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Be careful when you shop because some deals are just too good to be true

Lots of stores offer lots of deals. But be sure the one you’re getting is really a savings.
Lots of stores offer lots of deals. But be sure the one you’re getting is really a savings. MCT

I know you’ve heard the expression, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

That’s something to be mindful of when you’re looking at sale items or free items in stores or deals at retail businesses.

Here’s an example. Buy one, get one free deals can often be a real savings. But, for example, if you’ve found such an offer at a Kroger store, you don’t need to buy two to get one item for 50 percent off.

Every store is set up to entice you to purchase more than you were planning. Ever walked through the bakery and cheese sections in a store? Chances are they have free samples for you to try. I don’t know how many times I’ve tried something in a store, liked it and bought it. I do like the idea of being able to try something before I buy it, but in the end I probably wasn’t planning on buying that product so getting that free sample wasn’t a deal.

Say you go to the movie theater concession stand to buy a small popcorn for $2 and you see also offered a large for $8. I’d likely buy the small. However, if a medium was available for $6, most people would probably buy the large because they’d say, “Oh, it’s only a couple dollars more than the medium.”

Chances are, you would have been satisfied with the small for $2 but you think you’ll get the better deal with the $8 large. That kind of thinking, just like the words sale or free, can make you think you are getting a deal. But, that’s not necessarily so.

I am not an extreme couponer nor do I promote extreme couponing. There is no need for someone to have 50 bottles of mustard even if 49 of them are free. When you walk into a store be mindful of what you are buying. Free is great and there are many great freebies, but remember never enter a credit card for a freebie and always read the fine print.

10 fantastic freebies

1. You can get a mobile coupon for a free 6-inch sub with the purchase of a 30 ounce drink at Subway. Sign up to receive text offers from Subway to get the offer. You’ll need to enter your phone number and zip code. Once you submit your phone number, you should get a text from Subway asking you to reply back with “Y” to confirm that you want to receive text offers. It may take a few hours to receive your coupon. Visit your local participating Subway location to redeem your offer but only press redeem when you are at the store getting ready to pay. Standard text messaging rates apply.

2. Every Friday Kroger offer a product for free. Register your loyalty card online then load your digital freebie coupon on your card. Purchase the product and the price will come off at the end of your purchase. Most Kroger stores are putting the free product right in front of the store so there is no searching for it.

3. If you have unlimited texting on your phone, then sign up for text messages from Redbox. They usually send a promotional code for a free rental a month. These codes are for one time use only and cannot be shared. You also might have to use the code the same day you receive it. The way to make this freebie not free is if you don’t return the rental the next day before 9 p.m. You have to put a credit card in when you get your rental and it will be charged a dollar a day if you do not return the rental the next day

4. If you not a customer of MyPublisher become one to get a free 7.75-inch by 5.75-inch book with 20 pages. (a $34.94 value) You have to pay for shipping. Once you become a customer other freebies will come into your inbox from MyPublisher. www.mypublisher.com

5. I get about 30 magazines a month sent to me for free. Check out www.valuemags.com for free subscription with no credit card required. When they send you a renewal subscription card just throw it away if you don’t want the magazine any more.

6. Kmart is getting offering Friday Freebies. Load the Kmart app on your phone and every Friday load the coupon.Show your phone to the cashier to have the purchase price taken off your receipt. Last week it was a 22-ounce Friskies Cat Treat.

7. The Cheesecake Factory is offering half off cheesecake to those dining in on July 30, National Cheesecake Day. In honor of National Root Beer Float Day, A&W is offering a free small root beer float from 2 p.m. to close on Aug. 6. No coupon required.

8. Free baby on board signs are available from Safety First by signing up for their newsletter. www.safety1st.com/

9. Sign up to become a Maker’s Mark ambassador and you will receive a nice folder containing the number of your barrel. In 10 years you will be able to purchase a bottle from your barrel then dip the top in the red wax yourself. Also they will send you a cute holiday present each year.

10. Get a free $10 gift card from Ebates. Just choose a gift card from Macy’s, Target, Walmart, or Kohl’s (selection may vary). Sign up with your email to receive your $10 gift card at ebates.com. Ebates is my favorite way to earn cash back on online shopping orders.

11. And one extra I know you’ll enjoy ... Firehouse Subs is offering a free medium sub on August 6 when you bring in a 24-pack of bottled water. The water will be donated to local fire and police departments and be distributed to those in need. www.facebook.com/events/991498820965638/

Limit of one sub per person per case of water.

Other deals

▪  Cinemark Theatres is having a free DreamWorks animation movie day for families from 9 a.m. to 1p.m. on Aug. 20. Movie selection will vary by theater. Theaters will also offer $2 popcorn, drinks, and candy while supplies last. www.cinemark.com/theatres.aspx?search=40510&x=0&y=0

▪  Purchase qualifying Frito-Lay or Quaker Oats products to receive a free kid ticket to participating AZA zoo or aquarium. This includes the Louisville Zoo. aza.fritolay2go.com/

▪  To celebrate National Park Service’s birthday, you’ll be able to get free admission to more than 125 National Parks from August 25-28. www.nps.gov/planyourvisit/fee-free-parks-state.htm

▪  Sam’s Club is offering a free one-day shopping pass when you show a Sam’s Club associate the free Pokémon Go App on your phone. It’s best to call ahead to be sure your store is participating. This freebie is valid through July 31.

▪  P.F Chang’s is offering a new coupon valid for a buy any entrée, get a free Singapore firecracker chicken or long life noodles & prawns meal. Simply print the coupon or to save ink, show it on your mobile device. Coupon is valid through August 31. www.pfchangs.com/info/freetrial

▪  White Castle is offering a coupon for a free small corn dog or mac & cheese nibblers with any purchase. Limit one coupon per customer, per visit. Valid through July 30.

www.whitecastle.com/promotions/free-nibblers-2016

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

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