Become a couponing nerd with the Fru-Gal’s guide to secret codes


“I never use coupons.” “It isn’t worth the time to sit there and clip them.” “Coupons always make me buy things I don’t need.” “I’m not poor, so why would I use coupons?” “It’s too hard and complicated to use all the loyalty programs at stores and restaurants.” This is what I hear a lot when someone sees me using coupons or I talk about saving money.

I have said in the past that I’m not sure at what point would I stop using coupons. Even if I won the lottery, I would look for deals and sales. I always figure that it’s my money and I should try to use it in the best possible way.

CNBC conducted a poll about coupon use. It says that households with incomes of $100,000 or more are twice as likely to coupon as those that earn less than $35,000. College degree-holders are twice as likely to use coupons as those who didn’t graduate from high school. I always wonder why this is true. This is why I do what I do, trying to help people young and old, low income to middle class, save money. If you do one deal a week and take that money to buy yourself a treat, you will feel better about that special indulgence you allowed yourself. I never want you to deprive yourself, but remember, not having credit card debt is a great accomplishment. Paying off your car will make you feel good. So don’t think of the material items you’re not getting. Think of the success you will achieve by getting closer to being debt-free. Here are some explanations of abbreviations you might see in my columns or on couponing websites.

BOGO or B1G1: Buy one, get one free. When Kroger has this deal, you can buy one such item at 50 percent off.

MIR: Mail-in Rebate. Many times, manufacturers will want you to try a new product, so they will give you your money back via mail to try it. Just remember, when you do this, mail it in. More than 50 percent of people forget to send in the form or don’t fill it out properly. Read fine print and mail it, because rebates do expire. Right now, there is a rebate for Schwarzkopf Gliss shampoo: The offer, valued at as much as $7.99, expires Dec. 31.

EB: Extrabuck at CVS. This week’s deal: Buy one select Sally Hansen Cosmetics item and get $3 EB (limit 3). Here’s the deal scenario: Buy one Sally Hansen Hard As Nails Hardener for $3.79 and get back $3 EB.

Sunday paper jargon

GM: General Mills

PG: Procter & Gamble

RP: Red Plum

SS: Smartsource

Where can I find coupons?

Sunday and Wednesday newspapers, and occasionally other days of the week.

Peelies are the coupons that are right on the product that you peel off and give to the cashier.

Blinkies are the little electronic devices that hang on the aisle and spit out coupons and you pull them out.

Tearpads are the advertisements that you see on displays near the product that lets you tear off a coupon.

Catalinas are the coupons dispensed from a printer when you are checking out at the register after you pay coupons The cashier should always give them to you. If they don’t, ask for them.

Common first-timer questions

What does it mean when a coupon states “one per purchase”?

The fine print on coupons can be confusing. The phrase “one per purchase” means you can use only one coupon for each item it applies to. If you want to buy multiple items for the same deal, you will need multiple coupons. Keep in mind that some stores set limits on how many identical items you can buy with matching coupons.

What is the difference between “a purchase” and “a transaction”?

A purchase is a single item and a transaction is an entire order. In other words, a single transaction can have one or more purchases.

What does “stack” mean?

Stacking coupons means combing two or more coupons (typically a manufacturer coupon and a store coupon) for added savings on a single item. Make sure that both coupons have the same product description and size so they can be used together for one purchase.

This week’s deals

▪  On Feb. 25, Kmart will offer a free activity book for kids 12 and younger. No coupon required.

▪  Home Depot is offering a free rain gauge house workshop. Register online for the event, which will be 9 a.m. to noon March 4:

▪  Sign up for MyMagazine Sharing Network, affiliated with Kroger, to get a free tote bag. Create an account and provide your Kroger shopper number. Once you sign up, confirm your email address, then click on the free tote bag mission found on the dashboard. Allow 6 to 8 weeks for delivery. The offer does expire, so sign up as soon as you can.

▪  Folgers is offering two free Folgers Vintage Coffee 10.3 ounce cans when you use promotional code VINTAGE at checkout: These cans come filled with coffee. Note that you have to pay $5 for shipping.

▪  The Louisville Slugger Museum and factory and the Muhammad Ali Center have partnered to offer $5 admission at both attractions for Kentucky and Indiana residents through February. In addition, Museum Row on Main partners offer $1 off admission to guests who show a ticket stub from another member museum that charges admission.

▪  There is a Mardi Gras mask drop-in craft on Friday at Central Library. Go to for information.

▪  If you have any questions about couponing or just want to sit with frugal friends to talk about couponing, stop by the Fayette County Extension office, 1140 Harry Sykes Way, at 6:30 p.m. March 6 to join in discussions with the Coupon Club.

Deborah Morris’ every-other-week column, The Fru-Gal, can help you get more for less. Go to her website,