Coupons aren't just for groceries
Need your carpets cleaned, your teeth X-rayed, your roof gutters cleaned out? Look for a coupon.
Get a coupon.
Coupons aren't just for groceries. Significant discounts can be had for carpet cleaning, veterinary care, eye exams and glasses, auto work, dental exams and other potentially expensive essentials.
Where do you find a coupon for something like that?
Look around. The Sunday inserts frequently have discount eye-care coupons. I get weekly coupon mailers from Seattle-area businesses offering everything from roof repair to bathtub refinishing. Some phone books (especially the Yellow Pages) have coupons, too.
And of course there's the famous "blue envelope," i.e., the Valpak coupon mailers. I've seen Valpak coupons for services like windshield repair, veterinary exams, lawn-mowing and carpet cleaning. The company now offers electronic coupons as well, including through a mobile app.
Getting a customer's attention
Big-ticket coupons work the same way that 50-cents-off-cereal coupons do: by enticing shoppers to try a new brand. That's how I found a dentist: through a $29 Valpak coupon for exam, cleaning, X-rays and teeth-whitening kit. (Post continues after video.)
This was a gamble for the dentist, since I could have just taken advantage of the initial deal and never returned. In fact, a really old crown needed replacing, and he wound up with a new patient.
Is it ethical to use these deals even if you're not sure you'll be back? Yes. Just as with those grocery coupons, companies assume the risk that you'll try their services only once.
- Bing: Who uses coupons?
Sure, some consumers probably hire a yard service once or get a single oil change and then move on to the next hot deal. But others become repeat customers. Companies wouldn't keep putting coupons out there if they didn't work.
That dentist got me through the door with the deal -- but he got a nice chunk of change from me later on. Without the lure of the coupon, that work might have gone to a competitor.
Readers: Where do you find big-ticket coupons? How have they helped your budget?
More on MSN Money:
About Rite Aid Rewards.
According to refund world magazine, Rite Aid Rewards are no longer usuable on the same day of purchase. You used to be able to buy one product, then use your reward toward buying another product the same shopping trip. Now you have to wait until 6AM the following day to use it.
Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.
WHAT IS FRUGAL NATION?
Donna Freedman's Frugal Nation blog is for readers who want to live cheaply -- whether due to necessity or a lifestyle choice. It explores living sustainably and making life more meaningful at the same time.
ABOUT DONNA FREEDMAN
Donna Freedman, a writer based in Anchorage, Alaska, writes the Frugal Nation blog for MSN Money. She won regional and national prizes during an 18-year newspaper career and earned a college degree in midlife without taking out student loans. Donna also writes about the frugal life for her own site, Surviving and Thriving.
The popular online program lets you earn Amazon cards, PayPal cash and other rewards.
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
Saving just a single month of expenses may take longer than you think. See how your savings rate affects how quickly you can build a solid emergency fund.