Monday, April 11, 2011

Couponing the right way

Last week TLC started a new TV series called Extreme Couponing. I am very disappointed in the show and the network for airing what they aired and hope that they do better in upcoming episodes. Bargains to Bounty found an article online by Jill Cataldo about one of the shoppers featured on the show that is definitely worth reading and I am very disappointed that TLC chose to air someone with shady practices instead of finding some of the thousands of couponers who follow the rules.

You can save a TON of money by couponing. However, you have to make sure you are doing it correctly- using the correct coupons on the correct items, following store policies and not trying to get away with anything shady. There are SO many deals that you can get using coupons the correct way. Last year was my first full year of big time couponing and I don't have my numbers in front of me, but I think my total coupon savings was around $4000 for the year. Saving $4000 while following the rules and store policies- that's good enough of a savings for me!

I wanted to give everyone a bit more information about coupon usage and if you have any coupon questions (can you...?, should you..?, etc.) please leave comments or email me directly.

Here are a few coupon reminders:
- DO NOT photocopy printable coupons- most printables allow a 2nd print by using your browser's back button- if you want more prints, use a different computer, borrow a friend's computer, etc.- do NOT photocopy!

- DO NOT use coupons on items or sizes other than what the specific coupon is for

- QUESTION any coupons that look too good to be true- I don't think any manufacturer's would ever publish any free product coupons or really high value coupons that could be circulated via email- if you are emailed a coupon that's a PDF or other similar file- don't use it. Using a counterfeit coupon at a retailer means that the retailer will NOT get reimbursed by the manufacturer and they may change coupon policies if they have too many losses. See Bargains to Bounty's posting "Beware of Counterfeit coupons" and "What you need to know about recent printable coupons" for more details about this and links to more information.

Why do I care about something that was on TV? My fear after seeing the show Extreme Couponing is that some retailers will see how coupons can be misused and make their coupon policies more strict. Manufacturers reimburse retailers when you redeem your coupons there, and if the coupons are used incorrectly or if the coupons are fraudulent, manufacturers may refuse reimbursement and stores will lose money.

I doubt that nothing will happen with the woman featured in the show (other than her reputation and credibility is now ruined) and even though she did appear to use the coupons fraudulently, since it was for a TV show the transactions weren't "real" and everything was staged.

Did you see the show? What are you thoughts?

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