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My readers have been busy discovering deals and talking about savings successes. It’s always fun to read others’ stories and learn from their experiences:

DEAR JILL: I decided that after the dismal year 2020 was that 2021 would be better. I am committing to a new healthier routine and am trying to be a better steward of my finances. I have used coupons before, but I never gave thought to using them at the right time. I have been using your website to learn how to use coupons with the right sales, and I actually got something free.

My grocery store had Mexican queso on sale for 99 cents, and there was a $1 printable coupon from this brand. I will never forget that my first coupon freebie was cheese! — Mollie W.

A new year is a great time to commit to couponing and take a fresh look at spending and saving. For additional tips on getting started with coupons, I’ve got a special post for new couponers with some how-to tips at jillcataldo.com/welcometocouponing.

DEAR JILL: I bought a pound of butter, and on the package, there was a graphic advertising “Valuable Coupons Inside.” When I got home, I took the sticks of butter out and I cut the box open. There was one coupon inside for 55 cents off more butter.

I was a little irked that the box said there were “coupons,” plural, inside when there was only one. That’s false advertising.

I emailed the company to tell them what I thought, and they said that if I wanted more coupons, I could print some from their website. That’s not the same thing. — Liz D.

I agree that the word “coupons” would indicate to me that there would be more than one coupon inside. However, there’s a slight possibility, too, that this was an error — either on the part of the graphic artist designing the package (“coupons” instead of “coupon”) or on the part of the promotions team. It’s not out of the question to consider that the group responsible for inserting the coupon into the packaging did not fully communicate to the graphics team exactly what would be going inside the box. I’ve worked at enough large companies in my life to understand that sometimes one hand doesn’t know what the other is doing.

Going forward, if the company continues to use the “Coupons Inside” packaging, it would only seem logical to include more than one coupon.

DEAR JILL: You have written that you find good deals on everything from seasonal foods to scented products after the winter holidays have passed. Based on this tip, I have watched the clearance endcap, where many holiday items have been popping up. I have picked up cake mixes with snowflake-shaped sprinkles for 25 cents each. I found a Christmas-themed cereal marked down to 50 cents a box. I used a $1-off-2 coupon to get two free. And I found holiday air freshener sprays marked down to $1.54. I had a $3-off-2 coupon in my store’s app that made these just 4 cents each! — Diane P.

One of the little things I missed most about shopping in person during the height of the pandemic last year was the hunt for clearance items! It may sound silly, but whenever I go to one of my usual stores, I immediately head to the clearance area first to see what new items have been marked down. Certainly, these finds aren’t necessarily the “must-haves” on my shopping list, but it’s always fun to pick something up at a great price.

I have joked with my family for years that it’s almost always fall or winter in our house from an air-freshener perspective, as the majority of the sprays you’ll find in our bathroom cabinets are scents like pumpkin, cranberry, apple spice, gingerbread or pine. Without fail, brands release seasonal scents every year, and after the turn of the new year, they go on clearance. That’s when I swoop in with coupons and take them home for pennies!

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 jill

@ctwfeatures.com.

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