I once read a post about couponing etiquette when I was first couponing. It made such a big difference for me to understand the “rules” of couponing. There was also a Do’s and Dont’s of couponing that was really good reading when I first started. Someitmes you make mistakes as a beginner and you learn from your lessons, but when you continue to do the same things over and over you can no longer claim that you “didn’t know” it was wrong.
Recently, there has been more and more cracking down on illegal coupon use, and it is a good thing. Fraudulent use of coupons hurts all couponers and consumers. There are so many good deals out there that there is no need to use coupons in a way that they were not intended for.
It is possible to “extreme” coupon and follow even strict coupon policies. For our shopping trip we followed the following guidelines that are the store policy where we shop:
- We purchased no more than 10 of any item.
- We doubled and tripled 1 (one) like coupon.
- We did not pre-order anything.
This was a very realistic and achievable shopping trip that anyone would be able to do. The difference that the doubles and triples made on my receipt was $5.15. So if your store does not double or triple your total would have been $11.12 and not $5.97 (mine). The difference on Paul’s was $4.59.
There is no need to do anything fraudulent to achieve these results! Here are the 2 most important things that I believe in as a couponer, thanks to Cincy Savers.
Leave some behind (don’t clear shelves)
While I may talk about buying 20 packages of oatmeal during a sale, I don’t buy them all at once. I make sure my store has plenty in stock for other shoppers by making multiple trips or special ordering through the store manager. Being fair to the stores and other shoppers means that other shoppers won’t get mad at the store. This helps both the store and the other shoppers and is just good practice.
Use coupons for products they’re intended for
If a coupon says $1 off two, buy two. If it’s a coupon for 12 ounces only, buy the 12 ounce, not the 8 ounce, even if the cashier or register doesn’t catch the discrepancy. Don’t use Swiffer coupons on diapers. All these are a form of misredeption and coupon fraud which costs manufacturers and stores millions every year. In essence, if you know the coupon you’re using isn’t being redeemed properly, it’s the same as shoplifting.
Extreme couponing is a fun and great way to stretch your families budget. It is an awesome feeling to have the confidence to know, that if something were to happen to my husband, and we had to live off my income alone that I would be able to take care of my children. But, I believe that if you abuse it, it will all go away.