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Jill Cataldo

Jill Cataldo

It’s always fun to feel the rush of getting an incredible deal on something you already planned to buy.

These readers recently wrote to me to share their great deals, but each one of them also wondered: Was my deal “too good?”

“Dear Jill,

I spotted a deal in the store and am wondering what you would have done. We have a grandbaby on the way, and I have been looking for diaper deals. My store had name-brand diapers on clearance marked down to $2.49. The package says ‘$3 coupon inside.’

I bought the diapers, took the package to the car, and indeed there was a $3 coupon inside for more of the same diapers. I took that coupon, walked back in the store, and bought another package of diapers. This one was free with the coupon.

I’m sure you can guess what I kept on doing.

I am retired, so I have all the time in the world. One at a time I bought all six packages of those clearance diapers. All were free with the coupons except for the first package. Now I still have one $3 coupon remaining.

My daughter-in-law was so excited about all the diapers for baby.

However, I wonder if I did anything wrong. What do you think? I would like to add that these diapers all had Christmas designs on them and that is why I believe they were on clearance.”

Maris W.

When my own children were in diapers, I used to celebrate every time I would find an incredible deal on them – and you certainly did!

I’m sure the manufacturer didn’t anticipate the diapers going on clearance for a price lower than the value of the coupons inside the package, but you got an amazing deal. No, there is nothing wrong with what you did. (Now, if you’d opened the diapers in-store to remove the coupons before purchasing them, that would have been wrong.)

It’s not uncommon at all for stores to place seasonal items at low clearance prices to close them out and reclaim shelf space for other items.

You happened to be in the right place to get this great deal and were willing to take the time to repeat it over and over to stock up at the lowest possible price.

“Dear Jill,

A national chain drugstore put a lot of cosmetics on clearance. It’s right by my house, so when I saw all the sale tags in the aisle, I took photos of each product and its price.

I went home and looked up the coupons I had for these products. I cut them out and went back to the store.

I’m almost embarrassed about how much I bought. I am sharing my bounty with my daughters, because I had enough coupons for free nail polishes, lipsticks, face powders, eyeshadows and eyeliners.

Many of these things were on clearance for $1 or less, and I had multiple coupons for $1 off or higher value for all of these different brands.

I brought a shopping bag worth of cosmetics for less than $2, which was mainly tax. Do you think I bought too much?”

Sherry H.

One person’s definition of “too much” is going to differ from someone else’s.

I’ve always viewed clearance sales as “all bets are off” situations. The store is reducing inventory on products, whether they’re seasonal or will no longer be carried at that store.

The manufacturer may have discontinued certain colors or formulas of these cosmetics; or, they may have been reaching their “best by” dates.

Whatever the reason, the store had already marked the makeup down to $1. Is there any difference whether you came in and bought a dozen items at $1 each, or if you used a dozen $1 coupons for your various items?

Realistically, there is no difference.

The store still receives $1 per item, as they will be reimbursed for each coupon used by the various cosmetics manufacturers. The store also regains this rack space to showcase new items.

It’s a win-win!

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