Editor’s note: For daily tips on saving money, check out the Centsible Saver blog on newsobserver.com. Amy Dunn writes every day about coupons, saving money and frugal living. Below are recent excerpts from her blog.
Earlier this week, Harris Teeter announced major changes to its digital coupon program, a move that may ultimately alter the chain’s star status among coupon shoppers.
In an email sent to customers, the Kroger subsidiary said that Nov. 30 will be the last day shoppers can redeem electronic e-VIC coupons loaded to their loyalty cards. A new, significantly scaled back version of the e-coupon program won’t be available until mid-January.
What the Harris Teeter statement does not say – and what avid coupon shoppers most want to know – is whether the new digital coupon program will continue to allow the unusual practice of redeeming a paper coupon and an electronic coupon together on a single item.
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This type of double-dip savings is rare in the grocery industry, and coupon-savvy Harris Teeter shoppers employ it regularly to score free groceries.
Harris Teeter spokeswoman Danna Jones said the company is “still finalizing exact details ... so I cannot provide a definitive answer at this point.”
But it seems unlikely, given the company behind the new e-coupons.
Jones identified the new digital coupon vendor as YOU Technology, a Silicon Valley-based firm acquired by Kroger just weeks after the supermarket giant closed its purchase of Harris Teeter. YOU Technology will replace Google-owned Zavers, which is shutting down. Interestingly, Harris Teeter is already listed as a partner on the YOU Technology website.
Cincinnati-based Kroger was among the first grocery chains to use digital coupons and also among the first to prohibit their use with paper coupons. Kroger has since become a leader in promoting digital coupons over paper.
Over the summer, when those enticing nickel and 10-cent school supply deals beckoned shoppers into stores, I wrote a column asking readers to consider buying extras to donate to nearby schools.
I promised to do the same and asked you to nominate outstanding Triangle public school teachers to be the recipients of my bargain shopping.
Thanks to coupons, rebates and sales, I amassed four boxes full of everything from glue sticks and copy paper to tissues and mechanical pencils. I don’t think I paid more than a quarter or 50 cents for any one item, and many I got free, walking out of the store paying only the tax.
Last week, I delivered those supplies to two Raleigh-area teachers who were among the several dozen nominated by readers – Christine Rechenberg, who teaches fifth grade at Wildwood Forest Elementary school, and Erin Pike, a science teacher at Sanderson High School.
Who knew spiral notebooks and boxes of facial tissue could result in such enthusiasm?
Though a 16-year teaching veteran, Rechenberg, 44, returned to the classroom this year much like a rookie. The tornadoes that hit Raleigh in 2011 destroyed her home. “We lost everything,” Rechenberg said, including her elementary-level books, teaching aides and school supplies that were being stored in her garage while she taught middle school that year.
Pike, 28, was nominated by Sanderson colleague Caroline Vernia, who described Pike as a “compassionate teacher who is constantly looking for ways to infuse her classroom with creativity, energy and enthusiasm.”
“This is like Christmas,” said Pike, who teaches biology and forensic science. “Tissues are my favorite school supply.”