Political talk and morning drive on AM 740 WSBR


 

 

William E. Lewis

As Christmas is approaching and Bill Lewis prepares to announce his New Years resolutions for 2013, interesting guests and timely topics will be on AM 740 WSBR and AM 1470 WWNN the weekend of December 17th and The Credit Report with Bill Lewis.

As a daily forum for business and financial news, politics, economic trends, and cutting edge issues, The Credit Report with Bill Lewis can be found on AM 740 WSBR in south Florida. Hosted by Bill Lewis, the show broadcasts live weekdays at 7am.

Originally launched on AM 1400 WFTL in 2004, as the “Credit Restoration Consultants Hour,” Bill Lewis provided self-help tips and advice regarding credit repair, finances, and related topics. Throughout the years, Bill’s show strayed from the original concept of providing financial awareness to his listeners.

In an effort to strengthen his listener base and to broaden the topics hosted, Bill launched The Credit Report with Bill Lewis upon moving to AM 1470 WWNN within the Beasley Broadcasting group.

Listeners were searching for help regarding a myriad of topics from credit repairextreme coupon shopping, and foreclosure matters, but welcomed the political format that Bill introduced locally to a south Florida audience.

Since the show’s inception, Bill Lewis has interviewed some of the country’s leading politicians, including: Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, Herman Cain, Chris Christie, Jon Huntsman, Allen West, Rick Scott, George LeMieux, Jeff Atwater, Pam Bondi, Marco Rubio, Sharon Day, Alex Sink, Adam Putnam, Charlie Crist, Bill McCollum, Jeff Kottkamp, Jennifer Carroll, Christine O’Donnell, among others.

In addition, The Credit Report with Bill Lewis has hosted a number of politicians as well as attorneys and financial experts in the south Florida area. Among the dozens that have appeared on the show are Carlos Reyes, Al Lamberti, Chip LaMarca, Adam Hasner, Ellyn Bogdanoff, Tom Rooney, Roger Stone, Bob Davids, Lori Parrish, Richard Denapoli, Rico Petrocelli, Jamie McDonnell, Jim Lewis, Tom Lauder, and John Contini.

The Credit Report with Bill Lewis airs live, Monday through Friday from 7am-8am Eastern Time with an encore presentation Saturday’s at 3pm on AM 740 WSBR. Streaming audio is available at http://www.wsbrradio.com and on air participation is welcome at (888) 721-0074.

If you miss the early broadcast, The Credit Report with Bill Lewis is still available weeknights at 9pm Eastern Time, Saturday’s at 6pm and Sunday’s at 8pm on AM 1470 WWNN by streaming audio at www.wwnnradio.com.

Going head-to-head against Steve Kane and Jimmy Cefalo, Bill Lewis promises more “talk” and fewer commercials.

For daily updates on The Credit Report with Bill Lewis, you can join Bill’s 21,950 plus fans on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/thecreditreportwithbilllewis.

Back to basics on AM 740 WSBR and The Credit Report with Bill Lewis


Interesting guests and timely topics will be on AM 740 WSBR and AM 1470 WWNN the weekend of December 1st and The Credit Report with Bill Lewis.

As a daily forum for business and financial news, politics, economic trends, and cutting edge issues, The Credit Report with Bill Lewis can be found on AM 740 WSBR in south Florida. Hosted by Bill Lewis, the show broadcasts live weekdays at 7am.

Originally launched on AM 1400 WFTL in 2004, as the “Credit Restoration Consultants Hour,” Bill Lewis provided self-help tips and advice regarding credit repair, finances, and related topics. Throughout the years, Bill’s show strayed from the original concept of providing financial awareness to his listeners.

In an effort to strengthen his listener base and to broaden the topics hosted, Bill launched The Credit Report with Bill Lewis upon moving to AM 1470 WWNN within the Beasley Broadcasting group.

Listeners were searching for help regarding a myriad of topics from credit repairextreme coupon shopping, and foreclosure matters, but welcomed the political format that Bill introduced locally to a south Florida audience.

Since the show’s inception, Bill Lewis has interviewed some of the country’s leading politicians, including: Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, Herman Cain, Chris Christie, Jon Huntsman, Allen West, Rick Scott, George LeMieux, Jeff Atwater, Pam Bondi, Marco Rubio, Sharon Day, Alex Sink, Adam Putnam, Charlie Crist, Bill McCollum, Jeff Kottkamp, Jennifer Carroll, Christine O’Donnell, among others.

In addition, The Credit Report with Bill Lewis has hosted a number of politicians as well as attorneys and financial experts in the south Florida area. Among the dozens that have appeared on the show are Carlos Reyes, Al Lamberti, Chip LaMarca, Adam Hasner, Ellyn Bogdanoff, Tom Rooney, Roger Stone, Bob Davids, Lori Parrish, Richard Denapoli, Rico Petrocelli, Jamie McDonnell, Jim Lewis, Tom Lauder, and John Contini.

The Credit Report with Bill Lewis airs live, Monday through Friday from 7am-8am Eastern Time with an encore presentation Saturday’s at 3pm on AM 740 WSBR. Streaming audio is available at http://www.wsbrradio.com and on air participation is welcome at (888) 721-0074.

If you miss the early broadcast, The Credit Report with Bill Lewis is still available weeknights at 9pm Eastern Time, Saturday’s at 6pm and Sunday’s at 8pm on AM 1470 WWNN by streaming audio at www.wwnnradio.com.

Going head-to-head against Steve Kane and Jimmy Cefalo, Bill Lewis promises more “talk” and fewer commercials.

For daily updates on The Credit Report with Bill Lewis, you can join Bill’s 21,950 plus fans on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/thecreditreportwithbilllewis.

Collecting food stamps in Utah


As tough economic times continued, 46.1 million Americans – or more than 15% of the population – collected food stamps as of January.  The number of recipients was up 0.9% from October, according to a recent report of the US Department of Agriculture. Compared to a year ago, the number of people receiving food stamps was up 14.9%.

Formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the government’s anti-hunger initiative helping Americans maintain a nutritionally adequate diet.  More than 75 percent of food stamp participants are in families with children; while nearly one-third are elderly or have disabilities.

The federal government pays the full cost of food stamp benefits and splits the cost of administering the program with the states, which independently operate SNAP.  For the most part, food stamp eligibility rules and benefit levels are uniform across the nation.

January food stamp usage in Utah saw a nearly 30 percent increase in participation over the same period a year ago.  Prior to the start of the Great Recession, Utah had one of the lowest food stamp usage rates in the nation.  Now it has one of the fastest growing.  On a national level, participation rose just 12 percent in the same period.

For the five-year period beginning January, 2006, the number of Utahns receiving food stamps skyrocketed 124 percent. On a national level, participation rose just 66 percent in the same period.

Most households received $20 to $24 per person per month.  Signed into law in February 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act temporarily boosted food stamp benefits by 13.6 percent.

Following unemployment insurance, SNAP is the most responsive federal program providing assistance during economic downturns.  Since the start of the recession, food stamp participation has increased by 15.2 million people – a jump of nearly 46 percent.  Because of benefit increases that were part of the 2009 economic recovery legislation, SNAP delivered $4.3 billion in additional economic stimulus relief during fiscal year 2009.

Who Is Eligible for the SNAP Program?

Unlike most benefit programs that are restricted to particular categories of people, SNAP is available to almost all households with low incomes. To qualify for food stamps, a household must meet three criteria:

  • Its total monthly income must be at or below 130 percent of the poverty line, or roughly $1,980 (about $23,800 a year) for a three-person family in fiscal year 2010.
  • Its net income, or income after deductions are applied for items such as high housing costs and child care, must be less than or equal to the poverty line.
  • Its assets must fall below certain limits: households without an elderly member must have assets less than $2,000 while those with an elderly or disabled member must have assets not exceeding $3,000.

Some people are not eligible for food stamps regardless of income or need.  Non-citizens without a qualified status and those convicted of drug trafficking are not eligible for food stamp benefits.  Applicants who have broken SNAP rules on purpose or who are wanted on felony charges are also ineligible.

How Much Do Households Receive in Benefits?

SNAP households receive their benefits on electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards, which can be used only to purchase food.  The average household receives approximately $133 a month (or $4 a day) for each household member.

The SNAP formula targets benefits according to need.  Very poor households receive more food stamps than households closer to the poverty line since they need more assistance in maintaining an adequate diet.

Benefits are based on the “Thrifty Food Plan,” a low-cost but nutritionally adequate diet established by USDA.  The benefit formula assumes that families will spend 30 percent of their net income on food.  A family with no income receives the maximum $526 benefit amount, which usually covers the cost of the Thrifty Food Plan.  In another example, a family of three with $600 in net monthly income would receive the maximum benefit minus 30 percent of its net income for a total of $346.

How Do People Apply for the SNAP Program?

The Utah Department of Workforce Services is responsible in the Beehive State for eligibility determination and case management of food stamps, temporary cash assistance and Medicaid assistance through the SNAP program.  

Although a face-to-face interview may be required to document identity, eligibility, immigration status, household composition, income, resources, and deductable expenses, an initial online application can be processed at http://www.utahhelps.utah.gov/

For additional questions or to determine eligibility, please visit:

Food Stamp Manual
http://jobs.utah.gov/Infosource/eligibilitymanual/Eligibility_Manual.htm

Food Stamp Program Information
https://jobs.utah.gov/opencms/customereducation/services/foodstamps/index.html

On-line Application(in English and Spanish)
http://www.utahhelps.utah.gov/

Application Information and Eligibility Screener
https://jobs.utah.gov/customereducation/apply/basics.html

Printable Application
http://jobs.utah.gov/Infosource/EOMOA/61APP.pdf

Local Office Locator
https://jobs.utah.gov/regions/ec.html

Extreme coupon shopping tips


Since the start of the Great Recession in 2008, grocery shoppers have become more frugal.  Concerned about the rising cost of food, toiletries and household goods, they are clipping more coupons and saving more money.  According to the Promotion Marketing Association, spending as little as 20 minutes a week clipping coupons can save an average family close to $1,200 a year.   

Since early 2009, coupon distribution has exploded.  So much so that a recent study revealed over 89 percent of shoppers have used coupons in the last 12 months.  With over 175 billion coupons offered by retailers in the first six months of 2011, this growth builds upon the record-breaking trends of 2009 and 2010 when 311 billion and 330 billion coupons were distributed in the marketplace.

Many of my personal friends, co-workers and Facebook acquaintances regularly wonder how I save 70 to 80 percent at my favorite Fort Lauderdale Publix.  Although I accumulate printable coupons from various websites, the Sunday Miami Herald and South Florida Sun Sentinel remain my favorite.  In accumulating coupons from multiple papers – including the Spanish edition since the coupons are different – I have a number for use when an item becomes a “BOGO” free or goes on sale.

Many shoppers use the Sunday newspaper as their main source of coupons. They come in a number of varieties, the most common being the manufacturer’s coupon.  This particular coupon provides a discount on a particular product and is distributed by the manufacturer. Stores accept manufacturers’ coupons because they receive reimbursement, plus a handling fee, upon redemption.

Although grocery retailers allocate about 85% of their coupon distribution to the free-standing insert, Internet distribution has experienced record growth over the last two years.  The most popular online printable coupon sites are: www.coupons.com, www.pgeverydaysolutions.com, www.redplum.com,  www.smartsource.com, and www.valpak.com.

In the past few years, online promotional codes have become extremely popular, providing incentives from free shipping to a percentage off discount.  According to eMarketer, digital coupons have become so popular that 88.9 million shoppers used them in 2011.

Stores and manufacturers also send coupons to shoppers who personally request them.  Obtaining coupons from these sources is as simple as searching the Internet for your favorite brand or store and typing the term “coupon” into your browser.  (For instance, typing the term “Kraft cheese” and “coupon” yielded over 559,000 results.)  Most manufacturers have a separate are for coupons or special discounts.  Thereafter, it is simply a matter of printing the coupon for redemption at the retailer.

Whether you shop at Albertsons (www.albertsonsmarket.com), BJ’s Wholesale Club (www.bjs.com), Food Lion (www.foodlion.com), Publix (www.publix.com), Save-a-Lot (www.save-a-lot.com), Sam’s Club (www.samsclub.com), Sedanos (www.sedanos.com), Sweetbay (www.sweetbaysupermarket.com), Walmart (www.walmart.com), or Winn-Dixie (www.winndixie.com), each of these retailers offer an online section for coupon savings and store discounts.  Shoppers visiting a store website need only direct them

Some grocery stores, such as Publix, will accept traditional competitor’s coupons, while others, such as Albertsons, Sweetbay, Walmart and Winn-Dixie do not.  Although no longer common and not to be expected, it does not hurt to inquire on store specific policies as competitor coupons allow for deeper savings at the checkout counter.

Thousands of websites exist that allow shoppers to buy, sell, or trade coupons.  Although illegal and generally frowned upon, the popular auction site eBay has become number one in coupon sales.

Some of my personal favorites for Internet coupon clipping are www.jillcataldo.com, www.coupondad.net, www.supercouponing.com, www.retailmenot.com, www.couponcabin.com, www.couponmom.com, and www.fatwallet.com.  Be sure to print at least two of each coupon to take advantage of any “BOGO” free offers.

When it comes to “deal-of-the-day” discounts, Groupon (www.groupon.com), LivingSocial (www.livingsocial.com) and LuckyFan (www.luckyfan) are fast becoming industry leaders.

“Today’s shopper is more discount-focused than ever before,” said Jamie McDonnell, President of LuckyFan.  “Daily deal sites are becoming a common reality in tough economic times.  More and more shoppers not only expect, but demand discounted prices.” 

When it comes to eating out, Restaurant.com (www.restaurant.com) is my favorite for gift certificates.  With over 18,000 restaurants nationwide and more than 45,000 daily gift certificate options, customers have saved over $500 million since inception of the program.  Restaurant.com also offers deeply discounted promotional codes for loyal e-mail subscribers and Facebook friends.

According to Restaurant.com, they filled more than 5.5 million tables nationwide and fed more than 18.4 million people in 2010.  This was an increase of almost 10 percent from the previous record year.  Their gift certificate strategy also generated about $400 million in revenue for a struggling restaurant industry.

“We are extremely proud of our achievements in 2011,” said Christopher Krohn, President and Chief Marketing Officer of Restaurant.com.  “These numbers tell a story that goes far beyond our own success. We’re lowering the financial barrier that keeps millions of people away from dining out in an economy that’s still struggling in the wake of a recession. We’re keeping tables filled at establishments that employ tens of thousands of workers around the country, saving jobs from being eliminated and restaurants from closing.”

Coupons represent free money and additional income to those who clip.  Nothing can be further from the truth in a tough economy where grocery bills exceed 12 percent of an average family budget.  “If it’s free – it’s for me” is quickly making its way into my vocabulary.

Morning Drive on The Credit Report with Bill Lewis: 2/13 – 2/18


Interesting guests and timely topics will be on AM 740 WSBR and AM 1470 WWNN the week of February 13th and The Credit Report with Bill Lewis.

After more than seven years on the South Florida airwaves, Bill Lewis – host of The Credit Report with Bill Lewis – has left his 9 o’clock morning drive time show on AM 1470 WWNN.

The Credit Report with Bill Lewis, a daily forum for business and financial news, politics, economic trends, and cutting edge issues, a daily radio talk show hosted by Bill Lewis has moved south on the dial and now airs on AM 740 WSBR weekdays at 7am.

Originally launched on AM 1400 WFTL in 2004, as the “Credit Restoration Consultants Hour,” Bill Lewis provided self-help tips and advice regarding credit repair, finances, and related topics. Throughout the years, Bill’s show strayed from the original concept of providing financial awareness to his listeners.

In an effort to strengthen his listener base and to broaden the topics hosted, Bill launched The Credit Report with Bill Lewis upon moving to AM 1470 WWNN within the Beasley Broadcasting group.  Listeners were searching for help regarding a myriad of topics from credit repair, extreme coupon shopping, and foreclosure matters, but welcomed the political format that Bill introduced locally to a south Florida audience. 

Guests this week on The Credit Report with Bill Lewis include:

Former prosecutor and Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney Jim Lewis will appear and discuss his candidacy for Broward State Attorney as the only Republican for this countywide office in 2012.  Lewis is challenging incumbent Michael Satz and Chris Mancini, a former federal prosecutor turned defense attorney.  Mancini switched his voter registration from independent to Democrat so he could run against Satz in the party’s primary.  Lewis will face the winner of the August primary.

Chairman Richard DeNapoli of the Broward Republican Party will appear and discuss initiatives to expand candidate awareness through social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. 

Tom Lauder of Red Broward will appear and discuss his political blog where “Making Broward See Red” is not such a hard job.

Foreclosure defense attorney Carlos Reyes will appear and discuss the latest developments in the mortgage foreclosure crisis. After nearly a year of negotiations, federal and state officials and five major mortgage servicers (Ally Financial, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Citibank, and Wells Fargo) have announced a $25 billion settlement over alleged foreclosure and mortgage loan-servicing abuses.

Brian Walsh of Wings Plus in Coral Springs will appear and discuss recent appearances by presidential candidates Herman Cain, Rick Santorum, and Newt Gingrich and how his establishment has become “the place to go” for political candidates in south Florida.

Republican Party of Broward County Executive Director Rico Petrocelli will appear and discuss initiatives to grow the local party and upcoming events.

Jennifer Cabrera will appear from Saudi Arabia and discuss her efforts on behalf of Planet Beach Contempo Spa to introduce that brand to the country.  Cabrera did not take the traditional road to spa ownership. After years in corporate sales, Cabrera wanted to own her own business. A member of Planet Beach, she heard about the Ms. Planet Beach Gen X contest and a grand prize package that included a free license. Cabrera is now a proud franchisee in North Miami Beach, Florida.

Fort Lauderdale philanthropist and serial entrepreneur Jamie McDonnell will appear and discuss his latest celebrity STOP Burger – the Jake Miller Burger.  Jake is a singer, rapper, musician and songwriter who has enjoyed a meteoric rise in the music industry. Jake Miller Music distributed a few homemade music videos on YouTube late 2010, and attracted the attention of music business insiders.

Bill Burke of Paradise Bank will appear and discuss how his three branch bank reached a significant milestone in its six year history by becoming the top Small Business Administration (SBA) community bank lender in the state of Florida.

Since the show’s inception, Bill Lewis has interviewed some of the country’s leading politicians, including: Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, Herman Cain, Chris Christie, Jon Huntsman, Allen West, Rick Scott, George LeMieux, Jeff Atwater, Adam Putnam, Pam Bondi, Marco Rubio, Sharon Day, Alex Sink, Adam Putnam, Charlie Crist, Bill McCollum, Jeff Kottkamp, Jennifer Carroll, Christine O’Donnell, among others.

In addition, The Credit Report with Bill Lewis has hosted a number of politicians as well as attorneys and financial experts in the south Florida area.  Among the dozens that have appeared on the show are Carlos Reyes, Al Lamberti, Chip LaMarca, Adam Hasner, Ellyn Bogdanoff, Tom Rooney, Lori Parrish, Richard Denapoli, Rico Petrocelli, Jamie McDonnell, Jim Lewis, Tom Lauder, and John Contini.

The Credit Report with Bill Lewis airs live, Monday through Friday from 7am-8am with an encore presentation Saturday’s at 3pm on AM 740 WSBR.  Streaming audio is available at http://www.wsbrradio.com and on air participation is welcome at (888) 721-0074.

If you miss the early broadcast, The Credit Report with Bill Lewis is still available weeknights at 9pm and Sunday’s at 1pm on AM 1470 WWNN by streaming audio at http://www.wwnnradio.com.

For daily updates on The Credit Report with Bill Lewis, you can join Bill’s 35,950 plus fans on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/thecreditreportwithbilllewis.

Extreme Coupon Shopping 101


Coupon distribution and use have substantially increased the last two years.  A recent study shows that almost 89 percent of Americans admitted using coupons when shopping in 2010.  With over 175 billion coupons offered by retailers in the first half of 2011, this growth builds upon the record-breaking trends of 2009 and 2010 when 311 billion and 330 billion coupons were distributed, respectively.

Halfway through this 14th annual National Coupon Month, we are reminded that clipping coupons is an easy and fun way to save money at the supermarket.  Whether you shop at Albertsons, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Food Lion, Kroger, Piggly Wiggley, Publix, Safeway, Save-a-Lot, Sam’s Club, Sedanos, Sweetbay, Walmart, Western Beef, Whole Foods Market, or Winn-Dixie, shoppers have become more frugal in tough economic times.

Coupons are a quick and easy way to save money at the supermarket.  According to the Promotion Marketing Association, spending as little as 20 minutes a week clipping coupons can save the average family a $1,000 a year.

Many of my friends, co-workers and social networking acquaintances wonder how I save between 60 and 70 percent at Publix.  Although I accumulate printable coupons from the Internet, the Sunday newspaper remains my favorite.  In accumulating coupons from multiple papers – including the Spanish version as the coupons are generally different – I have several for use when an item goes on sale or becomes a “BOGO” free.

Coupons come in many varieties, the most common being the manufacturer’s coupon.  This coupon provides a discount on a particular product and is distributed directly by the manufacturer. Grocery stores accept manufacturers’ coupons because they receive reimbursement upon redemption.

Most people use the Sunday newspaper as their main source of coupons. While grocery retailers allocate about 85% of their coupon distribution to a free-standing insert, Internet distribution has grown faster than all other sources combined.  The most popular online printable coupon sites are www.smartsource.com, www.coupons.com, www.valpak.com, www.pgeverydaysolutions.com and www.redplum.com

In the last few years, online promotional codes have become increasingly popular providing incentives ranging from free shipping to a percentage off discount.  According to eMarketer, digital coupons have become so popular that 88.2 million shoppers were expected to use them in 2011.

Stores and manufacturers also send coupons to shoppers who personally request them.  Obtaining coupons from these sources is as simple as searching the Internet for your favorite brand or store and typing the term “coupon” into your browser.  (For instance, typing the term “Starbucks” and “coupon” yields approximately 641,000 results.)  Most companies have a separate section for coupons or special discounts.  Thereafter, it is simply a matter of printing the coupon for redemption at the retailer.

Whether you shop at Albertsons (www.albertsonsmarket.com), BJ’s Wholesale Club (www.bjs.com), Food Lion (www.foodlion.com), Kroger (www.kroger.com), Piggly Wiggly (www.pigglywiggley.com), Publix (www.publix.com), Safeway (www.safeway.com), Save-a-Lot (www.save-a-lot.com), Sam’s Club (www.samsclub.com), Sedanos (www.sedanos.com), Sweetbay (www.sweetbaysupermarket.com), Walmart (www.walmart.com), Western Beef (www.westernbeef.com), Whole Foods Market (www.wholefoodsmarket.com), or Winn-Dixie (www.winndixie.com), each of these retailers offer an online section for coupon savings and store discounts.  Shoppers visiting a store website need only direct themselves to the coupon section then click and print desired grocery coupons.

Thousands of websites exist that allow coupon users to buy, sell, and/or trade coupons.  Although illegal and frowned upon by eBay, this popular auction site has become number one in coupon sales.  Some of my personal favorites are www.supercouponing.com, www.retailmenot.com, www.coupondad.net, www.couponcabin.com, www.couponmom.com, and www.fatwallet.com

When it comes to “deal-of-the-day” discounts, www.groupon.com is fast becoming a leader while www.restaurant.com is my pick for restaurant gift certificates.  With more than 18,000 restaurants on the program nationally and more than 35,000 daily gift certificate options, Restaurant.com customers have saved more than $500 million through the gift certificate program.  Restaurant.com also offers deeply discounted promotional codes for loyal e-mail subscribers or Facebook friends.

In celebration of National Coupon Month, www.ilovecouponmonth.com – an online resource for coupon information, statistics, and savings tips created by www.couponsherpa.com – has provided 30 tried and true methods to maximize your shopping experience.

A common misconception among non-coupon users is that coupon shoppers have low incomes, are disadvantaged or are struggling financially in these tough economic times.  According to the Nielsen Company, a global leader in measurement and information, the biggest coupons users are college educated Caucasian women under the age of 54 with incomes in excess of $70,000 a year.

Coupons represent free money and additional income to those who indulge.  Quoting from Nielsen’s report, “the better educated and more affluent consumers are much better at looking for deals, as they recognize the value of money.”  Nothing can be further from the truth in these tough economic times where grocery bills account for nearly 11 percent of the average family budget.

While finding the right coupon for specific products is easy, using them to their full potential can be more difficult.  While coupons used on a regularly priced product might save a few cents, combining them with sales or BOGO’s can substantially increase your savings.  The savvy coupon shopper pays attention to normal product prices and only uses coupons on “stacked” specials resulting in huge savings.

To learn more about National Coupon Month, please visit http://www.nationalcouponmonth.com

To review Bill Lewis’ entire consumer protection series, visit www.williamlewis.us

__________________________________

William E. Lewis Jr. & Associates is a solutions based professional consulting firm specializing in the discriminating individual, business or governmental entity. To learn more, tune into “The Credit Report with Bill Lewis,” a daily forum for business and financial news, politics, economic trends, and cutting edge issues on AM 1470 WWNN.

Extreme Coupon Shopping and the South Florida Sun Sentinel


Are you an extreme coupon shopper?  Did you clip and use the .50 off coupon offered by the Sun Sentinel for today’s newspaper?  A little hard if you went to the newspaper rack but much easier at your local convenience store or local supermarket.

In expecting the newspaper for only .75, many noticed that the price of the Sunday Sun Sentinel is now $1.50.  Now on par with the Miami Herald, readers must now fork over an extra quarter to read the paper that touts itself the “South Florida Sun Sentinel.”

This means that your .50 off coupon was worth only a quarter.

Unless, of course, you are Davie couple Adolfo Rodriguez, 43, and Wilmian Milian, 27.  They admitted to Broward Sheriff’s Office investigators earlier this week that they were behind a rash of coupon thefts from three different newspaper racks belonging to the Sun Sentinel and Miami Herald.

Charged with misdemeanor retail theft, these nasty coupon nappers more likely than not slept late this Sunday morning.

“It’s a quality of life issue that attacks the very culture of the community and we’re going to put resources into it,” stated Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti.  “We can’t discriminate what crimes to enforce because of its petty nature. This is like graffiti, a blight on the neighborhood. Stealing coupons is a blight on our citizens.”

Although numerous McClatchy newspapers around the country have reported a spike in the theft of coupon inserts, the Miami Herald – a McClatchy Company – has denied an increase in thefts.

“We really haven’t had any widespread reports,” stated Armando Boniche, Director of Circulation for the Miami Herald.  “Are there going to be some isolated cases?  Possibly.”

Tom Nork, vice president of circulation of the Sun Sentinel, also indicated no significant increase in coupon theft.  “It becomes a nuisance to our consumers who then go to buy the paper,” he stated following the arrests of Rodriguez and Milian.

Although denying that extreme coupon theft does occur, and continues to spike nationwide, the Sun Sentinel announced today in its print version sweeping changes in coupon package distribution.

Notice to readers

Beginning Oct. 15, your insert and coupon package will be delivered in your Saturday newspaper.  This gives you an extra day to plan your Sunday and next week’s shopping schedule.  Because many sales prices are not in effect until Sunday, always check the sale dates on all circulars.  For customers who receive only the Sunday paper, the circulars will continue to be delivered on Sunday.  If you’d like to change your service to receive the Saturday paper, please call (800) 548-6397.

A confusing new policy by the Sun Sentinel.  Why not just admit the spike in coupon insert theft and a solution to the problem?

Time will only tell what the South Florida Sun Sentinel will do with its rate hike of .25 for the Sunday newspaper.

Extreme Coupon Shopping at CVS/pharmacy


In the last few months, Rite Aid, Target and Publix have modified their coupon policies restricting the number of store, competitor, and manufacturer coupons that shoppers can use per purchase. Now CVS/pharmacy has joined the growing list of retailers that are fighting back against extreme couponers. 

On Friday, CVS/pharmacy released a new written coupon policy aimed at clearing up confusion among shoppers.  A new “FAQ” – frequently asked questions section was also added to their website.

The published guidelines set forth new redemption guidelines for CVS/pharmacy ExtraBucks® and ExtraCare® coupons and establish which third-party manufacturer or Internet coupons will be accepted. Anything not covered in the written policy is left to the discretion of CVS/pharmacy management at the store level.

The new CVS/pharmacy policy:

The use of ExtraBucks®, CVS/pharmacy and third-party manufacturer coupons is accepted in our retail stores in accordance with the following guidelines.

General guidelines to further understand the application of CVS/pharmacy coupons (ExtraBucks and ExtraCare® Coupons) and third-party manufacturer coupons:

• CVS/pharmacy does not accept expired coupons.

• Coupons and their face value cannot be exchanged for cash or gift cards.

• Competitor coupons are not accepted at CVS/pharmacy.

• CVS/pharmacy does not accept coupons for items not carried in our stores.

• CVS/pharmacy does not currently accept coupon bar code images displayed on a smartphone, iPhone, Droid etc.

• The total value of the coupons may not exceed the value of the transaction. Sales tax must be paid if required by state law.

• Certain CVS/pharmacy coupons may be subject to state sales tax rules similar to third-party manufacturer coupons and sales tax may be charged on pre-coupon price

• Third-party manufacturer coupons are coupons issued by a third party and sales tax may be charged on pre-coupon price.

• Language at the bottom of CVS/pharmacy coupons provides specific coupon acceptance rules.

• Any coupon offer not covered in these guidelines will be accepted at the discretion of CVS/pharmacy management.

Sale Items

• CVS/pharmacy will accept manufacturer coupons for an item that is on sale.

• CVS/pharmacy will not accept percent off coupons for sale and promotional items.

• In the event that any item’s price is less than the value of the coupon, CVS/pharmacy will accept the coupon only to the price of the item. CVS/pharmacy does not provide cash back in exchange for any coupons.

Multiple Coupons

• CVS/pharmacy accepts one third-party manufacturer coupon and applicable CVS/pharmacy coupon(s) for the purchase of a single item, unless prohibited by either coupon offer.

• The number of third-party manufacturer coupons used in a transaction may not exceed the number of items in the transaction.

• The coupon amount will be reduced if it exceeds the value of the item after other discounts or coupons are applied. (For example, a $5.00 coupon for a $4.99 item will result in a $4.99 coupon value).

• CVS/pharmacy accepts multiple identical coupons for multiple qualifying items as long as there is sufficient stock to satisfy other customers, unless a limit is specified. Management reserves the right to limit the quantity of items purchased.

• CVS/pharmacy reserves the right to process coupons in any order.

Internet/Print at Home Coupons

• CVS/pharmacy accepts valid internet/print at home coupons containing a barcode.

• CVS/pharmacy will not accept reproductions or rebates.

For more information on the new CVS/pharmacy coupon redemption guidelines, please visit www.cvs.com

Bill Lewis is principal of William E. Lewis Jr. & Associates, a solutions based professional consulting firm specializing in the discriminating individual, business or governmental entity. To learn more, tune into “The Credit Report with Bill Lewis,” a daily forum for business and financial news, politics, economic trends, and cutting edge issues on AM 1470 WWNN.

September is National Coupon Month


Entering its 14th year, National Coupon Month serves as a reminder that clipping coupons is an easy and fun way to save at the supermarket.  Whether you shop at Albertsons, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Food Lion, Publix, Save-a-Lot, Sam’s Club, Sedanos, Sweetbay, Walmart or Winn-Dixie, shoppers have become more frugal in tough economic times.

Coupon distribution and use have substantially increased the last two years.  A recent study shows that almost 89 percent of Americans admitted using coupons when shopping in 2010.  With over 175 billion coupons offered by retailers in the first half of 2011, this growth builds upon the record-breaking trends of 2009 and 2010 when 311 billion and 330 billion coupons were distributed, respectively.

Coupons are a quick and easy way to save money at the supermarket.  According to the Promotion Marketing Association, spending as little as 20 minutes a week clipping coupons can save the average family a $1,000 a year.

Many of my friends, co-workers and social networking acquaintances wonder how I save between 60 and 70 percent at Publix.  Although I accumulate printable coupons from the Internet, the Sunday newspaper remains my favorite.  In accumulating coupons from multiple papers – including the Spanish version as the coupons are generally different – I have several for use when an item goes on sale or becomes a “BOGO” free.

Coupons come in many varieties, the most common being the manufacturer’s coupon.  This coupon provides a discount on a particular product and is distributed directly by the manufacturer. Grocery stores accept manufacturers’ coupons because they receive reimbursement upon redemption.

Most people use the Sunday newspaper as their main source of coupons. While grocery retailers allocate about 85% of their coupon distribution to a free-standing insert, Internet distribution has grown faster than all other sources combined.  The most popular online printable coupon sites are www.smartsource.com, www.coupons.com, www.valpak.com, www.pgeverydaysolutions.com and www.redplum.com

In the last few years, online promotional codes have become increasingly popular providing incentives ranging from free shipping to a percentage off discount.  According to eMarketer, digital coupons have become so popular that 88.2 million shoppers were expected to use them in 2011.

Stores and manufacturers also send coupons to shoppers who personally request them.  Obtaining coupons from these sources is as simple as searching the Internet for your favorite brand or store and typing the term “coupon” into your browser.  (For instance, typing the term “Starbucks” and “coupon” yields approximately 641,000 results.)  Most companies have a separate section for coupons or special discounts.  Thereafter, it is simply a matter of printing the coupon for redemption at the retailer.

Whether you shop at Albertsons (www.albertsonsmarket.com), BJ’s Wholesale Club (www.bjs.com), Food Lion (www.foodlion.com), Publix (www.publix.com), Save-a-Lot (www.save-a-lot.com), Sam’s Club (www.samsclub.com), Sedanos (www.sedanos.com), Sweetbay (www.sweetbaysupermarket.com), Walmart (www.walmart.com), or Winn-Dixie (www.winndixie.com), each of these retailers offer an online section for coupon savings and store discounts.  Shoppers visiting a store website need only direct themselves to the coupon section then click and print desired grocery coupons.

Thousands of websites exist that allow coupon users to buy, sell, and/or trade coupons.  Although illegal and frowned upon by eBay, this popular auction site has become number one in coupon sales.  Some of my personal favorites are www.supercouponing.com, www.retailmenot.com, www.coupondad.net, www.couponcabin.com, www.couponmom.com, and www.fatwallet.com

When it comes to “deal-of-the-day” discounts, www.groupon.com is fast becoming a leader while www.restaurant.com is my pick for restaurant gift certificates.  With more than 18,000 restaurants on the program nationally and more than 35,000 daily gift certificate options, Restaurant.com customers have saved more than $500 million through the gift certificate program.  Restaurant.com also offers deeply discounted promotional codes for loyal e-mail subscribers or Facebook friends.

In celebration of National Coupon Month, www.ilovecouponmonth.com – an online resource for coupon information, statistics, and savings tips created by www.couponsherpa.com – has provided 30 tried and true methods to maximize your shopping experience.

A common misconception among non-coupon users is that coupon shoppers have low incomes, are disadvantaged or are struggling financially in these tough economic times.  According to the Nielsen Company, a global leader in measurement and information, the biggest coupons users are college educated Caucasian women under the age of 54 with incomes in excess of $70,000 a year.

Coupons represent free money and additional income to those who indulge.  Quoting from Nielsen’s report, “the better educated and more affluent consumers are much better at looking for deals, as they recognize the value of money.”  Nothing can be further from the truth in these tough economic times where grocery bills account for nearly 11 percent of the average family budget.

While finding the right coupon for specific products is easy, using them to their full potential can be more difficult.  While coupons used on a regularly priced product might save a few cents, combining them with sales or BOGO’s can substantially increase your savings.  The savvy coupon shopper pays attention to normal product prices and only uses coupons on “stacked” specials resulting in huge savings.

To learn more about National Coupon Month, please visit http://www.nationalcouponmonth.com

To review Bill Lewis’ entire consumer protection series, visit www.williamlewis.us