I recently read an interesting article (found here) about the backlash consumers are facing because of the new TV show Extreme Couponing. While I have experienced this first-hand, I think the most important point of the article is that they point out some good do's and don'ts of couponing. If couponers will stick to these, we'll be better off in the end.
Here are some of them as listed in the article as well as a few of my own thoughts in italics:
Do Know Your Limits. Save time, energy and embarrassment at the register by playing with the rules established by retailers and manufacturers. Visit their Web sites to learn if there have been any updates or changes to their coupon policies. I have compiled a list of some retailers' coupon policies. I recommend printing these and keeping them with your coupons so that you will have the policy if issues arise.
Do Ask Friends and Neighbors to Leave Aside Papers. Some people actually subscribe to newspapers for the articles, not the coupons. It's perfectly acceptable to ask these friends and family members -- politely -- to set aside the coupons for you to pick up at a later time.
Do Start a Small Coupon Swap. Rather than stealing your neighbor's Sunday paper to benefit from the extra coupon circular, create a support system through a small, local coupon exchange. Members can meet once a week in person for 30 minutes to exchange coupons for things they actually would buy anyway. (One person's buy-one-get-one-free instant oatmeal is another person's 50-cents-off cold cereal.) Online exchanges also exist at savingsadvice.com and thriftyfun.com.
Don't Copy Coupons. Many stores mention in their coupon policies that "coupons are void if copied, scanned, transferred, purchased, sold " etc. Again, stick with the official policy. You'll still manage to save a good chunk of change -- and by skipping a long debate at the checkout, you'll also avoid unnecessary delays both for you and the shoppers waiting behind you. This restriction is printed directly on most manufacturer coupons. Please do not copy coupons - it hurts all of us in the end!
Do Ask Manufacturers to Send Coupons Directly. If you can't find manufacturers' coupons readily on their Web sites, email or call them to request coupons be sent directly to your inbox. That's what many successful couponers claim to do. It sometimes earns them freebies, as well. Don't forget that social media outlets are a great place to find high-value coupons and free product coupons!
What are your thoughts about how Extreme Couponing has affected real-life couponers? Have you personally experienced any backlash in the stores when trying to use coupons? I would love to hear your experiences and stories!
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