In conclusion, do what works best for you! You will change methods here and there, but it is always helpful to see what other people are doing!
** Giveaway CLOSED!
I have read in the past about programs that can distribute expired coupons to members of the military. They are allowed to use expired coupons 6 months past the expiration date. Thanks to an email from my friend Heather O. she gave us an address to send them to. There are some “rules” to the way they want them sent, so please go here to find out more details as well as which military base to send them to. This is one small way that we can help our military families.
205 N. Harrison St.
Russellville, IN 46175 (she coordinates several coupon packages for shipment overseas)
A few posts below one reader was worried because a family member had criticized or raised concern about couponing and getting things for free. Suggesting that it might not be ethical. I am not trying to single you out Susan, you have a reason to be concerned especially if someone is suggesting you are doing something wrong and personally I would be worried about their opinion of me. But, the facts are COUPONING IS COMPLETELY ETHICAL AND LEGAL, if you do not take advantage of it.
A few months ago I wrote a post about the life cycle of a coupons. I have been searching for hours for the post to give you a link. It was apparently lost in one of my moves, I can’t find it anywhere, I must have mislabeled it! I spelled out what happened from the time you cut the coupon out and used it until the store was fully reimbursed for it by the manufacturer. Citing sources and statistics about the benefit to the stores and the manufacturers when you use a coupon. Not only are you going to the store and shopping there, more importantly you are moving their merchandise, which as my CVS manager explained to me, is more beneficial to them that they give you it your free and get reimbursed than it just sitting there.
Now, there are ways in which couponing is unethical and just the same as stealing. This is were I jump on a soapbox. When I teach a coupon class unfortunately I have to spend quite a bit of time on explaining the “right” way to use coupons. When people use coupons the “wrong” way they ruin it for the rest of us.
What to NEVER do with a coupon.
NEVER use coupons for products they are not intended for. If a coupon says you must buy 2, you must buy 2. Even if the coupon does not beep when they scan it. If you try and slip these through it is coupon fraud, this costs the stores and the manufacturers money. It is stealing.
NEVER use expired coupons. There is the possibility they will not get reimbursed for them. Stores usually have 3 months to send in their coupons after they expire, but that is not for us to decide. If you are trying to slip these through, that is also stealing.
NEVER EVER copy coupons. I have heard that printable coupons have a unique code in the barcode that is linked to your ip address. If you copy them the code is all the same they can track it to you, it is coupon fraud to copy ANY coupon.
NEVER Decode the Barcode. I am not even going to start explaining what this is. I heard it being discussed at one point and just walked away. It was clearly taking advantage of the “system” and coupon fraud at the best.
NEVER alter coupons. I am going to throw in, or use pdf’s sent to you by friends. MANY pdf coupons in files are fraudulent. They have been altered by people and then spammed around the internet. Honest Friends send theses around, but many times they are not valid. Be VERY cautious, esp. if they are high value, anything over $2.
NEVER buy something with a coupon, intending to return it for full value. This blows my mind. You might as well just steal it from the store and not bother with the coupon in the first place. Also, stores will “tag” you and keep track of anything that you do in their store, with good reason. My CVS will tell me stories about people like this, they know exactly who they are. They have refused to sell them anything with a coupon.
Fortunately, most people don’t do these things. I have to admit that I have mistakenly used an expired coupon and not realized it, only to have the cashier catch it. I am really embarrassed and apologize. I have also later when I have gotten home and was typing out scenarios here, realized I used a coupon that was intended for 2 products on 1. Obviously, I had to not use that deal. But it wasn’t intentional. So, we might make a few mistakes, but, knowingly taking advantage is completely another story.
The future of couponing and finding great deals depends a lot on the people using coupons. If people are stealing and manipulating coupons, manufactures will stop using them to entice us into buying their products. They are hoping that we like their products and tell our friends. They want us to buy that product in the future even if we do not have a coupon.
Off my soap box now… what do you think? How do you feel about coupons?
I wanted to take a few minutes to wish everyone a Happy New Year!
This past year has been full of challenges and rewards! The middle of January last year I didn’t even have a blog. My sister Anna talked me into starting one and “the rest is history”! By February, I was nominated into a group of amazing woman for a chance at Mommy Blogger of the year from Scholastic Book Club. After a month of voting I was chosen as one of the 5 Mommy Bloggers! I was featured in the June edition of Parent and Child magazine. This fall again I had the amazing opportunity of being one of only 30 Deal Pro’s chosen by Savings.com to travel to San Francisco, all expenses paid, for an awesome weekend of rubbing shoulders with Woman who I consider “famous” in the blog world and learning from them! It was wonderful! I was featured in many Houston newspapers through out the year and was on The CBS Early morning show in San Francisco and the National Show in New York. My own local Houston channel 11 station did a fun show this fall on 11 gifts for $11 and under thanks to an email to the reporter from my friend Suzanne. One year ago I could have never imagined that any of this would have happened.
I have made many mistakes this year and am still learning. This fall I switched to a different platform, and tried using a designer for my site. It didn’t work out at all for me and my site was down for a couple of days. I found a new amazing designer and moved back to a platform I was comfortable with. But, in the process I lost many readers. As your readership grows you have to make changes, I just jumped to quickly without a firm plan and wasted a lot of money. I can’t tell you how much ugly and mean email I got. I was very surprised. I assumed that I was “providing a service” for people that didn’t cost them anything and never expected the ugly mail. But you learn to be thick skinned and move on.
The purpose of my blog is to provide a place for woman ( and some men too!) to learn how, and have the resources to financially take care of their families. Either to help make it possible to make ends meat, to build up your food storage, to free up some spending money or learn how to spend less. I try and keep it real. I don’t always get my coupons cut out. Sometimes I yell at my kids, my house isn’t always clean and I have cried at a Target checkout counter when I was sick or arguing with a (idot!) cashier…
Before I started couponing we were spending $1200 a month on food and toiletries. It took me a good 6mo. to learn how to coupon, get a good stash of coupons and feel comfortable with what I was doing. But I could not have done it without the help from a good friend Susan W. She held my hand and showed me what to do. With her help it finally “clicked” for me. That is what I want to do here. Somehow through the internet I want to hold your hand and help you learn how you can save yourself thousands of dollars a year! We now spend about $400 a month on food and toiletries. What can I do with that extra $800 a month? Well, here in Texas that is almost my house payment. I feel like we are living for free and it only takes me a few extra hours a week.
Because my family is my life, and I am so proud of them and all the funny and crazy times that we have I write about them all the time. I have been told not to by the “big” deal bloggers and the real professionals, but I can’t help it. How do you not write about tips for traveling with 6 kids, and stuffed animal poop, imaginary pets, and my 3 year olds opinion of me naked? This is all part of my life and I have to share it somewhere because I can guarantee that I am not saying it out loud to anyone!
So, thanks for hanging in there with me, thanks for reading my little blog everyday and sending me kind emails… Thanks, The Woodlands readers for recognizing us in the grocery store and making my kids think I famous, it is easier to get them to clean their rooms that way! I hope this year brings you so much happiness and some financial freedom, please feel free to email ( firstname.lastname@example.org) anytime with any questions or concerns, I want to help everyone that I can, if I don’t have an answer I find it for you!
Install coupon printing software. Some printable coupons require a small software download in order to print. This download is free, and I have never heard of any viruses associated with it. It could be possible that your browser settings are not configured properly to allow ActiveX items like the coupon printer to install. If you are using Windows XP, SP2, or Vista, a yellow information bar should appear at the top of your window. That bar can only appear if your security levels are set to “medium” and all ActiveX items are set to “prompt” or “enable”.
Print coupons as quickly as possible. Many coupons have a print limit. Once that limit is reached, no more coupons will print, even if you haven’t yet printed any from your computer. Other coupons are limited to two prints per computer. To get a coupon to print twice simply hit the back arrow on your browser and the coupon should print again.
**The solution below happened to me today when I tried to print the Steam Fresh vegetable coupon in the post earlier. All I did was switch the 2 little letters and I was able to print! If you are on a MAC you must learn to do this!
If your settings look right, it may be that a past encounter with another product has irreparably shut the prompt down for downloads like the coupon printer. When this is the case, switching to a new browser will give you a clean slate. This happened to me in Internet Explorer- so I downloaded Firefox- and now I have no problem printing coupons. www.mozilla.com/firefox. It will not replace Internet Explorer as your default browser if you don’t want it to. You can run both browsers on your computer (even at the same time).
The highlighted letters in the url are the letters you’ll need to change depending on the browser you use in order to make the coupon print.
Here are the letters you should use instead:
Firefox:wg or vg
Internet Explorer:vi or wi
This image is actually the video. What I forgot to explain is that the deal at the store was buy $30 of selected items (3,000 of them) and get $10 back. I was rolling that $10 into my next purchase. So coming as close to $30 as I could. Giving them the $10 from the previous purchase and then giving them about $12 in coupons to walk out with each purchase costing me around $10.
Drug Store Deals
Meet My Litter
Baseball Star DudePart comedian, part Dad, part athlete. He will boss around your children while they play ball.
Baby Sitter Doll!Just as angelic as she looks, this girl could easily raise a Village by herself, and all the children would grow up to be President.
Webkinz Pup!Self proclaimed, she would be a webkinz dog. Because, "they're cute, and puppies are too. And they're sweet and they always get along with other puppies."
PrincessThis mini-Martha Stewart can handle ANY craft you send her way. She isn't all bows and rainbows, she's got karate kid moves!
Pick-Me-UpNot "Pick-Me-Up" like caffeine, she wants you to pick her up! AND NOW!
Supercute DestroyerAnything that can be destroyed WILL be destroyed!
Mary PoppinsPractically Perfect in Every Way for now! Nicknamed "The Panda" she is rolly polly and lives by the motto, "the little one, is KING!"
Miller DogThe resident Labradoodle, Miller got his name because Mom won and got to name the baby! Need something chewed up? He'll take care of it. Especially if it's expensive..