Extreme couponing just got a little less extreme, as some Utah retailers are putting limits on the amounts of coupons customers are allowed to use. Target, Rite Aid and Walgreens are all limiting double couponing and setting clear guidelines on what coupons are allowed.
The new store rules were put into place partly because of “unethical couponing” by some Utah extreme couponers, said Amy the Savvy Shopper, host of the couponing site Savvyshopperdeals.com. Often there is confusion and even dishonesty among customers on coupon usage. The new rules clear up this confusion and strive to prevent improper coupon usage. These retailers are still allowing some coupons but no longer allow all of the retailer coupons combined.
Amy said couponing should not be used as a way to rip off businesses or clear out the shelves, limiting coupon use
for other customers.
“I put out an article on savvylife.com, because of consumers trying to find loopholes,” Amy said. “A lot of people don’t realize that it is cheating. If you use a coupon any other way than the way it was intended for, it is stealing.”
People can still use coupons ethically to save money, she said. It is important to stay within the limits given by the store and that way it benefits the customer and retailer alike. For example, if a coupon states a limit of four coupons only on an item, do not try and push the limit and get five or six, Amy said.
“It makes me sick to see shoppers purposely profiling checkers they think will not ‘look too closely’ at the bad coupon matchups or won’t haggle with a shopper at what they know to be unethical coupon use,” she said.
Many BYU students and young adults are extreme couponers and look for a combination of coupons that will yield them the most savings. It is still possible to walk out of the store with savings anywhere from 60 to 90 percent off retail pricing, said Katie Carling, a local regular coupon user and BYU graduate.
“You can still get really good deals without double couponing,” Carling said. “You just have to be patient and wait for the best deals to come around and use your coupons at that time. They oftentimes cycle through and if you miss one good sale you can still get it the next time around.”
One of the main concerns many couponers had was losing out on deals because the extreme couponers had wiped out the items on the shelves. Sometimes extreme couponers will get coupons from anywhere and everywhere, even stealing other people’s newspapers to take out extra coupons, Carling said.
“When we lived close by campus, people would take our newspapers off of our lawn,” Carling said. “I guess people didn’t know we were paying for them and just thought they were up for grabs, so they took them.”
Discounted coupons are offered from many sources like newspapers, the Internet and direct mail offers. Wherever you get your coupons, it is important to be ethical in obtaining them, Carling said.
“Sometimes online coupons only allow you to print off two coupons at a time, but you could just go to another computer to print off two more,” Carling said. “It is always unethical to copy a coupon and try to use the same one twice, but some people do it anyway.”
Many extreme coupon users agree it is most important to use ethics in couponing. Couponers should not try and wipe out the aisles, and coupon usage should only be used for what your family really needs, said Caroline Underwood, an extreme coupon user.
“A lot of people misunderstand it so they think you’re getting all this free stuff, and they go in and use all their coupons at one time,” Underwood said. “But really it’s more about getting good deals for the things your family needs.”