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.
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
A Beginner’s Guide to Couponing
If you’re interested in couponing, but aren’t sure how to get started, this guide’s for you:
Where to Look for Coupons
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
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.