By ROB W. ANDERSON
In a time when money is tight and families are facing high prices at the store, it’s important to stretch every dollar – especially when buying groceries.
Most grocers and other food businesses offer daily or weekly specials, but using a coupon is another way to help cut the costs of food and other household items. Businesses like Reasor’s and Walmart try to offer customers the best prices they can, and some stores across the state will match a competitor’s advertised price, or even offer coupons that be printed off of their websites.
At one time, local grocery stores wouldn’t take online coupons due to the high incidence of scamming, but now, they’ll accept coupons printed from online sources like coupons.com, coolsavings. com, smartsource.com, valuepage.com or elcip.com.
According to the Reasor’s website and coupon policy, a customer may use manufacturer coupons, such as those appearing in the Sunday Press; in-store coupons presented in the store’s weekly flyer; and printable manufacturer coupons from the Internet.
Tahlequah Reasor’s Store Director Glenn Stafford said that because the business strives to offer prices customers can afford, it doesn’t match ads – which in some places has become a popular form of saving money.
“We feel like our prices are low enough. We have an ad every week, and we try to give the customer the best value without having to do that,” Stafford said.
To use an Internet coupon at Reasor’s, the customer should always print the coupon directly from the website or email offering the discount. The Reasor’s website states: “It is an industry practice not to produce printable coupons for a free product,” but “BOGO” coupons – buy-one-get-one-free – and other values that have purchase requirements are accepted.
Coupons will not be for a high value relative to the cost of the product, whereas a discount ticket offering a $2 off value will be accepted for an item that normally sells for $5 or more. The coupon is likely not legitimate if the normal retail price of the product is $2.25. Only one manufacturer coupon per item per transaction is accepted at Reasor’s, which says a coupon’s validity can be checked at the website http://www.veri-fi.com.
Aside from offering coupons through its weekly flyer in the Wednesday Press, Reasor’s also provides a link to the coupon website smartsource.com under the “services” option. Reasor’s also offers a program called SavingStar, a free, Internet-based ecoupon service that has iPhone and Android apps available. The customer simply registers the Reasor’s Rewards card on the SavingStar.com website to access savings without clipping or printing coupons.
“When we scan the item that’s featured, that money [or savings] will go into account you set up,” Stafford said. “You won’t receive that cash, but it’s kind of a neat deal. You can do different things with it. You can set up a PayPal account or there’s a savings account. There are three or four different options.”
According to http://SavingStar.com, once a customer saves up to $5, that money can be directed to PayPal, a bank deposit, Amazon.com or the savings can be sent to the charity AmericanForests.org. More options are expected at a later date.
Just as Reasor’s presents weekly sales, Walmart offers a “Value of the Day” and meets competitor prices by allowing customers to ad-match, said Store Manager Mark Robertson.
According to Walmart’s website and coupon policy, the store accepts print-at-home Internet coupons that include purchase requirements. Walmart does not accept coupons that request dollars/cents or a percentage off the entire purchase order. The website states the store only accepts coupons for items Walmart sells and that the coupon, which must have an expiration date, must be presented at the time of the purchase. Only one coupon per item is allowed.
“The thing with us is, it has to scan into our system and be verified as a payable coupon,” said Robertson. “And the ad match is a separate deal from the couponing. Say someone is running a sale for something at 32 cents, and there’s an ad for the same product at 25 cents. They can get that price, plus whatever the coupon is for.”
A print-at-home coupon must be legible; have “Manufacturer Coupon” printed on it; and have a valid remit address for the manufacturer. The coupon must also have a scannable bar code, and it is acceptable in black and white or color. The BOGO free coupons must have a specified price, and coupons cannot be duplicated.
Cherokee County OSU Extension Educator Heather Winn said she likes to ad-match when shopping.
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