4 Practical Tips: How to Coupon with Etiquette!
When I first started couponing (almost 10 years ago) I made a lot of mistakes that did not necessarily cost me money. After I learned the ropes of couponing, I began to see my grocery bill nearly drop in half because I had learned the proper technique to couponing.
BUT did you know that there is proper etiquette to be followed when couponing? Maybe you are not aware of it, but there are guidelines we should all be conscious of when we choose to accept couponing into our life. These “rules” are not very difficult to adhere to once you know exactly what they are. Let’s take a little gander at what we all should be doing to make our shopping trips more smooth, our stores happier, and our manufacturers by printing or using that paper cash!
I write this article as a couponing friend and not a foe. I find it hard myself to speak of the ethics in couponing. I know everyone should be following the rules and yet don’t. As couponers and saving experts, companies are cracking down on fraudulent use and those who play by the rules are the ones often hurt. Please be mindful when I say; it pays for us all to follow the guidelines below.
Follow the rules of the coupon verbage: Each coupon has its own set of requirements set by their corresponding company. We must follow these guidelines when we put their offers and coupons to use. Never use a coupon that is expired, it is strictly prohibited unless specified differently by the store in which you intend to use it. You will also need to be clear on the coupon wording used to describe the size and product restriction. Just because a coupon scans at the register, does not mean you have used it correctly. Also, be aware that coupons may have set limits on like coupons used in one shopping trip or per transaction or even per household. If you don’t stick to these guidelines, you can consider yourself committing fraud. Shame on those who shrug these rules off for their own personal gain, you only hurt the rest of us by committing to such serious deviance.
Don’t take what isn’t yours: This one is pretty simple. Don’t steal papers from newspaper bins or take inserts you have not purchased outright. When you do this, you are stealing. It is considered shoplifting for which you can and surely will be rightfully prosecuted! You would not believe the amount of arrests and convictions happening across the country due to these careless and reckless acts of theft. Plus, you are taking money directly out of newspaper carrier’s pockets and food from their children’s mouth. Someone still has to pay for these missing editions right? Remember, you live in a community that is highly supportive of our frugal ways and even offers special programs to get your coupons at a tremendous bargain. As always, I caution you to use these programs in an appropriate and responsible manner. Nobody needs 30+ of one coupon and this sort of abuse restricts others from participating in the programs when the coupons available run dry.
The easiest way to get coupons without paying is by printing them online or asking friends, family or co-workers for their inserts.
Clearing shelves is a no-no: If there are only a few items left on the shelves, then by all means they are yours to purchase. But, by going into a store and taking 50 of the same product, you are unknowingly causing serious issues for the store and other patrons. Stores can’t keep up with the demand and shoppers are angry that they can’t get the same deals. Nobody likes to find the shelf void of their hopeful sale score right? It often forces stores to reconsider their purchase limits and restructure their coupon acceptance policy. Bringing with it images of coupon crazed junkies sitting atop their pile of 60 unused and expired yellow mustards!
We have already seen lots of changes to coupon limits. Such as Price Chopper & ShopRite allowing only 4 like coupons per transaction. P&G coupon no have a limit as well. Some select coupons are also placing fine print on limit of like coupons per transaction.
Follow the store policy: Each store has their own predetermined guidelines for coupon acceptance. You can find each stores individual policy online via their websites or by requesting to view a copy in-store. Some are simple and some are a bit more complex, but you need to read them if you plan on shopping their stores. I encourage you to print them, read them, commit them to memory, and carry a copy with you in case an issue arises. These policies are in place to protect you as the consumer and the store as a business. So, don’t try pulling a fast one on them. If you use a coupon that is copied or not for that indended item the store does not get reimbursed for that coupon (even though is scanned)/ You can and could be banned if you cross the line from simple mistake into malicious intent.
I want you to know that couponing is certainly a valuable asset to have in your skill set of saving tools. But, the role comes with a heightened sense of morality and personal responsibility. You owe it to the stores, the manufacturers, and yourself to make the best use of coupons in an ethical and responsible way. If you adhere to the simple rules I have placed before you, we will all get to share in couponing adventures together for a lifetime to come.
So in an effort to help ensure our couponing futures, please raise your right hand and with your left hand placed on top of this articicle 🙂 . Let’s vow to couponers everywhere that you will do your best to be a smart, responsible, and savvy deal seeker! By taking this pledge, you promise to always remain mindful of these rules, be ethical in your dealings, be conscientious of other shoppers, and to continue showing gratitude that these offers even exist for us to partake in.
I write this artcile as a refresher coarse to those who are already experts in couponing and those who are just getting started.