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Running Around: Searching for a good deal can be a true family affair

| Wednesday, April 24, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

I hate to buy anything without a coupon.

At the grocery store, department store, drugstore, restaurants, health food stores or online, my coupon book or printed-out “freebies” always are on hand.

Because I'm registered with all my favorite restaurants online, for my birthday this year, I received e-mails for a free burger, breakfast, milk shake, two appetizers, a pastry and more.

I wasn't able to use all of them before they expired, which I guess is a good thing, or I would have walked away from my birthday about 10 pounds heavier.

Any day I can find any kind of discount is a good day.

When I was out to dinner with friends for my birthday, I just happened to mention to the owner that it was my birthday, and I received a free piece of cake. When we went to a wine festival at Hidden Valley Resort before dinner, I made sure we registered in advance to get a $10 discount.

When my husband bought me a mountain bike for my birthday, I mentioned to the cashier that I noticed a dent, and we got $10 off.

Through freebie Internet sites, which I was introduced to by my bargain-hunter daughter, I've gotten free toothpaste, saline solution, shampoo, vitamins, a travel coffee mug, a light-up pen, makeup, cat food, dog food (and we don't even have a dog), coffee, tea and more.

Even my husband has gotten into the act. He prints out coupons, compares deals and is patient as I look through my coupons at the grocery store.

He just laughs, shakes his head and says, “Good job, baby,” when I get a particularly good deal and can't help shouting out, “Now, that's what I'm talking about!”

Not that I ever would become obsessed with couponing, but I can see how it would be easy to end up spending way too much time looking for deals and using up too much ink and paper printing out coupons (my husband likes to tell me I'm killing too many trees).

So, I just try to do my best to save money, have fun comparing deals with my daughter and not worry about all the coupons I don't get around to redeeming.

I find comfort in knowing that I'm making an effort to use my money wisely, and, every so often, get some free cake.

Joanne Barron is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-324-1406 or jbarron@tribweb.com.

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