Box Tops For Education: A Sneaky Ploy to Sell More Expensive Food

I’ve always seen those box tops on packaged food — you know, the special little dashed line boxes that say ‘Cut here and give to your school for money’. You’re supposed to cut it out and give it to your nearest school and then the school earns money from the manufacturer for things at school. And I always felt all warm and fuzzy inside, knowing that the manufacturer cared about kids.

No. That’s not how it works. I no longer feel warm and fuzzy about box tops. In fact, I feel very, very angry. Because it turns out that the kids are made to hold contests to see who can bring in the most box tops and they get prizes, like candy, when they bring in completed sheets of paper filled with box tops. Each sheet has 20 spots for box tops on it. That is an incredible amount of prepared food.

So the kids are saying things like ‘Mommy, buy more of [food we don’t buy] so I can get a prize!’ And of course parents want to make their kids happy, but not by buying food they don’t need or want, because they buy generic brands to save money and cook from scratch to be healthy. It’s all a ploy to get families to buy food they wouldn’t otherwise buy, under the guise of helping kids. It’s disgusting, really.

If you are one of the families that can actually afford to buy name brand foods on a regular basis and/or you live somewhere where the healthy foods on the list are actually sold (which is not the case in my area, for example, we can’t get Green Giant brand fresh produce here) and these box tops don’t cause you angst and anxiety, then I apologize if I have offended you with this rant.

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Guest Post: Saving Money with Coupons at Craft Stores

Ticket for free glass of Coca-Cola, believed t...

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This is a guest post on coupons by Ella Davidson at coupons.org, providing news and information on the couponing basics.

Couponing for Craft Supplies: Getting the Most Out of Your Craft Coupons

Any casual or devoted crafter knows that accumulating the supplies and materials necessary to carry out your projects can quickly add up and create a strain on your wallet. Don’t let this relaxing creative activity be a burden on you financially – offset your craft costs by becoming a savvy coupon-user! With the number of coupons offers available to everyone from scrap bookers to home decorators, you can find massive deals by paying a little attention and making some strategic decisions.

Start out your coupon collection by signing up to receive offers from the big-box craft supply retailers. Almost every national chain of craft supply stores will have an email subscription list you can sign up for to start receiving coupons directly to your inbox, often several offers per week. These offers may include coupons and may also be exclusive advertisements of sales that only subscribers can take advantage of. Check out local retailers too, to see if they have similar programs.

You can also sign up for online deal sites like Groupon and specify that you only want to receive offers related to art supplies, home decoration, and similar categories. These deals will then appear in your inbox each day, allowing you to avoid sorting through an entire newspaper or website’s worth of offers that don’t apply to you.

Savvy coupon users keep one important piece of information in mind at all times – they don’t let the coupon completely determine their purchases. If you get a great deal on something you don’t need, you’ve just wasted your money. Instead, make a list of items you frequently use (acrylic paints, scrapbook paper, yarn, etc.) and look for deals on these essentials. If you find a deal on a supply you use often, you can take advantage of buying large quantities of it at once with your coupon and save big. Using coupons to buy items you use in bulk affords you extra cash to spend on other, more specialty items that are less likely to be discounted.

The last step, though it takes a bit of planning, is to strategically combine the offers in front of you. Some retailers foresee this savvy coupon strategy and specifically exclude, for example, the use of some coupons during a specific sale. However, many do not. By planning your trips to the craft store around major sales and stockpiling coupons for items you need, you can make a double impact on your shopping trip.

Using coupons isn’t about sacrificing your vision to save money; it’s about using your money wisely to ensure your relaxing hobby doesn’t stress you financially. By following these guidelines, you can ensure you get the most out of every crafting dollar you spend!

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