Today's class: A refresher course on couponing. I hope this will answer some reader questions I've been getting.
First, there are many ways to get coupons. There are usually a good array of coupons in the Sunday paper. But these days, there are many other sources, too. Start with grabbing what we call "blinkies," the coupons dispensed through the electronic gizmos on the sides of grocery aisles.
When you see a blinkie, grab a couple of coupons. You don't have to use them right away. Most companies put out coupons like this because they want you to try their products. A coupon's value is an extra bonus when the item is on sale, so use the coupon during a sale.
Last week, I was buying dry dog food, and on the package was a "peelie" for a free can of dog food. A peelie is a coupon on a package that you peel off to use. You would be surprised how many peelies there are for money off or free products. When you walk through the store, keep your eyes open for blinkies and peelies.
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Also, you often can find special store displays for holidays, back to school, sports and more. Many times, these displays have brochures that offer recipes and coupons. Don't just walk by. Grab one and take a look.
Catalinas are coupons offered at the cash register. When you are checking out, there is a little machine near the register that spits out coupons related to your purchases. Don't overlook these coupons. Sometimes the coupons are for dollars off your next shopping trip.
Additionally, many supermarkets send coupons through the mail. If you don't receive Kroger coupons in the mail, go to the customer-service desk the next time you're in the store to make sure Kroger has your address.
Internet coupon sites are popping up everywhere. Unfortunately, there are fraudulent coupons. Make sure the coupon has a bar code to be scanned. I have found that when I print coupons from the product site and from Coupons.com, they are always genuine.
Stores have varying coupon policies. Kroger supermarkets in Central Kentucky will double coupons up to 50 cents off. Also, when Kroger has its 10 for $10 deals, you don't need to buy 10 of that item. It just means each item in that special is $1. Find out a store's policies before you shop.
Wal-Mart just enacted a new coupon policy. It will give you money back on coupon overages. So if you have coupons for more than an item costs, you'll get money back.
Don't be nervous using coupons, but make sure you get the correct product and the right quantity, and that the coupon is not expired. If a cashier doesn't accept your coupon and you don't understand why, ask to see a manager.
If you want to learn how to use your coupons better, I am offering a class with the Fayette County Extension Homemakers at 6:30 p.m. April 14 at the Lexington Public Library, 140 East Main Street. Call (859) 231-5500 to register.
■ Coupons.com has coupons for a buy-one-get-one-free HP photo poster at Walmart, a free Sears portrait studio collage and a free portrait package at Olan Mills.
■ Snapfish is offering 100 4-by-6 prints for $5.
■ Buy any Picaboo classic photo book and get one free.
■ Receive a free ticket to the Disney movie Pirates of Caribbean: On Stranger Tides when you buy an eligible Pirates of the Caribbean Blu-ray combo pack or Blu-ray Trilogy.
■ Buy any 2 pound or larger Iams dry dog food or Iams dry cat food and receive a free bag with a mail-in-rebate.
In the Lexington area
■ Sign up for Lowe's free kids' clinics at 10 a.m. Saturday. Kids can make a shoot-around basketball hoop to celebrate March Madness.
■ Pancake Day is March 21 at Perkins. Participating restaurants will give guests a free short stack of made-from-scratch buttermilk pancakes.
■ Join the Bluegrass Chapter of the American Red Cross for Save-a-Life Saturday on March 19. The Red Cross will have free classes on the basics of hands-only CPR, treating for shock, and treating wounds. The classes will be shortened versions of Red Cross training courses.
■ Free cheese fondue at Melting Pot, April 11 to 14, to celebrate National Cheese Fondue Day.
■ Red Robin will help you grow your own ketchup by giving away tomato seeds.