Coupons can certainly help us save big on our grocery bill, but my how times have changed. Gone are all of the overage and cash back deals or using multiple coupons for the same products (although you still see some of these practices being done on Extreme Couponing shows, since the stores will usually waive their normal current policies in order to participate).
In the wake of the extreme couponing craze, as well as extreme couponing fraud, stores and manufacturers have changed their policies, implemented new restrictions, issued less valuable coupons and made getting some coupons more difficult. In response, savvy shoppers have to learn some new ways of using coupons and follow new coupon rules to get the maximum grocery savings from coupons.
1. No More Stacking Coupons
Many stores have cracked down on the practice of stacking, using a manufacturer coupon with a store coupon to get double savings. In response, couponers will have to stack in a slightly different way, by combining a manufacture coupon with a good sale, preferably a clearance or end of season sale.
2. Coupon Policies Changing Faster than the Cashiers
With all of the rapid changes in coupon policies, there is a lot of confusion, including confusion on the parts of the cashiers or managers who have been trained to look out for coupon fraud. This means that they may tend to reject coupons and coupon practices that are valid and in line with the store’s coupon policy. To combat the problem of cashiers not taking your coupons, be sure to print out the store’s current coupon policy and keep it with you when you shop. This way you can prove that your savings are valid if you get confronted about your coupons. Make sure to keep the printed policies current in your bag, wallet or coupon folder.
3. Coupons Are Not Where They Used to Be
While you can still get the bulk of your grocery coupons from the Sunday paper, many manufacturers are opting to allow you to print them instead. It save the manufacturers money on the printing cost as well as the cost to include the coupons in the newspapers in the first place. It also allows manufacturers to get accurate accounts of how many shoppers are interested in a particular coupons.
These days, you really need a computer plus a working printer (and a way to save on printer ink), as well as accounts on Facebook, Twitter and other social media websites, if you want to get the best coupons that are available. Since the manufacturers put limits on the number of these coupons, be sure to print them early and be prepared for competition when a coupon goes live.