WRAL SmartShopper

WRAL SmartShopper

Thursday thoughts: Couponing Q & A

Posted August 26, 2010

Today’s Thursday Thoughts is actually a Q & A session. I have received a number of questions via e-mail about couponing and other grocery saving techniques in the last few weeks so I thought I would share some of the questions and my answers. If one person had the question, my guess is that there are others who may have the same question as well. If you have anything to add to my answers, please share your thoughts. If you have a couponing/grocery shopping question, this is a good place to ask!

“Got a quick question for you. I received some awesome coupons from Conagra foods and Food Lion last week. On the coupons it has Food Lion's symbol and the MVP card logo. On the actual details on the bottom it doesn't say can only be used at Food Lion. Do you think I could use these at another grocery store? Thanks for your help.” - from Amanda

Hi Amanda,
If the coupon has “manufacturer's coupon” written on it, then there are some stores that will take it - but not all. If it does not state “manufacturer's coupon”, and the coupon is for a specific product, nobody else will take them but Food Lion. Your mileage may vary on this one. Most stores do not take competitor’s manufacturer coupons for specific items if there is a logo of another store on it.

I spoke with both HT and Lowes Foods today and the HT customer service person said they will not take those types of coupons because they are considered competitor’s coupons. The Lowes Foods person said that is it usually up to the managers for these types of coupons. In the end, it’s best just to ask at the store.

FYI - HT and Lowes Foods take competitor's coupons from other stores for money off your total purchase (like $4 off a $40 purchase coupon).


“One of the software programs (and I think it is Smartsource) keeps telling me I have already printed my limit of a certain coupon (like the Tone coupon from your list this week) and I have never printed it.” – from Terri

Hi Terri,
If you are usually able to print coupons, it is probably because they have run out of prints for this coupon. If you can never print from Smartsource, it is probably because your computer firewall is blocking it and you may need to lower security settings to print these coupons (if you are comfortable doing that). Here is some information from the website:

Frequently Asked Question:
A message says I already printed offers that I didn't

Answer (from website): SmartSource coupons usually have a print limit of 2 times on any one computer. If you share a computer with other users, they could have used those prints already. Also, offers can expire if the total number that the manufacturer made available has been met. This can be the case with popular items.

“I know Lowes Foods will only accept 20 coupons per day. The question I have is: are the in-store coupons considered towards the 20 coupons, or only manufacturer coupons considered towards the 20 coupons?” – From Jason

Hi Jason,
Good question and you will love the answer! They will double up to 20 coupons per day - you can use as many as you want total, but only the first 20 that are .99 or less will double. The store coupons do not count towards the 20 because they are not doubled.


“I have been trying to find a good coupon website and just haven't had much luck. I do not receive a daily/weekly newspaper to clip coupons from the ads, so I was wondering, are any other good sources for coupons out there?” – from Lisa


Hi Lisa,
There are many places to find coupons for the products you use. The Sunday newspaper has a good variety of coupons, but you can also get coupons from friends, neighbors and co-workers who have gone through their coupons, online at printable coupon websites, through coupon clipping services that charge a handling fee and by calling companies directly. Check out the article I wrote about finding coupons through the link in the box above for a number of other ideas on finding coupons for the products you use.

“Do you have a published list of what is a "good price" to pay for common grocery and personal care items?” – from Jessica

Hi Jessica,
I do have a list of buy prices for commonly used products. It is located on the front page of this blog in the section with the 5 boxes of information. Click on the box that reads “Best prices for grocery items” to see the list. The link is also at the top of this post.

Thanks for your questions and keep them coming! As I always say, it's your money - spend it wisely!


Please with your account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • boomer3145 Aug 30, 2010

    Thanks Faye, we'll get up there.

  • Faye Prosser - Smart Shopper Aug 29, 2010

    Hi Boomer - there is a local food pantry in the 40/42 area - Basic Needs. It's located behind the strip mall with Cleveland florist. You enter it through the driveway between the Bojangles and strip mall on Hwy 42. Here is the website:

    The Food Pantry is open: Monday 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. and Saturday 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

    I am sure Ron, the founder, and the folks who use the pantry would be very appreciative of any donations.

  • boomer3145 Aug 28, 2010

    I live near 40/42 & shop mostly in Garner & wonder why there aren't any collection spots for food donations except near the holidays. Am I missing something? I see the Lowes Foods for pets supplies but am at a loss for other drop offs. Sorry out of context with the posting but it just popped into my head. Thanks

  • Faye Prosser - Smart Shopper Aug 28, 2010

    That is great to hear Portia! Thanks for sharing your success. I'll be sending you the info for your event very soon. Keep up the great work!

  • Ms PEAH Aug 27, 2010

    I have learned so much over the last few weeks from you Faye! I emailed 2 companies late last night and received responses this afternoon that my coupons are in the mail!! Now, I have to get organized! I'm telling family & friends about my savings like I'm a paid spokesperson!! It's time consuming but I am making the time b/c I already see results.

  • Faye Prosser - Smart Shopper Aug 27, 2010

    I think I was posting about the booklet at the same same time you were, J!

    I am with Nancy - if you don't get the coupons advertised to be inside, call them and see if they will send them to you. Generally the papers at the paper boxes don't always have the coupons because sometimes they use up the coupons for subscriptions. Buy your paper inside the stores and check to make sure the coupons are in the paper before purchasing.

    Happy - Have you called or e-mailed any of the manufacturer's for your favorite products? Let them know you love their product and that you use coupons to stay within your budget. Then ask if they are able to send any coupons. It works like a charm in most cases. I just received 2 .50/1 coupon from unt Jemima this week just by asking on their cusomer comment section of their website. This is a great technique to use for products that rarely issue coupons (especially the more expensive gluten free items).

  • j3434 Aug 27, 2010

    There's a new P&G coupon book rebate starting 9/1. I'm so excited!!!

  • Nancy Aug 26, 2010

    Actually, if a paper advertises on the front (as the N&O does) that included are $$$$ in coupons, they should be included and if you find they are not call them and keep calling them until they provide what was missing.

    It's false advertising if they don't include those coupons they boast are inside the paper.

  • aprilmiller Aug 26, 2010

    These are helpful tips/reminders Faye. Thanks!

  • happy Aug 26, 2010

    I think my biggest frustration (and I just started couponing this year) is that there are lots of coupons for yogurt and cleaning supplies, but rarely any for general food items. I'm not saying there aren't any but in comparison to the qty of coupons that I clip for yogurt, they pale in comparison. I could feed a small nation on the amount of yogurt coupons I have.