Jill Cataldo: What is a ‘filler? Your key to a better deal | Features / Entertainment
DEAR JILL: I’m trying to learn couponing and have seen more than a few coupon websites that refer to buying a “filler”. What is a filling? I don’t really understand this and I often see travel reports from buyers saying that they received something free “as filler”. Please explain. – Mina S.
A filler item is simply a small, low-cost item that you buy for the sole purpose of reaching a spending threshold to save even more money. Let me give you some examples.
I recently bought some new shorts and shirts from an online retailer specializing in workwear and outdoor accessories. The retailer was offering free shipping and an additional 10% savings if you purchased items valued at $ 50. I had $ 45.09 worth of clothes in my shopping cart. It would have cost $ 9.99 to ship my order if I hadn’t hit the $ 50 mark, so it was worth browsing through the other items for sale on the site to find something around the 5 mark. $ to increase my total to over $ 50.
I needed a filling. Adding something priced around $ 5 would not only save me $ 9.99 in shipping costs, but I would also save around $ 5 for adding this inexpensive item. I used the store’s website to sort their available items by price, and quickly found my filler – a $ 4.95 bundle of dog waste bags.
Adding this item brought my total to $ 50.04. I saved 10% more to reach $ 50, and paid $ 45.04 instead of $ 55.08 – the cost of the clothes I wanted if I had to pay the shipping and that I was also not entitled to the additional 10% discount.
Coupon buyers often notice that the filler item is “free” in a deal like this because it’s usually something they didn’t intend to buy, but buying from. the filler item saved them more money than not buying it. I certainly didn’t go to this retailer’s site specifically to purchase dog waste bags, but financially it was the filler item that made the most sense. (I have a dog, so I’ll use the bags anyway.)
Here is another example of a filler. A hardware store in my area regularly mails $ 5 coupons on a purchase of $ 25 or more. I went to the store to buy materials for a garden project, and my total was $ 24.12. Again, I needed a little infill, around 88 cents or so, to hit the $ 25 mark and bring my total down to $ 20.
This hardware store sells nuts and bolts in bulk around the 25 cent mark, so I considered buying a few. Then I spotted a pallet of torn mulch bags at the front of the store. These bags have been reduced to just 50 cents each. I added two bags of mulch to bring my total to $ 25.12, redeemed my coupon and reduced the total of all my items to $ 20.12! Both bags of mulch were great fillers, considering mulch typically sells for $ 2.99 a bag, and sure enough, I went home and added it to my flower bed.
If you’re shopping for a sale that involves a spend threshold, or using a discount coupon that requires you to hit a specific amount before you can qualify for the extra savings, here are my favorite tips for finding a great filler item:
- Look for an item that is priced closest to the dollar amount you need to reach. When you calculate your additional savings, it doesn’t matter exactly which item you select, only it qualifies you for the additional savings, which are greater than the cost of the item itself.
- If you find several items that could be considered as fillers, then
you are free to choose the one that best suits your needs. However, don’t disqualify an item just because it’s something you wouldn’t use. Achieving the greatest dollar savings is the goal when using a filler.
Jill Cataldo, coupon workshop instructor, writer and mother of three, never misses a good deal. Learn more about Super-Couponing on their website, www.jillcataldo.com. Email your own wins and questions to [email protected]