Let’s Talk about Couponing!

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OK, ok, we’re all here to save money right? To find a way to stretch the dollar a little more.. make each penny count. We love the rush of finding the deal and matching the coupons, getting to the store and finding what we want and paying pennies on the dollar for them right?
But have you seen the news lately? All of the Anti-Extreme-Couponing articles? Why are they attacking one of the things we like to do? What is so wrong about it?
The short answer- Nothing! If you are doing it responsibly.

There are a lot of changes happening in the couponing world. Stores are changing their couponing policies because of how people are couponing. The best suggestion? Know you’re policies. I have some of them posted under Resources – if you would like others let me know. Don’t go into a store expecting them to take every coupon you have in your binder.

Make sure you read your coupons. Remember that “One per Purchase” really is one per item purchased – where as “One per transaction” really means just that. Remember those couponing policies vary from store to store, and by location to location.

Often how a coupon is accepted depends on how the manager reads them. It can be frustrating, but if you don’t like the result – remember you don’t have to finish the transaction, you can take your coupon and leave.

When you go out, be organized and considerate. Don’t clear those shelves. I’ve said that several times. If I want to get 8 of something but they have only 8 in stock, I will usually hit a second location. I don’t want to clear the shelves for someone who might need it. Like I’ve said before, remember those diapers you just filled your cart with – some mother might need those for their baby (and may not have a coupon). Try to leave something on the shelves – you already know what it’s like when others clear the shelves and you can’t get your deal.

So what do you do if you can’t get that deal? Get the raincheck! Sometimes it works out better, you have less out of pocket (OOP) to pay initially, OR sometimes they put general notes down like “Degree Deodorant” instead of the specific type that was on sale – now you can use it on whatever scent/variety you want.

So where do you get the coupons if you’re going to do it responsibly? Buy them – as in out of the paper – NOT ONLINE. I have never used a clipping service. My hands and chopper are my clipping service.

That’s right – don’t buy them online. Why is it I’m stressing this again? It works for some people – yes. However, the government is starting to crack down on clipping services, ebay sellers etc. There are changes on the winds – a lot of changes – don’t get caught in the cross fire.

So how many papers should you buy? That’s up to you! I started with 3, and now buy 6. Now I don’t use all of my coupons (ever play games on my facebook page?) I give a lot out. I also buy for my family in an area that doesn’t get as good of coupons. That is allowed. I paid for them, I can give them out. Simple. But I don’t sell them, I don’t auction them – I GIVE them out. I even give them to the cute little old ladies in the line buying the Gold Bond, or Fixodent or whatever other random thing I have in the binder I will never use, but they have in their hands.

There is this common misconception that I’ve seen in the comments of these articles – “You’re using coupons, everyone loses – they hike the prices because you are using coupons” blah blah blah. These people have never used a coupon, or read one. When you use a coupon, the store gets refunded the amount the coupon is rewarded for and 8¢. That is if you use them properly. This is another reason to use your own coupons- stores are cracking down on “gang cut” coupons or groups all cut together and the cuts match up for 12 or more. If your store submits these coupons and gets flagged when they submit them, they will not get paid.

So you see why it’s important to coupon responsibly? I’m not sure when this whole “crack down” on the couponing community is going to happen- I don’t know how bad it will get, I just see them making a few examples out of people, and know I don’t want to be one of them.  I don’t want any of you to be on the wrong side of the axe either.

Yes, it costs to buy your papers, and you will get coupons you don’t use. That’s why you can donate them, or you can create a Coupon Trading Club where you can get more of your coupons from your friends.

So now you are using coupons properly right? Now what? Go shop – but please don’t turn into an episode of Hoarders! That is another complaint on the Anti-Couponing campaign – we’re all hoarders. Yes, I have a lot of deodorant, body wash and razors.. gosh.. I paid less than 10% MSRP for each one, and if I stopped couponing right now I’d be set on that stuff for the rest of the year if not further into next year. My house is not a grocery store, I can close all of my cupboards (that we’re not broken to start), I can close the linen closet, and my extra “stock pile” fits on two shelving units in the basement. I have very little food, except some things with longer expiration dates. Yes, I have stuff in my house, but until you saw my shelves down stairs you wouldn’t know I coupon.

So why go to the Extreme? Do you really need 400 tubes of toothpaste? or 700 body washes? How many teeth do you have? How many showers do you take?

Besides taking up room – it becomes an obsession – why do you need all of that stuff?

Here is the next point they bring up- it’s an ADDICTION – people are obsessed with couponing. Even my friend and I toss this back and forth to each other. Are we obsessed? No – we’re not. We’re like you, we like the hunt, we like the deal, we like getting things cheap, and we’re on limited budgets. It depends on what the deals are if we actually go for them – certain body washes, certain items, free items etc etc.  I don’t buy every item I can – that’d be silly!

Know your budget – before you go out set your spending goal. I’ve done this every time, and only once I completely blown my budget. I get weeks worth of groceries and other items and still have money left over.

Just remember that because you have a coupon doesn’t mean you HAVE to use it. We don’t have kids, why would I use those diaper coupons? And I sure don’t need the Men’s Rogaine!

I hope you all are excited about couponing, and you are planning on doing it responsibly. Don’t do anything to that would get you in trouble with the law.



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