Southern Cents: Check Out Lines
by Tina Shake
Okay, I admit it. I am one of those people that you do not want to be behind in the check out lane. This past weekend Krogers, in our neck of the woods, was doing Super Doubles! What is Super Doubles? Super Doubles means that all coupons are doubled, up to and including $1 Every $1 coupon was worth $2, and let me tell you I have been saving them up! There are many places where you can score extra coupons. You can beg for them. "Can I have your extra coupons? Please can I, can I?" You could stand out of the street and dance a jig with a little box sitting on the ground that says, "Will dance for coupons." I could have done that but the last time I tried that, all I got was expired ones and I danced for nothing! You could get a second job as a Sunday newspaper carrier, but then you would be too tired to care.
Recycling centers are great sources of coupons; in fact, many people are there Monday mornings waiting to get their fair share. Hope you are quick because those babies go fast. A fun way to get the coupons that you want would be to start a coupon club. Put an ad in your local paper and meat at a neutral place and bring all of your coupons and tips to trade. Make sure that everyone brings a snack to round out the evening.
The Internet is a fantastic place to find coupons. Go to your favorite search engine and put in the word "coupons." You will be amazed at the sites that offer your pick of coupons. Pick only what you need with the trouble and mess of clipping.
All right, you have your coupon source located and now what? The trick to successful couponing is knowing what to bother with and what to pass up. Remember "The Price is Right?" They have a particular game where you have to know the prices of certain products. That is what you have to do in couponing. Keep a mental reference on what products cost and then when you are looking at a coupon think in terms of doubles. If I have a 50-cent coupon then I know that piece of paper is worth $1 to me, and mentally I will start making decisions. What does that product cost? Is it on sale? Can I incorporate it in my weekly menu? I buy only groceries that I am going to use in my weekly menus (unless that product is free, of course). If I have coupons that I know will give me free products, then I will collect those coupons in bulk. I will stock up on that product and freeze it, store it for use throughout the year or even donate the excess to the neighborhood food pantries!
How did I do this weekend? My groceries totaled $329.65. Ouch! I know that this is a huge amount and most normal people wouldn't buy this much weekly. I am not normal! When the roadkill season slows down here in Raglesville, you have to resort to drastic measures. My cashier, who by the way was a pleasant young man that had the patience of a saint, began scanning the coupons. After the coupons totaled $168.81 the cash register went on strike and would not accept another coupon. Of course, the manager was putting in every code known to modern man and still all we got was a series of beep, beep, beeps. Finally, we did find a way around the problem and the rest of the coupons were scanned and subtracted. The final total was $73.70! The total would have been a lot lower, but I had to buy all of that pesky meat. What can I say? I am the woman!
Also: For those of you who are thinking of buying a vehicle and going through those upcoming test drives, keep this in mind. Many of the car manufacturers give away incentives to get you in their vehicles and take them for a spin. Oldsmobile is offering a great perk until 12-31-00. If you will take their Silhouette around the block you can receive a Supercompact Nikon Nuvis Aso Advanced Photo System Camera worth $90. Call 800-766-9698 and ask for their test voucher.
Six packs of Squeeze-Its have been sporting a great freebie offer! On some packages you can find a coupon for a free JC Penny Portrait Sheet. This free portrait does not require a sitting fee, so it truly is a bargain.
Debt is preventing me from taking a vacation this year or the vacation I'd like to take this year! Tell us: Yes, debt is affecting my vacation plans! or No, we're going exactly where we want to go but we'd love to learn make our trip as inexpensive as possible!
Tina Shake, mother of two sons (24 and 15 years) and one daughter (18 years) and grandmother to a 13 month old, is a freelance consumer writer from Southern Indiana.
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