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Readers share money-saving travel tips

Fall is officially upon us, and it's hard to believe that summer vacation season has come to an end. That doesn't mean you have to stop your travel dreams though. Many of my readers have been sending in their own tips for saving on travel:

September 23, 2014 4:59 pm

Don't steal newspapers to get coupons

A recent column about newspapers being stolen by coupon-seekers generated a lot of interest from readers. Newspaper theft is an ongoing problem. Why avid couponers simply don't purchase additional newspapers is beyond me — paying a few dollars for another copy of the paper to gain potentiall…

September 21, 2014 12:00 am

Reader's take on saving money not so fun

A few weeks ago, I asked readers to share their best savings tips. Oh, did you deliver. My inbox has been overflowing with ideas. One reader, Dana, sent such a lengthy list that I had to edit it to share in this week's column! Here are some of Dana's tips:

September 14, 2014 12:00 am

Readers want to know: How frugal am I?

If you've been reading my column for any length of time, I'd imagine you have a pretty accurate mental picture of who I am. I shop with coupons, I watch what I spend and I'm frugal. (With a family of five, I have to be!) Yet, a question has been on the minds of several of my readers lately: …

September 04, 2014 5:39 pm

Cashier tales from the checkout

While this column undoubtedly appeals to shoppers (especially those trying to stretch their dollars to the fullest!), it also appeals to retailers and cashiers, too. I enjoy hearing the cashiers’ perspectives on what they’re seeing from the other side of the checkout lanes. Here are two inte…

August 31, 2014 12:00 am

Making purchase returns can get a little crazy

Last week, I discussed product returns and some of the seemingly strange policies retailers have regarding items for return. My readers continue to share their often-entertaining and sometimes strange tales from the return department:

August 24, 2014 12:00 am

Coupons, returns and fraud, oh my!

Ever buy something with a coupon and then decide you need to return that item? Typically, one of two things will happen at the customer service counter. The store associate will look at your receipt and refund the actual selling price of the item. Or, the associate will note that you used a …

August 17, 2014 12:00 am

Getting the skinny on double coupons

Coupon doubling, the practice of a store scanning coupons at twice the value, is a popular promotion in some areas. While scanning a 50-cent coupon and receiving a $1 discount is attractive to consumers, it isn’t quite as attractive to retailers. Who pays for the doubled value of that coupon…

August 10, 2014 12:00 am

Super couponing: reader tips for big savings

My readers have been sharing some of their favorite money-saving tips recently, and it’s always fun to see how folks are spending and saving!

July 30, 2014 5:30 pm

Multiples Madness

Coupons that require the purchase of two or more items continue to plague or delight my readers, depending on a person’s perspective. When readers complain about having to buy two or more of an item, others have responded with ideas – everything from, “It’s good to have one extra on hand,” t…

April 13, 2014 3:30 am

Cashiers speak

The majority of my reader mail comes from consumers, but I always enjoy hearing from people who work on the “front lines” of where we consumers spend a lot of our time – the supermarket. This week, I’ve got two emails to share with stories from the checkout lanes:

April 06, 2014 3:30 am

Return of the ridiculous shrinkage stories

No topic that I’ve written about in this column has generated more reader responses than the topic of product shrinkage. While I primarily focus on coupon savings, product shrinkage is also of concern to any shopper that wants to maximize her dollars. So, if you’ll indulge me for yet another…

March 30, 2014 3:30 am

Navigating errors at the checkout

As a frugal shopper, I’m always closely watching my grocery budget. When I plan a shopping trip, I know roughly what my pre-tax, post-coupon total should be before I get anywhere near the checkout lane. This is helpful when coupons don’t scan correctly or worse, when an item I buy scans at a…

March 23, 2014 3:30 am

Longer Shelf Life

I’ve long advocated stocking up on the products we consume most often in order to save money. When you have a reserve on hand, you’re never forced to pay full price for a bottle of laundry detergent, can of vegetables or box of cereal.

March 16, 2014 3:30 am

How to Handle Unused Coupons

My recent column on “coupon fairies” – people who leave unwanted coupons on store shelves for others to pick up ¬– generated a lot of comments from readers and retailers alike. Not surprisingly, the store employees that wrote in were grateful that the issue of unwanted coupons littering shel…

March 09, 2014 3:30 am

Large city, less coupons

“Dear Jill,

March 02, 2014 3:30 am

I’ve got a coupon - where’s the product?

“Dear Jill,

February 23, 2014 3:30 am

Checkout lane rituals

Do you have a special ritual or method for getting through the checkout lane in a speedy manner? Some of my readers do, and I found many of their tips so thoughtful and clever that I’m going to share some this week.

February 16, 2014 12:00 am

Solving the multiples conundrum

Coupons that require the purchase of multiple items seem to be the bane of many of my readers’ shopping experiences. As a mother of three, multiple purchases are part of my stock-up strategy each week, but some shoppers are less than thrilled with having to buy more than one of something.

February 09, 2014 12:00 am

Rural couponing

Is couponing easier in the city, the suburbs or rural areas? As a suburbanite who lives in Chicagoland, I have to argue that couponing usually is easiest in the suburbs, particularly if you live within a radius of a major city. Why? Shopping options tend to be plentiful, with several superma…

February 02, 2014 12:00 am

Clearance etiquette

Recently, a supermarket chain in my area announced that it was closing its doors, and the stores would reduce everything to 50 percent off. As you can imagine, my blog readers at were pretty excited about the opportunity to pick up groceries at great prices, busily discussing…

January 26, 2014 12:00 am

Attack of the coupon fairies

What’s a “coupon fairy?” Coupon fairies are people who leave unneeded coupons in the store for others to find. Do you do this? As it turns out, some of my readers do.

January 19, 2014 12:00 am

Marketers and the shrinking product

I’ve devoted many columns to the topic of product shrinkage – where a product’s price stays the same, but the contents of the package are downsized. I continue to receive many more emails than I have the space to share each week, but a common theme runs through many of these letters: “Just c…

January 12, 2014 12:00 am

New year, smaller products

As price-conscious consumers, we always aim to maximize the value of whatever we’re buying – whether it’s a box of cereal, a carton of orange juice or a roll of aluminum foil. Product shrinkage – when companies downsize a product and don’t lower the retail price – continues to be an extremel…

January 05, 2014 12:00 am

Dealing with rude customers

Are you worried about what other shoppers think of your coupon usage in the checkout lane? My blog readers at recently shared words of wisdom for a new couponer. She posted that she’d had a bad experience in the checkout lane on her first coupon-shopping trip and wondered if …

December 29, 2013 12:00 am

Brave new couponing world

As technology continues to evolve, the way we receive coupons does too. If you’re a smartphone or tablet user, did you know that you might be able to use these devices to print coupons? One of my readers has been wondering just how to do this.

December 22, 2013 12:00 am

Readers share their favorite coupon tips

My readers are never shy about sharing their couponing and moneysaving tips, so here’s a roundup of great ideas for saving with coupons straight from my inbox to you.

December 15, 2013 12:00 am

Adapting coupons to your needs

There are misconceptions among the non-couponing crowd that all couponers must primarily eat junk food, or that couponers have houses filled wall to wall with groceries. Here are some reader emails that invite me to rebut these myths.

December 08, 2013 12:00 am

When is a manufacturer coupon not a manufacturer coupon?

Manufacturer coupons are the engines that drive the couponing train. Most coupons you find online or in the newspaper inserts are of this variety, and the companies that issue these coupons reimburse the retailers at which the coupons are used. Very few of them have restrictions requiring th…

December 01, 2013 12:00 am

The high cost of specialized fashion

Last week, a reader asked why larger-sized clothing costs a few dollars more than standard sizes. I explained that it isn’t due to the extra fabric used to make the garment – the extra cost covers the price of the scrap fabric left over when the garment’s pieces were cut from the cloth, as t…

November 24, 2013 12:00 am

The costs of buying larger sizes

I like to save money on clothes just as much as anyone else does, so let’s talk clothing prices. Specifically, reader Blake would like to know why larger clothing sizes cost a few dollars more than the standard sizes.

November 17, 2013 12:00 am

Couponing pays, but so does smart shopping

We couponers are a passionate bunch of money-saving enthusiasts, and while most of my columns discuss couponing in one form or another, you might be surprised by how many readers don’t shop with coupons. I’ve been receiving a lot of email lately from non-couponers who enjoy reading about sav…

November 10, 2013 12:00 am

Reader spot more shrinkage

The topic of product “shrink” – when manufacturers reduce the size of a product while keeping the selling price the same – continues to be a hot one. I’m irked by this trend, but I had no idea how incensed my readers had become with smaller sizes. You guys have been busy reading packages, co…

November 03, 2013 12:00 am

A Taxing Issue

Dear Jill,

October 27, 2013 12:00 am

A wallet organized for success

Dear Jill,

October 13, 2013 12:00 am

Readers respond to non-coupon user

In a recent column, I featured an email from a reader named Brian, who stated that he never used coupons because he “felt cheap” when using them. This column generated a lot of email from coupon fans – and why wouldn’t it? If you’re reading this column, it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to in…

September 29, 2013 12:00 am

Whose side am I on?

Last week, I received a pair of interesting emails. As a consumer who finds myself constantly straddling the line between a consumer’s coupon issues and navigating the industry’s practices, I found both of these emails interesting, and I imagine you will too.

September 22, 2013 12:00 am

Reusable shopping bags

Paper, plastic or reusable? Reusable shopping bags have exploded in popularity, and many stores offer discounts for using your own bag versus using store-supplied bags.

September 15, 2013 12:00 am

The downsizing spiral

The topic of package and product “shrink” never seems to get old with my readers! I’ve featured several stories about product sizes being reduced while the price stays the same. My savvy, observant readers have been busy spotting even more smaller-sized items.

September 08, 2013 12:00 am

No more doubles

What do you do when the coupon game changes? For many of us, we keep playing by the new rules, whatever the “new normal” turns out to be.

September 01, 2013 12:00 am

Checkers Respond

I often share emails and notes from readers regarding their shopping experiences. Recently I featured an email from Curtis, a reader who was having trouble with his supermarket’s coupon policy. The store recently removed the policy completely, allowing the cashiers to decide which coupons to…

August 25, 2013 12:00 am

Clueless on policy

Do you take advantage of price matching when you shop? It’s a great way to streamline your shopping – you can buy at a store that’s perhaps more convenient to you, while enjoying the lower sale price you found elsewhere. At least, that’s how it’s supposed to work. What happens when it doesn’t?

July 28, 2013 12:00 am

App Roundup

There are many coupon apps for smartphone users to enjoy, but are all coupon apps safe and reliable? Not exactly. Anyone can create an app, and just because an app exists or is popular doesn’t mean the app is authorized by stores or manufacturers.

July 21, 2013 12:00 am

Stockpiling alternatives

A couple of months ago, I shared my frustration with the word stockpiling – a term used to describe how couponers buy more in the short term so we have enough of a product to get us through until the next time an item goes on sale. I invited readers to suggest some alternatives to that word.…

July 07, 2013 12:00 am

Coupon entitlement, take two

My recent column about consumers feeling entitled to coupon discounts has generated many reactions from readers. Here’s a sampling.

June 16, 2013 12:00 am
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