by: Shelley Valentin - Filpo, March 27, 2012
The SmartSource company (yes, the same company that publishes the Smart Source inserts in your papers) places coupon machines in various grocery stores. They are attached or placed on a shelf typically in front of the products they are promoting the savings for so that you can take a coupon right away to save on that item during your current (or future) visit. 
These SmartSource coupon machines are often referred to as “blinkies” by most couponers. They get this name because the coupon dispensers usually have a blinking light designed to attract your attention while walking down the grocery store aisles (I also believe they have telepathic abilities too..... at least with me they do - I keep getting that message to "Take More!"....... LOL! I am kidding here ..... do panic just yet, I am still somewhat sane!) 
Anyway, blinkies are again, usually found directly in front of (or at least near) the product for which the coupon is being dispensed for - they are free - and of course, you can take as many as you need (or the machine tells you to take.......yep, just kidding again!) Seriously, these coupons also have an expiration date (like those found in your inserts so you can and are encouraged to use some now and take some to be used at a later date as long as it is before the coupon has expired (it doesn’t have to be used on the date you find it). They also do not need to be used at the store where they are found, but can be used at any store where manufacturer coupons are accepted. This is were the Divalicious method kicks in........ I rarely if ever use the blinkie I find on the day I find it, unless of course it falls into the perfect scenario of: Store Sale (BOGO and I have a matching set of SQ (store coupons) to stack along with them.......) sadly, so far, to date, this hasn't happened - but hope isn't lost....... In any case, until that day does arrive, my method is this: I pull that little cutie from the blinker, next, I file it and many of its friends (usually 4 - 6) into my trusty little binder and once home, I begin to research all the current and upcoming sales to see were they might be best used...... remember, patience pays in the couponing/savings quest! 
Sounds great and it truly is ........ however, here is were my beliefs of "doing the right thing" and "paying good things forward" come into play........ While Blinkie coupons are free and no coupon police will chase you down if you do take to many (at least none that I know of......hummmmm) there are some basic etiquette rules that I invite you to consider when taking them. 
1) If you pull a coupon from the Blinkie machine and decide that you don’t want it, there is a slot on top where you can replace it so that someone else can use it. 
2) Second, the most important rule in my book is....... to only take the number of coupons that you will actually use. 
I say this is the most important rule because these machines are intended to bless everyone with the opportunity to save on their products - not just educated couponers that "KNOW" their true inherent values and potentials! This reason plus the fact as we all know....... there are a limited number of coupons in each Blinkie coupon machine, so it would be a nasty thing to hoard them only to need to toss them down the road because you never spotted the perfect deal to use them and many other everyday couponers that may not have cared to save 95% instead the 15% or so those coupons afforded them would have been great....... but they missed out because ALL the coupons were taken! The final tradgedy to that scenario is of course the manufacturer would be mislead into believing that this particular product didn't do very well in your market and would likely not repost coupons for that or similar items in the future...... that is tragic if you ask me! 
The moral of this story is to please - please - PLEASE ....simply take the number that you believe that you will realistically use and of course you can always go back if you need more. 
Enjoy your blinkie hunting....... game ON! 

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