Saturday, January 29, 2011

Land of Double Coupons

Do you live in the Land of Doubles aka Land of Double Coupons? This is an area where stores double your coupons, usually up to $1. The Coupon Whisperer used to live in the Land of Doubles when he was in Los Angeles. Back then, most of the big supermarkets doubled the coupons up to $2. There was even one supermarket that would TRIPLE the coupons twice a year. No problem at all buying like $400 worth of groceries for only about 50 bucks. And this was before the Internet was around to offer an easy guide for strategic couponing.

Since that time it seems like the doubling of coupons has been restricted to only a maximum of $1 but there are still a lot of places that continue doubling coupons. One downside for me was that doubling coupons got me lazy. When I moved to Florida, I was quickly bummed out by the fact that this state doesn't have any stores that would double coupons. As a result, I lazed off on my couponing because I thought there was now no point to it since the doubling factor was removed. Little did I realize that there are MANY other highly effective coupon strategies out there. In fact, I prefer that Florida is the Land of True BOGO where we can buy BOTH items free during a BOGO sale when we have BOGO coupons for that item. It seems that areas within the Land of Doubles are not also Lands of True BOGO.

So check to see if your state falls within the realm of the Land of Doubles. For example, I know that most of the state of Georgia doubles coupons. Even here in Florida, K-Mart sometimes allows coupon doubling but they put so many caveats and restrictions on it that it seems like you need to consult a lawyer first before doubling your coupons.


One final note: the next two weeks look to be INCREDIBLE for working the WAGS Register Rewards deals. Investigate the coupon forums and find out the details for yourselves.

Happy Couponing!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

How to Convert 54 Cents to 10 Dollars Via Coupon Magic

What if I were to offer you $10 for every 54 cents you give me. Even better, to sweeten the deal for you, I would kick in 30 bucks worth of stuff for FREE. Sounds like a fantasy. Too good to be true, right? Well, guess again because that is EXACTLY what I did today many times over.

Had you been taking the advice of The Coupon Whisperer and been monitoring the Coupon forums, you would have known over a week ago about the big buzz surrounding the Walgreens Maalox deal. Here is how it works:

For every 30 dollars worth of Maalox you buy, you get $10 in Register Rewards. No need to shell out any where near $30 because in the January 9 SmartSource newspaper insert there was a coupon for $5.00 off any Maalox product. To make things even better the 12 oz Maalox Extra Strength bottles were discounted 25% starting today. Depending on which Walgreens you were at, that would make the price either $5.24 or $5.09. I, of course, chose chose the Walgreens stores where the $5.09 price reigned. Therefore, when I bought 6 bottles this brought the price to $30.54 which put it over that $30 needed to qualify for the $10 RRs. Then after applying the 6 five dollar coupons, the price OOP was only 54 cents thus earning me the 10 bucks plus getting 30 bucks worth of FREE stuff.

So what will I do with all that RR money I earned today? Plenty. One thing out of many is to simply apply the RRs to 4 Red Baron's pizzas since there is a WAGS coupon for 2 pizzas for $5 (limit 4). So dividing each pizza by the 54 cents it took to earn the $10 RRs, that comes to just under 14 cents per pizza. Not a bad deal.

And now I have Good News, Bad News for you. The Good News is that this deal is good until next Saturday. The Bad News is that the SMART people have already pretty much cleaned out the shelves of that Maalox today. To make things even worse, towards the end of the day, the Maalox coupons started beeping. The WAGS registers wouldn't accept them. Why? Most likely because someone in corporate HQ decided too many coupons were being used to score TONS of RRs. Actually this is pretty stupid on their part if this is what happened since those Maalox coupons are the same as money to them. Exactly what caused the beeping is still a mystery but I just gave my theory.

Anyway, it still worked out pretty well for me since I got an early AM start and had used up most of my Maalox coupons by the time the beeping set in.

So it looks like perhaps another good deal is Gone With The Wind but not to worry. I see another spectacular deal on the horizon. Better not talk about it since the WAGS HQ might nix that one as well.

So happy couponing everybody. And just remember, when one good deal is done, there is always another great deal just around the corner.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

My FREE Thanksgiving Dinner

A few days ago I was in the checkout line when I recognized the cashier. She was the same young woman from whom I bought a FREE 24 pound turkey the weekend before Thanksgiving. I remembered that her eyebrows jumped up a bit when the total price of my turkey rang up at only about 40 cents or something in that neighborhood (I like to owe a few cents so I don't feel completely guilty). Anyway, I mentioned to her that I bought my turkey from her prior to Thanksgiving but she didn't remember it. No wonder. Thousands of customers buying food from her and she is going to remember me, even though I did buy my turkey virtually for FREE.

Anyway, I thought back to those shopping days leading into Thanksgiving and recalled how my theme for that holiday was FREE. I had resolved that everything I would buy would be FREE. And it worked out even better than I planned due to couponing Not only did I get FREE turkey but also FREE stuffing, cranberry sauce, gravy, pumpkin pie, and other trimmings. I even got a case of Key West Beer for FREE (okay, really a couple of bucks due to tax).

So how did it work out BETTER than I planned? Because on the morning of Thanksgiving Day, I went to Walgreens for a little over an hour and worked a few deals that gave me almost a hundred bucks in Register Rewards. I then used those Register Rewards to buy toys for my two nephews and niece who were coming later that day. That was something I hadn't planned on.

Exactly how did I get my complete Thanksgiving dinner for FREE? I honestly can't remember. I racked my brain but still couldn't recall exactly how I did it. At first I was irked by my lack of recall but later I was happy about it. Why? Because there are so many creative ways to use coupons that I couldn't remember which scenario I used.

However, I can tell you just one of many ways to get free stuff at the supermarket: save the coupons that knock dollars off the final price of your bill. For example, yesterday I was in Winn Dixie and noticed 3 coupons in the waste basket that gave you $5 off a total bill of $35. So how does that get you to the sacred state of FREE? Simple. That $35 is for the total sale before coupons so if you have coupons that make the items totaling $35 FREE then you get to toss in a $5 item of your choice and you get that FREE due to the $5 off $35 coupon.

Of course, that is not the only way to get free stuff. Today I picked up a large DiGiorno pizza, 2 large cans of Arizona tea, and a loaf of bread for FREE using a $10 Walgreens Register Rewards and a WAGS coupon for the Arizona tea.

Each day is a new adventure in the Land of FREE for the Coupon Whisperer. Yesterday, my adventure was getting a FREE 2 month supply of coffee.

What I am telling everybody is that there are MANY ways to attain the golden state of FREE. Oh, and did I tell you that I got my Compaq Presario laptop computer less than a year ago for FREE via coupons?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Ping Pong Couponing

Ping Pong.

I have fond memories of that sport since we had a ping pong table in our enclosed patio when I was a kid. Other kids from around the neighborhood would gather and play and the early evenings after supper were punctuated by the sound of the paddles smacking the ping pong balls. However, all was not sweetness and light. I still remember when the kid we called The Monk, who had what we would now call Anger Management problems, would often turn bright red with rage when he narrowly lost and would frequently smash open the ping pong balls with his paddle. Once he even tossed a ping pong ball into his mouth and began angrily chewing on it.

Ping Pong even featured in diplomacy since Red China first opened itself up to the USA by inviting the American Ping Pong team into that sealed nation. At the time legend had it that Senators Spong and Fong sponsored a bill to recognize this diplomatic effort by the mass ringing of church to mark the arrival of the American Ping Pong team in Hong Kong following its tour of China. Supposedly it was called the Spong-Fong Hong Kong Ping Pong Ding Dong Bell Bill.

Yes...I know, I know. By now you are angrily screaming "Enough with this Ping Pong shtick! Teach me how to save a bundle of money via Ping Pong couponing. Well here goes...

Today was a perfect example. All you needed for Ping Ponging entry to a veritable mountain of FREE riches in great Walgreens stuff was just 4 bucks. And that was the $4 you paid for 4 boxes of Sinex Nyquil (and Dayquil) on sale for $5 each. Then you apply four $4 Sinex coupons to each box and your net cost is that $4 entry fee I told you about. Okay, great. For just four bucks you get 4 Sinex Nyquil/Dayquil boxes worth 20 bucks but what has that got to do with Ping Pong Couponing? Well, notice that I mentioned that the total was worth $20. As it turns out, this month Walgreens is giving customers $10 in Register Rewards for every $20 of Vicks products purchased. Note that you don't actually need to shell out 20 bucks. That is the original value which you have just discounted down to $4 that you pay Out Of Pocket (OOP).

That $10 in Register Rewards represents the "PING" in this round. To get the amazing Pong return, just apply that $10 Register Rewards to a 20 oz bottle of Joint Juice selling, coincidentally, for $10 which means you pay NOTHING. Best of all, there is a return "PONG" serve of $10 Register Rewards generated by that bottle of Joint Juice for which you paid NOTHING OOP since you used the "PING" Register Rewards generated by the Sinex boxes.

Now we come to the truly amazing part of this particular couponing Ping Pong game. When you use the "PONG" register rewards to pay for another 4 boxes of Sinex (on which you will use 4 more Sinex coupons worth $4 each) you will have SIX dollars left over. What to do? What to do? Hey, I'll tell you what to do. You will add a Gillette Power Pro-Glide Fusion Razor. It is on sale for $9.99 and after you apply the $6 still left on your Register Rewards (be sure to add a small filler) you have gotten not only 4 boxes of Sinex Nyquil (and/or Dayquil) which will generate yet another $10 in register rewards but also that razor. But wait...THERE'S MORE.!!!

That FREE Gillette Razor which you will also be getting in that "PING" transaction generates another $5 in Register Rewards so the return ball is even more powerful since it is now worth $15 total in Register Rewards. Now all you have to do is go back and forth in this transaction. Each round of PING PONG couponing will generate $25 of Register Rewards. Twenty dollars you use to buy the Vicks boxes, Gillette razors, and Joint Juice and $5 more generated from the Gillette razor in Register Rewards to use any way you want. After just five back and forth rounds you get $200 worth of stuff almost free (just pay sales tax and for fillers) PLUS you will have $25 worth of extra Register Rewards with which to splurge on whatever you want at Walgreens.

My last round of Ping Pong Couponing today was quite fun. There were two registers I could have gone to for checkout. One register had a Darth Vader type of guy. Nix on that. The other register had an absolutely humorless cashier. Perfect! Why? Because I knew that after dealing with me she would always do her utmost to get me the hell out of there as fast as possible. Here is what happened:

I got to the cashier and began dancing in place and singing something like "I'm doing the Walgreens shuffle! One-Two! Ping-Pong!"

By then the humorless cashier was rolling her eyes and informed me that because I handed her a register rewards for the Joint Juice, I wouldn't be getting any Register Rewards which I knew to be incorrect so I continued dancing and singing:

"The Coupon Whisperer is correct 99.7% of the time. My infallibility is almost total!"

So I am sort of dance hopping in place when the Catalina machine mocked the humorless cashier by spitting out a $10 Register Rewards. The Coupon Whisperer made it worse for the cashier by dancing in place in an even more exaggerated manner and pumping his arms in victory:

"Yes! Yes! Yes! BOOM-SHAKA-LAKA...BOOM SHAKA-LAKA..BOOM! And now, Ladies and Gentlemen, the grand finale of the Walgreens two-step!"

I handed the FOUR boxes of Sinex AND the Gillette Power Pro-Glide Fusion Razor along with a small filler to the humorless cashier who by now seemed to want nothing more than to escape from whatever planet The Coupon Whisperer was on.

"Bring it on! Bring it on! Bring it on to The Coupon Whisperer!" I sang as she rang up my items along with the coupons and the $10 Register Rewards generated by the Joint Juice. I stopped dancing and squatted down to eye level while talking directly to the Catalina machine:

"Bring it home to PAPA! Bring it home to PAPA!"

Suddenly the Catalina machine began furiously spitting out the $10 generated Register Rewards by the Vicks followed by another $5 generated by the Gillette Razor.

"Yeah, baby! Oh YEAH! Oooooh that felt sooooo good! Was it good for you? It was good for me!"

The humorless cashier couldn't take it any longer. She split the scene leaving a few people waiting for another cashier. But you know what? If I ever get that humorless cashier again, there is no doubt that she will do everything in her power to get me checked out quickly. And, okay, I have to admit that it was fun to tweak her. Hey, you gotta have FUn when you're out couponing.

I hope this has been instructive in getting you on the road to Ping Pong Couponing. I also scored 2 packs of FREE Wild Lox Salmon, a couple of bags of FREE Lenders bagels (or "bah-glez" as my wife pronounces it), and salmon spread cream cheese (also FREE). However that was via another method than Ping Pong Couponing known as "MM" but that is a subject for a future lesson, boys and girls.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Free/Cheap Pizza

Ah, pizza! Who could possibly not love it? In fact, pizza is probably the most loved treat in the world. And the amazing thing is that most pizza is easily available at a price you can afford: cheap or, better yet, FREE!!!

However, as popular as pizza is today, it was a relatively recent development in the history of food. In fact, the basic recipe for pizza is entirely accidental. Although what I would call pizza precursors, flat bread covered with olive oil and seasonings, have been around for over three thousand years the basic elements of the pizza were entirely unavailable until fairly recently. The Coupon Whisperer should know since he wrote a TREATISE on the subject back in his Write4Cash (aka MakeAnEasyBuck) days. So be sure to take notes boys and girls because not only the amazing history of pizza but how to get it Free/Cheap via couponing WILL be appearing in your Blue Book exam.

The mozzarella element of pizza had to wait until after the 7th century AD when water buffaloes were imported into Italian peninsula. It still took many centuries, until the 17th century, when the mozzarella cheese from those water buffaloes was made and became popular.

Tomatoes were even more problematic. They had to wait until Columbus discovered them in the New World. And even after that it took several more centuries until Italians even began eating them because they thought tomatoes were poisonous. Were the Italians that stupid? Hey, no stupider than the Pilgrims who considered lobsters to be inedible and tossed their carcasses into the ground to be used as fertilizer.

And now we come to the accidental, yet wonderful birth of the modern pizza. Gluttons the world over must memorialize that great day in 1889 when Raffaele Esposito, a Neopolitan chef, decided to bake something special for Queen Margherita of Savoy. What chef Esposito baked for the Queen was the Italian flag. I'm not kidding. That is exactly what he intended to do. See, the colors of the Italian flag are red, white, and green. So the chef baked a flat bread covered with tomato sauce for the red, mozzarella cheese for the white, and basil for the green. Taste wasn't even a consideration. It was just supposed to LOOK good. However, some party guests couldn't resist. They desecrated that Italian "flag" by munching on it. The chef was probably quite angry when he found out but the guests raved about that tasty flag aka pizza. And now you know how pizza was was really meant to be a flag. Which makes me wonder what would have happened had the Italian flag had the same colors as the Irish flag. Let's see. A pizza covered with basil, mozzarella cheese, slices. Hmmm...Somehow I don't think it would have been quite the hit as that other recipe.

By now you are drooling in hunger at the thought of pizza and are impatiently awaiting for The Coupon Whisperer to reveal how to get free/cheap pizza. Well, now you know how I felt this afternoon. I was in a Publix and a demonstrator there was giving out free slices of Red Baron microwave pizza. I prefer oven baked but I liked the price. Plus who in their right mind would turn down a free slice of any kind of pizza. So after gobbling down my sample, I asked for a Red Baron coupon which the lady demonstrator handed me. It was for a dollar off. I noticed that the Red Baron pizza is currently on sale at Publix at $5.97 BOGO so I asked Miss Demonstrator for another coupon. This time she refused stating that she was only allowed to hand out ONE coupon per customer. She also stated that since the sale was Buy One Get One FREE, I could only use one coupon anyways. WRONG Mozzarella Breath! You can use one coupon on EACH pizza...the one you pay for AND the free one. This would bring the total price down to $3.97 or just a couple of bucks each.

So how to resolve the dilemma of how to get my second Red Baron's pizza coupon? The moment I got home, I fired up my laptop and simply typed "Red Baron Pizza Coupon" into Google search and quickly found several sites where they are available. I went to one of the sites and printed out one of the coupons. Problem solved. So guess what I will picking up cheap at the supermarket tomorrow? Actually I will probably getting them for FREE using The Coupon Whisperer Secret Decoder Ring to resolve that minor problem. As you might remember, it was only a little over a week ago when I scored a half dozen FREE DiGiorno pizzas at Walgreens using my Register Rewards.

The fact is, most pizza brands have LOTS of coupons available whether online or in your Sunday coupon inserts. Because of intense competition there are so many coupons available that you can easily score free/cheap pizzas especially when they are on sale. Remember, match the coupons to the sales. And that tactic works with all other products as well.

Happy Munching!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Importance of Fillers

Sometimes, when I am out on a coupon run, I cross paths with the Walgreens Yoda. The Walgreens Yoda is a friend who eats, breaths, lives for couponing at Walgreens. He basically knows all the deals and is usually armed with hundreds (sometimes thousands) of dollars of Register Rewards stuffed in thick envelops. So do I ask him for inside tips on the latest Walgreens deals? Nope. That question is strictly for amateurs since both Yoda and myself know exactly what the good deals are thanks to the many Walgreens blogs and forums available on the Web. The question I usually ask the Walgreens Yoda is: "What are the good fillers here?"

Huh? Fillers? What are they? Well, it would be impossible to do good couponing without fillers. They are the low priced items you often need for your couponing strategy. Ideally, it would be something you need like the tangerines above currently selling in the local supermarket for a dime each which I actually do consume. However, sometimes it is stuff I don't really need personally but is necessary to work out my coupon deals.

There are two basic reasons why fillers are important to effective couponing. The first is in places like Walgreens where you have Register Rewards or something like it. Let us say you have $10 in Register Rewards and you want to buy an item selling for $9.99. If that is all you're going to buy your Register Rewards won't work. Your total purchase must equal or exceed $10. This is where fillers comes in. If you buy a pencil for say, 16 cents, that would put you over the $10 you need to use the Register Rewards.

The second reason why fillers are very important is the coupon count. Most stores require that the total number of coupons you use do not exceed the number of items you buy. Therefore if you stack coupons (manufacturer's on top of store coupons) then you would need a filler for each item you need to meet the requirements of the coupon count. Yesterday, I was doing my "background buzz" couponing in which I was buying items in pairs. Each pair of items had one store coupon for a discount on both items plus I had manufacterer's coupons for each item. Therefore a total of 3 coupons for 2 items. If I bought nothing else the cash register would not have accepted it. The problem was resolved by buying one filler for every pair of items to make it 3 items to match every 3 coupons. In my case yesterday, I was using ten cent tangerines as my fillers.

And now you know why fillers are important. And now I'm off to munch on yet another of my tangerines.

Monday, January 10, 2011

FREE Tide!!!

I used to get some really incredible deals via couponing on a variety of laundry detergents but my wife wasn't satisfied. She wanted only one brand: Tide. It seems that people from Venezuela have developed VERY strong loyalties to various product brands. For example, she also disdained any toothpaste except for Colgate (or "Col-gah-teh" as she pronounces it) although I have finally gotten her to become a fan of Crest as well. This wasn't a problem because I have been able to score a lot of FREE tubes of both Colgate and Crest via creative couponing. However, Tide had remained a problem.

The Tide coupons seem to always be for just a dollar. The 100 oz Tide is usually $15.99 in the store although sometimes it is discounted down to as low as $9.99 which makes the cost after applying the coupon $8.99. The 50 oz size is normally about $8.99 and when they are discounted down to $5.99 it is still going to cost you 5 bucks after the coupon. So how to get FREE detergent while keeping my wife from griping all the time?

Simple. I discovered travel size products which are numerous and include Tide. Just do what I did last Saturday and go to either Target or Walmart. I went to the travel size bin of Target and, using 10 Tide one dollar coupons, picked up 10 travel size packets of Tide. Each Tide packet has enough detergent for one laundry load. They were selling for 97 cents each so my final cost for them was FREE!!!

And now my wife isn't complaining about a lack of Tide. Now she is griping about how she has to go through the "trouble" of opening a Tide packet every time she wants to wash a load of laundry. You know what? TOUGH!!!

Oh and all the info about the travel size Tide packs and the coupon you need to use is pretty much self-explanatory in the photo above. You will probably find that same coupon again in your local Sunday newspaper on January 16 in the P&G insert.

Happy Tiding!

Friday, January 7, 2011

BOGO Salami! BOGO Salami!

In the previous episode of The Coupon Whisperer I told you about the BOGO Hebrew National hot dog deal at Publix. Well, today I went to Publix to pick up a few packs but when I got to the display, my eyes bulged out. Next to the hot dogs was something I had been waiting almost a year to go BOGO: Hebrew National salami. Since it is so rare to get that salami BOGO and because it seems like there is a good BOGO hot dog deal at least once a month, I ditched my plan to buy the hot dogs in favor of stocking up on the Hebrew National salami.

A year ago when that salami was last BOGO, I had some good overage going so I got the salami FREE. On one run, I was near the home of my sister-in-law, Marisol, in Miami so I picked up some salami for her. Amazingly she had never even heard of salami before. Actually not so strange since my wife was completely unfamiliar with it as well. I guess salami isn't something that is very available in Venezuela. Probably even less available now since food in general in that country is in short supply thanx to the antics of Señor Hugo.

Anyway, both my wife and Marisol went wild after their first taste ever of salami. They couldn't get enough of it. After that sale was over, I assured them that the salami would probably be on sale BOGO soon. Oops! I was wrong. Almost a year has passed until the salami went BOGO again but I'm sure glad it did. I just hope it doesn't take almost another year until the next such sale.

BTW, food availability seems to be much different in Venezuela. Another item that neither Marisol nor my wife had ever heard of was "bah-glez." If you are unfamiliar with that word, let me explain:

Years, ago, when The Coupon Whisperer lived in his previous mortal form in California, he met a Mexican guy who told him about a remarkable breakfast item called "bah-glez." The Mexican guy excitedly explained to me in Spanish how terrific those "bah-glez" were "especialmente los bah-glez de jalapeño y queso." This was strange to me because I am quite familiar with Mexican food but had never heard of "bah-glez." I figured it was some really exotic item so I asked the Mexican guy for the address where I could pick up some "bah-glez" and wrote it down.

A few mornings later, I showed up at the address in the San Fernando Valley and let loose with a big laugh when I saw the sign: "Western Bagel." Well, I stood on line outside with the crowd in which I was probably the only non-Mexican and waited for them to serve up "los bah-glez." When it came my turn, I of course ordered several of the jalapeno and cheese bagels. After one bite I realized the enthusiasm of these folks for those types of bagels. It was probably the GREATEST bagel I had ever eaten. It wasn't just the incredible flavor but the texture of the bagel itself. The chewiness of the cheese which worked perfectly with the cheese oils and the kick of the jalapeno to make it by far the KING of all bagels. Over the next couple of years, I made it a regular routine to pick up those Western jalapeno and cheese bagels on a fairly regular basis. It was one of the few things about California that I missed when I moved back to Florida.

Years later, I discovered that my wife was completely unfamiliar with bagels when I took her to the Boston Bagel Cafe which was rated as serving the best bagel sandwiches in Broward County. Again, I chuckled when I showed her the menu and she pronounced it as "bah-glez." Mispronunciation aside she really enjoyed her lox, bagels, and cream cheese although it took some effort to convince her that lox is not the same as sushi which she hates. However, to this day, I have never corrected my wife on her pronunciation and, in fact, make sure I call them "bah-glez" myself around her.

I hope she never finds out because she gets FURIOUS whenever she finds out that I don't correct her English. Yeah, imagine how angry she would be if she ever finds out I didn't correct the way she says Colgate ("Col-gah-teh") or Palmolive ("Pah-moh-leeveh"). Come to think of it, during the past week I have picked up several tubes of FREE "Col-gah-teh" and FREE bottles "Pahl-moh-leeveh" dishwashing liquid using my amazing couponing skills.

So enjoy your BOGO Hebrew National salami if you live in a Publix area and perhaps you can use them to make salami "bah-glez" sandwiches.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Hot Dogs.....BOGO Hot Dogs!

If you live in the Southeast, you are in luck this week. Publix is selling delicious BOGO hot dogs. Yes, nothing tastes so good as those BOGO hot dogs. Huh? What brand is BOGO? Actually any brand can be BOGO if the supermarket deems it so. In case you haven't heard, BOGO stands for Buy One, Get One FREE! And in this case the BOGO is for Hebrew National Hot Dogs for just $4.99. That means you get TWO packages of hot dogs while only paying for ONE.

A savvy couponer will be on the lookout for great deals even when no coupons are involved. However, I bet many of you thought that BOGO is such a good deal that coupons wouldn't be allowed. Well, you would be WRONG, Kosher beef breath! Even though I haven't found coupons to apply to this deal, you can use coupons on BOGO sales. In fact, what turned on the couponing switch for me back in the summer of 2009 was when I read online about Publix selling Nathans hot dogs BOGO plus I found a link to print out two Nathans coupons for $1.50. The amazing thing for me and why I got so excited at the time is that I was informed that I could use one of the coupons on the Nathans package that I pay for AND the other coupon for the free Nathans hot dog package.

I couldn't believe it so I made a beeline to Publix armed with the two coupons at about 10 P.M.. When I later walked out of Publix with two packages of Nathans for just a buck each after applying the coupons, I became a devout couponer.

Sounds great, huh? Guess what? It gets even better! Not only can you use a coupon on both the paid item and the free item but you can actually use TWO coupons on each item. Yes, if you have, say, a manufacturer's coupon for a dollar and Publix or some other store issues their own coupon for the same item for a dollar, you can use BOTH the manufacturer's AND the store coupon on each item. So if both coupons were available for the current Hebrew National hot dog sale, you would take $2 off EACH package making the total amount you pay just...99 cents or about a half a buck per hot dog package.

But wait...THERE'S MORE. However, we will now pause to give you time to fasten your seat belts because what I am about to tell you will cause many to fall out of their seats in astonishment. Also a few of you might punch yourselves in the face for not taking FULL advantage of the BOGO sales.

Okay, are you ready? Here goes. In many places which are known as the Land of True BOGO (which includes Florida), if you happen to have a BOGO coupon and apply that to the same product which also has a BOGO sale going on, you get everything FREE! Yes, you read that get it all for FREE!!!!! All you pay is sales tax and not even that if it is food or medicine (no sales tax on those in Florida).

Right now some of you are probably in a state of disbelief at that deal. Believe me, so was I. The first time I used a BOGO coupon on a BOGO sale was last summer when Publix had a BOGO sale for Right Guard BO sticks. At the same time BOGO coupons for Right Guard also appeared in the newspaper inserts. Yes, I was informed online about this incredible combo of BOGO sales and coupons but I still couldn't quite believe it was true. Therefore when I went to Publix and turned in my 4 BOGO coupons for 8 Right Guard BO sticks which were $2.99 each, I closed my eyes. I did not want to see either the cashier or the machine go berserk. I was both relieved and incredibly HAPPY when a few seconds later the cashier told me my total was...72 cents for all 8 Right Guard BO sticks (the free BO stick half of the BOGO is not taxed).

So a word to the wise. Be on the lookout for those valuable BOGO coupons especially since stores often coincide their BOGO sales with their publication in the inserts. In fact, a little birdie has whispered into the ear of The Coupon Whisperer that there just might be a BOGO coupon for packages of BIC razors in this weekend's newspaper coupon inserts.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Rocky Couponing









Combination after coupon combination!

Getting strong now
Won't be long now
Getting strong now

Yeah, baby! Today to an outside observer I probably appeared like some ordinary shlub obsessed with coupons walking up and down the aisles of Walgreen's. However, in my own mind I was the ROCKY of couponers scoring hit after hit on deal after deal. They just kept coming one after another. FREE Omega Factor 3 which yielded Register Rewards to get me FREE SalonPas Arthritis Pain Patches which yielded me Register Rewards to get me FREE (almost) Sinex spray which yielded up yet more Register Rewards to get me FREE Omega 3 again orrrrrr....the mother lode of all deals...a big $30 box of Colonaide cleanse which, after simply using the WAG booklet $20 coupon plus a $10 RR, fell before me in a FREE knockdown.

Did I need most of this stuff? Not really but it won't hurt to try out, say, that colon cleanse. Hey, it was FREE!

And I got a LOT of other stuff as the Walgreens Catalina machines kept spitting out out a horde of register rewards...even for stuff I didn't expect like FREE Afrin nasal spray and FREE Breathrite.

Reward after reward. Coupon after coupon. Overage after overage as one product after another product fell before the might of The Coupon Whisperer. A sea of FREE Omega 3s, Sinex, SalonPas, spaghetti sauce, bread, Jimmy Dean Breakfasts, Afrins, Breathrites, and TP. Ay! Ay! Ay! Acai! Cai! Cai! Ma...Ma...Macai! Cai! Cai!

And as the day went on with the stuff piling up I kept getting...stronger and stronger. Yes, I am running up those steeply ascending steps armed with my mighty coupons. Getting closer now. Almost at the top now. And HERE I AM as I jump up and down with my arms upraised in VICTORY!!! Can you hear it? The Rocky theme tune. ADRIAAAAANNNNNNNNNN!!!


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Profiling Cashiers

Profiling. That word has taken on such an ugly connotation in recent years. And yet, if you want to be a successful couponer, you MUST profile. And don't feel guilty about profiling cashiers. We all profile in one way or another. Those "enlightened" souls who claim they don't profile are lying. In fact, they are probably profiling people more than the rest of us.

My favorite part of the recent TLC show, "Extreme Couponing" was when Joanie Demer aka Krazy Coupon Lady flat out admitted that she profiles cashiers. And how does she profile the cashiers? As Joanie stated she definitely prefers young cashiers (such as the friendly cashier in the photo above) to little old lady cashiers. And from bitter experience I can tell you she is absolutely correct. If you want to spare yourself a lot of time and aggravation, avoid little old lady cashiers like the plague. You want a sad tale of just how horrible it can be if you throw caution to the winds and choose a little old lady checkout line? Just read what happened to me back in September when I was scoring a few free boxes of Advil at Publix...

I was in Publix and had picked up several bottles of 40 count Advil Liqui-Gels. All lines were very long EXCEPT for the 10 item or less line which, unfortunately, had the type of cashier that I just warned you about. I knew problems would ensue but I also didn't want to wait 20 minutes on line soooo... I get to the elderly cashier who had an angry looking mouth.

I handed her a couple of Advils. Normally they are $6.75 each but they were on sale for just $4.49. I handed her a Publix coupon for $5 off two which lowered the total price to $3.98. She pulled the coupons up close to her eyeglasses as she tried to figure out what the clearly stated $5 off two means. After about a minute she very reluctantly knocks 5 bucks off the price.

And then...I hand her two Advil manufacturer's coupons which were $2 each which made the Advils...FREE! That's when she violently shook her head and declared that I couldn't use those coupons.

I then explained that Publix policy allows a manufacturer's coupon to be stacked on top of a store coupon such as in this case. She still refused to ring me up so I requested the store manager. It was late at night so the store manager was a really young guy yet despite his youth he knew the rules and told the cashier to ring up the coupons.

The little old lady cashier grumbled and said the rules vary from store to store and I replied that the rules in each state for Publix are CONSISTENT. Then she mumbled something about how I shouldn't complain since she is ringing up all the coupons so I reply that she should just go ahead and do that without the grumbling.

All of a sudden she screamed "AHA!" (she actually used that word) and in an incredibly triumphant voice declared that the coupons are only good on 50 count or more.

She wasn't a good reader since in this case (which I admit is rare) the coupon actually said "50 count or SMALLER." I drew her attention to that "little" detail and she very sadly began to do the discount that she should have done without all the drama. But she wasn't done yet because she came up with an absurd final line of defense when she again triumphantly declared that the coupons didn't apply to my Advils because they were Advil Liqui-Gels.

I showed her the coupon up close and pointed out that it said good on ANY Advil. She countered again by claiming that my Advils weren't included because they were Liqui-Gels.

"Lady, what part of the word 'ANY' can't you figure out?"

Again more argument from her so I turned to the young manager who was listening and said, "Could you please bail me OUT of this nightmare?"

The manager looked at coupon and told the cashier, "These are good. Ring him up."

So she FINALLY rang up the coupons in the most depressed manner imaginable. ...And now you know why I say NEVER use coupons with elderly cashiers with tight angry mouths. They ALWAYS cause trouble for you.

Should you think I'm exaggerating the problems almost inevitably caused by the little old lady cashiers, then I invite you to give them a try while couponing. Trust me. You'll be sorrrrrrrryyyyyy...


The Oscillococcinum Flu Medicine deal that I posted yesterday for Walgreens didn't work. See, the medicine that gives the Register Rewards is for CHILDREN'S Oscillococcinum and the $5 coupon in the WAGS January booklet is ONLY for the adult version. However, no big deal since I heard that stuff is not much better than a placebo. PLUS I did some QUICK research at Walgreens today when that deal fell through and came up with an even BETTER deal that worked perfectly for me. Here is how it works:

Buy OMEGA FACTOR 3 premium blend 1300 mg fish oil pills (tuna & krill). They sell for 10 bucks but when you buy it, you get $10 back in register rewards. So what to do with that $10 back? Well, the big boxes of Colonnaide 14 day programs is selling for $29.99 but with in the January WAGS there is a coupon for $20 off that product. Soooo....use the $10 register rewards from the Omega Factor 3 (plus the WAG coupon) and you get it FREE! Great deal but in my case I don't need it since I already had the Fantastic Voyage routine (sans Raquel Welch) done on my colon and everything in there was A-OK. In my case, I used the $10 register rewards to buy 2 DiGiorno Supreme pizzas which were on sale for...$10. Therefore FREE! Plus I used the WAG sales sheet coupon to get 4 Progresso Soups for $5. Then used a couple of $2 register rewards I had on my person to buy all those soups for just a buck. I actually could have gotten it free but I didn't feel like scrambling outside to my van to look for a $1 RR that I knew was sitting in an envelop.

So let's look at my shopping trip. I didn't get that flu medicine like I thought but I quickly switched gears and used a $10 RR I already had to score a FREE bottle of Omega Factor 3 premium blend fish oil pills (which I take everyday) then rolled the $10 that generated to score 2 free DiGiorno pizzas. Plus got myself 4 cans of Progresso soup using $4 in Register Rewards that I had from last week. Total out of pocket for all that...a buck.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Strange Story of Coupon Mike

I'm kicking off the New Year with a new blog. The main purpose of "The Coupon Whisperer" won't be to provide hot coupon tips, although I will be doing that. The primary purpose of this blog is to provide you with entertaining "war stories" from the field. Think of it as adventures in couponing. And so we start off with our first story...the strange story of Coupon Mike...

I met Coupon Mike earlier this year at his job when I was introduced to him by a mutual friend, who worked at the same place, because of our common interest in couponing. Upon meeting Coupon Mike, I must say I was very impressed by him. Rarely have I seen a more animated person. Coupon Mike had over the top enthusiasm about couponing which was highlighted by his wildly gesticulating arms, wide sparkling smile, and bright eyes as he happily related many of his couponing tips to me which I did my best to absorb as they tumbled out of his mouth at a furious pace. He was particularly enthusiastic about couponing at Walgreens and I have to credit Coupon Mike with sparking my interest in that store since I had mostly ignored it prior to meeting him. Since Coupon Mike proved to be a wealth of couponing information, I visited him several more times at this workplace and he always eagerly provided me the information that I sought which was much appreciated by me.

And then I met him out in the field... It was inside a grocery store where I spotted Coupon Mike filling up his shopping cart.

"HELLO, MIKE!" I happily chirped. "Doing some couponing today?"

He looked over at me but something about him seemed different. It was as if a balloon had been almost completely deflated. Gone was his previous enthusiasm and extroverted self-confidence to be replaced with someone with a diffident hunched over posture. Instead of his normal booming voice, something like a frightened whisper said:

" I can't talk now. Have to leave right away."

The change in Coupon Mike was shocking and I soon found out the reason when he introduced his wife. I can't remember her name but the impression she gave was the angry Eye of Sauron which is what I shall call her. She never said a word to me following that introduction. The only response she gave to me after I said hello to her was an angry death ray glare. The Eye of Sauron effect was accentuated by the fact that at nearly 6 and a half feet tall, she towered over both Coupon Mike and me. Anyway, no matter how much I tried to get Coupon Mike to talk shop, he persisted in timidly warning me away about how he had no time or that he had an appointment somewhere.

Okay, perhaps Coupon Mike was having a bad day. We all do. And, in fact, a couple of weeks later when I saw Coupon Mike back at work he was back to his old self again. Wildly gesticulating as he described the latest coupon deals he found.

Then a few weeks after that, I again spotted Coupon Mike at another store...accompanied by the Eye of Sauron. And again, Mike timidly begged me to leave him alone as I thought I was sure to get zapped by an angry ray from the Eye of Sauron. Either that or she would just flat out strangle me. That is how much rage was boiling inside of her.

This pattern repeated itself yet again. I met Coupon Mike at work where he was back to his old happy self only to be followed by a complete metamorphosis when I saw him at the store when he was towered over by the Eye of Sauron.

Finally I showed up at Mike's workplace but not to see him about more valuable coupon tips. My purpose was to question my friend what the deal was with the Eye of Sauron. I figured maybe it was something I did or said that so enraged her. Fortunately my friend assured me that it wasn't my fault. It turns out that the Eye of Sauron just hates EVERYONE. However, this makes me more curious. If someone hates everyone, how does that person even survive socially? In fact, how did the incredibly friendly Coupon Mike end up being married to the Eye of Sauron? How did they first meet? Also how do you get attracted to a woman who hates everyone and lets it be known with her perpetual Eye of Sauron death ray stare? Perhaps I'll never find out the answers to those questions but I must say that I do appreciate the friendly coupon advice that Coupon Mike has given me...when he is out of range of the Eye of Sauron.


And now for a hot coupon tip of the week. Starting on January 2, Walgreens has a $9 register rewards when you buy a 6-pack of Oscillococcinum Flu Medicine at $8.99. On top of that the January Walgreens coupon book is supposed to have a $5 coupon for that same item so when you pay $3.99 out of pocket, you get $9 back to spend on almost whatever you want. Since I have had a lingering on and off cold since Thanksgiving weekend, I think I'll give this medicine a try. You can't beat the price which amounts to FREE plus $5 net back.

UPDATE: The Oscillococcinum Flu Medicine deal didn't work. See, the medicine that gives the Register Rewards is for CHILDREN'S Oscillococcinum and the $5 coupon in the WAGS January booklet is ONLY for the adult version. However, no big deal since I heard that stuff is not much better than a placebo. PLUS I did some QUICK research at Walgreens today when that deal fell through and came up with an even BETTER deal that worked perfectly for me. Here is how it works:

Buy OMEGA FACTOR 3 premium blend 1300 mg fish oil pills (tuna & krill). They sell for 10 bucks but when you buy it, you get $10 back in register rewards. So what to do with that $10 back? Well, the big boxes of Colonnaide 14 day programs is selling for $29.99 but with in the January WAGS there is a coupon for $20 off that product. Soooo....use the $10 register rewards from the Omega Factor 3 (plus the WAG coupon) and you get it FREE! Great deal but in my case I don't need it since I already had the Fantastic Voyage routine (sans Raquel Welch) done on my colon and everything in there was A-OK. In my case, I used the $10 register rewards to buy 2 DiGiorno Supreme pizzas which were on sale for...$10. Therefore FREE! Plus I used the WAG sales sheet coupon to get 4 Progresso Soups for $5. Then used a couple of $2 register rewards I had on my person to buy all those soups for just a buck. I actually could have gotten it free but I didn't feel like scrambling outside to my van to look for a $1 RR that I knew was sitting in an envelop.

So let's look at my shopping trip. Didn't get that flu medicine like I thought but I quickly switched gears and used a $10 RR I already had to score a FREE bottle of Omega Factor 3 premium blend fish oil pills (which I take everyday) then rolled the $10 that generated to score 2 free DiGiorno pizzas. Plus got myself 4 cans of Progresso soup using $4 in Register Rewards that I had from last week. Total out of pocket for all that...a buck.