Tuesday, November 30, 2010
My day isn't until the 10th, and most of these have about 7 - 14 days on either side of your special day to be used, so every now and then I'd say that my DOB was really the 8th or the 13th, simply to spread the good times a little bit more.
Also, I'm going to keep updating this post, so check back every so often as I add more offers. Ready? GO!
~ Buca di Beppo - Free Appetizer (a small app for <5,>5)
~ The Melting Pot - *free Chocolate Fondue (when you buy either the "big night out" or two individual entrees and a cheese fondue.
~ Sephora - sign up here to be a Beauty Insider and you'll get emails BUT also an email prompting you to claim a free b-day gift. (This year it's a "beautiful eyes kit" and in the years past its been a trio of mini lip gloss as well as a bottle of bubble bath.)
~ Genghis Grill - get a free bowl (aka - a trip though the line)
~ Sonny Bryan's - FREE Sandwich plate (valid within 7 days of birthday) ((sign up on the home page in the lower left hand corner.))
~ Smashbox - a promo code for free goodies at check out! (goodies = a mini lip gloss, a blush set and a tin case to store them in.) ((*if you're going to partake, wait until a Tuesday or Thursday to place your order - they usually have some super awesome freebies on those days that are included with any order.))
~ Which Wich - Free Which! Woohoo!
~ A FREE Large Soda at AMC movie theatres, thanks to my MovieWatcher Rewards card. (*at press time I learned that AMC is overhauling their reward system and will introduce a new and improved program sometime in the near future and until then they aren't enrolling new members.)
~ an email for a FREE $10 gift card to my favorite GGP (General Growth Properties) Mall (Click here to find a location near you; once you get to that mall's page, look for something like "the club" or "shop club", etc. Sign up to get emails and alerts about sales and promos and you, too, will get a $10 gift card on your bday, redeemable at the main service desk.)
~ my damn Benihana certificate. Yes, you'll get a free meal up to $30 - so even if you got the $17 chicken and a few a la carte pieces of shush, anything under $30 - excluding alcohol - is on the house. The TWO problems I had with this offer this year - first, I didn't get the email until 11 days after my birthday (the sign up form says they'll go out on the first of the month); and second, I only received this offer to my back up email address. I pretty much ignored all of their other noise from the rest of the year that went to my main email address, but some where along the way I was sent something that said I needed to "update my information" and because I didn't do that when I logged into my "account" from said main email address it said that they only send the emails if your account is current. You'd think that they'd still try to send the certificate to you, because of all of the variables in your life that do change - last name, address, phone number, employer - your date of birth isn't one to move around. (Well, maybe the year, but not the day.) Whatever.
And then thing's I've received in the mail in the past few days:
~ Victoria's Secret - $10 off ANY purchase
~ Origin's - $10 off ANY purchase
~ Henri Bendel - 20% my total purchase
~ Free some-kind-of-dinner-plate post card from Red Hot & Blue.
Saturday, October 2, 2010
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Again, I'm going to work on an ever-updating list of places that have reward card programs where in you collect points to get free things. Fun!
(Note, some of these overlap with these sign up freebies and birthday freebies, so remember to fill in your bday, anniversary and a valid "freebie" email address - so your normal one isn't advertised to death - that can be made here.)
AMC Movie Watchers Rewards - that's right, you can earn free stuff by going to the movies. You can either register a card HERE online and wait for your card to arrive via snail mail (about two weeks in a super non-busy time) OR I'm told you can sign up at your theatre's guest services box office, but you may want to call and check about that one. So here's the nitty gritty. For every movie ticket you buy, you'll get 2 (two) points, with a max of 4 (four) points earned per transaction, per visit. (So, if you and a special someone are the only ones who see movies together, then maybe one card for the two of you will do. But if you go to movies with kids or friends or whatnot, then I'd register for enough cards to cover everyone in multiples of twos - so two cards for a family of four, three cards for a family of six, etc - and buy tickets by the two's in separate transactions on said separate cards until everyone has a ticket.) BUT, in the FAQ page, they have defined "visit" as to mean every three hours, because some people see more than one movie a day, so you could in theory you buy two tickets at 9am for a 7pm showing, then go back after 1 to buy two more tickets and still get the points, then buy more tickets if need be 3 hours after your last purchase and so on. So, what do you get? For every 10 points you have, you'll get a reward. (I haven't made it to 10 yet, as I always forget my card but I'm trying to get better,) BUT the way I understand it is once you get to every 10th point, a coupon will pop out with your printed tickets (no matter if you print them online, at the ticket booth or at the handy dandy ticket kiosk) and your total will keep rolling. I'm not sure if this is over a lifetime or by a sign up/calendar year, or once you hit 100 points (which, btw is 50 movies by yourself or 25 if you always go with a friend) and then everything resets or what, but if you get there before I do, please do let me know! Also, if you forget to enter your card number or show your card when you buy the tickets, just bring the stubs and your card to the theatres guest services counter and they'll take care of you; same thing if you think you were due for a reward and it didn't print. Also, watch the inbox that is associated with this account; you'll get freebies like free drinks and popcorn!
Carino's - has "pasta points" where you earn a point for every pre-tax dollar you spend; after you collect 100 points (and register your card) you can start redeeming for everything from free apps and entrees to a vacation in Vegas or Italy.
Don Pablo's - This is one I don't know too much about, but it looks like you'll get a free dip just for registering, and then awesome rewards like $10 off around your bday, anniversary and after every 9th visit. Click Here!
Freebirds - if you like Chipolte then go try Freebirds and be prepared to never switch back. (Um, anyway.) Get a "fanatic" card and for every burrito, salad, plate of nachos, combo of 3 tacos or quesadilla you buy you'll get 1 stamp; you'll get 2 stamps for every "Super Monster" sized burrito. You can start collecting stamps before you register the card but you can't redeem them until you do; you can redeem 10 points to get either a FREE burrito (size halfbird, freebird or monster) salad, nachos, 3 tacos, quesadilla OR you can pick a shirt or a hat. (they have a few designs to choose between.) 15 stamps will get you a FREE SUPER MONSTER or better looking shirt. (locations.)
Genghis Grill - a Mongolian barbecue joint - has Khan's Rewards - you can sign up to just get a FREE bowl on your birthday but you can also get a reward card by stopping by and asking for one; this one is pretty simple - get 1 point per bowl, redeem 10 points for a free bowl. Everything (except the bday offer) is kept on your card so there are no emails or snail mail cards to wait on. (I love easy programs like this one.)
Godiva - Yes. Free. Chocolate. (YUM!) Either register here for the Chocolate Rewards Club or you can go in store and they'll help you there. The deets - you'll get: 1 FREE piece of chocolate (in store) every month - just go in and say that you'd like to collect on your free piece; 1 FREE gift each month when you spend over $10 (also only redeemable in store, and it's kind of tricky because you don't collect the gift the same day/month you spend the $10 - so if I went in today, the 2nd of Sept I wouldn't be eligible to collect said free gift until October); 1 FREE online shipping promo code over the life of the account; AND *exclusive* online specials every month. (*If you join in store, you'll get a handy card; but if you join online then you have to either provide your email or your phone number when you go to collect on that sweet piece of chocolate every month, which can be skeevy sometimes.*)
Pei Wei - has a rewards card program, but it is currently only available to those who live/eat in CA, NV and UT. So, bummer for the rest of us - but here is the link to find out more for those who do qualify.
Raising Canes - go to an RC and request a card. (I don't think the points will count until you register the card.) Later when you're at an Internet connection that isn't a phone (I tried and failed) register your card here. Upon doing so you'll get an offer for a FREE BOX COMBO, which is 4 chicken fingers, fries, slaw, bread and a drink, for ab-so-lute-ly F-R-E-E. THEN, for every combo you purchase, you'll get a point. I can't find the rules on the site but I'm pretty sure all you need is 10 points to redeem for another Free Box Combo! Yay!
Red Mango - a pinkberry-esk frozen yogurt place, has "club mango", where you'll collect points towards a $5 off coupon for future use. (This place charges by the ounce and or topping, so the set up isn't super simple like some places.) So stop in, get a card, register it, then you'll get 10 points for every dollar spent in store, 50 points just for registering the card and 500 points on your birthday (as well as emails about specials, promos, events, new flavors and the like.)
Sephora - (which sells make up, make up supplies, perfume, cologne and beauty counter name brands like Clinique and Philosophy) Join the "Beauty Insiders" program in store (where you'll get a card, which is great because it ensures that you always get your points 'cause if you have a weird email address then sometimes they could botch it up upon entering it) OR join here online and you'll get a point per every dollar spent both in store and online. After you collect 100 points, you can redeem them for a fun sized free sample, which changes every week, OR you can save them and when you hit 500 points you can turn those in for a limited edition full sized product, which changes monthly AND You'll get a special birthday gift! (If you hit 350 points in a calendar year, so jan - dec, then you'll qualify to become a VIB - Very Important Beauty - and get even MORE special perks, like exclusive shopping times, coupon offers, sneak previews and more.)
Starbucks - (this program is near and dear to my heart as I recently went Gold.) Basically, get a gift card (either as a gift or buy it for yourself), register it here, and then use that card to pay whenever you go to get your fix. For every drink you buy with a registered card you'll get a star (either keep reloading that same card or get new cards and add them to the account you create with that first card); when starting out you'll be considered a "welcome level" member, which just means that you'll get either a card or an email for a free drink on your birthday! Once you've purchased 5 drinks in a calendar year you'll bump up to a "green" level member and you'll get things like free drink customizations (so if you want soy milk or extra mocha you won't pay the additional $.50), free refills on brewed coffee and tea, special trial offers sent to you in the mail, yadda yadda yadda. After you've hit 30 stars in a calendar year you'll be a Gold member and in addition to the welcome and green benefits, you'll also get personalized coupons (like I buy a lot of oatmeal, and my account tracks that so as a "thank you" I'll get cards for free oatmeal, more so than other "golds" I know who don't purchase oatmeal), a personalized gold card (it has my name on it!!!!) AND you'll get a card in the mail for a free drink with every 15 you purchase. (tip - Starbucks has a GREAT app to track your rewards on your iPhone and blackberry; look for something called "my Starbucks card".)
Friday, August 27, 2010
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Organizing Your Coupons
You're probably mad at me for spending so much time talking about the background prep and not showing you how to save yet, and I'm sorry about that. I just want to make sure you can hit the ground running and not get so frustrated to where you give up. (But honestly, start collecting coupons now. Save the inserts from your paper, look for blinkies at the store and find them online. Just make sure that you're ready before you go out and give it the old college try.)
There are many methods and schools of thought to this, but it's whatever works best for you. I actually employ two or three of these myself and you may find that you like bits and pieces of other ways as well.
Here we go!
1) The Binder
This is exactly what is sounds like - people get a binder, then put their coupons in it and lug it to the store. Don't be ashamed by how full it is - I've seen people with 6 inch binders that were over flowing. It may get heavy, and it's hard to balance in a cart, especially if you go with your kids who need to sit in that seat. BUT, you're never with out your coupons, as its hard to forget the binder. Plus, there are some pretty fancy binders out there with all kinds of pockets and zippers, especially after the Back-To-School clearances. But how does one organize a binder? You Can -
A) Cut out the coupons you want or know you'll use (both exact brands and competitors) and put them into pockets (like baseball card sleeves) where the pages are then organized alphabetically or by types of products (like "cleaning products" or "kids snacks") or by aisle or however you want. (I have a binder that I don't really use all that often but it's an old CD binder - I LOVE it because it has bigger pockets which makes it easier for my fat hands to get in and out of.)
- Pros - you know exactly what page to go to when you need to find that shampoo coupon; you're not lugging around too much extra stuff (like scissors and all of your inserts.); a binder can fit into a tote bag so if the day is just sucking you don't have to pull it out; if you get a real binder and not use my cd binder idea you can add and subtract pages at will.
- Cons - you're cutting out soooo many coupons, statically more that you'll end up not using than using; if you only bring the coupons you cut at home/the office to the store, you may come across some fabulous yet unblogged/heard about deal, only to not have coupons for that item with you; if you save the rest of your inserts they'll start looking really ratty after you've been cutting them up so; if someone on a blog or message board references a certain coupon by saying which insert it was in but you've cut it out, you may forget that you have it or where you put it or if you've already used it; you have to constantly go through it and toss what has expired.
B) Keep the pages intact and put them in whole page protectors, like what you'd use in school or at work. (Inserts aren't stapled and are printed on both sides, so cut the pages on the center creases and insert them into whole page protectors, then you can see both sides and keep them in booklet order, if that's important to you. You can also get rid of advertisement pages.) You can put a tabbed divider in between the weeks (to separate the inserts that you got on Sunday, August 8th from the ones you got on Sunday, August 15th) and can even write directly on the pages with a grease pencil if you know of an upcoming sale or paper clip stackable store coupons to the specific MRF page.
- Pros - This method works well if you buy/subscribe/get multiple inserts every week; just match up all the page 1/2's and put them in a sleeve; same thing with 3/4's, 5/6's, 7/8's, and so on; if you are in a store and come across a stellar deal, price or sale, you can pull out your smart phone, go to hot coupon worlds online database and you will find out with a few short clicks in which insert to look.
- Cons - Your binder will get very full, very fast; To store "found" coupons (peelies, in-box, mailings, etc) you'll need to add some baseball card sleeves or a 3 ring zipper bag or something; if you don't have a smart phone or the Internet while you're out you may have to rummage through tons of pages to find the coupon you need or are looking for.
2) There is also the Envelope Method
This is also exactly how it sounds. You cut the coupons you want and put them into an envelope (either a small white one or a reusable pouch or a small coupon "file" or even an index card sized box) and then go to the store. You can organize them by how you go through the store, through the stores aisle set up, by family member and then when you get to a great sale you think "oh, there is a coupon for that in Josh's tab", whatever makes sense to you.
- Pros - you can keep it with you at all times in your purse or car; you can set it up to have just the coupons you want to spend on just that trip OR you can keep q's for items that you know you're always buying, so if a surprise sale or instant substitute pops up you're ready.
- Cons - you can keep it with you at all times. I can't tell you how many times I've looked into my very fancy, very expensive purse and thought, if only the snooty people at the store could see that I have 3 envelopes of coupons in my $850 purse they'd cry.
3) The File Method
This is a little out of the ordinary, in that you do most of the work at home and leave the rest of it there. (Unless you get a portable file, like a cart or one of those cute file bags, but if get/buy/find 6+ copies of each and every Sunday paper, which at most contain up to 6 inserts each, that's somewhat overboard.) This method is one where you plan out what you're buying (by stalking the message boards and blogs) and finding what q's you need from the paper or online, etc, then putting it all together before you go to the store (by putting them in an envelope or paper clipping them, whatever). You can either file the inserts in a little cart or in a filing cabinet in file folders or by binder clipping the same weeks worth of inserts together keeping and then keeping them together in a tote bag or in a stack; Whatever you decide to do, I find it easier to write the date on each cover in sharpie, in case one individual insert or week gets out of order.
- Pros - your inserts are a lot more sane - if you only go after the deals that others tell you about, then you're sure to have the q's; if you read that you need to thumb through the 8/1 RP to find a q, then you have an 8/1 to thumb through instead of looking through your crazy binder or envelope/box;
- Cons - if you come across a hot sale or deal, you can't act on it 'cause the rest of your coupons are at home; you may need to invest in a lot of file folders, binder clips and even a file cabinet; its hard to keep up with the "found" coupons you collect.
I guess that's it for organizing - the next lesson will be about Coupon Rules and the Lexicon.
(I swear, we're really getting closer and closer to actually talking about finding and using coupons. I'm not counting you as stupid or incapable of learning, but I feel like if I were to give you that info first you'd take off and would never come back, like giving a kid a bicycle before telling them the rules - of course they aren't listening because they are too excited about the bike! If I were you, I'd be bike-excited about couponing. BUT you can start looking for and collecting coupons, and now you can experiment with organizing them!)
Until Next time
Monday, August 23, 2010
This post will help you understand how you can save oodles by tweaking your current shopping habits.
I like to know why something exists. Usually new inventions are due to solve some sort of problem, and coupons are no exception. First used as an advertising ploy to get people to try new or existing products, coupons are now used as a form of currency by some people (ie - us) and we should be ever so thankful for that. However, to fully maximize the effectiveness of coupons, we need to change how we do some things. (And seriously, if you can start this way now then you'll catch on quicker, because what happens to everyone, including me, is that your first shopping trip you'll save $10 from coupons - and get so excited about it! - BUT then end up spending an extra $20 because you didn't know what you were doing.)
Think of how you currently shop. Are you the weekly list maker ("I've got my weekly list and we're sticking to it!"), the run in-er (my fiance would run to the store every day in college to get what he needed for that meal and or snack and it drove me nuts!) or the aisle grazer ("humm... that looks good. In the cart!")? What about the stores in which you shop, or the brands that you buy? Are you stuck in your ways or are you willing to make a change to save some green?
We're going to throw those aside and think of grocery shopping like purchasing air fare, playing poker, making new friends and stocking up for some catastrophic emergency crisis, all at once. Here's How:
Price Watching -
When booking a flight, you usually pay the least amount if you book wayyyy in advance, like, more than six months. You have a lot of choice as to when you want to leave, where you want to sit, etc. Starting at about 5 months with that same flight you'll see the prices starting to increase slightly. Like, a dollar every few days. Then about 3 - two months out it'll increase by a few dollars every day until you're about 3 weeks away and you'll suddenly have no choice but to pay the highest possible fare. (Unless there are still seats on the plane and it's less than 10 days until departure - you *might* be able to find a good deal but you probably won't have your choice of seats or options of flight times.)
Now, a jar of Peanut Butter won't increase 900% in six months, BUT if you start watching the price of that PB over the same six month period, you'll notice price fluctuation, sales and coupons to match, some of which over lap from time to time, and you'll also be keen on when the best time is to buy peanut butter. It might vary by brand and store, but you can guarantee that back to school time and around the holidays are good times to buy this item. But more on this in a bit.
Knowing When To Play Your Cards -
Peanut Butter is normally like, $2 a jar, and that's an alright price, I mean, I'd rather pay that than $3 or $4, but we go through a lot of peanut butter, like, a jar a week sometimes - I like to cook with it, eat it, feed it to the dog - and it's just me, the fiance and the dog. $104 on PB a year for 2 people is like, a little crazy if you think about it. However, (the brand I like) on sale right now for $1.60 a jar - thank.you.back.to.school.time - AND I have a coupon for $.60 off, so now my total is $1 a jar.
This is how couponing is like poker - you have to know when to play your cards, err, coupons. The sale (it's $1.60 at Target through Sat, the 28th) and coupon both coincide to match back to school time BUT there are plenty of times when the retailers know what coupons are coming out (because the manufacturer tells Corp. waaayyy ahead of time) so they'll adjust their prices accordingly. Yeah, Target or Walgreens will make money if you buy their brand couponlessly, BUT if you do buy the national brand (which is more expensive than the store brand) then the store makes more of a profit (because the margin is higher than the generic) AND the store get reimbursed the total amount of the coupon PLUS $.08 cents for every coupon used by you and me, so that's 3 ways the store earns money when you buy a Brand name item with a coupon vs when you buy a generic.
But back to poker. New coupons come out every day, week, and month. Sometimes it's worth it to wait a week or two for an item to go on sale, but sometimes you just can't wait - you may need diapers or hair spray right now. However, if you do have the time to wait, and the product doesn't go on sale, and it's something you want and will use, then what is the waste of waiting to use the coupon, it's not like the price will go up.
Leaving Your Comfort Zone -
My parents love Tide, the laundry detergent. The only problem I have with Tide is that they are the leader in the laundry market and they know it, so there is rarely a sale and the coupons they put out are sort of crappy. I have found soooo many better deals on countless other brands - great, amazing brands, that are all natural or are 5x concentrated so the bottle is half a pound to pick up rather than 10 - but still, they stay with Tide. My point is this, if you are willing to try other brands, you may save more. They like Bounty, but Brawny is on sale and I have a coupon. So in situations like that, where I can get the same product (so the paper towels) for way less, I'll buy what I can with the coupons I have and then let that hold me over until I can switch back to what I like. But there is also an upside; shopping by buying the brands for whom we have coupons introduces us to new products, different flavors, and sometimes better features or qualities. And that I like.
It's not hoarding, I swear -
I'm sure what I've been saying has struck a cord with you, but how do you go from saving $1 a week to thousands a year? The answer - Stockpiling. It makes since, but to start out and get a good "pile", ugh. You have to have focus and organization, and also space, but once you get going and you see that you can pay $.12 for pasta and can get 100 cans of soup or free you'll be hooked. One of the bloggers I L-O-V-E is a mom to 4 out of Boston and here is the link to her stockpile posts. Is it sad that I just love to look at her pictures for inspiration? She knows when to play her cards, she isn't brand specific and she knows the most important rule with her stock pile: FIFO - First In, First Out, meaning that she first uses what she purchased first, that way nothing goes to waste by spoiling. The second most important rule with 'piling - only buy what you will consume (eat) in 6 months. (Unless the item in question has a super long shelf life, like canned veggies or sauces, or you plan on donating the extras. Why buy extras? Sometimes you get paid to buy extras, but that's a later post.)
So take my Peanut Butter example again. It's great that I got a jar for $1 right now. But what happens when I need to go out and buy more peanut butter? Simple. I am going to buy as much as I can right now when it's uber cheap and I'm going to save the difference. Like, I have 20 coupons. If I were to buy 20 jars over the next however long at $1.92 a jar, that's $38.40. But since I have 20 coupons, I might as well get 20 jars for $20 bucks. That's a savings of $18.40, and all I did was take a few extra minutes of my day to get 20 coupons to "play" them at the right time.
We'll get deeper and deeper into everything, I promise, but I also want to go back to the shopping styles - you can still be a grazer, a runner and a list maker - as long as you add the element of having a coupon for EVERY item that you're buying, you'll be saving money in no time. And I understand that sometimes you can't wait to get something, I do. But shopping is exactly like buying last minute air fare - if you lack the foresight to plan ahead, you're going to pay the highest price. If you research and give yourself time (to wait on a sale or to order coupons online), then you'll come out a winner every time.
Back to the point I left off in the "air fare" analogy up at the top
- don't just watch the shelf tags; read the weekly ad circulars and make your list or gather your coupons based on those on-sale items.
- Visit store specific message boards and blogs, as other like-minded people will point out deals and "match ups" (match up = when there is a coupon to go along with a sale price) for you so you can focus on just the gathering portion and not spend so much time calculating and what not.
- Also shop with the "seasons"; I've said probably twice that now is an amazing time to stock up on peanut butter, because it's back to school time, but other "times" and "seasons" prompt great sales and match ups as well, like, the holidays are the best time to stock up on baking supplies (like flour, evaporated milk, chocolate chips), New Years is the best time to find nutrition and healthy items (like individual frozen meals and "healthy cereals") and so on.
- And lastly, sales are cyclical. What is on sale now should be on sale again in six to eight weeks - the price may not always be as great (so the $1.92 pb that's on sale for $1.60 now may only go down to $1.75 in six to eight weeks) but it will go on sale again, so I don't need to buy 400 jars and make 2000 PB&J's to freeze to hold me over until next year when its back to school time.
So, those are the points I wanted to bring up about how we can succeed in winning at the store. It may take some time to build a great stock pile (in fact, it will, so don't give up if you don't succeed in the first two or three shopping trips; even if you don't want to stock as aggressively as some people do, it still will take you time to build up a good coupon pile/file/binder/folder and then it will take you time to figure out when to use those coupons to score big) but once you do have however big a pile you want it to be, you'll be so proud of yourself.
Alright, I think that's it for this post. Next up - How to Organize Your Coupons
There are more people out there who have explained everything much better than I ever could, but I am going to try to break it down into more manageable lessons built around the way I teach it to those in person so if I have given you tips, you can come back as sort of a "professors notes" type thing.
So, Lesson 1!
Welcome to the first day of the rest of your life. (Not really, but it sometimes feels that way.)
~ The first thing I always tell everyone is to register for a new, FREE, "junk email". And honestly, if you wanted to get really down and dirty with it - register for two or three so you can easily sort through all the crap super easily. Any place where you sign up to receive their emails can and will email the crap out of you. When I first started doing this, I signed up for every offer and news letter and club and now that junk address nets about 75 emails a day.
Email is honestly one of the best ways to learn about sales and get coupons but you also need to give out your email address to get anything from legit offers to free samples to online clubs. There are some companies who are pretty cool and will only bug you when they have something awesome to tell you about, but there are more who act like that long lost friend you recently found on facebook who just won't shut up. (Seriously, and Neiman Marcus? I have tried several dozen times to get off of your DAILY subscription and nothing is working.)
If looking at a super full inbox just drives you nuts, sign up for two different address (but make sure you remember the names and passwords); keep one for Food (IE - restaurants and coupons for consumables or food related clubs, like "Kraft First Taste") and another for everything else (malls, clothing stores, online clubs that you actually want to keep using, like Sephora and Swagbucks, etc.) If you want to get extra anal, make a third email dedicated to just the junk - and this is going to be the offers that sometimes look less than legit (Remember - NEVER give your credit card info out for a "freebie") AND to give out to the companies to whom you just want their free samples. (Like, independent wholeistic pet food retailers and pyramid sales companies like Advocare.)
You don't have to go this route - as Gmail (the free email I recommend) has an excellent search feature - but couponing requires a good deal of organizing so why not sort everything out at the bottom.
Also a good thing to get a second of? Facebook! Advertisers are starting to realize the potential of this new medium thus ushering in a whole new wave and location to find coupons. If you're like me, you don't want to advertise to your friends list via your news feed that you just "faned" or "liked" Pampers, Totinos or San Luis cigars. So, what do you do? Make a second facebook! Just don't friend anyone on that account and keep the info minimal - like don't include your city or school - and no one will know about your habits.
Now that you have your junk email in check and your second facebook set up, go check out the posts here, here and here and start signing up! (TIP - wait a few days inbetween signing up for anything food related be it from the bday list or the freebie list - that way you'll have more than two weeks to collect on offers.) ((I'll also work on posting more facebook freebies.))
Next up - Mind Think
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Friday, August 6, 2010
Abuelo's - sign up link.
Brio Tuscan Grille - E-Club.
Buca De Beppo - sign up here.
Macaroni Grill - look on the bottom left of the page; fill in your email and then you'll go to a second page to fill in the rest of your info.
Maggiano's - here!
The Melting Pot - club fondue.
Texas De Brazil - and the sign-up is here!
I'm in the process of signing up my parents for EVERY bday promo I can find and I realized that no one has made a cohesive list of all the free things you get JUST for signing up for loyalty programs. So I am going to try. (Right now I have listed places that that may or may not be specific to just the DFW area. If you find any more let me know and I'll list them!)
Tips: 1) space these out when signing up, just to give yourself more than 10 days to collect on all of them. 2) you will get tons of email from these places, so go here and make up a new "freebie" email as to not get advertised to death in your real email. AND 3) don't forget to enter your bday if they ask!!!
Abuelo's - Free Entree on your next Visit. (Eclub!)
AMF Bowling - $5 off PER PERSON up to four people. (not sure if it's per game or just one game.)
Applebee's - Free Appetizer
Arby's - Join Arby's Extras and get an email for a free offer; Mine was for a free Regular Roast Beef Sand which when you buy a drink. (Expires 7 days from date sent; You can only view it once so make sure you are ready to print when you open the offer.)
AuntieAnnes - Join "Pretzel Perks" and get a BOGO coupon; expires 2 weeks from sign-up date.
Aveda - Make an account here and you'll get an instant "thank you" in the form of a printable offer that you can redeem in an Aveda store. (note, not all salons participate because not all are company owned. find a location here and call before you go. Also note, The "Aveda Stores" will always accept them, like Stonebriar, Willow Bend, NorthPark and the institute across from NorthPark.)
Ben & Jerry's - (please note that this is for the scoop shops, not for pints at the store.) - sign up here and you'll get an email for a FREE single scoop in either a cup or a cone. Yum!
Bone Daddy's - join the VIP club here and get an email for a free appetizer. (4 locations - Arlington, Austin, Dallas and Grapevine.)
Brio Tuscan Grille - join here for a complimentary appetizer.
Buca di Beppo - sign up here and you'll get a free small appetizer.
Caribou Coffee - sign up here and get an email for $1 off any larger "Wild" Beverage and free shipping on an online order over $40.
Carino's - sign up (at the bottom of the main page) and get an email for 1/2 off any entree.
Carrabba's - Complimentary Appetizer!!! (FYI, I'm typing this at 1:30 in the am and now I'm jonesing for the calamari that is pictured in this email that I can't have because they are closed. And I should be in bed.)
Chili's - join here and get an email for free Chips & Queso.
Chuck E. Cheese - (BAR TRIVIA!!! Did you know that the E. stands for Entertainment? Fun!) Ok. Sign up here and you'll get an email with 4 coupons - one for a large 1 topping pizza, 4 drinks and 30 tokes for $19.99; the 2nd is for a Large 1 topping, 1 Medium cheese, 4 soft drinks and 35 tokens for $29.99; the 3rd is for 100 tokens for $15; and the last is for 175 tokens for $25.)
Corner Bakery - get an email for a free cookie, no other purchase necessary!
Cotton Patch - join the e-club here and you'll get an email for a free appetizer.
Dairy Queen - Join the Blizzard Club here and you'll get an email for a BOGO 12 or 16 oz blizzard.
Dave and Busters - join HERE and get an email for $10 in free game play. (coupon for free play expires 30 days from date of registration.)
Denny's - join the rewards club here and get an email for 20% off your entire check.
Dickey's Barbecue Pit - Join the Big Yellow Cup club here and you'll get an email for a free drink, no other purchase necessary. (These things are huge. Also fun? Add Ice Cream to the cup before you get your drink. Just sayin'.)
Dippin' Dots - join the "Forty Below Zero Club" and you'll get an email for 10% off AND a free Mug OR cell phone charm with your first online order. (who orders dippin dots online?)
Einstein Brothers - sign up here and get an email for a BOGO breakfast or lunch sandwich.
El Fenix - sign up here and get an email for a BOGO entree!!
Firehouse Subs - They changed the way they offer Birthday Subs (now just present your photo id instead of waiting for a card in the mail) BUT join their email newsletter program and get a coupon for a free Large Fountain Drink or Bottled Beverage with purchase of any sub.
Fish City Grill (AND Half Shells) - Join here (for fish city) and here (for half shells) and you'll get an email for $5 off your next visit.
Fox and Hound (also Bailey's Sports Grille) - Join the Pub Club here and get an email for a free app.
Fuddruckers - join Club Fudd and get an email for a 1/3lb Burger, Fries and a soft drink for $7 flat.
GAP Inc. - sign up here and you can subscribe to Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic and Piper Lime updates, alerts and offers all in one swoop. (just make sure you select what you want to hear about - so don't check baby gap if you don't care about baby gap.) ((*you'll get an instant free shipping offer from Banana, same thing with Gap, a $ off when you spend $X at Old Navy and free shipping from Piperlime.))
Great American Cookies - join here and you'll get an email for a BOGO regular cookie.
Houlihan's - click here and get an email for a free appetizer.
Joe's Crab Shack -Join and you'll get an instant email for a free appetizer.
La Madeleine - get a free cup of soup or a small salad - just for signing up!!!
Malls - Ok. This one is tricky. Go to this page to find your favorite GGP property and this one to find a mall owned by Simon. These are the two main players, as together they own and opperiate more than 70% of the shopping centers in this country. Anyway, find a mall that you frequent (or two or three) and sign up (in your junk email, because they WILL email you, about every super big and very small sale) for that malls club or eblast or whatever they've named it; you should find something about it on that malls "page", which is linked off of the propriety site. I can't guarantee that you'll get something from every mall (or malls) you do choose, but I got an email for "a free $10 gift card when I spend $75 from Stonebriar", so there's at least that. (And if you don't find your favorite shopping haunt on one of those pages, google - or *bing* - it and I'm sure with a little surfing you'll find some place to enter your email on that centers website.)
Marble Slab Creamery - B1G1 Ice Cream Combination. (Expires 2 weeks from sign-up.)
Maggiano's - sign up and get $10 off your next meal. (bottom right of the main page.) Click HERE to fill in more info, like an anniversary and bday and stuff.
The Melting Pot - join "Club Fondue" and you'll get an email for a free pot of chocolate fondue.
Mimi's Cafe - FREE breakfast entree (with purchase of another entree.) ((*3 area locations, Allen, Arlington and Grapevine.)
Mooyah - dallas/fort worth people - what is up with the EXPLOSION of burger joints poppin' up as of late? I'm not saying I hate it, but I am saying that I haven't consumed this much beef in a while. Anyway, this one is a text-message only kind of deal, and you can only be "connected" to one location to get their specials and deals and what not. Opt in by texting "MOOYAH" to 89686 and then you'll get a text saying something along the lines of selecting your fav location. SO, if you love the location by work, enter that one, but know that those deals can't be applied to the location by your church/house/mall/gym, etc. I'm not sure how often they'll text you, but I'm sure never more than 4 times a month AND you can always opt out at anytime.
On The Border - join here and get an email for free Queso or Sopapillas.
Outback Steakhouse - join Outback Rewards and get an email for a free "Aussie-Tizer" (I see what they did there) when you buy two entrees.
Papa Murphy's - go here and look for the "eClub" box near the bottom left; fill in your info and once you confirm the email, in the 2nd window confirmation screen you'll be able to print a B1B1 half off coupon. (expires two weeks after sign up.)
Patrizio's - click here to sign up; get an email for a free appetizer.
Philosophy - create an account here and you'll get a free gift with a purchase of $25 or more.
Qdoba - sign up here and you'll get an email for free chips and salsa.
Quiznos - join the Q-Club and get an email for $2 off a regular or large sub.
Raising Cane's - *this one requires you to get a membership card* Step 1 - go to an RC, get a "Caniac Club" Card. (Totally free, you don't even have to order anything. Just run in or drive through.) Step 2 - Go home (or the office, but you can't do it from your iPhone, because I tried it) and REGISTER your card HERE. AS SOON AS YOU'RE done, you will see an offer for a FREE Box Combo! (That's 4 fingers, fries, slaw, bread AND a DRINK. Not too shabbs for the extra work.) Don't forget to hand your card over every time you buy a combo - for every 10 stamps/points/punches/combos purchased you'll get another FREE box combo!
Red Hot and Blue - sign up here and get an email for a free prok barbeque sandwich.
Red Robin - join here and get $3 off your next purchase.
Romano's Macaroni Grill - enter your email address on the bottom of the homepage and you'll then go to a second page where you fill in the rest of your info. Once you confirm your email subscription (via an email) you'll get a SECOND email with a coupon for $5 your next purchase of 2 Entrees. (expires a month from sign up.)
Ruby Tuesday - join the "So Connected" club and get an email for a BOGO entree, up to $10. (expires two weeks after sent.)
Schlotzskys - Join the "Bun and Fun" club you'll get an email for a ___ but be careful!!! They have one of those fancy email stalker things that only lets you view the offer once, so if you don't print it right then, then you're out of luck.
Smoothie King - join "The Kingdom" and get an email for a BOGO 20oz Smoothie!
Souper Salad - join the Souper Fresh Club (click the bird) and you'll get an email for 20% off a Lunch of Dinner Buffet.
The Spaghetti Warehouse - Sign up here and you'll get an email for a free appetizer.
Sonny Bryans - enter your name, email address and DOB in the lower left-hand "email sign up" box on the main page and after submitting you'll be redirected to a confirmation page; that page will list a coupon for 25% off your first ONLINE order meant for TAKEOUT. (PS - if you ever plan to visit Dallas you HAVE to stop by this place for authentic Dallas BBQ. It's been around forever - the original is here and this is where Rachel Ray goes to get her meat kick when she's in town.) *Update* About 8 days after I signed up I got an email for their "monthly offering" which was for a FREE entree! So even if you can't use the online take out offer, still sign up with them as you'll get something FREE monthly!!!
Sweet Tomatoes (and/or Souplantation) - sign up for Club Veg and get an email for b1g1 half off.
Texas de Brazil - sign up here for the club and you'll get an email for 25% off of your full price dinners. (but not your water or soda. sorry.)
Texas Roadhouse - sign up here to become a Texas Roadie VIP and you'll get an email for a free appetizer.
Victoria's Secret Pink Nation - "Pink" is the collection/brand targeted to college age girls BUT anyone can join. Go here and sign up to get a freebie - the offer changes every 6-8 weeks but in the past it's been things like free panties, body lotion, tank tops (valued at $19!!), tote bags, bracelets, etc. Usually you do have to make a purchase first, but look for inexpensive things, like clearance and sale items, travel sized lotions OR lollipops (yes, the candy - still counts and is priced at $1) BUT from time to time it's just a straight out free item. Make sure to fill in your bday AND physical address when signing up because you'll get mailings for MORE offers - like money off your next in store or online purchase AND MORE FREE panties, often times at No Purchase Necessary! (I know I'm talking too much about this but whatever.) OFTEN TIMES there will be in-store specials - like a free pair of panties or tote bag or flip flops - with any Pink purchase that also with work WITH these printable coupons; you could literally walk in there, buy a lollipop, use the printable coupon for the free whatever AND get the in -store promo, NO questions asked! (last one and I'm done.) And this is from my personal experience and may be a gray area - You don't need a vaild email address to sign up. The coupon appears after you first sign up - so you don't need to go check your email for the offer; so in the future if you see a coupon that says "for new members only", just make up a fake email when registering and you'll get the new offer! But shh! Don't let the cat out of the bag too loudly or else they may go and change this on us. (PS - thanks to this program I haven't purchase underwear outright in Lord knows how long.)
Wendy's - sign up for Wendy Mail (do you think that's a play on e-mail?) and instantly get a coupon for $1 off a premium burger.
Which Wich - Join their "Vibe Club" and get an email for a free regular 'wich when you purchase a large fountain drink.
World Market - join here and get a $10 off your next $30 printable. Yay!
Saturday, July 10, 2010
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Monday, June 7, 2010
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
The best parts?!?
1) you don't have to purchase all four products in one transaction, just as long as you've done so by the end of December.
2) if you are a beauty insider Sephora will keep track of what and how many products you've purchased towards the reward so it's one less "rewards/stamp" card to carry around in your wallet! (So make sure to log in when ordering online and always give your email when you purchase in store.)
3) you can redeem up to 5 "rewards" per BI account. (if you run over that limit then create a new email account and register it for its own account, etc etc.)
If you're new to Sephora, the Beauty Insider program is one of the ones you need to belong to - you'll earn a point for every dollar that you spend which can be redeemed for a "generous sample size" product after every 100 points OR you can save them for a free full-size product (of Sephora's choice, which changes regularly) after every 500 points. AND AND AND you'll get a birthday gift, which this year is a eyeliner, eye shadow and mascara combo pack for women and ... something else for guys. (also, whenever you order online, you get 3 samples of your choosing and they usually offer up some really great shipping deals.)
*the website says that you can buy ANY skincare product over $20 to qualify for the free product, but the free product must come from one of these lines: Bliss, Boscia, Dr. Frandt, Caudalie, Clinique, DDF, Fresh, Kate Somerville, Kinerase, Korres, Murad, Ole Henriksen, Perricone MD, Philosophy and Peter Thomas Roth.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
The "May 2010" on the front has me thinking that the stores will get new ones in soon for June so I didn't feel bad in taking 10 when I saw a display on every aisle and end cap stuffed with the booklets.
Why so many? They're all manufacturer's coupons and one of them is for "$1 off St. Ives Lotion" that doesn't exclude trial/travel sizes - so free St. Ives at Target/Walmart/any other place that carries the travel size!
I wouldn't suggest making a special out-of-the-way trip to your store (Safeway, Vons, Dominick's, Genuardi's, Randalls, Tom Thumb, Pavilions or Carrs) to find these guys, but if you do have an extra 5 minutes and are in the neighborhood, then go for it. (I approve.)
Other Coupons included:
~ $1.50 off any size Biz Stain Fighter Powder (exp 8/31)
~ $1.00 off any OxiClean MaxForce Product (exp 5/31)
~ $1.00 off any Arm & Hammer Power Gel Detergent (ex 5/31)
~ $1.00 off any two Kleenex Facial Tissues (does exclude 110 ct. boxes but does NOT exclude the pocket packs) (ex 5/30)
~ $2 off any two GSK products (then lists aquafresh, abreva, polident, poligrip, sensodyne, etc.) (ex 6/30)
~ $.50 Golgate ProClinical (4.0 or higher) (ex 6/30)
~ $.50 Speed Stick or Lady Speed Stick (excludes .5 oz) (ex 6/30)
~ $.55 Right Guard Product (does NOT exclude trial size) (ex 12/31)
~ $1.50 Any Neutrogena Product (excludes cosmetics, suncare and trial) (ex 6/30)
~ $2.00 Any Nexxus Dualiste Hair Care Product (ex 6/30)
~ $2.00 off any Blink Tears Eye Drops (ex 12/31)
~ $2.00 off any Complete Brand Contact Solution (12oz +) (ex 12/31)
~ $1.00 and Refresh Brand Product (eye drops and contact solution) (ex 5/30)
~ $.55 on any Nexcare Product (ex 5/31)
~ $2.00 on any one Citrucel, Os-Cal or Ecotrin Product (ex 5/31)
~ $2.00 off wyb Clorox Bleach AND Clorox 2 Stain Fighter and Color Booster (ex 5/30)
~ $.75 Jonny Cat cat litter (ex 11/30)
~ $2.00 off any Coppertone Product (6 oz or larger) (ex 12/31)
~ $1.00 off any two Scotch-Brite scrub sponges, scour pads, dishwand or dishwand refills. (ex 6/30)
Again, they aren't all that great - but if you're driving home from work or have some time to kill before getting the kids, it might be worth it. (Also, those Coppertone coupons don't expire until the end of the year - HOLD ON TO THOSE for all the clearance sun screen that you know you'll see come August.)
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
I posted a comment to a question asked after a post that Totally Target made a week ago about using multiple manufacturer coupons to sweeten the current Biore deal that is valid now through July 10th. (Holy crap! That's enough time to buy a lot of coupons if you're missing some of them.) ((Anyway.)) Kerry at Totally Target (which is my FAV Target blog site as I'm addicted to Target) asked if could further explain, so this post is just that.
In short, if you don't want to read this whole post, A NEW SYSTEM IS IN THE WORKS, AND IT APPEARS THAT YOU SHOULD HAND OVER/USE YOUR COUPONS FOR FREE AND OR BOGO (B1G1, B2G1, B3G1 ect) ITEMS FIRST AS TO NOT GET SCREWED BY THE COMPUTER. You should also be hyper-vigilant with your cashier as well.
As of late, I've noticed that cashiers at a few of my stores (I'm in the greater Dallas metro, and if you knew how many Targets I frequent weekly, you'd be signing me up for rehab) have to take extra steps when it comes to using a coupon for a free or bogo item.
There are two ways of walking out of a store with a free item in your bag/cart. The first, which is my favorite, is when a coupon doesn't exclude a trial/travel size or is when the product has been priced at, put on sale to, or clearanced around the amount of the coupon, or when a mrf coupon stacks with a Target coupon. It's pretty easy, it's low fuss, and if you have your target coupon policy with you, all of the cashier's questions should be easily answered without the need of calling attention to yourself by way of getting a manager involved.
The second way of getting something for free is via a "free" or "bogo' coupon, and we all know how much *fun* those can be. Target DOES ALLOW you to use a BOGO coupon - some people have problems with this, but, if the coupon is legit, put your foot down(!), pull out your copy of the Target Coupon policy, and if it comes down to it, call corporate customer service right there in the store. (Anyway.)
This process usually includes the cashier (or manager) punching in a price for the item that is to be counted as free, which means that you and I either kept track of the price while shopping, or the cashier backs out of the price input screen, finds the item on the register screen, checks the price, may or may not ask to see the item in your bags, re-scans the coupon to yet again go to the price input screen - it causes a lot of headaches, wastes a lot of time and creates the perfect opportunity for unscrupulous individuals to fleece the system, thus ruining it for everyone.
To spur people from claiming a bogus coupon amount and also to combat the recent surge of fake coupons floating around the web (did you hear that someone made a coupon for a "free" PS3 game station - easily over $300 - and that a Walmart employee took it?!? I had a hard time getting those damn $.89 sponges with the $1 off a few weeks ago.) Target has started to overhaul their Point Of Sale (POS) System and now the cashier is no longer able to "take your word for it" and punch in a price, even if they are the ones who checked it with their own two eyes. (For those concerned at this point, I haven't yet had system trouble with pushing a coupon, as in trying to use a $1 coupon for a trial sized $.97 item - that still works just fine, depending on your cashier.)
Now when a coupon is scanned for a free item (just free and bogo items, not regular $ off coupons that we use on trial or normal sized products), the transaction is immediately suspended and sent to a new screen that lists all the items in said transaction, where the cashier is to then select which item is to be discounted and literally attach the coupon to the item. (Since there isn't a picture or screen shot of this on the web and I'm a visual person, I'm going to make an example for those of you who are like me.)
Cherry Coke ........................ $1.50
Biore Pore Strips ................. $5.94
Biore Cleanser .......................$5.99
Biore Cleanser .......................$5.99
Kraft Cheese Bites............... $2.99
Kraft Mac & Cheese .............$1.29
etc. etc. etc.
The new screen looks something like that, and while it lists product names and prices, if you are buying varying ounce sizes, brands, quantities, or even different products that fall into the same line (like Scrubbing Bubbles Toilet Gel and Scrubbing Bubbles Toilet Wand) things could - and very well might - get confusing for both you and the cashier. If you aren't paying attention, a coupon for a free item could be directed to a cheaper or different product than what is intended.
Getting back to the TT post - a coupon newbie asked "does it matter which coupon is scanned first" and was referring to using both a BOGO and a money off q for the item(s) that is(are) not free. With this new POS System, the answer is YES!, possibly.
(*Edit, 11:45Pm - this is a YMMV BUT most BOGO coupons do allow you to stack another MRF coupon for the item that you are not getting for free, rather, the item that you are buying. Some coupons will say "no other coupons can be used with this offer" but most don't. However, just because we're all cool and understand this doesn't mean that a cashier won't follow the drift.)
While I'm not 100% guaranteeing that this is the norm, not saying that the issue I had was simply because I was using a Target Q (and those are always picky), and I'm also not saying that there is a flaw in this new system, I AM saying that it seems that if you use the money off q first and then the bogo, there is a chance that the money off q could count towards to the item that you are trying to get for free and in the end that upsets the balance of the deal you are trying to score.
While it doesn't really matter if the BOGO items are the same price (if you buy Thing A and Thing B, both $5, and you use a bogo + a $1 off, in the end one will be $4 after a $1 off q and the other will still be free) it DOES MATTER if you have an intricate scenario involving free items of varying prices.
I personally haven't done the Biore deal above or the super awesome Scrubbing Bubbles Toilet Gel/Wand/Free Gift Card deal; however, I did trouble when purchasing a few CoverGirl items in a transaction that looked like this:
LashBlast ........... $7.49
I used four coupons - one BOGO face product from CoverGirl which I used towards the LashBlast mascara, one $1 q for the mascara I wasn't getting for free, and two Target coupons that were for a free eyeshadow when you bought one LashBlast, found on the Lashblast product. (I used two because I was buying two.)
I intended to walk out of the store having spent just $6.49 for all four items; however, due to the way my coupons were stacked when handed over to the cashier, the money q was scanned before my bogo and free item q's were, so the $1 ended up coming off of one of the cheaper eyeshadows, causing my scenario to go up a buck. (I know, I know. It's just a dollar. But I've gone up to Customer Service before to get a quarter back when the cashier failed to give me five bag credits, so I was not about to let this one go.)
Of course we (the cashier and I) didn't know any of that at the time.
After the cashier scanned my bogo q and the first free eyeshadow coupon (and attached the items to the coupons, of course), the page looked like this:
Lashblast ....... $7.49
(with the new system, once an item has been discounted - either free or money-off wise - the price reflects the discount OR the item is absent from the screen to serve as a visual clue to the cashier that the product has already been reduced to the point where it is free and to not discount it any further, which is why you now only see one of each of the mascara and eyeshadow.)
I instantly knew that something was wrong - yes, I'd still get the eyeshadow for free, but the remaining mascara was supposed to be a dollar cheaper, not the eyeshadow.
I thought that it'd be alright in the end, that I could still say that the remaining eyeshadow was $3.29 - which it was - and I could recoup the lone dollar after all if the cashier typed the original price in, because it would cause overage that would effect the mascara; however, with the new system THERE IS NO TYPING IN OF THE DOLLAR AMOUNT.
I caught the mistake of the last coupon before it accidentally was rung for the wrong amount, and the cashier said that there was a way around the selection-and-attach process that he could try (which wouldn't you know is the exact same type-in-a-price old-system method) but even after trying to manually type in the correct $3.29 dollar amount, the register came back with a big, red, embarrassing X ultimately saying that there was no item in the transaction for $3.29, which was technically right because the stupid register/computer took the dollar off the stupid cheaper product. (Again, had I been paying outright, it wouldn't have mattered which item received the dollar discount - the mascara or the eye shadow. But I had one lone coupon left; you'd also think that the cashier could just apply the $3.29 product price toward the more expensive mascara, but that couldn't have been done because the coupon was for a free item "not to exceed X amount", not a coupon that read "good for one free eye shadow or up to $3.29 off." )
After trying for a few unsuccessful minutes to fix it, and not wanting to pay $1 more than I knew I should, I talked my awesome cashier into deleting all four of the coupons from the transaction (which he did) and to just re-ring them up (which he did) but the second time we saved the $1 off for last and everything worked out without a hitch.
(End of my personal, long, boring story.)
Even if you aren't going to participate in some long, crazy, drawn out and very involved scenario like the CoverGirl, Biore or any other "deal" where you have to buy 50 products to come out ahead in the end, you could still very well get screwed by the Target register - by both the "new" and "old" system - simply because you're buying two products made by the same company and because computers are NOT perfect.
(Have you ever looked at your receipt and everything comes out to the right amount in the end but you look over the itemized part and think what the heck? I didn't use that coupon for that product.)
In the first example near the top of the post, I included a box of Kraft Mac & Cheese as well as a bag of Kraft's new 100 Calorie Cheese bites. Lets say that in that transaction you are planning on using a q for $1 off the cheese bites but have a q for a free box of the Mac. It's simple enough for any untrained cashier to recognize - cheese coupon with cheese, mac coupon with mac. But the computer inside the register scans the bar codes of the coupons and looks for items in the transaction that contain the same or similar numeric order in the products UPC's - once it finds a match the computer connects/links/attaches them together. However, the computer doesn't know the difference between the two products so if the codes in both the coupons and the Products UPC's simply reads "Kraft ... Cheese", the computer doesn't get that the two products are different and just selects one of the items in question to attach to the coupon with. (How the computer decides, I don't know. Either it goes with the more expensive item or the cheaper or the one that was scanned last.) SO if your $1 off the cheese bites is scanned first, it could quite possibly be attached to the blue box instead of the bagged bites and when its time to claim your free product coupon, with the new system you'll also be out $1.
I realize I may have just confused the heck out of you with that last example - so how about this. A new system is coming to Target, and to get through your transaction with the least amount of confusion and stress for both you and the cashier, hand over your coupons for your free and bogo items FIRST while watching the monitor and the cashier at all times, to make sure that he or she selects the proper item to be discounted, and then when its safe, use the rest of the coupons in your stack.
And if something wacky happens, say something. I talk to my cashiers throughout the entire transaction process and I apologize when I notice something, as to not sound crass or bossy. They say that they honestly appreciate being notified then rather than having to void out the entire transaction and re-do everything, or have their manager yell at them about it later when hours or even days have passed because you went to customer service.
So with all of that said, I hope you don't run into the same problems, and if you do, just have the cashier delete the coupons and re-scan them in the way that gets you the most bang out of your coupons. Happy Targeting!
The new system also prevents you from using a MRF coupon on an item that Target is giving you for free, by either a Target coupon (like the awesome Kraft BOGO's from last week) or by an in store special (like the buy 3 boxes of cereal get one free promos. You could still use 3 MRF coupons on the ones you are buying, but you cannot use a 4th on the one that Target is giving to you, because with the new system it is already discounted.) Yes, you still can still hand over that extra coupon, but you will not be rewarded with the overage so it is just a waste of a coupon.
*Edit* 6:11 pm*
AND, One last exception to add - if you have a coupon FROM TARGET that is one of those "Spend $50, get a free $5 Gift Card" or "Take $5 off when you spend $X amount", you need to use that one FIRST, BEFORE ANY OTHER COUPON, because the register includes coupons in that total you need to reach; so if your total was $75 before your coupons and you're standing at $42 after, if you try to use the $5 off/free Gift Card, the register will beep saying that you didn't purchase enough, and the cashier has no way to push that $5 coupon through. The Fix? Use the $5 Off/Gift Card coupon first and then the rest of your coupons and you should be good. (Should you forget about all of that just go to customer service - you'll have to point out that you did indeed meet or exceed the required amount but they should be able to help you.)