Beginner’s Handbook

All posts in the Beginner’s Handbook category

Beginner’s Guide to Coupons Handbook

Published September 30, 2012 by gweledydd

I have compiled all of my earlier Beginner posts in a handy-dandy notebook that you can print off and add to your coupon binders!!  This will be added to the beginner’s handbook page.  Feel free to give me any feedback on what you think should be included or what would make couponing a bit easier for you.  Download your copy by clicking on the link below!!!

 

Beginner’s Handbook to Couponing

HOT! HOT! HOT! Dollar Tree now accepts coupons!!!

Published September 4, 2012 by gweledydd

The time has finally arrived!  Dollar Tree stores nationwide are now accepting manufacturer coupons.  If you are new to this store, Dollar Tree sells everything for $1.00 – deodorant, food, toys, etc.  This is a huge deal for couponers!  Since everything is always $1.00, you can guarantee maximum store savings with tons of FREE and CHEAP products!  Please check out their coupon policy for more details and add their policy to your binders.  I know I will be stocking up on deodorant and other supplies soon!

Finding Coupons Has Never Been Easier!

Published April 6, 2012 by gweledydd

I was looking around online about all of the fraud that was done on Extreme Couponing, and came across Nathan’s website weusecoupons.com.  Nathan was one of the couponers on Extreme Couponing that donated all of his items to Packages from Home.  He is one of the few on there that have not committed coupon fraud, and I really like his personality.  The main feature of his website is one I have been wanting to find for a long time.  The best feature of it is theONLINE SEARCHABLE COUPON DATABASE.  Using this database, you can find when a coupon was put out and where it appeared.  If you organize your coupons by date instead of clipping them out individually, this makes finding your coupons a snatch!  This is going to reduce my coupon clipping time by at least an hour, and I am sure it will help you save time as well.  Check it out and add it to your coupon bookmarks!

 

WUC’s Coupon Database

Preventing and Avoiding Coupon Fraud

Published April 4, 2012 by gweledydd

I will admit it.  I LOVE TLC’s Extreme Couponing.  Watching others get great deals gets me excited for my next big haul.  I get so pumped I pull out my binder and see if I’ve missed any deals this week that I should get.

 

Unfortunately, however, TLC has featured coupon fraud on their show.  Coupon fraud is a CRIME and is punishable by law.  So what is coupon fraud?

 

Coupon fraud consists of:

  • Intentionally using a coupon for a product that is not covered by the coupon language (ex. Using $1.00/1 Tide coupon on Shout OR using $1.50/1 Tide 52oz or larger on a smaller size product).
  • Using a counterfeit or altered coupon.
  • A store sending in coupons to redeem from the manufacturer that were not used by a consumer.
  • Using more coupons in one transaction than allowed (ex. Using 6 $1.00/1 Crest toothpaste coupons that state Limit 4 per transaction)

 

Even if you try to play by the rules and “accidentally” use a coupon for a product not covered by the coupon language, you are committing coupon fraud.  If you use a coupon that has been altered or is a fake, you are committing coupon fraud.  Even if you did not know the coupon was fake, you have still committed a crime.

 

Why should you care? 

 

When you use a coupon, the store sends the coupon to the manufacturer for redemption.  If the coupon is a fake, the store will not be reimbursed for the value of the coupon.  Sometimes the manufacturer will pull register tapes to make sure that the store is not committing coupon fraud.  If it is found that a consumer used more coupons than were allowed by the coupon language, the store will not be reimbursed for the rest of the coupons made in their transaction.  This can result in stricter coupon policies which will make it harder for us savvy spenders to save money.

 

What happens to a violator?

 

Coupon fraud is a serious offense that can lead to imprisonment and hefty fines.  To date, the longest sentence given to a fraudulent coupon user is 17 years and the highest financial penalty was $5 million.  It is not uncommon to serve a sentence of 3-5 years in prison and receive a fine of $200,000 or more.

 

How do I prevent and avoid coupon fraud?

 

There are several things you can look out for to avoid committing coupon fraud.

  •  If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Does the coupon have an older version of the BARCode system? (To see a list of the current BARCodes in use, go here)
  • Is the value of the coupon a large amount/larger than you’ve seen before?  (ex. $3.00/1 Axe Bodywash)
  • Is the coupon in black and white?
  • Is the paper the coupon is printed on match the paper used in Sunday circulars?  If it is on a different kind of paper, it is probably fraudulent.
  • The Coupon Information Center (CIC) features a database of all fraudulent coupons that have been reported.  You can always check there if you are worried that a coupon may be fake.  Always feel free to email them so they can research the coupon, too.

 

There are plenty of great deals you can get WITHOUT committing coupon fraud.  Remember: NO AMOUNT OF SAVINGS IS WORTH GOING TO PRISON FOR!!!  Coupon fraud only gives others a bad impression of us who are trying to save a little bit of money, and makes it worse for everyone to try and use coupons at stores.  If you know anyone who is committing coupon fraud, report it to the CIC.  There is currently a $100,000 reward for any information on fraudulent coupon users.

Saving on Gas Prices

Published April 3, 2012 by gweledydd

Today I had to fill up my jeep and I think I hit a personal record for most money spent on a single fill up.  It cost me $67.02 to fill up my ’95 jeep.  Yikes!  Unfortunately I was on fumes, otherwise I would probably have waited to search for the lowest price.

 

So how can you save on gas prices without buying a Prius or Scion?  Seems impossible, right?  We are just doomed to pay what the oil moguls want.  WRONG!  There are plenty of ways you can save on gas prices, and one of the easiest is just a click away!

 

Gas Buddy is a free app that can be downloaded to any iPhone or Android.  It searches your area for the lowest gas price and gives you the address and distance to each pump.  I used this a lot when my sister, friend, and I went to a concert in North Carolina.  I have been pretty lazy about using it around town, but am going to start trying to use it.

 

I also posted about how you can save on gas at Kroger.  This is my preferred method of savings!  Gas Buddy also has a list of tips on how to save on gas.  It’s as easy as using the A/C less and making sure your tires are properly inflated.  To see the whole list, check it out here!

 

You can also save on gas by signing up for a credit card that offers gas reward points.  Chase gives up to 5% back on gas purchases.  If you are interested in this, Fox Business has created an article on the best gas reward credit cards. You can check it out here.

 

If YOU have any tips or tricks on how to save on gas, feel free to share!  I am always open to try new things and up for new ideas!

Saving on Newspaper Subscriptions

Published April 3, 2012 by gweledydd

Most couponers recommend getting a subscription to the Sunday newspaper.  That way you will always be guaranteed your coupons.  I cannot tell you how many times my husband has gone to the newspaper machine and the coupons were stolen out of the stacks.  If you live in an area that has a lot of couponers that make it difficult to find papers and inserts at recycle bins, then this deal may be a good one for you.

 

DiscountedNewspapers.com allows you to subscribe for a paper at a great, low price!  I have been looking to get a Sunday subscription to the Roanoke Times, but you cannot have just a Sunday paper subscription by going to their website.  You CAN get one through DiscountedNewspapers.com, though!

 

It is so simple to sign up.  Simply go to their page, search for participating papers in your area, and choose a subscription!  You can even set up monthly billing from your account using the EZ-Pay feature.  If you are just starting out and haven’t gotten a subscription yet, I strongly suggest you do so.

 

If you cannot get a good subscription with DiscountedNewspapers.com, you can still save on newspaper costs.  Dollar Tree has started selling newspapers at their locations and they are only $1.00!  You can get a maximum of 5 papers per customer, and I have never had a problem with missing inserts.  Even though it is only a $0.75 savings (compared to the price at a newspaper machine), it is still worth it to go to Dollar Tree so you can guarantee you get your coupons.

 

If you have any other ideas on how to save on newspapers, please feel free to share!

Stockpile Sensation!

Published April 2, 2012 by gweledydd

To make things easier for readers, I have decided to implement a system similar to what KCL uses.  When stockpiling, you typically want to stock up for either 3 months or 6 months.  Now, VCQ will start using symbols to identify whether a deal is a three or six month stock up price. They are pretty self-explanatory and are as follows:

This indicates a 3-month stockup price.


     This indicates a 6-month stockup price.

Hopefully this will make things a little easier to follow.

 

Also keep in mind that if you can find a product for FREE it is best to stock up as much as possible!  As long as it is not a perishable item, feel free to stock up for 6-months to a year!!!