qa-with-coupon-professor-kim-bergeron.html

Monday, 5 December 2011

When is The Best Time to Release Digital Coupons

When it comes to digital coupons, timing is everything. No surprise, really. There is a reason more coupons are released for the ingredients for pumpkin pie during the holidays for offline shoppers - because they're in-market for those items. A new study finds the best time for digital coupon release is Wednesday morning.
According to RevTrax, releasing digital coupons at 8AM Wednesday's results in a nearly 20% increase in that coupon being printed. RevTrax also found that most coupons, generally, are printed on Wednesdays and Thursdays, Monday and Tuesday coupon releases are the least likely to be printed.

Other interesting findings include:

• Digital coupon conversion rates are highest for those viewed and printed 8AM-5PM
• Monday-Friday, coupons are most likely to be printed between 8AM-10AM and 12PM-4PM
• Consumers are most likely to print coupons at work

"Digital coupons are known to boost in-store sales, but measuring the impact of any online promotion on offline sales has long been an inexact science," said Jonathan Treiber, co-founder and CEO, RevTrax. "The RevTrax day and time study is a big step in helping advertisers learn how to optimize the impact of digital media to drive more coupon prints. This insight is critical for advertisers aiming to drive promotion ROI and increase in-store sales."

According to Coupon Craze 94% of online shoppers will look for coupons/discounts before shopping on Cyber Monday; most of these will be looking for deals on electronics, apparel or health/beauty items.

Mobile devices are making it simpler for shoppers to find coupons - either for online or offline purchases. For example, iBuildApp's recent release gives businesses the ability to create and manage mobile coupons as well as social networking integrations.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Saving Big Not as Difficult as It May Seem

It's Wednesday and Leigh Ann Garrett of West Ashley begins her day driving to a Mount Pleasant convenience store to purchase a newspaper. She is in search of the highly coveted Harris Teeter coupon that gives $10 off a purchase of $40 or more.

"If you go too late in the mornings, places will be sold out. No doubt about it," she said, adding that papers are usually sold out by 10 a.m. The coupons are inserted into newspapers only in the Mount Pleasant area.

Leigh Ann Garrett of West Ashley drives to Mount Pleasant on Wednesday to buy a Post and Courier newspaper that has a coupon only available in particular areas.

Unlike many customers, Garrett said she purchases only one paper because she wants others to be able to get them as well.

"I'm an ethical couponer," she said. "I don't want someone going in at 7 a.m. and buying all 20 newspapers that a store has -- that is not fair."

Using coupons, Garrett is able to keep her weekly grocery budget to less than $50 for herself, her 16-month-old daughter, Mollie, and husband Matt.

The couponing craze has taken off in recent years, no doubt fueled by a weak economy and efforts by businesses to provide incentives to pull customers into stores. In the first six months of 2011, consumers saved $2 billion using coupons, according to the U.S. Mid-year 2011 Consumer Packaged Goods

Coupon Facts Report, released by NCH Marketing Services Inc.

This statistic doesn't surprise Jill Cataldo, a national couponing expert whose weekly column appears in The Post and Courier and other publications. Even though more coupons are being printed than ever before, she said, as much as 98 percent of them go unredeemed.

"It seems like everyone is using coupons right now, but the reality of it is, unfortunately, not everyone is doing it," she said.

Why? Mostly due to misconceptions, Cataldo said. To some, couponing seems like a waste of time. Others find the process of searching out and clipping coupons an intimidating chore. Many feel they'll end up with unnecessary items, and yet others worry about needing a lot of storage space.

All untrue, said Cataldo, adding that couponing is all about saving money:

"It's free money. It's tax-free, you're cutting your bill down on things that you would buy anyway and you're getting better prices."

Believe it -- it works

Cataldo, whose "Super-Couponing Tips" column runs in 130 newspapers each week, said her couponing goal is to cut her grocery bill in half or better each shopping trip.

The Chicago mother of three said she spends about 30 to 60 minutes a week planning her shopping trips.

"Nothing makes me cringe more than when I see the show ("Extreme Couponing") and people say, 'I spend 40 hours a week couponing,' " she said.

Teri Bennett of Johns Island agrees. After couponing for a few months, she perfected a system that helps her save 70 percent to 80 percent -- sometimes as much as 100 percent -- on everything she buys for her household.

"Once you get a system down, it's a lot less time consuming," Bennett said. "Now that I'm in the swing of things, I don't have to spend near the amount of time I used to."

Bennett's average weekly grocery bill is $50 to $60 for her family of four. Most of the time is spent organizing her trip, and it doesn't take her very long to shop.

How it works

To save big, Bennett said people must forget about brand loyalty. Buy the store brands when possible.

Her family has tried a lot of new and different products. "Things I never would've spent money on before. When they're on sale or I'm paying a quarter for it, I'm more likely to try it out."

However, when a brand-name product goes on sale, stock up. "A name-brand item on sale with a coupon will beat a store brand price every day."

Being successful at couponing also requires knowing where to find, and how to organize, coupons.

"Your main source of coupons is going to be the Sunday (newspaper) circular," Bennett said. "You have to spend the $2 on the paper, but it's going to save you sometimes over $100."

She also finds electronic coupons online and is always on the lookout in stores for tear pads, coupon booklets and "blinkies," which are machines that distribute coupons. Bennett also interacts with manufacturers directly by phone or via the Internet. They often send her coupons just for getting in touch with them.

Bennett, a home-schooling mother of two and blogger for Charleston Savvy Shopper, never throws away coupons, even for products she doesn't use because they might come in handy later on when that item is on sale.

Bennett's schedule affords her the flexibility and time to shop. She uses coupons and shops sales at a variety of stores, including drugstores and discount department stores. Many personal-care and cleaning products cost less at drugstores.

For those new to couponing, Cataldo recommends focusing on one drugstore and one grocery store.

"Most people don't chase store to store," she said, "although some people love that chase. But you have to factor the price of gas into it as well."

Another tip to remember, said Cataldo, is that a store sales cycle is in six- to 12-week increments. During that time, a product will hit a high-end price and a low-end price. For example, a jar of pasta sauce might hit a high of $2.99 and a sale price low of 99 cents.

"Logic would dictate I should only buy it when it is 99 cents, regardless of whether I have a coupon or not because it's a third of the (regular) price," she said. "I'm also going to buy a little bit in quantity.

"I don't have any rooms in my house filled with groceries, but I know my store is on a 12-week cycle, so I'm going to buy 12 jars of (on sale) pasta sauce if we want to eat it once a week. But I'm also not buying it again for the next three months."

There are a number of websites that provide consumers with easy access to information about sales cycles, and they match sales to available coupons.

Southernsavers.com, for example, is a Columbia-based website that rapidly has become a go-to place for couponers in the Southeast.

Jenny Martin, the website's founder, said finding coupons isn't difficult. Digging out deals is even easier, once you are wired.

A Google search will reveal hordes of couponing sites. Two that are good for anyone starting out are www.super-couponing.com and www.couponmom.com.

Organizing and storing

Once you find the coupons, organizing them is a matter of personal preference, said Martin. People shouldn't feel obligated to be super-organized with coupon binders and the like, she said. Do what works best.

Cataldo agreed. Experienced couponers usually just keep coupon inserts whole, only clipping what's needed for that week's shopping trip.

"I detest the binder," she said. "That's kind of the old way of doing things. Most of us are using a clip-less method. We try to cut the planning time down as much as possible."

The best way to keep your coupon- fueled purchasing under control is to watch for sales, said Cataldo. Estimate how much you will use during the store's sale cycle and purchase accordingly.

"You don't have to go overboard," she said. "Just buy a little bit more than your needs -- anticipating what you will need. The exception to that is if something is a really good deal and is completely nonperishable, like toilet paper, detergent or paper towels, and you have the space. Stock up on that item because you don't have to worry about expiration dates."

Bennett also uses the "smart stockpile" technique, taking advantage of buy-one-get-one-free sales.

"Some places will tell you a 12-week supply, but I find it hard to stock that much stuff. In a normal house, I don't know where you're going to store that much supply. You'd have to get really crafty."

Reach Shannon Brigham at 958-7393. Visit her on Facebook.

Know each store’s coupon policy

Individual stores handle coupons differently. It can also be helpful to take a copy of the policy with you to the store. Johns Island mom and couponer Terri Bennett said she’s noticed store policies have changed a lot over the past several years. It’s important to know the store’s policy

“Sometimes it’s a benefit to couponers, and sometimes it’s not,” she said.

Click the links below to find out each store's coupon policy:

Publix

Walmart

BI-LO

Harris Teeter

CVS

Walgreens

Rite Aid

Family Dollar


By the numbers

Some quick statistics on coupon clippers:

96% still would use coupons even if they won the lottery.

92% indicate they are using coupons for groceries.

81% are using more coupons.

73% are planning more prior to shopping.

60% spend up to two hours looking for coupons, deals and savings from print sources.

31%spend three or more hours each week online looking for deals, up 265% from 2010. Mobile couponing is gaining popularity with the under-50 set.

2011 RedPlum Purse String Study of more than 23,000 respondents

Source: http://www.postandcourier.com/news/2011/dec/04/04coupons/

Take Advantage of Store Coupons

Take advantage of store coupons at Michaels, Office Depot, Sears, Hancock and Kohl's

This week in the Journal-World ads, I noticed some store coupons.

Michaels has a 20 percent off entire purchase on Sunday only between the hours of 4 and 9 p.m. Also at Michaels, 40 percent off one regular priced item through Dec. 10. These are great if you are doing any holiday crafting.

Hancock fabrics is offering a 10 percent coupon on your entire purchase. This is good Sunday (Dec. 4) only. There are also two 40 percent coupons. One for any fabric item at regular price and 40 percent off any one sewing or quilting notion ( up to $55.99). These are good through Dec. 7.

Office Depot has 20 percent off shipping and packing services ($20 or more) coupon through Jan. 7, 2012.

At Sears, clip your coupon for an extra 20 percent off regular, sale and clearance items (clothing, intimate apparel, accessories, fragrance and cosmetics). Extra 10 percent off fine jewelry, watches, housewares, bed and bath, window fashions, mattresses, recliners, Shaw rugs, and luggage (regular, sale and clearance). Coupon good through Dec. 6.

And, at Kohl's you can get an extra 20 percent off everything when you spend $100 or more. Or take an extra 15 percent off everything. This offer is good through Dec. 5.

Source: http://ljworld.com/

Save On Organic Grocery Coupons

Here's a list of organic manufacturers who offer coupons and instructions on how to get them.

Barbara's

Sign up for the online store newsletter to receive special offers and discounts. You'll also find printable coupons on the website.

Brown Cow Farm

Print a coupon from the website.

Cascadian Farm

Get a $1 Cascadian Farm coupon when you sign up for their newsletter, plus more coupons in each issue.

Dreamfields Pasta

Sign up for the newsletter to get $1 off any box of Dreamfields pasta, plus get even more coupons in the newsletter.

Earthbound Farm

Take a quiz about organic farming, and get a coupon for $1 off when you answer all of the questions correctly.

Earth's Best

Choose from several printable coupons.

Hain

Check the "Special Offers" page regularly for the latest offers from Hain.

Horizon Organic

Click on the "coupons" link at the top of the screen, and enter your name and e-mail address to access several printable coupons.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Show Some Coupon Discipline: Wait a Little, Save a Lot

When you first start couponing, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by sales cycles, sales-to-coupon matching and expiration dates. It’s definitely a big shift from the “old” way of shopping – buying what you want or need for the current week, regardless of price.

This week we hear from a couponing newbie.

Question: “As a new couponer, I am trying to do my best to save some money for the family. After I made my first purchase with coupons, I realized I might not be using them for optimal savings.”

Answer: This is one of the most common mistakes new coupon shoppers make. They get the newspaper, cut out the coupons and take those coupons to the store in the same week. With a few exceptions, the week a coupon appears in the paper is typically not the best week to use it.

Why not? In order to get the most value from coupons, it’s important to realize that prices of products in stores fluctuate in a fairly consistent pattern.

Savvy coupon shoppers never pay the regular, non-sale price for an item they wish to buy. They understand that from week to week, the price of an item will vary widely.

Sale prices can dip as deep as 50 to 65 percent off the regular price; clearly, this is the best time to buy that item if you want it. Move in with a coupon, and you cut that already good price even more.

When I teach the concept of sales cycling to students in my Super-Couponing workshop, some of them seem to have trouble grasping the idea that prices really do change that much at the grocery store. They assume that a pack of paper towels or a half-gallon of juice costs about the same every day. But that’s not true.

Here’s an easy analogy to help drive this point home. Imagine you need to buy a new car. The car you wish to buy usually costs $25,000. In a few weeks, the dealer will put the car on sale for $12,500. Additionally, the manufacturer is offering a $3,000 incentive to buy the car any time this month.

If you buy the car today, you’ll pay $22,000. But if you wait for the half-off sale to use the incentive, you’ll pay just $9,500 – a 62 percent savings.

If you know a sale is coming and that it will involve a pretty significant discount, wouldn’t you wait to buy? This is the game we play when we grocery shop each week. Prices fluctuate, and smart couponers move in with a coupon when they do.

Experienced couponers also take into account another pricing game. Stores know weeks ahead of time the coupon promotions that will appear in newspaper inserts. Because many people take their coupons to the store the week they receive them, the store will make a greater profit by keeping those items at higher prices the week that the corresponding coupons appear in the paper.

For example, a 9-ounce bag of raspberry-filled cookies were on sale for 99 cents at my local store recently. The same little bag of cookies usually sells for $2.87. I love cookies, but I would never buy them at full price. However, the price drop from $2.87 to 99 cents is pretty significant – about 65 percent.

I had a 45-cent coupon from the newspaper. With it, I could buy the 99-cent bag of cookies for 54 cents. But here’s the trick – the coupon I used came out in the newspaper three weeks before the sale. If I had run right to the store with this coupon the same week I received it, I would have paid $2.42 for these cookies after the coupon.

Source: http://www.inforum.com/event/article/id/342589/group/Business/

How To Get Coupons For Free Products

Coupons are good, but coupons for free products are better. Here's how to snag your share:
Like Companies on Facebook

Everyone is on Facebook these days – including your favorite brands. Like their fan page, and you could be rewarded with free product coupons (either at sign up or in the future).

Companies that Like to Show the Facebook-Freebie Love:

Bath and Body Works
Redbox
Suave
Yankee Candle

Tip: Set up a Google Alert for the phrase "Facebook freebie," and you'll be among the first to know when a new deal goes live.

Rebate

Get serious about rebating. It's a great way to earn both rebate checks and free product coupons.

Contact Manufacturers

Make a list of the products that you use regularly (food, cleaners, toiletries, etc.). Then, email the manufacturer of each one to let them know what you think of their product – good or bad. A bit of feedback could (and likely will) net you a mailbox full of coupons for freebies.

Sign Up for Product Tests

Agree to test products for companies, and they'll hook you up with plenty of loot (free product coupons included).

A Couple Test Sites to Sign Up For:

Kraft
Vocalpoint (P&G)

Spread the Word About New Products

Businesses know word-of-mouth advertising (WOM) is powerful stuff. Sign up to spread the word about new products; and they'll send you coupons, so you can try them first.

WOM Sites to Sign Up For:

BzzAgent
House Party

Friday, 2 December 2011

Use Your Cell Phone to Save Coupons

Not a fan of clipping coupons? Then, have them sent to your cell phone instead. Here's are several sources of mobile coupons:

1. Yowza

Download the Yowza app to your iPhone or iPod Touch (also available for Blackberry, Androaid and Palm Pre), and it will show you all the deals and coupons available in your area. With over 15,000 national retailers participating, this app is a keeper.

2. Cellfire

Register with Cellfire to gain acess to their coupon database (free). Then, choose the coupons that interest you. You can add grocery coupons directly to your store card and non-store coupons to your cellphone.

3. Target

Sign up to receive coupons once a month via text alerts.

4. Walgreens

Text "GOMOBILE" to 21525 to receive coupons and exclusive deals. Find out More


Tip Source: http://frugalliving.about.com/

Thursday, 1 December 2011

How to Get More Coupons

More coupons equals more savings. It's simple enough math, but how are you supposed get your hand on more coupons? Read on for several winning strategies to try:

Sign Up for Newsletters
Devoted to a particular product or brand? Check the company's website to see if they offer a free e-newsletter. Subscribers are often rewarded with special coupons and promotions.

Buy an Extra Paper
There's no rule that says you can only buy one newspaper, so pick up an extra one (or five) whenever you find good coupons inside.

Have Coupons Sent to Your Cell Phone
Subscribe to one or more mobile coupon services (free), and have coupons sent to your cell phone.

Call Companies
More coupons could be just a phone call away. Dial the toll-free number on the back of your favorite products and ask if they have coupons that they can send you.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Food Shopping Strategies ; Save Big Bucks

Food Shopping Strategies Beyond Coupons Can Still Save Big Bucks!

If you never clip a single coupon, there are still many ways you can save at the grocery store. NY1's Money Matters reporter Tara Lynn Wagner filed the following report.

In many cases, the key to saving money at the grocery store boils down to "location, location, location." For example, the end cap offers deals, but consumer expert Andrea Woroch says it may pay to dig a little deeper in the aisle.

"If you compare it back to the other products in the aisle, you may find there is actually a cheaper deal available," says Woroch.

Shoppers who just want market for milk or eggs will probably have no choice but to wander the aisles. Daily necessities are often found at the back of the store, and that is no accident.

"That's the grocery store attempt to get you to walk through various aisles hoping that you'll pick up extra products," says Woroch.

Similarly, candy and batteries are placed right at the register to get shoppers to grab that one last thing, called an "impulse buy." Woroch says the best way to control that impulse is to shop less.

"If your average impulse purchase is $20 per shopping trip and you make three shopping trips per week, then that's an extra $60 you're spending," says Woroch.

Another way to save is to look up or down. Woroch says brand names pay stores a premium to have their products placed at eye level.

"If you shop high and shop low, that's where you will find the generic store versions which are generally less expensive," says Woroch.

That savings can be substantial. For example, a name-brand cereal at eye level may cost $3.79, but the store brand up above costs a dollar less.

If price comparison does not get shoppers to go generic, they should look at the contents. Brand-loyal customers may be surprised to find the ingredients in the store brand are often identical, and in some cases, even organic.

"They find that they're getting the same taste that they would with a name brand but also they find they are saving money in their pocket," says Arlene Putterman, a manager of public relations at Stop and Shop.

Savings can also be found at one's fingertips. Smartphone apps can help shoppers search for coupons and loyalty programs offer special sales just for participants.

For instance, Stop and Shop customers who use hand scanners are offered targeted deals for products they have purchased in the past.

Finally, shoppers can cut their costs by kicking the cart to the curb.

"Shop with just a basket. You are less likely to fill it up and overspend," says Woroch.

For more information, visit www.andreaworoch.com

Couponing Tips - Turning Paper Into Food

Aleta Moretz knows how to turn paper into food. All it takes is a mini accordion folder, a little extra time and a pair of scissors.

Moretz, a Longmont mom, is a coupon clipper. She also organizes regular coupon swaps with a Longmont-area moms group. The women pile their extra and unneeded coupons in a massive pile and take whey they need.

It just felt wrong throwing them away, Moretz says; it's like throwing dollar bills into the cash.

Still, that's where many coupons go -- especially around here. ShopAtHome.com, which offers printable coupons and online shopping, says Boulder is the least frugal city in America when it comes to using coupons.

Apparently, we're missing the boat.

Sparked by shows like TLC's "Extreme Couponing," coupon use has seen a big spike. ShopAtHome alone says its users have grown from 19 million to 37 million in the past year.

Nationwide, 78 percent of shoppers used coupons last year, with an average of eight coupons per household every month, according to ShopAtHome.

Couponing has changed dramatically over the past few years, with the rise in digital coupons, according to ShotAtHome.

Experts say it can be simple. It's not just junk food. And some believe it says less about your income than it does about your ability to be a savvy shopper.

Laura Killen-Wing considers herself a "common-sense couponer" (not an extreme couponer with a stockpile of 12,000 cans of cream of mushroom soup). When she had her second child, she wanted to continue to have the same lifestyle, and she says food was the smartest place to cut back.

She says she has cut her grocery bill in half and spends about three hours a week -- including shopping.

That was four years ago. Today, Killen-Wing and her friend, Ashley Miller, teach free coupon classes to other families in Northern Colorado. Their next class is in January.

Killen-Wing says she doesn't buy anything unless it's on sale. She says, once her daughter asked her, "Are we poor?"

"I said, 'No baby, this is poor prevention,'" Killen-Wing says. "I'm living like this now so I can have more later."

Cutting costs on groceries can be an easy way to save money during the holidays, according to Teri Gault, who runs the LA-based website Grocerygame.com. Making a few simple tweaks to your shopping habits can save you hundreds -- as much as 70 percent, she says.

Her website is designed to make it as easy as possible. Pull the ad inserts from the newspaper and file them by date, she says. Then log on to Grocerygame.com, select what you want (even comparison shopping between stores) and the website will tell you which specific coupons to cut, so you only clip what you want to use. Print out the list and hit the store.

A family of four saves, on average, $514 a month, Gault says. That's $6,000 a year.

"And these are people who don't have time to make a career out of coupons," she says.

The catch: The website costs $1.25 a week (after a free month trial).

Other websites, like Couponmom.com and Colorado-based Bargainblessing.com are free. Bargain Blessings says a realistic goal for a new couponer is to save 50 percent, but that depends on what you buy and how much you put into it.

Looking to save money during the holiday season and into the new year? Here are some couponing tips from the experts:

Coupons don't save you the real money; it's coupons combined with sales, Gault says. Hold on to your coupons and wait for that item to go on sale. (That's what these coupon websites tell you.)

Safeway and King Soopers double coupons up to $1 or the value of the product. If it's a coupon for 75 cents off, it's actually worth $1.25. Tip: If the first number on the coupon's bar code is a five, it will double. A nine will not.

Sales are cyclical. Most items go on sale every six weeks, and most coupons are good for three months. If you plan ahead, that means there's never an excuse to use a coupon without a sale, or visa versa.

You don't have to hoard . Just buy as much as you'll need for about six weeks, when the item goes on sale again. That way, you're always buying at rock bottom, and you won't run out when something's on the high price point. Supermarkets only have about 20 percent of their items on sale each week.

"The best way to save on groceries is to invest," Gault says. "Don't buy when you need something. Buy what's on sale."

Looking for low organic produce prices? Moretz says she hits up the farmers market after noon, when farmers cut prices and are more willing to negotiate so they don't have to haul everything back home.

Stock up on sale frozen produce to fill in the gaps in the winter, and plan your meals around seasonal produce on sale. Also, when you save money on other items, you won't feel as bad paying full price for produce that you really love, says Killen-Wing.

For other organic products: Most major manufacturers also have organic lines. Even though the coupon may only say Ragu sauce is on sale, it also applies to Ragu's organic products.

Check organic products' websites for coupons, and sign up for their mailing lists. They regularly send out free products and samples, Gault says.

Also, organic milk has twice the shelf life as regular . So when it's on sale, stock up for five weeks, which is how long it lasts, Gault says.

Use your freezer for to extend the shelf life of clearance bread, meats and even dairy products, according to Miller. Many new couponers take the money they save in the first month and put it toward a deep freezer.

Take baby steps . Start with small goals, and question what you see on TV. Some of it's not realistic, Killen-Wing says. Don't chase every deal, and accept that you will miss others.

Set price points . Know the highest price you are willing to pay for an object, based on the cheapest you've ever bought it for. Not sure what's a good price? Bargain Blessings rates deals on an A to F scale.

Buy the limit. If the store puts a limit on something, that means it's the best price around.

Smaller can be better . When you have a coupon, it usually takes off more per ounce or unit on the smaller package than larger, changing up the math (and Costco logic).

Dollar and discount stores aren't cheaper than smart couponing at supermarkets, studies have found. Grocery stores have a high-low marketing strategy, where their regular prices are higher than other places, but their sales prices get lower - including lower than Wal-Mart's "every day low prices," Gault says.

In fact, she says Wal-Mart doesn't actually match more than half of the deals (there's a lot of fine print).

"To save the most money, that's not where you shop," she says.

Take a coupon class. Jennie Sanford, of Denver, with Bargainblessings.com, offers her next three-hour class Dec. 10 in Littleton for $5 per person. Check the website for more info.

Be patient and give yourself a little time to build up your coupon stockpile before you start seeing the bigger savings, Sanford says.

Have a plan, budget and list before you get into the store. Bring cash so your budget is limited.

Plan your meals based on what's on sale, not what you're hungry for.

Don't miss out on social deals and "Groupons." Sanford's favorite is Weekly Plus, because it offers weeklong deals.

Buy a few extras of a good deal and donate them to a food pantry, Sanford suggests. If you can get free Cheerios and you eat gluten-free, give them to someone in need.

Get a rain check for items that are out of stock.

Know the coupon policies for each store.

You can get stuff for free. Sanford says she never pays for toothpaste, toothbrushes, shaving cream, lotions or shavers, among other things.

Source: www.dailycamera.com/features/ci_19392743

How To Find More Coupons Online

Searching for coupons online, but not sure where to look or who to trust? Here's a round-up of the best online coupon sources:

Visit Manufacturer Websites

Make a list of all of the products that appear in your pantry and medicine cabinet on a regular basis. Then, head to each manufacturer's website in search of coupons. Many companies have coupons that you can print right off of their site, while others will reward you with coupons, if you sign up to receive their e-newsletter.

Go to the Coupon Companies

You know those SmartSource, RedPlum and P&GbrandSAVER coupons that you get in your Sunday paper? Well, you can now get those same coupons online!

Check Out:
SmartSource
Redplum
P&GbrandSAVER

Tip: Cut out your favorite coupons from the newspaper. Then, go online to print out additional copies.

Sign Up for Upromise.com

Need a reason to save for college? Well, here it is: sign up for upromise.com; select coupons to load onto your grocery and drug store cards; and the money that you save will be deposited directly into your college savings account.

Check Grocery Store Websites

Grocery stores are making it easier than ever to coupon. Visit the website of your favorite grocery store, and you're likely to find loads of coupons to print or download.

Check Out:
Ingles
Kroger
Safeway
Target

Look on Drug Store Websites

Grocery stores aren't the only ones to get onboard with the printable coupon craze. Visit drug store websites, and you'll find page after page of clip-and-print coupons to choose from.

Check Out:
CVS
Walgreens

Get Electronic Coupons

Load coupons on to your cell phone or grocery store card. It's easy and paperless:

Sign Up for P&G eSaver

Want to get your hands on more Procter and Gamble coupons? Sign up for the P&G eSaver program, and you can add their coupons to your grocery card too!

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Couponing But Not Going Extremes

Couponing, but not going to any extremes.

If you haven't seen the TLC show "Extreme Couponing," immediately set your TiVo, record the next 10 episodes and prepare to be awed.

In the show, shoppers go to great lengths - think rummaging through Dumpsters for discarded coupons and spending seven hours at a grocery store - to score big deals.

Often, they rack up thousands of dollars at the cash register only to see that cost whittled down to nothing, thanks to a few hundred coupons, store discounts and lots of savvy planning.

Each nail-biting episode features the shoppers arguing with unsupportive relatives, squabbling with other customers and panicking as the cash register clicks down toward zero.

To get the best per-unit price and to maximize their coupons, the shoppers often must buy cartloads of stuff, which then goes into their "stockpiles," usually basements full of barbecue sauce, air fresheners, ramen noodles and any other product for which you could possibly think, why on Earth do I need 100 bottles of that?

The fiendish hoarding and poor shopping etiquette is a turn-off. But when someone gets $700 worth of groceries for $5, I have to wonder whether I'm missing out. I may not be up for extreme couponing, but could I do better when shopping for my family?

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a moderate cost plan for the average family of four is almost $800 a month on groceries, which squares with my typical shopping trip. I can't get out of the grocery store without spending at least $200. At a place like Whole Foods, that buys me a pound of meat and a couple of strawberries. Surely, there's room to improve.

For advice, I turned to the South Bay's couponing expert, Lachmi Malhotra, who teaches a South Bay Adult School class on getting the best bargains.

Lachmi is a bit horrified when I tell her my shopping strategy, which amounts to roaming the aisles and haphazardly throwing items into my cart, whatever looks good, no attention to price. My grocery store sends me coupons for products I buy all the time, and I still don't use them.

Yes, she says, definitely room to improve.

Lachmi suggests we meet at a local grocery store so she can show me the ropes. I'm amazed when she proposes Whole Foods. I had no idea Whole Foods even accepted coupons. And was it possible we'd score any big deals there?

The first step, Lachmi tells me, is to get organized. Any serious couponer has a coupon book, usually a big binder organized by category, making it easy to find the right coupon when you're at the register. Next, before setting foot in the store, use an online site like www.couponmom.com to find the best grocery deals and sales in your area. These sites also tell you how to use your coupons to maximize your value.

But that's too easy, I say, thinking of those "Extreme Couponing" women who spend 40 hours a week on elaborate spreadsheets.

"It's so easy," Lachmi says. With a 15-month-old daughter at home, Lachmi doesn't have time to make it complicated. Her enthusiasm gives me hope.

In Whole Foods, Lachmi tells me about "stacking," or using a manufacturer's coupon and a store coupon to get double savings. She selects four boxes of low-sodium vegetable broth on sale, two for $5.

Then she grabs a couple of cans of tomatoes, also on sale. We head to the register. The six items ring up to $13. Lachmi pulls out the coupons. I hold my breath as the discounts rack up, a dollar here, a dollar there. Final tab: $4. Not bad.

An accountant by trade, Lachmi started couponing when she quit work to be a stay-at-home mom. Without her additional income, the family needed to buckle down. Through organization and careful planning, Lachmi had soon slashed her monthly bills from $3,000 to $600, and she spends only about two hours a week searching for deals and coupons. She has a small stockpile, a few extra bottles of laundry detergent for example, but she doesn't buy what she won't use.

I liked Lachmi's common-sense approach. After saying goodbye, I was so excited about couponing that I immediately drove to Target to buy a binder and inserts, paying full price for each item.

That weekend, I clipped coupons, organized my new binder and headed to the grocery store. I'd forgotten to make a shopping list, contradicting Lachmi's No. 1 rule. But I'm all about baby steps.

Instantly, I scored big by "stacking" coupons for sliced cheese, getting each item for less than 50 cents. On the next aisle, I snagged some Greek yogurts for practically nothing thanks to a great sale and a coupon. Then I came to the pasta aisle. I needed pasta.

Between the coupons and the store discount, I was looking at less than a dollar a box if I bought 10 boxes. Ten boxes? Do I really need 10 boxes of pasta? I sighed and dumped farfalles, rigatonis, and macaronis into the cart.

At the register, I proudly handed over my coupons. The cashier swiped away, and the total ticked downward. Final savings: $50, about 20 percent of the bill. A big improvement over my last shopping expedition but not great by couponing standards. Plus, I now had to store 10 boxes of pasta.

But I'm not giving up yet. Saving money in these tough economic times is always a win, and who knows when that $50 will come in handy? Now I just need to find a coupon for pasta sauce.

Source: www.dailybreeze.com/lifeandculture/ci_19415081

Store Coupon Policies

Study the coupon policies for your favorite stores to be sure you're saving as much as you could be. Then, print out a copy to take with you when you shop. You never know when you're going to encounter a store employee who isn't familiar with the rules. Here are the coupon policies for many of top grocery chains, drug stores and big box retailers:

Monday, 28 November 2011

How to Stack Coupons

Using a coupon for each item that you buy is a great way to save money, but why stop at just one? Learn how to stack coupons, and walk away with more free and nearly-free items every time you shop, here's how:

  1. Collect manufacturer coupons for the items that you purchase regularly. You'll find these in the Sunday paper, on store displays, on product boxes and online.

  2. Look for store coupons for the same items. You'll typically find these in sales circulars, on store websites, and on your receipts. If you have a frequent shopper card for any of the grocery stores in your area, you may also receive store coupons in the mail.

  3. Match up store and manufacturer coupons for the same products. To have a usable match, the coupons need to be for the same product size, fragrance, etc. You also need to have one coupon that says, "store coupon," and one that says "manufacturer coupon."

  4. Put your coupons to work. Shop for all the items that you've found matches for; present your coupons to the cashier; then, smile when she tells you your teeny tiny total.

Tips:
  1. Stack your coupons with a store sale or a rebate to save even more
  2. Combine a buy-one-get-one free coupon with a buy-one-get-one free sale, and you could get both items for free
  3. Sometimes store associates aren't as familiar with their store's coupon policies as they should be. Print out a copy of each store's policy, and bring it with you to clear up any problems that may come up
  4. Many stores accept competitor's coupons. Find one that does, and you can stack a manufacturer's coupon with a competing store's coupon
What You Need:
  • Manufacturer coupons
  • Store Coupons
  • Sales circulars
  • Scissors

Sunday, 27 November 2011

How to Keep Coupons Organized

How to Keep Coupons Organized

There are lots of ways to organize coupons; the key is to find the approach that works best for you. Three options to consider:

* Clipping out all coupons
* Clipping out just the coupons that you intend to use
* Leaving the coupon inserts intact, and clipping coupons on an "as-needed" basis

Whichever approach you choose, there are several things that you can do to ensure that your coupons remain neat and accessible:

1. Develop a filing system. Many couponers organize their coupons by grocery category--dairy, frozen foods, deli, etc. – but it's not the only way to go. Find a filing system that works for you--by aisle, by expiration, etc. – and put it into action.

2. Find a container to hold your coupons. Use a shoebox, a storage container, a coupon binder, a coupon wallet or a recipe box – it doesn't matter what you choose – but it's important to have a landing spot for all of those coupons.

3. File coupons the same day you get them. Okay, so you may not always have time to file your coupons right away, but try to file them as soon as you can. This will prevent them from getting lost, and save you the hassle of having to sort through a big mess of coupons all at once.

4. Purge regularly. Expired coupons won't save you money, so don't let them hog space in your coupon file. Set a schedule for purging expired coupons, and stick to it.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

A Beginner's Guide to Couponing - Effectively

Where to Look for Coupons?

If you're interested in couponing, but aren't sure how to get started, this guide’s for you. There are lots of coupons up for grabs, if you know where to find them. By far, the best places to look are:

* Newspapers - the Smart Source and Valassis coupon inserts appear on a near-weekly basis. The Procter and Gamble insert appears at the start of each month

* Magazines - women's publications such as Woman's Day, Red Book, Family Circle and Good Housekeeping frequently carry manufacturer coupons

* In store - look for coupons on store shelves, on products and on the back of your receipts. Also look for coupons to print out at the register

Additional places to look:

* Online - look to free grocery coupon sites for loads of printable coupons. Not all stores take them; but if yours does, you’re in luck

* Junk mail - high-value manufacturer coupons have started to appear in junk mailers, so be sure to look before you toss

* Direct from the manufacturer - check manufacturer websites for printable coupons or contact companies (by mail, e-mail or phone) to request coupons

* Store mailings - get a frequent shopper card for the grocery stores that you shop, and you may be rewarded with special coupon mailings

* On products - look in and on the packaging of the products that you buy for special loyalty coupons

Source: http://frugalliving.about.com

Online Coupons Help Make Travel a Daily Deal

Lots of people are Groupon groupies, they sign up for this daily deal coupon site (or others like it) to get discounts where they live.

I'm a fan of these discounts at home, but I also use them for deals when I am on the road.

Whenever I have an upcoming trip, I'll sign up for Groupon deals for my destination city a few weeks out and take advantage of discounts that occur while I'm visiting. By doing this, I find it possible to save on meals, entertainment and tours. In fact, I don't remember the last time I went to a restaurant without a voucher.

If you are not familiar with these offers, here's how they work: You sign up for an account, you'll get emails for deals and you'll have a small window in which to buy each deal. For example, you might see a deal offering a voucher for $20 that's good for $40 at a select restaurant. You pay the $20 upfront and print out a voucher for your deal.

We have used these deals in San Francisco to get discount admission to Alcatraz, for a two-for one Segway tour over the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito, for half-off dining and for half-off a spa package.

Some of my favorite deals have been when the airlines team up with Groupon. Virgin America has offered $100 off flights for a payment of $25. Frontier had an offer in which you paid $25 for a $50 voucher, and Southwest had a deal in which you paid $10 for a $40 voucher. (These deals have expired, but we could always see more.)

If you want to earn miles, you can earn eight miles per dollar spent on Groupon purchases with American AAdvantage. There is no posted expiration on the deal, but it could end anytime. Visit http://www.aadvantageeshopping.com for details.

Groupon is certainly not the only game in town. There are many other discounters, such as Living Social, Yollar and Tippr. You also can take a look at coupons from Restaurants.com to see whether there are eating places at your destination where you can get a significant discount.

Another place to look for discounts is departments of tourism or convention and visitors bureaus. We often see discounts on lodging, restaurants, theme parks, night clubs, museums and more.

For travel to Texas cities, for instance, I see deals offered through the San Antonio Convention & Visitors Bureau (www.visitsanantonio.com), for Houston at http://www.visithoustontexas.com, for Austin at http://www.austintexas.org and Corpus Christi at http://www.visitcorpuschristitx.org. For Californians, check out http://www.visitcalifornia.com/deals, which has info on hotels, attractions and packages. In fact, for anywhere in the state or in the U.S. check the destination's tourism or convention and visitors bureau online for deals.

Make sure you check around to see whether the deal is the best available. Sometimes discounts sound great, but there may be a better offer. Before you buy an online coupon, be sure to read all of the terms and conditions. You don't want to purchase something you can't use during your trip or one that has a lot of restrictions.

Source: http://www.latimes.com/travel/la-tr-money-20111127,1,2488903.story

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Black Friday and Cyber Monday Coupon

Black Friday and Cyber Monday at Finish Line

As we approach Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Finish Line is pleased to announce several new offers to share with its affiliates. Links and creative for each of these are now live in the Google Affiliate Network User Interface:

$15 off $90 with code GIFTSFORME at FinishLine.com
Finish Line Weekend Warrior Sale $20 off $100 with code BFCM

In addition to these links, Finish Line has extended their popular offers, including:

Great offers: NCAA Fleeces - Now 2 for $40: hundreds of NCAA fleeces, all 2 for $40
$10 off $60 during the Holidays with code HOLIDAY10 (12/31)
15% off $100 on Timberland with Code TIMB (12/1)
15% off $100 on Adidas with code ADIDAS (12/1)

See http://www.finishline.com/couponexclusions for exclusions.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Coupon

In marketing, a coupon is a ticket or document that can be exchanged for a financial discount or rebate when purchasing a product. Customarily, coupons are issued by manufacturers of consumer packaged goods or by retailers, to be used in retail stores as a part of sales promotions. They are often widely distributed through mail, magazines, newspapers, the Internet, directly from the retailer, and mobile devices such as cell phones. Since only price conscious consumers are likely to spend the time to claim the savings, coupons function as a form of price discrimination, enabling retailers to offer a lower price only to those consumers who would otherwise go elsewhere. In addition, coupons can also be targeted selectively to regional markets in which price competition is great.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Learning Advanced Couponing Strategies

Creativity pays big dividends when it comes to couponing. Learn how to increase your coupon savings with ten slick strategies.

Stack Coupons
You can stack plates, you can stack laundry, but did you know that you can stack coupons too? Increase your savings by combining a manufacturer coupon with a store coupon for the same item; or take it to the savings extreme by combining a manufacturer coupon with a store coupon, a sale and a rebate.

Pick Up Papers When You Travel
Did you know that the Sunday coupon inserts vary from region to region? It's true; and in fact, it's great news if you like to travel. Pick up a Sunday paper whenever you go out of town, and you're likely to net coupons that you've never seen before.

Buy Extra Papers
Find a bunch of good coupons in the paper? Then, consider buying an extra copy – or copies. If you know that the coupons in this week's paper will save you $12, then spending $2 on another paper makes sense.

Tip: Some stores discount their Sunday papers on Monday morning. Find out if there are any stores in your area that do this.

Combine BOGO Sales with BOGO Coupons
Like freebies? Then try this: combine a buy one get one free coupon with a buy one get one free sale, and you'll get both items free. Pretty slick, eh?

Use Competitor's Coupons
Lots of stores accept competitor coupons. Find out which ones do.

Coupon the Clearance Rack
Clearance prices are good, but they can get even better. Carry your coupons with you at all times, and you'll be ready to match coupons on the fly.

Coupon in the Trial Section
Most coupons specify the size of the product that must be purchased, but when they don't it's an invitation to get creative. Take your "any size" coupons to the trial size section of the store, and match them up to those pint-sized goodies. Then, load your cart with lots of free loot.

Triple Your Savings
Many grocery stores double coupons, but some will even triple them from time to time. Do a little research to see if such a store exists in your area. Then, keep those coupons neatly filed and ready to go.

Look for Coupons Everywhere
Coupons can pop up anywhere (and I do mean anywhere). Keep an eye out for fresh coupon sources, and you're sure to find lots:

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