I always enjoy hearing from my column readers, and they’re very vocal about letting me know when they feel I’ve given a less-than-adequate piece of advice – or a good tip. Here are a few emails that appeared in my inbox recently:
Regarding your column today about reviewing sales receipts in the car before you leave the store – absolutely not! How many stories have you seen about women being carjacked and robbed doing something just like this? Both men and women need to get in the car, lock their door and leave. Check your receipts in the store. You blew it with this advice.
Mark, my apologies – you’re absolutely right that people should not spend more time than necessary sitting in their cars in the parking lot of any store. I do feel it’s valuable to review receipts before leaving the store, and this can certainly be done after checking out but before you physically leave the store. Definitely be safe out there, shoppers.
Just read your piece on popping popcorn in a brown paper bag in the microwave. Please do not do this, as it can catch fire inside the microwave. It happened to me. I am a great lover of popcorn, and someone in a health food store gave me that suggestion. I tried it a few times. I put popcorn in a bag with no butter and set the microwave for two to three minutes. I walked away for a couple of seconds and my microwave was on fire.
I never leave my microwave unattended when popping popcorn, whether I’m using the pre-bagged kind or the kind I bag myself. I have been using the brown paper lunch bag method to pop a half-cup of popcorn kernels in the microwave for many years without issue. The act of putting paper in the microwave does not turn the paper into a fire hazard – pre-bagged microwave popcorn also comes in a paper bag. And who hasn’t cooked bacon between a pair of paper towels in the microwave? Certainly, if you’re not comfortable with this method though, do not use it. I never leave the kitchen when I’m cooking anything in the microwave, just to be on the safe side.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for talking about the dangers of trading or giving away printable coupons. People do not realize they are traceable back to your own computer and you will be the one to pay the price if someone else makes photocopies of your coupons. I have a friend who liked to play ‘coupon fairy’ and leave her extra coupons around the store. Even though I told her not to do this because someone could make copies of them, she figured people would just use them in the store and not take them home to make illegal copies. Well that must be what happened as now she is getting a message from a popular coupon-printing site that she can never print coupons from them again. She is so upset because she wasn’t the one to make the copies, and she hasn’t been able to contact anyone who could have this ban taken off her computer. I didn’t want to gloat and say ‘I told you so,’ but I would not have taken the risk of this very seriously had I not read your column.
Smart Living Tip: Instead of leaving you with a single tip this week, I’d like to thank you for reading and sharing your tips with me. Whether positive or negative, I feel that we can all learn from each other. Some of my favorite couponing tips that I’ve received over the years have come directly from readers, and I’m looking forward to sharing more of those tips with you next week.
Jill Cataldo, a coupon workshop instructor, writer and mother of three, never passes up a good deal. Learn more about Super-Couponing at her website, www.jillcataldo.com. Email your own couponing victories and questions to email@example.com.