Category Archives for "Deals"

January 11, 2012

Couponing for the Extremely Normal: When a Deal Doesn't Work

Welcome to Couponing for the Extremely Normal! 

Even though you carefully plan your deals, they may not always work out.  Never fear … here a few tips for ensuring you receive the savings you planned for.

1.  Know what you should be saving before you get to the register.

2.  Watch the register as the cashier rings up items and coupons.  The store computer is not always right.  There are times when sale items don’t ring up properly.  Have the sale flyer with you so you can show the cashier what the price should be.  If need be, ask the manager to take a look at the issue.

3.  Check your receipt before you leave the store.  If anything is wrong, go to the customer service desk and politely try to straighten the issue out.

4.  If the store manager cannot resolve the issue, go home and call the customer service number for the store.  The phone number is usually printed on your receipt.

This week I went to Food Lion with a plan to buy items which were part of a Box Tops for Education (BTFE) promotion.  The deal worked … sort of.  It ran like this:  buy five participating products, receive $2 off your order instantly, and receive a catalina coupon for 20 Box Tops for Education which can be donated to your local school.

I bought ten participating items, received $2 off my order and the catalina coupon printer jammed.  The cashier could do nothing to issue me a catalina for the 20 Box Tops for Education.  However, the store manager at the customer service desk was able to issue a catalina for 20 BTFE.  However, I expected to receive $4 off my order since I bought 10 participating items.  The store manager said I should have done two transactions with five participating items in each transaction.  However, he was willing to refund the $2 for the second set of items.

When I got home, I called Food Lion Customer Service and they kindly offered to send me a catalina for the 20 Box Tops for Education I didn’t receive at the store.   Lesson learned … fix what you can at the store and then call customer service when you get home.  The most important thing to remember is “be nice.”

What has been your experience with customer service when a deal goes awry?

Let us know how your extremely normal coupon journey is coming along.  We love to hear from our readers!

Want to see more tips?  Click here!



Couponing for the Extremely Normal: Crockpot Essentials

Welcome to Couponing for the Extremely Normal! 

It’s that time of year when the weather is cold and our family wants nothing more than a hot bowl of something for dinner.  Our crockpot gets a workout from November through March.  Using the crockpot requires me to think about those staples which generally end up in the crockpot.  Among these are canned tomatoes, beans (a wide variety including black and kidney), onions, carrots, celery, taco seasoning mix, dry onion soup mix, broth (cans and cartons), inexpensive cuts of beef, and chicken leg quarters or thighs.  It is so easy to grab a few ingredients, pop them in the crockpot in the morning, and have a delicious meal for dinner.

A friend gave me my favorite crockpot cookbook, Fix-it And Forget-it 5-ingredient Favorites:  Comforting Slow Cooker Recipes, a few years ago.  Since then, I have adapted many of these recipes to suit our family’s tastes and the contents of my stockpile.  One of our favorites is crockpot chili.

Crockpot Chili

3/4 lb ground beef (browned)
1 large onion (diced)
3 – 14 oz cans diced tomatoes (preferably a variety with green chilis, onions and/or garlic)
2 – 14 oz cans beans (light or dark kidney)
1 packet taco seasoning or chili seasoning mix

I dump all the ingredients in the crockpot, cook it on high for four hours or low for six hours, and serve the chili over white rice.  We put out small bowls of chopped onions, shredded cheddar cheese and chopped chili peppers along with our favorite bottled hot sauce so everyone can “doctor” their chili to their own taste.  A few years ago, we invited a dozen friends over to enjoy this chili.  We asked everyone to bring an easy appetizer or dessert and a favorite beverage.  It was an easy way to entertain on a cold winter afternoon without spending any time in the kitchen.

Tell us about your favorite crockpot meals.  We always love to try new recipes and might even feature a few of them in an upcoming post!  You can email us at [email protected], subject CROCKPOT IDEAS.

Let us know how your extremely normal coupon journey is coming along.  We love to hear from our readers!

Want to see more tips?  Click here!



August 24, 2009

Learning the Coupon Language

This cheat sheet is brought to you by our pal GINA!

For all my newbie frugal friends, I thought I would share some of the terminology you will commonly see and what the abbreviations or terms mean. It can get quite confusing and I myself am still learning. This list is by no means all inclusive and I would love to hear form you if you have something to add.

Here is an alphabetical list of some of the terminology you will run into out there in the world of frugal living.

BOGO, B1G1F: “Buy 1, Get 1 Free”

Blinkies: coupons found in the little red boxes with blinking lights near the products in the grocery store

BTFE: Box Tops for Education

Catalinas: these coupons are typically generated at check-out for specific items, or to be used as cash on your next purchase.

CPN: coupon

ECB: Extra Care Bucks, these are printed on your receipt and can be used like cash at CVS, must be used with your CVS card, and other rules apply

FAR: Free after rebate

IP: Internet printable coupon

MFC, MFR : manufacturer’s coupon, I have been spelling this one out but will use the abbreviation from now on. These come from you guessed it manufacturers and are mostly found in your newspaper

MIR: Mail in Rebate

Peelie: coupons found stuck on product packaging that you peel off

P&G: Proctor and Gamble coupon insert from newspaper

OAS: “on any size” Some coupons specifically state on them that they can be used on any size product.

OOP: out of pocket expense, how much you actually paid for something

Overage: when you save more than the items costs, store policies vary and you may or may not get to “keep” your overage

RP: Red Plum coupon insert from newspaper

RR: Register Rewards: Walgreens version of the ECB (see above) spendable like cash at Walgreens, earned by purchasing specific products

SS: Smart Source coupon insert from newspaper

Stacking: Using a MFC with a store cpn or other deal on the same item (doable at CVS, Walgreens, and Target quite easily)

Store coupons : Store specific coupons

Tear Pad: pad of refund forms or coupons found hanging from a store shelf or display

V, Valassis: Same as Red Plum

WSL: while supply lasts.

WYB: when you buy

Your Mileage May Vary (YMMV): This one is new to me and basically means that your savings may be different then what is posted because of regional variances such as sale prices and cpn availability.

Hope this helps and let me know if you have some to add to my list, I will do an updated post with your additions.

August 10, 2009

Coupon Tips & Tricks

Coupons are like money; at least that is how I feel. I look for coupons everywhere I go. Internet printable coupons are increasingly popular. Madame Deals posts links to printable coupons as often as possible.

Sometimes, you will get an error message when you go to print the coupon. Have you ever seen the message “install coupon printer” when you have already installed it? It is frustrating when you need or want a certain coupon but then can’t print it. I happened to come across a way to fix this problem. I was reading the comments on a Southern Savers post and Derek replied with a solution to the  coupon printing problem.

Ever run into a link that someone has posted that is the actual “bricks” URL (not the website it was extracted from) and you can’t print it? Wanna know why? It’s because they extracted it on a computer that was using an internet browser which is NOT the one you’re currently using.

Can you fix that?
Apparently you can. There are two little letters inside a bricks URL that tell the bricks if you are on Firefox, Internet Explorer, or Safari on a Mac (like me). Most bloggers seem to be on PCs, so for me running into a coupon I want to print from someone’s blog link was always frustrating. Now, from tracking down comments on several blogs, I’ve figured out how to change the URL in my browser to be the one I want and VOILA I can print the coupon.

Internet Explorer on a PC Bricks:

Firefox on a PC Bricks:

Safari on a Mac Bricks:

Find a link you can’t print, look at the url. Change those two letters (that I’ve identified in the above URL) to wi or vi for Internet Explorer, wg or vg for Firefox, and xs for Safari, and it should print. (For the either or choices, try one and if it doesn’t work try the other)

Thanks Derek!

Another coupon tip: Every wonder what week the coupon insert was in the paper (if you have not cut your coupons yet)? Look at the spine of the coupon insert and the date will be printed on it. It is very tiny print but it is there!

Frugal Ways to Save Money When Buying New Home Appliances

Disclaimer: The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free

Frugal ways to save money when buying new home appliances

Frugal Ways to Save Money on Home Appliances

Spring is a time of new beginnings.  For many, it’s also the time when a large income tax refund comes in.  Some may use those extra funds to pay off debt, to plan for a much needed and deserved vacation, or to put toward savings.  This year we plan to use those funds to replace our dishwasher, refrigerator and stove.  After over ten years, these appliances have outlived their usefulness.  The dishwasher leaks and our last attempt to repair it proved worthless.  The refrigerator is not defrosting and is loud. As for the stove, it’s an older electric burner version which I have dreamed of replacing with a ceramic flat top since we moved in a number of years ago.  It looks like it’s time to check out the home appliances sales.Continue reading

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