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When Stores Will Not Take Your Coupons

Steps to Take to Turn a No Into a Yes

A common email I receive from readers is about stores not accepting their printed Internet coupons. This can be frustrating at checkout, especially if we would have chosen a cheaper brand without the coupon savings. We are then faced with going back through the shopping aisles or just take the easy route and paying full price for what is in the cart.

Why Do Stores Refuse to Accept Coupons?

The real problem with online printable coupons began in 2003 when stores unknowingly accepted counterfeit coupons. This resulted in huge losses. The only solution was to stop accepting all online coupons. Undoubtedly manufacturers and retailers realized the potential of Internet coupons and did not want to just walk away from the problem, but they needed time to fix it. As a result, the industry worked with reputable coupon sites to find global solutions.

Today’s coupons will often contain the following information:

  • A scannable bar code.
  • An expiration date.
  • Legitimate manufacturers address.
  • Standard termonology such as “one coupon per item, per customer” and no photocopies permitted.

Even though a coupon you have contains all the information, a store manager may still refuse to redeem it. This may happen because of confusion by local store employees about the corporate policy on redeeming online coupons.

There are steps to take in advance, to help avoid this from arising.

  • Use reputable online coupon services. These companies insure the coupons offered follow the necessary security guidelines.
  • Stop at the customer service counter before you shop and receive advance approval on the online printed coupons you plan to use. If the employee at the service counter does not approve your coupons, ask to speak with a manager.
  • When shopping at national grocery store chains, contact the corporate office and ask for a letter which outlines the corporate online printed coupon redemption policy. Bring the letter with you to show to cashiers and store managers.
  • When printing online coupons do not clip the coupon, take the entire sheet of paper. This will allow the store manager to see the name of Web site of where you got the coupons. Many times they are familiar with the company, but not the coupon.

Too Complicated?

Does all of this seem like too much hassle just save a few dollars on your grocery bill? With food prices going up, coupons are about the only way people can save and once you receive a corporate letter you can file it with your coupons and use it whenever you need it. You may also luck out and find the policy at your local store’s Web site.

Source : http://frugalliving.about.com/od/bargainshopping/a/Coupon_Guide.htm

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Going From Coupon Klutz to Coupon Queen

Grocery Shop Like a Pro

 

Do you cut out coupons and never use them? Do you organize your coupons inside a pocket of your handbag? Do you save coupons on your window sill and find them again months after they have expired? If you answer yes to any of these questions, chances are you are a Coupon Klutz. But do not despair. By making a few changes you can be on the road to becoming the next Coupon Queen.

If you save coupons chances are you have seen articles about the shopper that bought three grocery carts full of food and paid under $50 for it all. Do you ever wonder how those people do it? For one thing, those who accomplish such miraculous coupon success are what we refer to as Coupon Queens and chances are they spend a lot of time perfecting their skills.

If you do not have a bunch of time to devote to couponing, you can still advance your skills by adding just a few strategic steps to your collecting process. Will you have the success that the real Queens have? It is possible!

  • Shop at Stores That Double Coupons

If you do not have a store in your area that doubles coupons it may be worth it to organize a shopping day in a town nearby that does have such a store. Buddy-up with a friend and make the trip together. Two eyes are better than one and your friend may spot a deal that you may miss.

  • Learn To Spot When Generic is Better

Generic food products are made at the same companies that produce many of your favorite brand-name products. The packaging is all that is lacking. By pulling out your calculator and adding up the difference in using your coupon for a brand-name item versus buying generic, you will quickly figure out what direction will save you the most money. Remember, just because you have a coupon does not mean you have to use it. Always use the method that will save you the most.

  • Double-Up Your Savings

Combining your coupon with other promotions going on in the store will save you a bundle. If you have a shopper’s card, look for those items that you have a coupon for that are also discounted with your shopper’s card. Double-up on 2-For sales, such as two cans of soup for a discounted price, plus your coupon. This is also an excellent time to use the coupons that specify that you save only when you buy two of the same product. Always shop with the grocery store printouts of what is on sale so that you don’t miss any of the super buys.

  • Save and Trade

Save all coupons, even those you do not need, and begin trading with friends and relatives. To find others interested in trading in your area, check the classified section of the paper. Also, do not be afraid of proposing the idea to any groups that you belong to or start a group and see if your local library will sponsor meeting times. Meeting one evening every two week’s for a few hours should not be too over demanding for a busy schedule.

There are online groups that you can trade with as you become more comfortable with the concept. A cautionary note – do not pay for coupons. The most you should ever spend to trade coupons is the postage it takes to send it in the mail.

  • Keep It Organized

Keep your coupons organized. Everyone seems to have a slightly different approach to how to accomplish such a task. The best approach is to come up with your own than stick to it. Being consistent in how you file your coupons is the most important piece of the coupon organizational puzzle. If you keep switching your method you risk forgetting where things are when you are pushed for time at the grocery store.

  • Plan Your Menu

Menu planning will help you use the coupons that you have before they go out of date. I have planned many a week’s meals based on what products I have coupons for and the savings is always substantial.

  • Know What Is On Sale

Know what the grocery stores are offering on a weekly basis. Either subscribe to your local paper or pick up the paper on the day that generally offers grocery store inserts. You do not want to miss capitalizing on using coupons on your favorite items that may be on special nor do you want to miss a special triple-coupon promotion. The Sunday paper generally carries food coupons and the Thursday paper will carry grocery store inserts, but check your local paper to make sure those days are the same where you live.

By planning out your weekly menu in advance, setting aside ample time to do the grocery shopping, and keeping your coupons organized so you can get to them quickly, you will be able to maximize your coupon potential and make leaps and bounds down the grocery aisle to becoming a Coupon Queen.

 

Source : http://couponing.about.com/od/rebates/a/storessayno.htm

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