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Randall Putala is a coupon expert with a lot of wisdom to share. He includes copies of receipts in the back of the book that show how much money you can save when using coupons.

This book is really a wakeup call and dispels many myths about coupon usage. Randall Putala is like the coupon drill sergeant as he uses a lot of CAPS to make his points. For most of the first half of the book he spends time convincing readers that using coupons is a good idea, whether you are rich or poor. He even claims that Oprah uses coupons.

What is interesting about this particular book is the descriptions of typical shoppers and how they can change their strategy to save money.

For the last half of the book, Randall Putala spends time convincing the reader that cooking is fun and easy. He provides lots of recipes you can throw together in minutes. I think his method of cooking is easy and I can see why he thinks cooking is not work. On the other hand, cooking is work for most people and takes a lot of effort. First you have to spend hours collecting all the ingredients and then you have to spend more hours putting meals together from scratch. I easily spend an hour a day cooking meals, hours looking through cookbooks for new recipes, and spend a few hours clipping coupons.

One of the things I think Randall Putala is completely right about is his encouragement to try new products with new coupons. Recently I used a coupon for crackers I would not have purchased before and both my husband and I ended up loving them and now we buy them on every shopping trip even though we don't have another coupon for them.

So this book is filled with practical advice that will be appreciated by those who are new to coupon shopping. The author's main goal seems to be to lead the reader to "coupon nirvana," a place where you get a high from saving so much money it blows your mind.

While the author says you should throw away your expired coupons so you don't mistakenly use them and get yourself into trouble, I found out that you can donate expired coupons to military families. The coupons can be used six months after their expiration date.

After reading this book I am even more eager to save money with coupons. I will however not be giving up pre-grated cheese or organic milk anytime soon. I know they are more expensive but the convenience and taste are worth the price. It is possible to find coupons for organic milk these days and I used one earlier this month.

~The Rebecca Review
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on April 6, 2009
Rarely have I purchased a book that paid for itself within the first week of owning it. I read this book cover-to-cover by the 2nd day after it arrived. I like the idea of making cheaper groceries into something of a game, plus saving money. Usually I look for sales, or clip maybe 8-10 coupons a year, and then redeem 1-2 and lose the rest. This book has really helped me to organize. I've made out the envelopes and labeled them, as the author suggests. And now I've made it a particular challenge to look for items that I need (but not necessarily name-brand or loyal-brand items) that are both on sale, plus I have coupons for. In all of my shopping this weekend of combining sales with coupons, I saved an average of 50% or more, for over $100 in savings. There are a few simple concepts: stockpile cheaper items, look for sales plus use coupons.

The book starts with the example of a man who walks into a car dealership, and demands to pay full price for the car, with the sworn assurance that no one -- no one -- is paying more for their car than he is. Of course this is in comparison with food shopping which can be up to 20% of people's yearly pay -- why not try to find ways to reduce those costs? The author makes the interesting analogy of taking a $1 coupon and a $1 bill, and how would you feel about shredding both of them in the shredder? He says not to do this because it is illegal to destroy US money -- but the point is that they both can count as money. I loved this little book and I highly recommend it for anyone who eats and would like to save money eating.

Here's a quick rundown of the chapters:
1. What Color is Your Shopping Cart? (which of 5 types of grocery shoppers is most like you?)
2. The "7 Deadly Sins" (signs that you may be losing the "grocery game" -- such as your family is unhappy with the food you serve, you throw out food that you don't eat, people are hungry, binge snacking, etc)
3. Here's Your Sign (pitfalls for each of the grocery shopper types)
4. The "12 Steps to Recovery"
5. The Myths & Misconceptions of Store Coupons
6. Startegy & Tactics: How to Win the War for Your Wallet
7. Couponing Tactics: The Simplest Way to Organize Coupons (8 envelope categories and how to be organized)
8. The Currency vs. Coupon Litmus Test (what coupons are really worth)
9. Clubs, Cards & Counterintelligence (explains how frequent shopper cards really work)
10. The Power of Rebate Clubs, aka "Your Check's in the Mail"
11. A Rebate Returned is Money Earned
12. The Economics of Food
13. Smart Grocery Choices & Core Ingredients
14. Real Food, Real Cooking
15. A System for Cooking = A System for Savings
16. Quick-Cooking: The Secret to Happier, Healthier Meals
17. Planning Your Menus
18. Miscellaneous Cost Cutters
19. Online Coupon Hunting
20. Grocery Store Etiquette
21. Miscellaneous Time-Saving / Money-Saving Tips
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on February 20, 2010
I really wanted to like this book: I did. But....if you're gluten-free, there aren't many coupons out there-- although there are weekly sale fliers, ways to bake your own baked goods more cheaply, and, on Amazon, subscriptions that you can use to cut down the costs of basic gluten free items substantially.

(Pacific Foods soups and broths are gluten free; Gluten Free Pantry mixes are gluten free, good, and cheap: both can be bought by 15% off subscription on Amazon.)

If you try to find gluten-free coupons, you're just going to lose a whole lot of sleep, and/or take away from real work that will actually pay for food.

That said, there are some useful ideas in this book if you're gluten free: the author suggests buying what he calls, "Core" foods to have as a basis for many recipes which can be made with sauces that vary your meals substantially. That is a good idea, for anyone.

Beyond that, though, there isn't much that is helpful to your average sort-of-scratch cooking, price watching foodie. And, I'm not saying that out of spite: I really tried. The few websites I did find that cater to persons with celiac now have all my e-mail addresses--and after several hours of work using the techniques in this book, I saved a whopping $8.00.

Save your money for Amazon gluten free food subscriptions. Don't waste your time with this if you have celiac or other food intolerances.
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on October 23, 2008
I saw a copy of this book and have ordered two books.
I think it looks very interesting, and think using it will save money and make cooking for a family easier.
The ideas in it will save time and use healthy ingredients - and should be delicious!
PG - St Clair Shores Michigan
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