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Coupon basics from a coupon goddess

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I digressed a bit last week with a lesson about online shopping but ’tis the season for spending a lot of your money on gifts and I wanted to let you know how to make others merry and keep more of your hard earned cash in your account at the same time. Hope you didn’t mind too much. Today, we’re back to coupons and I’m going to give you the basics.

There is a difference between a purchase and a transaction. Each individual item is one purchase. All of your items together make up a transaction. Seems rudimentary, I know, but some cashiers need to be educated on this point.

Read your coupons carefully. There is nothing worse than being in the checkout lane and having your coupon beep because you didn’t read the amount of items needed to be purchased with that coupon or the size restrictions. Not only is it embarrassing, but it can mess up your whole transaction and totally ruin your day. I know, I’ve been there, done that and learned my lesson.  Because of shelf clearers — GGGRRR — many companies now put restrictions on coupons, i.e., Proctor & Gamble now states ‘4 coupons per transaction.’ That’s not a bad thing. If you need more than 4 of those items, you can simply go back another day and get more.

If an item is out of stock, don’t get mad, get a rain check. They are usually good for a month after issue. If the store is having a sale for ‘Buy 10, get .50 off’ each item, ask if they will state those terms on the Rain check. With a sale, hot items will go quickly and oftentimes, stores do not restock every day. Please do not go in every day, find the shelf empty and ask for another rain check. I know people who do this. This is not fair to the stores, the manufacturers or other shoppers. Just remember what your Mom always told you — ‘Play nice.’  This so applies here …

One Coupon per Purchase.  If you have a coupon that states ‘.25 off of Tide,’ you may get one Tide. If you have two of the same coupons, you can get two Tide products. You cannot use two of the same coupons on that one Tide.

There are instances in which you can use two coupons on the same product — ‘Stacking’ — and it involves using a store coupon with a manufacturer coupon. The store coupon cannot state ‘Manufacturer Coupon’ on it. For example: Yesterday I went to Target. Maybelline Lip Balm was on sale for $2.99, regular price $3.14. Target had $2 off of any Maybelline Lip Product coupons on its website. There are $1 off coupons on coupons.com. Because I have two computers — you may print two coupons off each computer — I had four of each coupons. They also had Deer Park 1 liter bottles on sale for 69 cents. I found coupons for $1 off online. They adjusted the coupon down to 69 cents so that overage would not occur. Stacking these coupons, I was able to get four lip balms and a liter of water for 24 cents. That, my friends, is the beauty of stacking …

Frugal Tip of The Day — It’s winter and the Arctic air zaps the moisture right out of your skin. Two words to the rescue — Olive Oil. It’s a natural cleanser and moisturizer. Apply a small amount to your face, place a warm wet washcloth for a minute and let Mother Nature go to work. Rinse the washcloth with warm water and gently — you don’t need to scrub — wash away. It removes all traces of makeup, mascara included and leaves your skin wonderfully soft and moisturized. It does the same for your body. When you’ve finished applying the oil to your body, run your fingers through the ends of your hair. If you need to exfoliate, add a bit of salt to the palm of your hand with the oil and gently rub in. Rinse off and pat yourself dry. You’ve just eliminated the need for expensive facial wash, makeup remover, scrub and body lotion. How do you like me now?