Since the show Extreme Couponing aired, there have already been changes in the couponing world. P&G coupons now have a limit of 4 per transaction and coupons are becoming more regional. There was a great Bricks printable coupon for various Johnson & Johnson products that got flagged as a counterfeit after someone printed hundreds of copies and sold them on Ebay- stuff like that ruins it for the rest of us. Although I have bought coupons online before from reputable coupon clipper services (never tried Ebay), I am going to think twice about it after reading this article by Jill Cataldo. It's important to save money, but more important than that it is to save money using proper methods and following store policies.
I think that I can get enough coupons of the items I need from buying papers myself, whether it be the local Kalamazoo Gazette or the Detroit Free Press and from getting coupon inserts from friends and family. I can easily stock up using legitimate means of collecting coupons and although coupon clippers are still legal because you're not "buying" the coupon you're paying for someone "clipping" the coupon, I think there will continue to be changes and I'll stick with the ways that I know are legitimate.
Since the show aired, I am seeing more clear shelves in the stores when there are super deals-- which is both good and bad. It's getting more people interested in couponing, but it's also bringing out a new crowd of greedy couponers who have not yet learned coupon etiquette (or store policies). It's important to get your deals, but share the wealth with others- don't be a shelf clearer! I'm not saying that if there are only 2 items left on the shelf you shouldn't get them, but don't be one of those shoppers that brags on coupon blogs about buying up mass quantities of drugstore deals going from store to store and leaves nothing for others.
I suggest that you stagger your shopping trips- I try to go in the beginning of the week and then wait until closer to the end of the week to go back for seconds or thirds-- if I'm shopping for a hot coupon item and it's still in the store by the end of the week than others have had an opportunity to get the item as well. I like to rotate which stores I shop at-- there are several Walgreens close to me and one store I know is usually stocked better for sales (and must have less coupon shoppers), as well as rotating which Rite Aid I shop at each week.
Also, make sure to know each store's policies on coupons. Be aware that stores are dealing with lots of new couponers who do not know what they're doing- they want to get HOT deals like what they saw on TLC's Extreme Couponing show. They don't understand that store policies vary from store to store, and even regionally.
Thanks Bargains to Bounty for posting this link to Jill's site! Bargains to Bounty is a very reputable coupon site that always encourages responsible and ethical couponing!