Why don't LINK card users use coupons? (Was: "Getting the word out!")

52 replies [Last post]
Joined: 10/24/2010

While waiting in the check out line at Meijers yesterday, I couldn't help but notice the woman in front of me had a cart full of named brand items. She paid with a LINK card, but didn't have a single coupon. Not one! I scanned her cart and thought I could have easily saved her $20 (and probably alot more!)

After the first woman finished up and left, I started chatting with the woman behind me. She too had a handful of coupons, and we started chatting about how much money we save using coupons. I told her about Jill's website, as well as MUM and how you can print coupons from home.

The second woman said the first woman probably didn't care about using coupons because she gets her food for free using LINK. I said I doubt that was true, and more likely the first woman probably didn't know how to shop to maximize savings. If the first woman knew how to stockpile and use coupons, she could get even more food for free!

Jill, maybe you should work directly with the officials running the LINK program to teach cardholders how to save money using your system. I don't begrudge people for relying on the LINK card to help feed their families, but it would be beneficial to taxpayers and LINK receiptients if the money was well spent!

As for me, my total started out at $109. After using $20 in RR and other coupons, I paid $55. In addition to taking advantage of the tuna, jello, and Finish deals, I got lots and lots of fresh fruits and veggies.
I'm looking forward to attending a SC2 presentation in April!

Joined: 10/05/2012
Free Cell Phone Guy Perspective

I thought I was the only one on this site with a Link card until I read this post.

My MONTEL STORY is the same as others, so we can move on.

I, volunteer and sign people up for the free government phone. One of the eligible ways is to have a link card. So, I have met hundreds of people with them.

To keep with the original subject of this post, I feel the reason some people don't coupon varies. I have met people just receiving the Link card to people with it for years.

I have been in a Meijer checkout line and told a man that he could have saved $2 off his 10 Michilenas! I was behind him with a link card. Just like people w/o the Link card most LINK people do not coupon. (Insert reason here.)

Most of the reasons have been given, but here is one not given that I see constantly when I am helping people get free cell phones. People simply do not foresee how bad their situation is going to be. They hope the situation is only temporary and a great job and / or a place to stay will change their situation tomorrow.

I have had numerous people turn down a free phone because they have a $50 a month wireless plans. I also have a great percentage request a free cell phone a few months later. Their loyal wireless provider was not so loyal when they no longer could pay the bill.

Joined: 10/12/2013
Not using coupons

Actually the woman probably didn't use coupons because those that use the link card have to pay taxes for using the coupons. I have a link card and I am a HUGE coupon fan (I have about a $10,000 stockpile that cost me less than $500.00) but when using a link card you pay nothing, if you use coupons with the link card that person has to pay taxes for using the coupons. Even though link users don't pay the sales tax they DO have to pay the store the tax for the items you used coupons for because stores don't get the tax money back from the coupon companies.

Joined: 05/05/2011
washington state quest card

I know where I live (in wa state) you are allowed to use coupons with WIC products and the food stamp (Quest) card.

WIC highly encourages people to use coupons to make their budgets and the vouches they give you go even further.

As long as the store takes coupons and the quest card (and/or accepts WIC) you can.

Only store I know of that doesn't Coupons but does take the EBT/Quest and WIC is Grocery Outlet. Only because it's company policy not to take coupons. They cite having to pay employees to process the coupons and they are trying to keep costs down as low as they can-which is pretty low as it is.

Joined: 02/05/2012
Aren't Jill's sessions free & open to the public?

As to your main point it would be beneficial for link card holders to be taught how to use coupons, just as it's important for non link card users to be taught how to use coupons. To be truthful aren't Jill's classes open to the "public" including link card members? I haven't been to a seminar but aren't they free? If not then maybe she could offer a free tickets to those who need them and post a list of her seminars at the link office.
The reason this post has such a reaction is because Jill's classes and many other coupon websites are out there for anyone to use on link or not so why single out that link card users should have a training?
I agree as a link card user it would have been nice to have had this training when I got my card instead of find out the hard way so I do agree with you on that. It's just the way it's written that makes it look like you think all link card holders should be taught and almost made to use coupons. Defenses are raised because there is a stigma with using link as there is with using coupons as well because of the few bad apples in both categories.
May be you could have originally said that you'd like Jill to help link card users to not only teach them how ot use coupons but help them get the resources they need to get coupons.
I'm a link card user who ran out of $$ b4 the month was over until I started couponing. Yes I pay pennies on the coupons tax but I do get cash back sometimes at stores and it evens out. I also ran out of $$ quicker when I first began because I was trying to stockpile 3+ months of sales items, but once I got past that it got easier the next months because I had less to buy. Now I have a stockpile of food, a refrigerator full of food, my kids don't go hungry and I have a surplus in my link accout mainly due to couponing (we did get an increase of fund after this last pay cut my hubby got but still even before that built up an excess) It was also painful to pay the $1/wk for the tribune (to some this may not sound like a lot of money but when you run out of money every month b4 all bills can be paid this is a lot of money) but I soon realized that I was saving more than $1/wk over time in non food items. I also starting asking everyone I know for their coupons they aren't using sharing mine as well. Also there's the issue of gas, even if you have a nice car from having a previous well paying job (which I don't) putting gas in it costs $$. So I have to choose wisely which stores I will shop at to economize my gas $$ spent against $$ saved. But this can be true of non link card users as well. I know once we get better jobs we still may struggle and still have to look at the benefits versus the cost of couponing. Yes there is a cost to couponing! May be these issues & others I probably forgot could be addressed as well.

Coupon Maven
Joined: 07/02/2008

My workshops are open to the public, and nearly all of them in Illinois are free. The only time there's an admission fee is if a church or school is hosting the event as a fundraiser -- if this is the case, it's usually small, like $3-$5. If I teach out of state, there is usually a fee too, though not always. (If I travel around the country to teach, the host organization needs to recoup their costs for having me come in, etc. Sometimes they "eat" that, sometimes they charge admission.)

But I agree that this is equally important for everyone to learn -- I've never made a distinction as to who "should" learn to coupon.

Joined: 05/29/2012
Let them eat lobster!

I'm not a recipient of Illinois link (food stamps) anymore, but when I was, I most certainly DID use coupons! Unashamedly! I averaged more than half off each shopping trip, making the amount last through to the end of the month, and then some. On one occasion, I even bought (gasp!) LOBSTER tail for my husband's birthday. Here in Illinois, you can use coupons with link, even at CVS where you can earn gift cards or CVS cash. To the people who think the government should be policing link food purchases... Get over yourself! Whether it's up to your health standards or not, other people's diets are none of your concern. That's just the way it is. If you don't like it, move to another country (...and cross your fingers that you never need assistance!).

Savings Sorceress
Joined: 10/26/2011
Coupons and Link

I have a Link card. I get $186.00 a month. I coupon like crazy, my savings is approximately 45% on average.

That turns my $186 into $269.70.

I only buy meat that is discounted 30% at the least and sometimes I find it 50% off. I take it home and immediately freeze it. Sometimes that includes steak, but it also includes pork chops, lunch meat, sausage, cheese.

I actually end up with more than I need each month; I buy .58 cereal, .80 cereal, anything that's a great deal and I donate it to the food pantry that helped me before I got a Link card.

You can stretch your Link if you're smart and diligent.

I should also like to point out that I had a great job, worked for years, and paid taxes; I consider it "paying it forward" and now that I can't find a job I'm reaping what I have sown.

Joined: 06/05/2011
They are not allowed to use coupons

I was in line with a single dad had twin sons and had a LINK card as he only has part time work. I do not remember the exact details but you cannot use coupons with the link card, even the cashier confirmed this. I don't remember what they told me, but I think it had something to do with the total item cost coming off the card but the value of the coupon does not effect the balance and even if used would not be added back unto the card.

Next time you are in line with someone ask them.

Joined: 06/27/2010
Wrong...they ARE allowed to use coupons

UNLESS the store doesn't take coupons (Aldi). I know you can use coupons (I'm talking about Illinois here) because I drive my friend to the store each week. She is on LINK and I give her coupons AND I pay the tax for her too. So in Illinois, if you are using LINK, you are definitely allowed to use coupons. All stores require the customer to pay the tax difference between the total value of the item and what the coupon reduces it to. Many people don't know that because they aren't using LINK cards. This includes Jewel, Meijer, Walmart, Target, Dominicks, and Walgreens and many other stores. In fact, many times when people sign up for LINK they are told by their case manager to try to coupon to try to make the benefits actually last the FULL 30 DAYS!!

As Jill said elsewhere in this thread: "The coupons are seen as "cash" payment, and the tax then must also be paid in cash.

If they use LINK and no coupons, it pays for the whole thing (groceries AND tax.) Inadvertently, LINK may cause people NOT to coupon if they do not have the money to cover the tax.

What they have to pay is the tax. When you use a coupon, stores do want the tax paid in cash, not with LINK. I do understand how frustrating this is for LINK users."

If you read this entire thread you will know that there are, in fact, people using LINK and also using coupons!

Joined: 12/22/2009
Well said!

Especially the part when you stated "Keep in mind, most people using Link cards are simply down on their luck because of the economy. They too are/were taxpayers and more importantly, they are ADULT human beings and should be treated as such."

Due to the economy we were out of work for 11 months back in 2009.We had the Link card for 5 of those months. That's when my own sister, who is quiet well off, had the nerve to say to me that she was glad that we were able to use the Link program because now she knows where her tax money is going...to help me. What?!
My Husband and I are in our 50's we have spent the last 35 years paying taxes for these programs, just in case/God forbid we would ever need them. We never thought we would but yet there I was with tears of shame in my eyes filling out form after form just to get $165 a month. I pray that people don't ever need to go on these programs, but if you find yourself in the position just remember you most likely paid into it. So if you need to buy a steak dinner or your favorite coffee cake every now and then do it. You're an adult and know what you and your family needs to get through this difficult time. Soon enough you will be working again and paying your part to keep these programs going.
Don't worry what other people think, they obviously have never found themselves in this position. I pray they never do and yet being in this position is probably the only way they will understand and stop judging others.
Why is it easier for people to try and manage other peoples lives and money than their own?

Joined: 08/30/2012
Down on my luck is an understatement...

Thank you for your comments. It is amazing that so many people feel they have the right to weigh in on someone else's experience. I am a new link card recipient at almost 40 years old. I never thought this is where my life would end up. It is hard enough to lose a job/lifestyle that you worked hard for. I lost my job almost two years ago. I have a nice car and nice home, but that is all I have. My car is now paid off, and I am praying everyday that I don't lose my home. That being said, if someone looks from the outside and sees me getting in my car, then drive to my home, it appears that all is ok.

The reality is thanks to the link card, I can continue feeding my child well and can offer him a treat that I was limited on when I did not have the card. I can give him some sense of normalcy, though our life is nowhere near normal. The link card allows me to maintain some sense of dignity, meaning my child is not worried about being hungry or only having to accept certain items as an appropriate dietary source, decided upon by individulas who presume they have the right to determine what is and what is not good enough for a link card holder. I am appalled that anyone believes that they have a right to judge and/or decide what is right for another human being and their family.

I can assure you that any amount that is contributed by taxpayers, pails in the amount of money that the government wastes in other areas that are not addressed or acknowledged, but somehow the link card and usage there of illicits such negative, critical backlash, by many who have no idea what they are talking about. Yes, I buy snacks for my child, I buy crab, shrimp, juice etc. I also buy ruits, vegetables, ground turkey, pasta, sauces, and other items that allow me to stretch food to make different items that are appealing and satisfying. I have to make better choices than I did when I was working because it has to last. I cook from scratch, bake, but alo when I FEEL LIKE IT, I can choose to make a sandwich, or nuggets, etc, because I am an adult who can and will run my home according to my standards and what's right for my household. There are bigger problems than the link card and little has to do with what's in one's shopping cart.

When life is tough and you are strugling to exist and feel human, the last thing that anyone (Taxpayer or not) has a right to do is judge and offer unsolicited advice. I never thought this is where I would be, but until things improve, I am grateful to be able to feed my child according to what I deem appropriate and beneficial. I would love to see how someone who is judging has life happen to them. I want to be there when they have to look at their child and offer them their least favorite option and then say, "hey, sorry, I lost my job and this is what you deserve according to the list that those who are still working have deemed worthy of you".

Joined: 03/22/2009
in that situation response

You should never be embarrassed for making sure your kids are fed and keeping the stress you and your husband are under from them. I am sure over the past 2 years you have had to tell them no or told them they had to wait for something they realy wanted. Be proud you were able to take care of your family and you are almost to point where you won't need LINK any more. I was at a training last month for Public Aid and the presenter told us there are men in their 50 and 60's at her desk to apply for help and they are in tears because they can't take care of their families. In this terrible time we are in there are more people in your situation than you realize. Good Luck with the future. You sound like a person that will be giving back once you are on your feet again.

Joined: 04/07/2011
To All

I would like to start by saying I am a wife and Mother of 3 children. I am Currently a link cardholder. Started about 6 months ago. My husband had an amazing job with amazing pay and we never really had to worry about much. I was a stay at home mom and we did well. That was until my husband was layed off from his job last year. Now we both work (which means that WE ARE also Tax payers) but we make nothing close to what he did previously so now we had no choice but to rely on gov programs. I do use coupons anywhere that I can, but sometimes its still not enough.
Restrictions on the link card, there are several in place. You cannot purchase food that is already hot (meaning you cant go to fast food places every night) you can not purchase any non food products like toilet paper, paper towels, diapers anything along those lines.
Fraud with the link card, Yes there are people that are lying about their income or financial situations, and some how they get away with it, even though I dont understand how they did (I know I had a HARD time getting approved and my family is in real need of help at this current time). But I guess there is room for fraud in any program available, If you think about there is even fraud in people paying TAXES. Sooner or Later they will get caught. I too have been standing in line and watched someone pay for food with a link card while holding a hand full of cash (large bills), and I have noticed myself getting upset thinking if they have all that cash why use link? but we dont know their situation, only they do maybe they just got paid and they dont have a bank account so they have to rely on another check cashing place and thats all the money they have to their name to pay all of their bills and to survive until the next pay day. The situations that do upset me the most are the ones that have nothing and have to rely on the gov, simply because they are lazy and they CHOOSE not to work and they CHOOSE not to try to take care of their families!!
Samething goes for the people that have nice clothing, nice shoes, nice cars, (DON'T JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER)We dont know how long they have had those clothes, or shoes or the car. My kids still have nice name brand clothes and shoes and loads of toys which they have had since we had the means to treat them to that. My husband has a very nice car, I have a very nice SUV. The same ones that we have had and they are paid for.
I have a hard time sometimes walking into the grocery store because I know that I have to check out and use that card, and I know the thoughts of people standing around me and it is embarrasing, but I also know that I am taking care of my family and that everyone needs help at some point in their life and this is that time for my family, but it WILL NOT be this way for ever. We work our tails off everyday to make sure we make it. and one day I will no longer have to rely on help. When that time comes I know I will not judge the person in front of or behind me that needs the help. I will not complain that My TAX dollars are helping a family in need!!!!!
I know that we all have opinions and we are all wrong and we are all right, that is the greatness of an opinion and the freedom to voice that opinion. Just a thought when you catch yourself judging someone, stop and think of all the things that they may look at you the sameway for, because not one of us are perfect no matter how hard we try.

Joined: 10/24/2010
Let them eat cake!

Again, let's not get off track! Everyone has a right to eat whatever they want! Personally, A world without Fannie Mae is not one that I want to live in. Did you know that there was a $5 off coupon for FM in Sunday's paper?! Free candy!
Eat steak, eat candy, eat lobster if you want! Everyone should have the choice to eat whatever they want. Just buy steak using resources wisely!
There is no shame in using a Link card and no one should feel embarrassed about it. Letting children starve would not have been more noble. I shudder to think how my teenagers would react if I told them they could only eat carrot sticks from now on...

To the woman whose husband found work after two years, congratulations! I can only imagine how difficult the past two years were for you and your family. Again, if anyone has ideas on how to help, PM me.

Joined: 11/09/2011
let them eat cake

I'm sorry but I have to disagree with you that everyone should be able to eat what ever they want..even if it is lobster. This is true if you are buying your groceries with your own money but when you are using taxpayer funds, you have an obligation to choose more carefully. I realize I've been very fortunate that I've never had to use Link, or food stamps but even when I pay for my own things with my own money, I've never purchased lobster. For the amount you pay for lobster, you can purchase an abundance of other, less expensive items. Of course you do not let your children go hungry. No one expects you to. No one expects you to grovel just because you are on assistance either. What we do expect is that you make wise choices.

I'm sure I'll catch a lot of criticism for this but it is my honest opinion....sorry if it offends.

Savings R Us
Joined: 02/07/2009
Just my two cents but why is

Just my two cents but why is the link system not set up more like the w.i.c. program? With w.i.c. you can only purchase healthy foods. Bread,milk,cheese,eggs,100%juice,healthy cereal. Now I know that a family on link needs more then just those items but some restrictions on the kinds of foods would have them making better choices. No more steak,lobster,fannie mae candies,surgery cereals,potato chips,soda,donuts, ect. Keep it basic - chicken, ground beef,fruits,vegetables,dairy,healthy items and why not limit it to store brand when possible. After all many store brands are just as good as name brands and cost less. (unless of coarse you coupon) It is our tax dollars running these programs and the government needs to seriously take a look at ways to improve the system. Before you get your feathers ruffled I know not everyone is abusing. In these times many families need the extra help to put food on the table. I am just saying to make changes in the system so people will not be able to purchase unhealthy or expensive items. I know I have had to adjust my buying habits to make my budget work in these times. I think everyone can and needs to make changes.

Joined: 12/19/2011

I don't think the restrictions are necessary, as long as it's food it shouldn't matter. The problem with your suggestion is if you limit categories you remove choices for "picky" eaters and vegetarians. Suppose I'm a person who doesn't eat beef, poultry or pork and only eat SHELLfish, not trout, salmon, etc., only shellfish? You said no lobster, would you also exclude shrimp and crab? Should I now be forced to eat meat or just miss out on certain nutrients because the "taxpayers" have restricted my choices. How about the diabetic who should always have a piece of peppermint on his/her person? Under your suggestion, no candy. Some of the WIC approved cereals are sugary, so where is the limit? I think the restrictions as they are now are enough. Keep in mind, most people using Link cards are simply down on their luck because of the economy. They too are/were taxpayers and more importantly, they are ADULT human beings and should be treated as such.

In response to the original poster, the reason the lady in front of you in Meijer didn't use any coupons may be for 2 very good reasons, one does she have access to a computer AND printer, if she's using a link card she may not have money to print at the library or two, which I just experienced for the first time, and I'm still questioning if it's right; I went to Pete's Fresh Market and used coupons and a Link Card and I was told I had to pay tax on the coupon I used. I've never had that situation before. And because I was in a hurry and it was only 2 cents, I just paid it. Normally, I have a handful of coupons, but I was just getting a couple of things and had a $1 coupon and the cashier told me I owed 2 cents. As a matter of fact, that's how I found this site. I was looking to see if that was even legal. Think of the person who isn't working and has a link card and no cash, now that can't even afford to be thrifty, they have to wait for a sale and never use coupons.

But I fully agree with you, why not maximize your shopping by using coupons whenever possible?

Joined: 04/15/2010
Because we live in America

The problem isn't what you can buy, it is the people that scam the system. You get a certain dollar amount a month. If that person chooses to use it all on Filet's and Lobster who are we to judge. That person needs to feed themselves or family and they have to answer to themselves. We live in the LAND OF THE FREE, I would hate to live anywhere else!.

Joined: 11/09/2011
Land of the Free?

But you have to understand that what is free to you must be paid for by someone. And people who choose to eat luxury food items being paid for by someone else apparently don't answer to themselves or anyone else.

Joined: 05/24/2010
No Steak?

Why is it that just because a person has a link card they cant eat steak? Steak goes on sale too. As a matter of fact Filet Mignon was a great buy a week or so ago. If a guy happens to lose his job, why make it psychologically tougher for him buy telling him what he can and cant buy. How far do you go with not allowing people to buy things?

You cant buy a piece of candy for your kid.
You cant buy a cake for his birthday.
You cant ever buy a bag of chips for him
You cant ever buy him a coke
You cant ever buy him cookies
You cant ever buy him ice cream

Ok lets make them eat healthy.
Lets make him cut down on his sodium intake. Soup should have to be under 200 mg of sodium. No bacon. No cheese, no butter, no processed foods;
No lunch meat, no hot dogs, no tv dinners
No bleached enriched foods (white bread, white rice, crackers, flour)
Lets make the kids drink low fat milk.

Lets make him cut down on his sugar intake;
No canned fruit in syrup, no candy, no cookies, no pop tarts, no chocolate milk, no desert at all.
Then lets say anybody on a link card needs to be a vegan.
Oh that would save us money with no more meat to worry about.

You are right about one thing. Not everyone is abusing the system. As a matter of fact not even most people are abusing the sytem. We are all aware that there are abuses going on, but lets not tell somebody that they cant buy a steak if they want to. Lets not blame poor people's eating habits for the money problems in this country. Lets put the blame where it belongs with the waste our government is responsible for; 3 wars and a tax system that allows shelters for big corporations.

Joined: 08/21/2008
I am currently in a situation

I am currently in a situation where I have to have a Link card and I am very offended by the fact that you would think they should limit how the card is used. There are some people that abuse the system they lie about their income and that is why they have nice cars and clothes. My husband was out of work for almost 2 yrs and my income level went down to 1/4 of what it used to be. Just because I HAVE to use the link card does not mean that my children should not be able to have treats sometimes. I use LOTS of coupons and Jill's site and I still do not have enough money on my Link card to last my family until the end of the month.I buy very healthy foods and cook all of our meals at home, I make homemade baked goods for the kids treats, but sometimes they would like to have some Oreo's or choclate milk for example. It is very sad that people abuse this service that was put in place to help people like me. The goverment needs to do a better job screening to make sure the system is not ablused. I would also like to say that if steaks are on sale and I have a coupon (like the recent deal Jill posted) I do buy them and I don't believe that there is any problem with that. We work very hard and why shouldn't my husband and I be able to have a nice steak dinner after the kids go to bed especially since we don't go out anymore. My husband is now working and we should be able to stop using the Link card soon,I am not proud and very embarassed when I have to use this, I am glad my young children did not have to give up their occasional goodies because the government was not able to control what we eat.

Joined: 10/24/2010

Why don't LINK card users use coupons? (Was: "Getting the word out!")
Wow, it looks like my original post created quite a firestorm! That’s alright, I can handle the heat. Sometimes the only way to implement change is to burn down the old structures!
After reading the comments posted, I feel some of you totally missed my point. In the spirit of full disclosure, I should say that I’ve never been eligible for a Link card and I have no idea how it works. My household income is six figures and I rarely go anywhere or buy anything unless it’s on sale and I have a coupon. A few years ago my husband had to two periods of unemployment and they were the longest periods of my life. I literally had panic attacks thinking about the bills. I drive a gas guzzling 8 year old SUV but I secretly want to be a Beemer B. I shop at both thrift stores and department stores for clothing, and I used to get my nails done regularly until my favorite manicurist moved and I haven’t found anyone else willing to put up with me and my fussiness.
I never said or implied “ that someone using a LINK card is somehow not worthy of name brand items and should only be purchasing generic items.” Buy whatever brand you want! As we’ve all learned by now, using a coupon for a brand name item and buying it when it is on sale and stockpiling can be cheaper than shopping at Aldi’s . (I love Aldi’s by the way!) And, yes, if I had my coupon inserts with me, I would have gladly given the customer in front of me coupons. Eyes on my own cart? Are you kidding me? If you’ve got something good in your cart, I want it too! Got a cute baby upfront? I love babies!
Why do some of you think that just because someone is looking at you or your cart they are judging you negatively? Or that if you’re using a coupon the cashier is upset with you?
If the system inadvertently punishes Link cardholders for using coupons, let’s write our state representatives and change the system! If there are people abusing the system, let’s change the system to minimize fraud! If there are cardholders who don’t know how to use coupons, let’s show them how! If there are people who can’t afford to buy the newspaper, let’s figure out a way to collect unused coupons and make them accessible!
For those of you who know how the system works, or who have ideas on how to help others, please PM me your thoughts and ideas. Together we can be the change we want to be. (Ok, so Gandhi said it first, but it’s a great thought!)

Joined: 09/03/2008
I totally got what you were saying

when I read your first post. Just trying to better understand on how "we" as a group can be helpful to those in need. Had many conversations with a gal who helps run the Northern IL food pantry on this very same subject.

To the person who mentioned "it is our tax dollars running these programs", a thought occurred to me: that the many people who have recently started using government subsidized programs to support their family had at one time contributed to paying taxes. I have many clients who have worked religiously for over 20-30 years who now have found themselves out of work.

Joined: 10/19/2009

I have never used the LINK card but I have to imagine the money going further with coupons. But I also understand that having the extra cash to cover it can be a problem.

However, I have to agree with a previous poster stating some of the commonly seen scenarios of LINK users walking out to Cadillacs or other fancy cars. I see many people with their nails done and their children in name brand clothes. I am pretty sure LINK doesn't cover those items (yes, that was sarcasm). There has to be cash flow somewhere and if there is, it should be applied to the tax on coupons, in my humble opinion, of course.

Joined: 12/29/2010
Oh noez, not LINK users with

Oh noez, not LINK users with fancy cars! How terrible that those poor people are driving nice cars! They must have either stolen them or acquired them by milking the system. They couldn't possibly have been people who fell on hard times after having worked for years. And they definitely aren't folks who have borrowed a car or bummed a ride from a friend or relative with a nice car.

Okay, so why don't LINK users (or SNAP recipients) use coupons? They might not know they can. They might not have any cash to purchase the papers. They may not have any space to store food. There are homeless people on SNAP and TANF.

Coupon Maven
Joined: 07/02/2008
The thing is...

... it's tough to judge when one does not know another person's situation. I know I have one reader on here who shops for her daughter, who is on LINK, and is unable to grocery shop for herself.

In her situation, she is not on LINK, dresses nice, has a nice car, and hears lots of comments from shoppers and cashiers about how she doesn't "need it." We never know what someone's situation actually is.

My kids wear a lot of name-brand clothes... that was purchased crazy-cheap on clearance. You know? :)

Joined: 08/02/2010
Let's empower people rather than judge them

I LOVE the idea of teaching Super-Couponing to LINK card recipients!
The link card does not cover some very expensive items, such as toiletries, feminine hygene, diapers, household cleaners etc; .By teaching Super-Couponing skills to LINK recipients would be the same idea as "teach a man to fish and he can eat for a lifetime".
Think of how great we all feel when we come out of the store after finding some great coupon deals! If the person uses the Super-Couponing skills to make their budgets and link benefits stretch a little farther it would empower someone who is otherwise having a rough time making ends make. I think it is a great idea!

Joined: 06/27/2010
LINK Cards

People who use LINK cards are not using them because they WANT to be on the program. They are using them because they have NO CHOICE but to be on the program. And you can only buy things that carry a nutrition label with a LINK card. You can NOT buy toilet paper, bath soap, dish detergent, tooth paste, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, laundry detergent, pet food, alcohol or cigarettes. The money allotted by the LINK program rarely lasts the month even WITH Super-couponing. Furthermore, people on LINK don't have the money to be buying four or more newspapers to stockpile coupons. You would be surprised how many people with LINK cards DO coupon to try to make the precious little assistance that they are given last a little longer each month before they have to hit the local food pantry. Or do their shopping exclusively at Aldi or another cut-rate grocery store. If you wanted to help the woman you might have just offered her some extra coupons rather than judging.

But at the bottom of all this discussion is this: much like the discussion two months ago or so about a woman buying drink mix at Target who was outed on this site as "hoarding" I think this falls under the category of Eyes On Your Own Cart. My life is hard enough without also judging everyone else I encounter on the Road of Life every day. I wouldn't appreciate anyone passing judgment on my purchases so who am I to do that to anyone else? That is why I always give away my coupons that are for products that I know I will never use. IE: baby products, pet products, many cereals, soda, chips/cookies/snack type items, many prepared foods, etc. I rarely trade; I just give them to people who NEED them; paying it forward. That is what helps people; not judgment.

It is very easy to jump to conclusions and make snap judgments. But think how much easier it would be to just offer a hand UP and how much better it would make you feel. I have given many coupons [that I wasn't going to use] away inside of grocery stores for just that reason. It never fails to brighten my day.

P.S. It isn't just Meijer that requires you to make up the tax difference in cash. It is ALL grocery stores.

Joined: 02/14/2010

Yes most people who use link need it but their are alot who abuse it. As a cashier at a grocery store I see it all. Some buy lobster, expensive meats, fannie mae candy, expensive stuff from the deli. They argue with you when they cannot buy a cooked chicken with the card and I tell them for half the price they can cook it themselves like I do after a long day at work. There have been some that ask for help out to their new expensive cars. Some have told me they have just came back from a great vacation or that they are going to the dells and then pay with a link card. They know how to abuse all us hard working people and it just burns me up. Maybe if they find a way to get rid of them it will leave more for the prople that really need it.

Joined: 05/27/2011

I see cart after cart of what i call junk food.
sodas, cookies candy etc.
NO meat etc. that isn't judging in my opinion.
yes some is fine with me have chidren and understand that but when that is all that is in the cart that is wrong. and i noticed that most were over weight.
so it goes both ways.

Joined: 09/21/2008
What baffles me...is the beer

weird... but everyone gets thirsty now and again.

Joined: 06/27/2010
CANNOT use LINK to buy alcohol or cigarettes

You can only use LINK benefits to buy items which carry a NUTRITIONAL LABEL on them. No alcohol, cigarettes, pet food, toothpaste, bath soap, laundry detergent, deodorant, pet food, dish soap, shampoo or conditioner.

Joined: 06/27/2010
CANNOT use LINK to buy alcohol or cigarettes

There is an echo in here!

Joined: 10/02/2010

Amen... happens all to often and I know many people personally who abuse the system in this manner and even they say they can't believe how easy/ loosely regulated it is. One friend said it is better for her not to work, a min. wage job would greatly reduce her state assistance and in the end, she would lose money.

It is unfortunate for the people who truly need it.

Joined: 11/02/2010

Thanks to the CHEATERS, there is always going to be less for those who truly need it. The constant abuse also hurts those who work so hard at an honest living and have much of their wages taken away to pay for this kind of abuse. (due to taxes).

That goes for coupons too. Whenever there is abuse -- those who are honest seem to lose.

An example is the rule regarding internet coupons. When I tried to use a coupon for BOGO Sunbelt granola bars at Woodman's, the cashier told me they couldn't accept it because it was an internet coupon and there was too much FRAUD to be able to accept a "BOGO" coupon. I tried to find a store that sells sunbelt but couldn't other than Woodman's. I also had no success finding Woodman's policy. Does anyone know if this is true? I was a little upset because my kids like these kind of granola bars and I had wasted my ink printing these out. (It was in
pdf format). Thanks.

Joined: 08/10/2009

people really shouldnt judge. everyone has their own reasons for what they do, i also go to the food pantry sometimes and sometimes i even get food and donate the same day. i donate stuff we cant use due to allergies or just cant use, i get it free with coupons and it makes me feel good to help and be helped.i have gotten some strange looks on getting pet food, some people judge and think i cant afford my pets so i should get rid of them. i have had them since birth , 6 years and they are a part of my family. just because hubby lost his job and no more work for now doesnt mean to get rid of them. link for me is just temp.

Joined: 08/10/2009

thanks, you are correct not everyone wants to be on link. i dont thats for sure, i would much rather be working and have money to go out and buy what i want. just so you know all stores do not make you pay when useing coupons, i also shop at gfs, walmart, jewel, montgomery market place and a few more and have never been adked for any cash. only meijer and walgreens. and dominicks did pay me .

Joined: 06/27/2010
LINK - coupons - cash

I have a friend on LINK and I give her coupons for almost everything she buys with her LINK card. I also drive her to the stores for her shopping trips to help her get the hang of super-couponing. We have been to Meijer, Jewel, Dominick's, and Aldi. And YES, she has had to pay cash at Meijer, Jewel and Dominick's when using coupons. Aldi, of course, doesn't accept coupons. Your experience is different because you purchase different things.

I have discussed this with CS at all three stores mentioned and have been told the same thing...it depends on ALL your purchases, TOTAL amount of purchase, and VALUE of coupons. It can also vary depending how the coupon is entered: as GROCERY or properly keyed-in. If someone purchases all their food and cleaning products in the same order there are two different taxes involved. [I always split my orders up and the checkers at Jewel say they do the same thing. And my friend separates her orders too.] If you buy a pound of steak and a bottle of bleach in the same order and present a coupon for the bleach which makes it FREE but that coupon is entered as grocery you will STILL have to pay the TOTAL purchase price and tax for the bleach! Why? Because the coupon was entered as "grocery" and thus was applied to the STEAK and not the BLEACH. I was also told by CS at Jewel that the computers automatically apply coupons to higher taxed items and thus lower taxed items may have to be paid for in cash. All stores require the customer to pay the tax difference between the total value of the item and what the coupon reduces it to. Many people don't know because they aren't using LINK cards. It is just part of the total that the cashier presents at the end of the order.

The implication in the original post that someone using a LINK card is somehow not worthy of name brand items and should only be purchasing generic items really bothered me. It reminded me of the lines for surplus government cheese [EEW!] in the 1980's under ronnie reagan after he cut food stamps (as they were called then) and all other social programs for the poor. He actually said there were "NO hungry or poor people in this country because he hadn't seen any!" And we were in the midst of yet another recession!

Joined: 03/14/2009
"The implication in the

"The implication in the original post that someone using a LINK card is somehow not worthy of name brand items and should only be purchasing generic items "

where does she imply this at all in her post?
All I got was her suggesting Jill help out specifically w/ the link peeps.

Joined: 03/21/2010
judging others

I completely agree Rhonda. There is nothing in the original poster's comments that indicated LINK users as "unworthy of name brand items." Instead I see comments like: "Not begrudging families who use link cards." "Doubting that LINK users don't use coupons because they get their groceries for free" and just plain concern for both the users and the tax payers who fund the LINK program. And what is wrong with that? Nothing.

It is quite interesting though isn't it, that people who are always so quick to throw around the label, "judgmental" are actually the ones that are judgmental themselves. So much so that they make up comments about others that clearly are not there. (They also are very quick to show how "good" they themselves are: See this person's first post about how many coupons he gives away).

Thank you to the original poster for bringing up a sensitive topic that many of us are curious about and through this thread of conversation, have learned quite a lot on how the LINK program works.

Joined: 08/10/2009
link and coupons

link is not "free food" link is provided by the taxes we pay. my hubby has worked 25 years in masonry and is off now due to no work. we had to get the link card. temprorarly. we get $361 a month for a family of four because we own our home. we would bet over 700 a month if we didnt, so we use coupons alot to make it through. when you sign up thye tell you to use coupons as much as possible. the problem link users have at meijer is you have to pay cash for every coupon you use. it can be as little as 2 cents up to 47 cents each coupon. some people just dont have the extra cash to use.my friend who got hurt in a wreck and has to be off gets link will not use coupons due to having to pay cash. she just doest have it. she collects cans just to help pay her bills.

Joined: 02/20/2010

a8n3fan--I just had a few questions about the Link card and Meijer.

You stated that Link users have to pay cash for every coupon you use. Is there some calculation to this? A percentage of the coupon value, the product value?

Is this stated in the coupon policy at Meijer or something in their acceptance of Link?

It sounds very odd (not that I'm doubting you) that a store could charge you to use coupons because you are paying with what seems to be a "pre-paid" credit card.
I wonder if this is a legit practice, although I guess a store's coupon policy is a store's coupon policy.

Joined: 08/10/2009

i have no idea how it works. meijer and walgreens are the only places i know that you have to pay cash. and dominicks sometimes gives you a small amout of cash back. i got $2.60 back one time, i was all worried and called kendall county and they said it happens if its under $5 just keep it, it does come off the link anyway. i think jill is right and when you have to pay at meijer it is some kind of tax

Coupon Maven
Joined: 07/02/2008

What they have to pay is the tax. When you use a coupon, stores do want the tax paid in cash, not with LINK. I do understand how frustrating this is for LINK users.

Joined: 08/21/2008
Jill, I always use coupons

I always use coupons and have a Link card, but I have never had to pay tax execpt at Walgreens. There have actually been a few times the register has said I was to get cash back. Some cashiers are very unkind and have given me nasty looks and comments as if I were stealing when this happens and I have had others that said I was the one who put the time and effort in to use coupons so I must be due the money back. Keep in mind this has never been more than $2 and I have refused the money, but the ones that told me to take it made me take it or it would mess up their totals at the end of the day. When I use my OYNO coupons at Dominicks it always triggers cash back, so I try to save those for times I'm only buying non food items or the times I am paying cash out of my pocket so I can avoid the nasty people.
Also at Jewel you should always pay for your non food items in a separate order as some coupons will deduct the total off of your food and I end up having to pay the full price (less any perfered savings)for my TP, shampoo etc.
I also pay seperatly at Walgreens as it is the opposite of Jewel non of the food coupons come off the food they come off of the non food items. Also even if I don't use coupons on food items at Walgreens I always have to pay tax, their computers are just not set up correctly. I have call numerous times, but they said they have no control over it, I have no time to argue with them I just pay the tax which is usually under a $1.

Coupon Maven
Joined: 07/02/2008
I appreciate your insight

That is interesting to me, as the store I usually hear about people having to pay the tax in cash (with LINK, that is,) is at Jewel! I wonder if they are not separating food and non-food there too though, as yes, the two different tax rates can trip things up. I had not heard this about Walgreens before.

Joined: 08/21/2008
They must no be separating

They must no be separating their items at Jewel, yestarday for example I did an order with about 30 coupons including some for free items(kelloggs deal) and was never asked to pay cash. Some food items are not included in the Link program such as energy drinks and prepared food for example maybe they bought something that wasn't covered. It may also be the cashier not processing the payment correctly since all Link orders are tax free, I think that is what the problem is at Walgreens I believe their computers are not set up to tax exempt Link orders or the cashiers are not properly trained to do so.
I hope this help some people or encourages them to use more coupons with Link they will make their limited Link funds last so much longer.

Coupon Maven
Joined: 07/02/2008

I hope this help some people or encourages them to use more coupons with Link they will make their limited Link funds last so much longer.

I love what you wrote, and I hope the same. Over the years I've been blogging, some of the happiest emails I've received were from people who were simultaneously on Link and were couponing, and they'd gotten themselves to a better place financially, where they were writing things like "I'm now off Link because of my couponing."

That's pretty powerful!

Joined: 02/20/2010

Doesn't having LINK give some sort of tax exemption to the order? That just makes no sense to me. Or is that the coupons are seen as "cash payment" and therefore that part of the order cannot be tax exempt?

Coupon Maven
Joined: 07/02/2008

The coupons are seen as "cash" payment, and the tax then must also be paid in cash.

If they use LINK and no coupons, it pays for the whole thing (groceries AND tax.) Inadvertently, LINK may cause people NOT to coupon if they do not have the money to cover the tax.