Dear Jill: You make a good point that a manufacturer’s main goal in offering coupons is not to save shoppers money but to sell products, gain market share, introduce new brands, etc. That’s a good reminder. It’s not a store’s goal to give-give-give, either. But stores obviously have more at stake on the local level – consumer loyalty – and the few stores I regularly shop do a good job of balancing interests, in my opinion.
My goal has always been one thing: never pay retail. A secondary goal is to save 50 percent or close to it on a regular basis. This morning I spent $45.81 at Publix and saved $47.36, and spent $12.64 at Walgreens and saved $10.51. I consider couponing a hobby, a part-time job and a way to be charitable. I can afford to donate food and drugstore purchases on stuff I can get for next to nothing. So I save money, buy quality items, try new things, do good and have the satisfaction of knowing I’ve gotten great deals, all on the up-and-up. It’s worth it. – Shelli B.
Jill Cataldo, a coupon workshop instructor, writer and mother of three, never passes up a good deal. Learn more at her website, www.jillcataldo.com. Email your couponing victories and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.