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Posted: 9:48 a.m. Wednesday, March 5, 2014

3 Big Effects of Extreme Couponing on Grocery Stores

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By Melissa King, Contributor

ClarkHoward.com


Over the past few years, couponers have seen many restrictive changes in stores’ coupon policies. Some people blame the restrictions on a certain television show that illustrates in detail exactly how couponers are saving so much money.

Some of the couponers featured on reality TV not only saved money, but the stores owed them money by the time the transactions were over!

Yet some achieved their extreme savings by unethical practices, which has cost all couponers in the long run. Whether or not this show is the cause, here are 3 big changes we've seen in coupon policies across the nation.

1. Limitations on Coupon Doubling


Some grocery store chains used to offer double or even triple the face value of coupons. But stores have cut way back on the amount they will allow coupons to be doubled to.

For example, one nationwide grocery store chain will only allow coupons to be doubled up to $1.00. Another large grocery chain no longer allows doubling coupons at all. This has drastically reduced the amount of savings that some couponers were able to find.

2. Reluctance To Accept Internet Coupons


The Internet is a one stop source of free coupons. Companies put coupons on their websites that can be printed out and used just like manufacturer's coupons found in newspaper inserts.

The biggest problem with these kinds of coupons is that a small percentage of disreputable couponers print them out, and then make photocopies of them and try to pass them off as being original. This practice is actually fraud and has caused some stores to refuse to accept them.

3. Limited Quantities of Coupons Accepted


According to their coupon policies, some stores are now limiting the numbers of coupons that can be used during one transaction. For example, a store might set a limit of 4 like coupons. This means that only 4 coupons for the same item can be used in one transaction and only 4 of that item can be purchased.

In order to comply with this policy, couponers could make several trips to the store during the week in order to purchase the quantity desired. Another option would be to break the items up into several transactions during the same shopping trip. It is best to consult with the cashier and to make sure that it is okay with him or her before doing this!

It can be difficult to keep up with the changes in stores’ policies and sometimes it’s also disappointing to see the changes, but it’s very important for couponers to follow and respect their local store policies.

Melissa King, a Savings.com DealPro, lives in Savannah, GA. She enjoys "Paying It Forward"  in her community. Check her out on her blog at ThisMommySavesMoney.com.


Clark's take:
I'm all for people saving money with coupons, but I don't really use them in my own life. The truth is I'm a flake when it comes to coupons—I have trouble keeping track of them and frequently lose them! In lieu of coupons, I'm all about buying store brands and shopping at a hard discounter like Aldi to save big bucks on groceries.


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