If You Don’t See a Payoff with Coupons, You Won’t Use Them. So, Stop Beating Yourself Up!

In one week, I must have had three people apologize to me for not couponing the “correct” way. Listen up:

1. There’s no “correct” way to coupon.

2. It takes time to figure out how to coupon the correct way for your lifestyle.

3. I am far from perfect when using coupons.  Continue reading “If You Don’t See a Payoff with Coupons, You Won’t Use Them. So, Stop Beating Yourself Up!”

Important Info for Anyone Using Color or Black and White Printable Coupons

It was one of those “good” couponing days where I bought $48 worth of groceries but paid $14 out-of-pocket. This was made possible by a bunch of printable coupons — some were printed by accident in color, others in black and white. Continue reading “Important Info for Anyone Using Color or Black and White Printable Coupons”

What Normal People Are Totally Confused About When It Comes to Couponing

I attended a couponing workshop last night in Trumbull, CT, given by Gina Juliano (of Gina’s Kokopelli website). It was a joy to sit in the audience for once so I could relax, concentrate and take notes on what others were asking Gina. It is amazing how much there is to learn about couponing! Here’s what the audience had to say, and here are some answers to the top 10 questions that I also typically get when I give a workshop. Continue reading “What Normal People Are Totally Confused About When It Comes to Couponing”

Another Grocery Store Associate Criticizes Couponers

Here we go again…people who use coupons criticized.

A Dear Abby article in the papers today shines a critical light on couponers once again. In brief, the letter, from a grocery store associate, says that coupons are a necessary evil, and coupons left on shelves for others shoppers to use pose a hazard because they clog up drains in dairy shelves, potentially cause shoppers to fall, and are generally a nuisance all the way around. And of course the writer points out the abuse, fraud, and the amount of work coupons pose for store workers.

I am just stunned. How can a basic act like couponing, which our grandmothers used to do, get everyone so riled up? Do couponers constantly complain about how grocery stores treat us? Should I discuss how many people I know who tell me that they absolutely hate shopping at any grocery store because the workers are rude, the produce is awful, the marketing is ridiculous (ie: the famous “Manager’s Special”), and the prices are outrageous? Is there any wonder WHY so many people now have to coupon to be able to fill a fridge and pantry?

Extreme Couponing
This growing rift between grocery store associates and people who coupon has to stop. Not every couponer is an extreme couponer! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Listen, I’m the first one to say that the TLC show, Extreme Couponing, has ruined it for many of us. The show portrays crazy couponers, not run-of-the-mill couponers like myself. So now, it seems like there are two camps: us (couponers) and them (grocery stores and people who hate couponers). This rift is ridiculous because we are all in this together: trying to save money on our grocery bills so we can feed our families.

Can’t we all just get along?

~Marilyn, TFF

Study Says Manufacturers Stingy on Coupons While Consumer Demand at All-Time High

It’s not your imagination. There are less consumer packaged goods coupons, shorter expiration dates, and at times, less face value on coupons distributed today. In addition, blinkies are rare and so are tearpads, and stores seem to be changing policies. All when consumer demand for coupons is at its highest. 

Last week a friend of mine said that the new coupon inserts had few coupons and they were all expiring in about four weeks. A few, we found, had a six week expiration date. What we really noticed was the lack of coupons in the inserts, as well as a sneaky trend of making consumers access a QR code (quick response codes) with a smart phone to go on a coupon manhunt that’s anything but a quick response.

Example of an American grocery store aisle.
Where did all the coupons go? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

According to an article today in Supermarket News, a study by NCH Marketing Services (leading coupon processing and redemption company) indicates we are not crazy. The article says the grocery segment distributed 13.1% fewer coupons in 2011 than it did in 2010, however health and beauty care coupon distribution held steady. Despite the drop in overall coupons distribution, the article says that customer redemption has increased. The article did not say why there was an increase in redemption, but we think, at least in anecdotal terms, that higher prices, smaller packaging, the Extreme Couponing craze, and oh, yes, the economy, has something to do with the increasing interest in couponing.

Hopefully coupon distribution will rise again mid-2012, but as of now, we seem to be seeing fewer and fewer coupons in inserts since January.

~Marilyn, TFF