Don’t forget to use your “club” cards

Here is something I recently discovered. If you buy an item and it isn’t satisfactory, dash off an email to their customer service department explaining the issue and include name of product, size and any code numbers on package. They will send you coupons for free stuff and a nice apology letter. I have done this with Proctor and Gamble, Johnson and Johnson, Revlon, 3M and Pillsbury.

Also, check out the Salvation Army and thrift shops. It is amazing what you can find. The other day I found a brand new desk organizer in the box for only $4, and a lovely Tupperware cake holder for $3. Sometimes used doesn’t matter. Dishes and glasses can be washed and they are just like new. There are usually interesting vases and trays for a few dollars.

Some things are actually better used, like a linen tea towel, or a hand made doily. If you get lucky, you might find a vintage old fashioned kitchen tool. Even beat up or a little rusty, old egg beaters, sifters and candy molds are very charming as wall decor. Mounted on a fabric or wallpaper background set in a wood picture frame with a squirt of hot glue and hung on your kitchen wall, you have a one of a kind conversation piece.

Furniture is the best buy at a thrift shop. I have gotten two huge curio cabinets, many bookshelves and mirrors. When people are leaving Hawaii, they often donate full households rather than ship things to the mainland.

I usually don’t bother with coupons unless they are for at least $1 or buy one, get one free. But if you are using a cents off coupon, buy the smallest size that will qualify. The per cent of savings is greater. On a $1 size, a 20 cent coupon is worth 20%, on a $2 size, that same coupon is only a 10% savings.

When Bed Bath and Beyond has a $5 coupon, good on a $15 purchase, find something for $15 or so. Then that is a 33% savings.

Many stores have senior discounts for customers 55 and older. At some you have to be 62 and show an ID.

I love asking for my senior discount, have the clerk ask to see my ID card, and watch their expression when they see that I was born in 1938.