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Extreme Couponing Tip: Easy As A-B-C!

Chereen.Langrill
Extreme Couponing Tip: Easy As A-B-C!

I’m new to the game of couponing. Over the past 18 months I’ve had highs and lows (I don’t need to make coupon clipping a full-time job, for example). But the payoff can be huge! I will happily spend more than a year learning a new skill if it results in a big payoff (literally). And now I am eager to share my learning experience with others who are still new to the game. Read on to discover how to become a couponing expert (or at least ditch that amateur status).

The A-B-Cs of Couponing (Or: Things I Have Learned During the Past 18 Months of Extreme Couponing)

Allow myself time to shop. Don’t rush through the aisles; I’m not in a race!

Bring my coupon binder to the store to snag any unadvertised deals (even if it weighs more than a baby!)

Clip my coupons and file them on a weekly basis so it doesn’t get burdensome!

Don’t try to take advantage of every coupon match-up. Remember: I cannot do it all.

Expect to save lots of money on the products I buy!

Families and friends will give me their coupon inserts if I ask.

Generously give away products I buy or get for free. Sharing the blessings leaves me blessed as well!

Help someone else learn how to coupon.

Inspect coupons for “fine print” and expiration dates before shopping. How disappointing to have my coupons rejected when checking out!

Jump at the chance to get free samples.

KrazyCouponLady.com is my “one-stop shop” for coupon match-ups and deals!

Learn from my couponing mistakes and try not to repeat them (and, boy, have I made some dumb mistakes!)

Make friends with and be considerate to the cashiers at the stores I frequent, and call them by name.

Ninety percent off is nice, but it is not always attainable. I set my own savings goals of what is attainable for me in my part of the country.

Opt out of Rite-Aid’s “load to card” program. I can better manage Up+ rewards when they are in my hot little hand!

Participate in rewards programs above and beyond simply using coupons (Staples, Walgreens, etc.).

Question the cashier or manager if I think an error has been made (even if my daughter gets embarrassed), but above all be polite and kind.

Remember to always send in and follow up on mail-in rebates.

Save gas by stopping to shop when on the way to somewhere else (school, church, etc.). I try to avoid extra trips that waste gas and eat up any coupon savings!

The clearance aisles and carts in the store are great places for me to find deep discounts and use coupons!

Understand the stores’ coupon policies as they vary from store to store and can change frequently.

Value my coupons and treat them like cash money, because they are money in my pocket!

Wal-Mart does not always have the best price, although before extreme couponing I used to think they did!

eXpect to feel overwhelmed when first couponing. I learned to set boundaries and limits to my clipping and shopping.

Young couples need lots of household products to set up house. Make up a huge gift basket of products to help them get started!

Zero is the best price to pay. “If it’s free, it’s for me!”

 This has been a guest post by Lisa from Grass Valley, CA
Find out more about the KCL Contributor Network!

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Couponing to Thrive: Purpose of Life Insurance

Heather.Wheeler
Couponing to Thrive: Purpose of Life Insurance

Screen shot 2011-07-14 at 1.36.10 PM

Because I am nerdy, one of the questions I love people asking me is, “What kind of life insurance should I buy?”  The reason I love that question is because everyone has an opinion, and I love hearing those opinions.  Talking to an insurance agent can be confusing because each one may advise differently based on financial incentives and personal bias.  Here are some things to remember if you are shopping for Life Insurance:

The purpose of life insurance is to protect loved ones from financial burdens when you are no longer with them.  This allows them to grieve and attend to more important things in the short term and be secure financially in the long term.  Fringe features can add value to your policy, but please don’t let the features of a life insurance policy distract you from that one goal.

Term Life Insurance is a great product, but there are circumstances and reasons to purchase other types of life insurance.  It’s too bad that many agents overvalue and overemphasize the investment side of permanent life and disregarded the above paragraph.  Don’t let your agent forget.  When considering Whole, Universal, Adjustable, and all the other variations of permanent life insurance, include your cash flow capacity and if you want protection for the rest of your life (as opposed to a term) in your decision.

Let’s have some discussion on the blog about this. There is no one right answer for everyone; I wish it were that simple. We’ll be monitoring the questions, and let’s kick around some ideas. Tell us what you think.

Rich, Ray and Dan are the guys behind Credit Rating University, and they are passionate about helping people with all aspects of their financial lives!  Right now they are offering their Credit Rating Success Kit for only $9.95 when you enter Krazy3223 at checkout!   As always, if you would like a specific question answered by our experts, leave a comment and they will try to address it!

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Couponing to Thrive: Single Mom on a Budget!

Heather.Wheeler
Couponing to Thrive: Single Mom on a Budget!

budget

Q: As a single mom, how do I start to get control of my finances?

A:  As a single mom, you have plenty on your plate; finances can sometimes be put on autopilot.  Finances (and financial success) are more about behavior and less about money–more about a plan and less about impulse.  I love it when I hear Dave Ramsay say, “Children do what feels good, adults devise a plan and stick to it!”

While individual financial circumstances vary, there are some good steps to follow when starting to control finances. Take a look:

1. Start tracking your spending habits over a period of time (minimum of a month).  Document every expense no matter how small.  I know that can be very hard when you are trying to balance all your other responsibilities.  I just started asking for a receipt whenever I purchased something; I’d put it in my wallet then transfer the receipt to a specific place at home.  This will also be a great tool for the next step, developing your priorities into a plan.

2. The financial plan!  I have tried to avoid the word “budget” because many of us would rather stub our toe on the business end of a chainsaw than have to deal with a budget.  If I’ve lost some of you with the use of the word BUDGET, let me hurry and say that a budget can be easy or complex; I do not expect you to do anything overwhelming or burdensome.  For my family, so far, we have remembered the K.I.S.S. rule, Keep It Simple, Silly (or fill in your own favorite “S” word).  Our budget is on a simple spreadsheet with income on one side and a list of basic expenses on the other.  Housing payments, car payments, utilities, donations and insurance are easy to figure out because they happen every month.  Many of those expenses are consistent, so I know month to month what to expect.  The real headache (or toe ache) starts when I try to figure out categories that vary month to month.  Gas, food/grocery, and miscellaneous amounts may also vary because of how much we earn in a month.  In our spreadsheet I have a formula set up to do all the math when I start adding amounts into the categories.  That makes it better than buying a chainsaw.

3.  If expenses are larger than income, hard decisions need to be made regarding wants and needs.  Seek counsel from friends, family, financial blogs, or even your own children about where the family should spend money.  We cut our food/grocery buget way back because of the tips and advice from “The Krazy Coupon Lady”.  Some months we had to pass over a “Krazy” deal, but our needs were always met.

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Personal Finance Series: Where to start with Bad Credit!

Heather.Wheeler
Personal Finance Series: Where to start with Bad Credit!

credit_score_2 

We have heard from many of you that you are dealing with bad credit and don’t know where to start. We received this email from Annie: 

Hi, KCL! I wanted to write in to get your opinion about what to do with bad credit. My husband and I have a been trying to rebuild our credit after a foreclosure and I don’t really know where to start!  Please help! 

If you have bad credit, you might want to check into a few resources that can help you find a solution to your credit problem. The first thing you need to do is be pro-active! 

The first step is to collect copies of your credit report from the major credit bureaus. Credit bureaus compile and sell information about consumers (us) and are a principal source of information about your credit history.  You are entitled to receive a free copy of your credit report if you have been denied credit within the past 60 days. If you have not been denied credit within the past 60 days, you can order your credit report by paying a fee.  You can also get a limited Credit Report for FREE from Credit Karma!  *As a side note: please be careful where you order your credit report , especially if online. If someone is advertising a FREE credit report but requires you to enter a credit card number, they will likely be signing you up for a monthly subscription– so be careful. 

Next, review your credit report, watching closely for errors (items that do not belong to you). Dispute any errors on your reports immediately with the credit bureaus. Any errors or inaccurate information will be deleted. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act all negative information seven years old or older must be deleted.  A bankruptcy or foreclosure will stay on your credit report for up to 10 years (or longer, depending on the state). Once you dispute the negative information, you will receive a copy of your report from the credit bureau, showing the items that were removed and the items that were verified as accurate. The dispute method of removing negative information from your credit file can improve your credit rating and is well worth the effort! 

Rich, Ray and Dan are the guys behind Credit Rating University, and they are passionate about helping people with all aspects of their financial lives!  Right now, they are offering their Credit Rating Success Kit for only $9.95 when you enter Krazy3223 at checkout!   As always, if you would like a specific question answered by our experts, leave a comment and they will try to address it! 

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Personal Finance Series: Using Credit Cards to your Advantage

Heather.Wheeler
Personal Finance Series: Using Credit Cards to your Advantage

credit-cards

Thank you for such a great response to last week’s new personal finance series! It’s obvious that it’s an area of interest and concern for all of you!  We plan on addressing the areas of taxes, insurance, mortgages and financial planning with posts in the near future, but today let’s talk about using Credit Cards to your advantage!   When you use them correctly, nothing can improve your credit scores more effectively; but, use them incorrectly, and they are trouble with a capital T.

So, how do use Credit Cards correctly?

  • Use them every month or two. Don’t cut them up, don’t freeze them in ice and don’t close the account. :)  Your credit score is made up of different categories, including your payment history and how long you’ve had open accounts. When you close your credit card account, your score could be affected by 35% in the payment history category and 10% in the length of credit category.
  • Don’t carry a balance. Ever. Use the cards for something simple, a tank of gas or a dinner out, something you were going to pay cash for anyway. Once you get home, send the payment in and pay off the entire balance each month.
  • If you can’t pay them off each month, always try to be below 10% of your credit limit; 30% in an absolute emergency. If you’re looking to make a major purchase, though, don’t carry ANY balance.
  • Don’t load up one card and leave the others empty, spread the balance around; again, only if you absolutely must carry a balance.

As with any tool, there is a right and wrong way to use it. Think about how you are using your credit cards, don’t let this effective tool slip out of your hands and land on your toe; it really hurts and takes a long time to heal.  Remember, this is advice to use credit cards to help improve your credit score.   If you don’t have the willpower to pay it off each month, then you are better off to not use them!

Rich, Ray and Dan are the guys behind Credit Rating University and they are passionate about helping people with all aspects of their financial lives!  Right now, they are offering their Credit Rating Success Kit for only $9.95 when you enter Krazy3223 at checkout!   As always, if you would like a specific question answered by our experts, leave a comment and they will try to address it!

 

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Coupon 101: Understanding the Fine Print of “Limit 1 Coupon”

Joanie.Demer
Coupon 101: Understanding the Fine Print of “Limit 1 Coupon”

Reading the fine print on a coupon can sometimes make you feel like you need a magnifying glass and an MBA just to understand what the heck the manufacturer or store is trying to say!  Today I’m going to try to explain one piece of this “fine print”:  the “Limit 1 Coupon” verbiage!  This line of text causes more hang ups than any other!  I’m going to illustrate the most common variations of the “Limit 1 Coupon” rules.  I will begin with the most restrictive and move to the most fun.

Limit 1 Coupon Per Transaction

The most common place where we run into this verbiage is on the printable Target store coupons.  But occasionally we see the “Limit 1 Coupon per Transaction” rule on manufacturer coupons, such as this Similac coupon, pictured above.  Limit 1 Coupon per Transaction means that if you want to buy 2 Similac canisters and you have 2 coupons, you’ll need to buy 1, use 1 coupon, pay the cashier and then do a separate transaction for your 2nd canister, use 2nd coupon and pay the cashier again.

Other than holding up checkout lanes, the only downside to a coupon that limits you to only using it once in a transaction is this:  Let’s say that Similac Canisters are selling for $10 each at Target this week.  There is a store promotion that states “When you buy 2 Similac Canisters, you’ll receive a $5 Target gift card”!  Here’s what our transaction would look like:

Buy 2 Similac Canisters $10.00 each
Use 1 $5.00/1 Similac Coupon from SS 4/3
Pay: $15.00, Receive $5 Target gift card
Final Price: $5.00 each, when you buy 2

Unfortunately, since the coupon limits us to only using one in a transaction, we cannot use 2 coupons above, like we would like.  With the 2nd $5.00 off Similac coupon added, our final price would have been only $2.50 per canister.  But, alas, we must follow every letter of the coupon law!  However, if you had a different Similac coupon, let’s say a $2.00 off Target store coupon (which also says “limit one per transaction”), your transaction would look like this:

Buy 2 Similac Canisters $10.00 each
Use 1 $5.00/1 Similac Coupon from SS 4/3
And use 1 $2.00/1 – Similac, Target coupon – (target.com)
Pay: $13.00, Receive $5 Target gift card
Final Price: $4.00 each, when you buy 2

Even though both of the above coupons say “limit one per transaction”, you can use them both together because they are not identical coupons.  Essentially “Limit 1 Coupon per Transaction” printed on any one coupon is not intended to affect how you use any of your other coupons in the same transaction.   [There will never be a day when one Similac coupon can boss around your whole coupon binder!]  A coupon, like this $5.00 off Similac, only limits you to 1 of THIS coupon per transaction.  If you had a couple of different boxes of cereal, some laundry detergent, a shnazzy new razor and a pack of gum, with a coupon for each, you could still purchase all items in one transaction, regardless of the verbiage on each coupon.  Head spinning yet?

Limit of 4 Like Coupons in same shopping trip

You will see this verbiage on Proctor & Gamble coupons from the once monthly P&G Coupon Insert.  I respect this verbiage tremendously.  I believe the company is saying, “Okay, we want you to stock up on our brands, but we don’t want you to wipe out an entire store’s product in one shopping trip, so we’ll limit you to 4 per transaction”.   We’ve always suggested getting 4-6 copies of the Sunday coupon inserts; this verbiage would suggest that 4 copies is the ideal number to get each week.

If Pantene Shampoo is free at Walgreens this week and you want to donate a wheelbarrow load to your local woman’s shelter, you will not be able to buy all of the shampoos and conditioners in a single transaction.  The maximum number of Pantene which you can purchase in a single transaction, using the above pictured coupon, is 8.  Since the value of the coupon is $1.00 off two Pantene products, you may use 4 coupons on 8 bottles.

Sample Promo:  Spend $30 on any P&G brand family, Receive $15 Register Reward

Buy 10 Pantene Shampoo $3.00
Use $10 off $30 Walgreens purchase coupon
Use 4 $1.00/2 Pantene Products from PG 4/3
Pay: $16.00, Receive $15 Register Reward
Final Price: $0.10 each, when you buy 10

In the sample transaction above, you can see that had we been able to use one more $1.00 off 2 Pantene coupon, it would have made our final price $0.00.  In other words, the shampoo would have been totally free.  Because we only were able to use “4 like coupons in same shopping trip”, we ended up paying $0.10 per bottle.  The best way to work around this deal would be to mix in other participating products in the same P&G brand family.

Limit one coupon per specified item(s) purchased

When all your coupon says is “Limit one coupon per purchase”, or some variation, it’s time to do your happy dance!  This is the most lenient coupon language you’ll find and, luckily, the most common!  [Read in detail what One Coupon per Purchase means.]  In brief, “Limit one coupon per purchase” simply means that you cannot use a bunch of identical coupons when you’re only buying one product, in an effort to try to get it for free.  The coupon above states Save $0.75 on any 2 boxes Quaker Chewy Granola Bars.  This means that if you want to buy 10 boxes, you can use 5 coupons.  [Read in detail How to Use a Coupon.]  You cannot use 5 coupons if you’re only buying 2 boxes!  That is what the “Limit one coupon per purchase” is trying to help you avoid.

Did I clear the air or overwhelm you further?  I hope I helped explain the 3 most common variations on the “limit 1 coupon” jargon.

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Beginner Tip: How to Use a Coupon

Joanie.Demer
Beginner Tip: How to Use a Coupon

Today I want to go over the very basic lesson of how to use a coupon.  Most people understand how to redeem a coupon such as Save $0.50 on 1 can of Dole Pineapple.  But when using coupons that say, for example, Save $1.00 on any 3 Cans of Dole Pineapple, it can become a bit confusing.  We get comments asking if someone can buy 3 cans of pineapple and use three copies of the $1.00 off 3 coupon.  Or questions such as “May I buy 3 cans of pineapple and use one $1.00 off 3 coupon AND 2 of even 3 $0.50 off 1 coupons?”  So, here it is!  I’ll address BOGO coupons in another post, as they’re a whole other animal.

As pictured above, when you use $1.00 off 3 manufacturer coupon, you must buy 3 products in order to redeem it.  If you buy 4 cans of pineapple, you can only use one $1.00 off 3 coupon.  In order to use two coupons, you would need to buy 6 cans of pineapple, as pictured below.

 

 

Now, let’s bring two different manufacturer coupons into the equation.  We’ll say that there are two available coupons from two different Sunday coupon inserts:

 

$0.50/2  Dole Pineapple or Tropical Fruit cans
$1.00/3 Dole Pineapple or Tropical Fruit cans

If you want to use both the $0.50 off 2 coupon and the $1.00 off 3 coupon, you will need to buy a total of 5 cans of pineapple.  If you have multiple copies of the $1.00 off 3 coupon, you’d be better off buying the 6th can using two of them, since the savings on the $1.00 off 3 coupon is $0.33 per item, and the savings on the $0.50 off 2 coupon is $0.25 per item.

Since these are both manufacturer coupons, you cannot stack them.  You cannot buy 3 cans of pineapple and use a $1.00 off 3 coupon in addition to a $0.50 off 2 coupon.  The confusion arises when someone says, “I thought I could use one manufacturer coupon per item!”  That statement holds true only when we’re talking about coupons that are worth a certain value savings on ONE item.  If we had three $0.50 off 1 coupons, we would use three of them on 3 cans of pineapple.  When we’re using a $1.00 off 3 coupon, we are limited to one manufacturer coupon per every three cans purchased.  If you were to attempt to use three $1.00 off 3 coupons on three cans of pineapple, the 2nd and 3rd coupons would not be accepted by the register.  The bar code is created in such a way that the register recognizes that it is meant for 3 items.  If you only buy 2 cans of pineapple and attempt to use a $1.00 off 3 coupon, the register should reject your coupon.

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  1. Keith Mcclain Dollar off each can

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Beginner Tip: Avoid Coupon Fraud

Joanie.Demer
Beginner Tip: Avoid Coupon Fraud

Many ‘coupon virgins’, as we affectionately refer to them, do not realize that when they begin “extreme couponing” there is a set of rules to which they must adhere.  I want to discuss one of these rules now.   It is possible for a coupon to give you a discount on a product, for which it is not intended.  A Krazy Coupon Lady ALWAYS obeys every letter of text on every coupon!

Yesterday, I made a mistake when I defended one of the Extreme Couponing cast in one of my posts.  When I wrote the post, I was aware that the woman had misused coupons in the past, something she told me was a mistake she made as a newbie for which she was very sorry.  I did not defend her behavior in my comments or post; only proposed that we should forgive one another our mistakes and not be mean.  There is new evidence that is fairly convincing to the fact that this woman AGAIN misused coupon during her TLC shopping trip.  I have deleted the post about her and contacted her for her response.  She quickly responded to me and let me know that she is going to “go through her receipt and compose a response”.  I will update you when I receive the response from her.  I hope that my readers understand that I will never support the misuse of coupons in any way. I do still make mistakes in my posts and I appreciate you helping me correct them, but we never intentionally lead anyone to misuse coupons!

An example of Coupon Fraud

Let’s say you shop at Walgreens this week and you want to buy the Colgate toothpaste that is a part of the “free’ after Register Reward promotion.  You look through your coupons and see this $1.50 off Colgate Total Advanced toothpaste, 4 oz or larger coupon!  Your plan is to head to the store and get paid to buy toothpaste:

Colgate MaxFresh, MaxWhite or MaxClean toothpaste,  6 oz., $2.99
Buy 1, Receive $3.00 Register Reward
Use $1.50/1 Colgate Total Advanced toothpaste from SS 3/27
Pay: $1.49, Receive $3.00 Register Reward
Final Price: $1.51 Money-Maker

[Do NOT attempt the above deal.  It is an example of fraud.]

So, as you hand your coupon to the cashier, you just now realize that the coupon says “Colgate Total Advanced” and you just purchased “Colgate MaxFresh”.  Too late, the cashier has already scanned your coupon!  You say, “Oh!  I’m sorry, that coupon was for the wrong product, I just realized!!”  The friendly cashier looks at you and says, “oh, it scanned through, so it’s fine!  I’ll accept it!”

WHAT DO YOU DO?

This happens all the time!  As we often see, cashiers are not as educated on couponing and coupon policies as Krazy Coupon Ladies!  The right thing to do is to explain to the cashier that it was your mistake, but that the cashier should never accept a coupon for a product which is not specifically allowed in the verbiage of the coupon!

Other examples of coupon misuse

Purchasing Original variety Honey Bunches of Oats and using
$1.00/1 Post Honey Bunches of Oats Raisin Medley box from SS 2/27

Purchasing any Crest brand product and using
Crest 3D White or 2 Hour Express or Professional Effects Whitestrips from PG 4/3

We get plenty of deals by using coupons the RIGHT way!  There is no reason to EVER use them the wrong way.

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Welcome Nate Berkus Show viewers

Joanie.Demer
Welcome Nate Berkus Show viewers

Welcome Nate Berkus viewers!  Hope you’ve found us after watching Nate’s segment: Supersize Savings for a Supersize Family, where we took Lisa grocery shopping at her local Shop Rite!*

So, you’ve just got your first look at extreme couponing  and you want to know more?  You’ve found the right place!  We’ll show you how to shop like an Extreme Coupon Lady without having to do anything too extreme!  Coupons will pay dividends equal to the time you put in:  whether that’s 15 minutes a week or 5 hours a week, you can save your family major moolah!

  • Visit our beginner page, where you’ll find lots of tips for new readers to our site, whom we affectionately call ‘coupon virgins’.
  • Wanna get on the fast track to “Save BIG Money & make the Grocery Aisle your Catwalk”?  Our book Pick Another Checkout Lane, Honey will take you from coupon-shy to coupon-savvy in a snap!

*Heather and I could not have shopped Lisa as well as we did without the wonderful help and support we received from the BEST Shop Rite deal blogger in the country, Cindy from Living Rich with Coupons! If you frequent Shop Rite, you must read Cindy’s blog.  She doesn’t let a Shop Rite deal pass her by!!

After you read up from our website OR our book, here’s the first steps to getting to the real nitty gritty!

  1. Get the coupons!  Subscribe to your Sunday paper and get extra copies from friends, neighbor’s, co-workers, coffee-shops, convenient stores or even recycling bins!  Can’t wait to start?  Print coupons right now from your home computer!
  2. Organize your coupons!  If you have NO time, get a file box and organize by date.  If you want to create a coupon binder, you may download the 36 coupon-binder categories for free.
  3. Stack-up the savings.  Now that you’ve got your coupons, don’t use them just cause you have them and do NOT buy something your family won’t use!  Wait until the products you use are on sale (at least 75% off retail and stock-up)!
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Produce Saving Strategies: Too Extreme?

Joanie.Demer
Produce Saving Strategies: Too Extreme?


Reading your comments on yesterday’s post: Extreme Couponing Tip: Weigh Produce & Save 10%, gave me a topic that deserved to be discussed here.

Is it okay to de-stem or take the tops off produce sold by the pound in order to reduce their weight?

Your comments got me really thinking on this.  I will say that I’ve never ripped the top of a pineapple, and I don’t think I’ve ever cracked the stem off of a broccoli crown, BUT I always look for the crowns with the least stem and if I find a bruised banana in a bunch, I’ll rip it off and buy the rest.   So where’s the line?  I mean, I don’t think any of us are peeling our oranges before placing them in a bag, right?  LOL!  What do you think?

Now, I’m going to venture a guess that there are many of you who have strong opinions on the matter, so let me remind you to keep your comments respectful!  Don’t throw tomatoes!

[poll id="30"]

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An ANSWER to the Coupons.com virus reports

Heather.Wheeler
An ANSWER to the Coupons.com virus reports

After some extensive research into the recent reports that coupons.com is infecting computers with viruses the final verdict is: COUPONS.COM SAFE!

We’ve been in contact with coupons.com and they have read and are reading your comments!  Rest assured, steps are being taken to fix the issue.  Below is a recent comment left from coupons.com technical services:

Hello Couponers,

We at Coupons.com are sorry to hear of your experiences with this browser redirect trojan and are actively pursuing this issue as a top priority. We take this problem very seriously as any sort of trojan that attempts to associate itself with our reputable name is simply unacceptable.

Because the source of this problem exists outside of our systems and affects such a small percentage of our visitors, it has been difficult to reproduce it in our testing environments; However, we are making headway in gathering the data we need to track down the culprit. The one thing that we are absolutely certain of is that it does not exist within our servers, our software, or our website’s source code.

We have been been able to determine that users that are affected by this fake alert are not infected with a virus unless he or she complies with the prompts. We are also looking into the possibility that the problem exists within one of our third-party ad providers as one helpful person here has suggested. We are pursuing all technically-feasible possibilities imaginable to isolate and eliminate the source of this issue.

Again we apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you, and remind you that whenever and wherever you encounter a redirect trojan of this kind on the Internet, never click on any part of the window or any prompts that may subsequently appear. The safest thing to do at that point is to force the browser to close by pressing Ctrl+Alt+Delete, running your Task Manager, and manually shutting down all of your browser and prompt windows.

Technical Services
Coupons.com Incorporated

Apparently upon entering coupons.com many people have had a browser window pop-up pretending to be AVG anti-virus software informing them that their computer has been infected and needs to be scanned.  It then directs the user to push the button to fix the problem.  Once the button is pushed the virus is then released into the computer.  The pop-up further advises the user to purchase their product in order to fully delete the virus all in hopes of stealing their credit card information.  DO NOT push the button.  If you already have and think that your computer has been infected use your own anti-virus software to run a scan or contact your provider.

We have contacted Coupons.com ourselves as have many of our fellow coupon websites.   A very thorough letter was sent from Coupons.com to Hip2Save explaining in further detail the safety of their website:

Hello Couponers! My name is Rich and I am a Support Engineer at Coupons.com.

We are sorry to hear about these reports of viruses on our website and we have already reviewed our code to make certain that this issue is not being caused by or originating from our end.

The problems being described here indicate that some of our users are being tricked by a browser redirect trojan that has been sitting latently on their local machine since it was downloaded, most likely from a questionable file sharing network file, questionable email, questionable website, even an instant messaging program with sharing rights enabled.

The trojan modifies your web browser to redirect to a malicious website that is made to look like a Microsoft “My Computer” window running a fake virus scan that is detecting non-existent threats on their computer. This is not a real Microsoft window, you are not seeing a real virus scanner, the threats being shown do not really exist. There is only one virus here and that’s the one that keeps sending you to the malicious website. In that sense it is a pretty mild threat to your computer other than being very annoying and possibly scary.

This is a popular scam that resurfaces around the web from time to time. It is meant to draw people into downloading a real trojan that will continue to annoy its victims with more fake virus alerts even more persistently until they submit to and purchase a fake program that does absolutely nothing. The scammer can then attempt to use that credit card information for other purposes. Please do not follow the instructions on this malicious website. When you see it, close your browser.

There is a lot of useful information on the Internet on how to identify the source of and remove the trojan responsible for this annoyance. Please visit Google and search for “Fake AVG 2011″ for more information about this issue and how to remove it from you computer.

Again I wanted to reassure you that Coupons.com is not infected with a virus, and is not infecting your computer with a virus either. Our website is likely being targeted by the redirect virus on your computer by some logic unknown to us, probably because it is a popular site in your browsing history. My recommendation is to research the issue through Google, follow the solutions to neutralize the redirect virus, and use caution moving forward when downloading unknown emails, files, and websites to ensure it doesn’t find its way back on to your machine again.

Use extra caution when any window pops up asking you to take action.  But be reassured that Coupons.com is safe and happy coupon clipping can resume!

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Frugal Holiday Tips: Decorating, Gifting, Dining

Joanie.Demer
Frugal Holiday Tips: Decorating, Gifting, Dining

Thanksgiving is over!  It’s time to break out the Christmas music and pester my husband until he hangs up the Christmas lights!  No matter what you celebrate this season, nearly all families spend more in December than they do any other month!  According to the American Consumer Credit Council, the average American spends $935 on the holidays each year!  I’m not suggesting that Santa fill this year’s stockings with macaroni, but The Krazy Coupon Lady has a few tips that can help you save this season!

  • Wrap your presents in brown paper sack!  When your grocer asks you, “paper or plastic?”, say “paper!” this month!  Simply cut down one of the bag’s seams and turn it inside out and voila!  Timeless , eco-chic gift wrap!  It also works great if you want to mail your pre-wrapped gifts!  Cover your colorful paper with the brown paper and write mailing address right on the box!
  • Make your own holiday post-cards!  Print your family photo, mount it on a colorful piece of cardstock and you’re done!  Plus, the best thing about sending a post card is you’ll only pay $0.28 for the stamp (instead of $0.44 for envelope).
  • Save on the trimmings!  If your house needs some new decorations this season, resist Pottery Barn and head to the craft store with a coupon!  All of the national craft stores, including Michaels, usually have 40-50% off one item coupons in their weekly ads or available to print.  Register at Michaels.com to receive 40% off coupons, like this or 20% off entire purchase 11/27 only or 50% off one regular priced item 11/27 only.
  • Great Magazine subscriptions as gifts!  Magazine subscriptions make great gifts. Shop at BestDealMagazines.com where all the annual subscriptions are deeply discounted!  All below magazines are only$4.69 each, everyday.  Use discount code: PXCJ1114 and save 15%, making them only $3.99 for the entire year!
    Parents Magazine, 1 year/12 issues
    Elle Magazine 1 year/12 issues

    Woman’s Day, 1 year/15 issues
    Fitness Magazine, 1 year/10 issues
    Shape Magazine, 1 year/12 issues

    Marie Claire, 1 year/12 issues

    Harper’s Bazaar, 1 year/11 issues

    Family Fun, 1 year/10 issues
  • Save on Dining out! Restaurant.com sells $25 Restaurant Gift Certificates that you can print immediately from home every day for $10.  The only catch is that there is a minimum purchase requirement (usually $35, excluding alcohol).  BUT, we’ve got a discount code:  KRAZY that will take your total down to even further!
  • Don’t pay for gift tags!  Cut the images off of last year’s Christmas cards and use them as this year’s gift tags!
  • Free Family Night!  Enjoy your night family night out without spending a thing!   No need to spend all your cash before it’s time to open presents!  Take a drive around your town, taking in all the beautiful lights!  Feeling brave?  Gather a group of friends and hit the streets with song!  Whether you’re pitchy or you’ve got pipes like Whitney, caroling can be a great (and free) tradition.
  • Be the hostess without breaking the bank!   This year make your holiday party a pot-luck or progressive dinner!  Your friends will be happy to bring a dish or open their home and your evening can be a success without setting you back “$2-large”.
  • Remember today is the last day for 50% off our book, Pick Another Checkout Lane, Honey.

What are your favorite frugal holiday tips?

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Why You Should be Shopping with your Coupon Binder! (Plus a Krazy Olay Deal at Target!)

Heather.Wheeler
Why You Should be Shopping with your Coupon Binder! (Plus a Krazy Olay Deal at Target!)

Last night I was shopping at Target and I decided to bring along my coupon binder, even though I wasn’t really coupon shopping… And boy did it pay off!! Check out what I scored:

Olay Body Wash, Value Pack $4.24 on clearance
Secret Deodorant, Trial Size $1.09

Use  $5.00/1 Olay Bar, Body Wash, In Shower Body Lotion or Hand and Body Lotion, any  wyb 1 Secret  from PG 10/31
Final Price: $0.33!!

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10 for $10, 2 for $5: How to know when you do or Don’t have to purchase multiples!

Joanie.Demer
10 for $10, 2 for $5: How to know when you do or Don’t have to purchase multiples!

Every week we get comments from readers who are confused about deals in their weekly store ads that advertise multi-order pricing, like the ones above.   How do you know if you actually have to purchase 10 items in the “10 for $10″ sale?  What about corn on sale 6 for $1.00?  What happens if you only want 2 ears of corn?  And to make things even more confusing, there are a plethora of variations 3 for $5.00, 4 for $10, 5 for $6.00, and on and on.  So, how can you tell?  When do you have to actually buy 10 items in the 10/$10 sale?

The answer:  You almost NEVER have to buy 10 items in the 10 for $10 sale.    The 3 for $5.00 sale single item price is $1.67, the 5 for $6.00 is $1.20, 10 for $10 is $1.00.

So, why do stores make their prices so confusing?  Because they would love if you purchase 10 of their $1.00 items in the 10 for $10 sale!  They are just trying to entice you to buy multiples and take advantage of this very concern of “but how much is it going to cost if I buy only one”?  The single item price for 98% or more of these types of deals is the same whether you buy one or a hundred.

Sometimes you DO have to buy multiples to get a promotional price.  But the store will make it abundantly clear when you need to do so.  The promo pictured above is this:

Buy 2 or more selected items, mix & match, for $9.99 each

If you purchase only one, the single item prices will be higher, about $11.99-$12.99 depending on the item.  The big secret to being able to tell when you need to buy multiples to get the sale price is all wrapped up in three little words:

MUST BUY 2 (or whatever the qualifying # happens to be)

When a shelf tag or a store ad contains the words “Must Buy X (number of products)”, this is when they mean it!  Without the words “Must Buy”, the pricing is just a gimmick. On KCL, you’ll see that we ALWAYS write the individual item price.  If the store ad says 3 for $5, we’ll always write $1.67.  We find that it clears up the murk and gives you the bottom line price more effectively.  So, have you got it?  It’s not too tricky; when in doubt, remember the likelihood is that you do NOT have to purchase multiples.   But watch out for the “must buy” verbiage.

Are there any other similar multi-purchase- type deals that I missed?

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BOGO Coupon Rules: How to Maximize Savings!

Joanie.Demer
BOGO Coupon Rules: How to Maximize Savings!

Buy One, Get One Free coupons provide great savings potential and, frankly, are a lot of fun to use!  But the proper use of BOGO coupons can get confusing very quickly!  It’s often difficult to know how to best maximize your savings.  In this post I will try to share many examples to help clarify which ways you can and cannot use BOGO coupons.  Please remember that the rules surrounding how you can use these coupons will vary with every store.  Be sure the check your local store’s coupon policy.

Let’s start with the BOGO transaction in its simplest form:

Buy 2 Suave Kids Shampoo $2.00 each
Use 1 Buy One, Get One Free Manufacturer Coupon
Final Price: $1.00 each, when you buy 2 

What if the store is having a BOGO promo?

Buy 2 Suave Kids Shampoo $2.00 each

Buy One, Get One Free Store Promo
Use Buy One, Get One Free manufacturer coupon
Final Price: Both Free

You may use a BOGO manufacturer coupon with a BOGO sale, unless the store policy expressly prohibits it.  One product is free to the consumer and reimbursed by the manufacturer coupon.  The other product is also free to the consumer, from the store.  Stores who prohibit this use include:  Target, Rite Aid, Safeway (and all Safeway affiliate stores), Price Chopper and Weis.

What if you also have a BOGO coupon from the store?

Buy 2 Suave Kids Shampoo $2.00 each
Use Buy One, Get One Free store coupon
Use Buy One, Get One Free manufacturer coupon
Final: Both Free

You may use a BOGO store coupon with a BOGO manufacturer coupon, unless the store policy expressly prohibits it.  Again, one product is free to you, the consumer, from the store and the other is reimbursed by the manufacturer.  Consumer will pay any applicable sales tax on full retail price of goods.

What about Buy One, Get One 50% off?

Buy 2 Suave Kids Shampoo $2.00 each

Buy One, Get One 50% off
Use Buy One, Get One Free manufacturer coupon

Final Price: $1.00 each, when you buy 2
*

Most often, the discounted item will be free after your manufacturer BOGO coupon, which, in this instance, renders the promo totally worthless.  You may be fortunate and your store will allow you to get the full-value item for free with your BOGO coupon. If you happened to have two coupons, each worth $1.00 off one Suave Kids Shampoo, they would actually be more valuable in the above sample transaction than the BOGO coupon.

Another example, since this is starting to get tricky:

Buy 4 Suave Kids Shampoo $2.00 each

Buy One, Get One Free Store Promo
Use two Buy One, Get One Free manufacturer coupons
Final Price: $1.00 each, when you buy 4

Again, you can use the 2 bogo coupons, but since the store may give you the lesser value item free, it would be no different than using the coupons without the sale.

Buy Two, Get One Free Promos

Buy 3 Suave Kids Shampoo $2.00 each

Buy Two, Get One Free Store Promo
Use Buy One, Get One Free manufacturer coupon
Final Price: $0.67 each, when you buy 3

Buy Two, Get One Free Promo + Buy Two, Get One Free Coupon

Buy 3 Suave Kids Shampoo $2.00 each

Buy Two, Get One Free Store Promo
Buy 2, Get 1 Free manufacturer coupon
Final Price: $0.67 each, when you buy 3

If you want to use a Buy 2, Get 1 Free coupon with a Buy 2, Get 1 Free sale, you must purchase at least 3 items.  If your store prohibits the use of a coupon on a free item, then you would have to purchase 4 items.

Buy One, Get One Free + Cents Off Coupon

We advise shoppers that they think of a Buy One, Get One Free manufacturer coupon in the same manner they would view a coupon worth $1.00 off the purchase of two(2) items.  You cannot use a $1.00 off 2 coupon and a $0.25 off 1 coupon on the purchase of only two products.   In the same manner, you cannot use a BOGO manufacturer coupon and a $1.00 off 1 manufacturer coupon on the purchase of two products.

Buy 2 Tampax Pearl Compak, 20 ct $5.00
Use Buy One, Get One Free manufacturer coupon
You canNOT use $1.00/1 manufacturer coupon

If you want to use a BOGO manufacturer coupon and a cents-off coupon, you must purchase an odd number of products.

Buy 3 Tampax Pearl Compak, 20 ct $5.00
Use Buy One, Get One Free manufacturer coupon
And use $1.00/1 manufacturer coupon
Final Price: $3.00 each, when you buy 3

Two Cents-Off coupons with BOGO sale

Buy 2 Tampax Pearl Compak, 20 ct $5.00
Buy One, Get One Free Store Promo
Use two $1.00/1 manufacturer coupon
Final Price: $1.50 each, when you buy 2

You may use two cents-off coupons with a BOGO promo, unless expressly prohibited in the store’s coupon policy.  Some stores, including CVS and Walgreens specifically allow this practice.  CVS policy reads, “If our store is running a sale for BOGO, you can use two manufacturer’s coupons for a specific dollar amount off.”  Walgreens policy reads, “When items are featured in a Buy One, Get One Free promotion, up to two coupons can be used against the items being purchased, as long as the net price does not go below zero for the items being purchased.”

There you have it ladies- a giant BOGO headache.  You’re welcome!  If you want to hear the info again, check out Heather’s video, below.

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Understanding Coupon Lingo: “And” vs. “When You Buy”

Heather.Wheeler
Understanding Coupon Lingo: “And” vs. “When You Buy”

This coupon reads like this: Save $1.25 on Orville Redenbacher Popcorn AND M&M’s.

This coupon applies to both items-
which means you can NOT use another coupon on either the Popcorn or the M&Ms

You scenario would look like this:
(prices are just for example)

Buy 1 Orville Redenbacher Popcorn $1.25
Buy 1 M&M Package $0.50

Use $1.25 on Orville Redenbacher Popcorn AND M&M’s – (simpleanddelicious.com)
Final Price: $0.50

This second coupon reads: Free Clorox Liquid Bleach WHEN YOU BUY 1 Clorox 2 Product, 45 oz or larger

The coupon is applied to the free item, which means you CAN use a coupon on the other product!

Your scenario would look like this:
(prices are just for example)

Buy 1 Clorox 2 Stain Fighter $5.99
Buy 1 Clorox Liquid Bleach, 60 oz $1.29 (reg $2.29)

Use Free Clorox Liquid Bleach, (Max. Value $2.50), when you buy any Clorox 2 Product or 45 oz or larger – (coupons.com)
And use $2.00/1 – Clorox 2 Liquid Stain Fighter and Color Booster – (coupons.com)
Final Price: $3.99 for both

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