Skip to comments.The Coupon Whisperer: "You're Cheating the System"
Posted on 02/10/2011 5:28:14 AM PST by PJ-Comix
"You do know that you're cheating the system."
Those were the actual words said to me by a clueless cashier the other day.
Cheating? How? Was I using counterfeit coupons? No.
Was I using coupons for unauthorized items? No.
Was I using too many coupons? No.
(Excerpt) Read more at couponwhisperer.blogspot.com ...
That’s outrageous! What a flagrant abuse of a system that was set up to help people.
Clearly, it is time for the federal government to step in and close the “coupon loophole” immediately.
I shall be writing my congress-critter a letter this very day.
lol. I guess the stores that offer to double your coupons are doubly cheating the system? lol
My wife likes Aleve so one day I bought a whole bunch of them at the grocery store. The bill was real low but the customer behind me, who looked like an angry gym teacher, grumbled about how I was somehow cheating the government. Huh? I pointed out to him that the coupons were issued by a private company. However, that didn’t mollify him. He got himself all worked up about how I was somehow cheating the taxpayers by using coupons. BTW, even when you get stuff FREE with coupons, you still have to pay the tax on the full pre-coupon amount. Of course, since we don’t pay sales tax on medical stuff (or food) in Florida, no tax on the Aleve.
And was that guy using food stamps?
My wife saves a LOT using coupons.....especially at this time when she is out of work.
I like Looppon!
Just want to point out that my regional grocery chain, Ingles, has posted the following policies:
-no “free” coupons downloaded from the internet will be honored.
They also set a limit on the dollar amount of coupons that escapes me at the moment, they make a huge deal out of doubling the value of coupons, so this new policy must be in response to your peerless readers cranking coupons on their purchases.
So, what is couponing? Is this just cutting coupons out of the sunday paper and ad mailers?
My wife tried the coupon deal.. Still does it from time to time on some stuff but we found that the house brand (aka generic) is just as good, and cheaper than the brand with a coupon, even on double coupon day.
It pays to shop, and stock up when things are on sale, no doubt about it.
It's gone beyond that. Nowadays you can even access coupons on your wireless mobile device and use them without even printing to paper.
And the next task for The Coupon Whisperer is to get a free/cheap wireless device via coupons. Hey, I "bought" the very laptop I am posting this with for FREE by using coupons. Coming up to the one year anniversary of my "purchase" in a few weeks.
My best deal was the 9 (or so) cubic foot freezer for 159 bucks that came with 200 dollars worth of free frozen foods and a 50 dollar gift card to the same store. We loaded up the cart with all the frozen foods and our normal haul of food and ended up pushing the freezer, the cart of frozen and our normal “thrifty” shopping cart load through. The lady behind us watched as about 600 dollars worth rang up.. Then the coupons free gift card and sales discounts hit. Total bill, 169.65..
Required a manager override because we saved “to much”
Lady behind us offered my wife money to do her shopping for her :D (BTW she does)
We didn’t even need the freezer, sold it NIB on Craigs list for 175 dollars. we ate free for months on that deal.
The problem the way I see it, with couponing is the diverse places to find the things and print them out, there are literally dozens of sites that offer printable coupons, how do you know which ones will be where?
Is there a simple way?
Someone educate me. I find that I always save more by using store brands than using coupons. Am I doing it wrong? Honest question. I also go to Dollar Store for many groceries and save even more there than I would using coupons.
I don't know about that. This week I picked up a bunch of 6 oz Colgate Total toothpaste tubes for just under 20 cents each, including tax. Actually I got them for FREE and what I paid was the sales tax.
Could you do better than that with generic?
I don’t use mobile devices. So can you recommend some good online sources or mail-order sources for coupons?
ebay. TheCouponClipper.Com. There are a bunch of others. Just google for it.
Yes, stock up...for example a drug store chain here (Bartells) often has colgate toothpaste for ONE DOLLAR....limit 5. Love it!
We don’t have double coupons in my area.
I prefer to live in the Land of True BOGO than in the Land of Doubles. I find the former deal is better.
Hmmm. Why are coupons produced? To give stuff away for free? No it is to entice people to try a product or preferentially buy one brand over the other.
Using a sequence of coupons that don’t prohibit stacking is gaming the system to take advantage of someone’s failure to fully cover their bases in the small print.
Is that cheating the system? By the standard definition of the phrase... Yes it is. Its not a lot different than circling the free samples cart in order to get your lunch for free. Illegal? No. Abuse of good faith marketing? Yes.
If your neighbor put out a sign on his garage sale that said “free shirt just for looking” would you feel comfortable coming back to look 40 times and emptying his rack clothing rack? The morality of an act isn’t based on the identity of the abused party.
The cashier was completely out of line.
Here is what is going on:
There is a certain group of people who have to buy their favorite brand: Skippy peanut butter, Crest toothpaste, Thomas’ English Muffins. There is another group of people who shop for either lowest price or best perceived value.
There are companies making products by the tens of millions. 90% of those products will be sold at regular price. The other 10% will be sold to marginal buyers who are happy to choose alternatives. In any event, the marginal cost of the 10,000,000th box of Sugar Frosted Flakes is a lot less than that of the first box. On top of that, a small percentage of these discretionary sales will find they prefer the product and remain customers. You can bet that without the coupon, Joohn Smith wouldn’t be going into Walgreens to relieve them of their surplus of JiffyPop. If not for coupons, some of this stuff would wind up in dollar stores or worse, discarded.
This is no more an abuse of the system than one who aggressively seeks leisure travel airfares. They are playing by the airlines schedule, and the airline fills an otherwise empty seat. The full fare guy paid for security and convenience.
I say all this as someone who rarely uses coupons, and whose wife buys mainly Aldi stuff, vegetables and commodities (e.g. milk, ground beef) that don’t get the same level of coupon exposure.
Ingles doubles 3 coupons with each ten dollar purchase. Publix now refuses to refund anything without a receipt because of people getting items for free at one store and bringing it to another store for a refund or credit.
I’m learning every day!
Isn't he in the White House? :-)
There are always the exceptions. Like I said she still does coupons from time to time when the deal is right, but most often the deal is NOT right.
There are three sites that offer printable coupons:
There are several sites that will sending you weekly updates with links to these sites. Couponmom is the one I use.
There are also sites you can join that share coupon deals such as: Howtoshopforfree.com
It costs $1.00/year to join. Members of this site will coach you how to save money. This site has forums, links and lists of printable and Sunday paper insert coupons.
There are also sites that specialize in certain drug stores where there are weekly deals that after coupon they are FREE.
www.iheartcvs.com for CVS Drugs
www.iheartwags.com for Walgreens
I believe she also maintains one for Riteaid.
Generally, the way to save money is to buy volume of the
items when they are on sale by combining them with a coupon to make them free or the price greatly reduced.
For example, I just bought 20 Celestial Seasonings $1 tea coupons from someone on EBAY. I will wait until they go on sale and then use them to reduce the price to approx. $1.00/box. This is not free. However, the regular price is $2.50/box and my wife drinks this stuff everyday.
Like PJ I also bought more Colgate toothpaste at CVS last week. After coupons, they were free.
You will not end up buying ribeye steaks for free. However, there are a lot of other grocery/drug store items you can get at a large discount to their regular price. The idea is to build up a stockpile so that you do not ever NEED to buy.
Not coupon related, but we keep our eyes peeled when at the market....two weeks ago we went into Fresh & Easy (a smallish chain) and their spiral cut hams, which had been on sale at an already great price of $1.47, were on ‘cleanout’ at 50% off - we snagged the last one which gave us a ten pounder for the freezer - at less than $7.50.
“Don’t be shy about posting on this thread...”
You’ll love this...
Went to a new Walgreens yesterday. I try to spread the deals out among as many different stores as I can. Luckily, there are a lot around here. Anyway, the cashier was impressed with the deal I got, saying “someone sure taught you to shop” (implying a lady taught me.) She looked at me like I had two heads when I quietly replied “the coupon whisperer.”
Our favorite store doubles coupons up to 99 cents every day, up to $1.99 on Wednesdays. They accept Internet coupons, and soon we’re going to find out if they do coupons on the smartphone. And they’ll combine all those coupons with their common buy one get one free and buy two get three free sales. Often products come down to being practically free.
The chain supports this, although saving a certain amount of money requires a manager to come over with a key. Normally my wife has something like a $400 total coming down to the mid-late $100s, so the manager knows her by name now.
It's using that Sunday coupon and combining it with a 50% of sale and a store that offers register rewards (dollars applied to your next purchase).
Say an item retails normally at $5.00 and you have a $1.00 of coupon. The store has the product on sale for $3.00 and offers $1.00 in register rewards for every $5.00 purchase.. That brings the actual price down to a buck.
I did the same thing with turkeys when they were $.49/lb.
I found the two smallest they had. They were less than $6.
They are taking up space in the freezer now.
Another thing to watch is for pork loin. It goes on sale for about $1.69. I buy the whole thing and have them slice and repackage into 1” thick steaks which end up in the freezer. The nice thing is it no bone and a low fat cut.
A friend of mine in North Carolina posted on her facebook page a reciept from her latest shopping excursion. She bought 113 items from her grocery store. She used 90 coupons. She paid $18.88. Yes, she got back $1.12 from the twenty she paid. (All on the reciept). According to the last line on the receipt, she saved $325.00 in coupons.
Couponing for those who take it seriously is big money.
Please add me to your list. Thanks!
People talk about this as if it were a new thing. I remember a coupon expert lady in the 70s who on TV made a big deal of getting two large shopping carts of food for cheap. I figure if industry didn’t like this they’d have put measures in place to stop it over the last 40 years.
I see it as most people who use coupons don’t save all that much money, but it does entice them to try new brands. The big savers who you hear about are publicity for coupons, encouraging people to use them, and thus try new brands without really saving much overall.
Keep an eye out for the buy 10 get $5.00 off at stores like Kroger’s I stocked up on .49 DelMonte veggies that way. That is cheaper than store brand. I like Kroger’s brand of veggies but the DelMonte was 20 cents cheaper. And use the coupons with the 10 items. Did that last week and I can’t believe its not butter ended up costing .49 for the 1 lb sticks.
The trick is to buy what you need or are going to need in the next few months or will keep a long time and will be rising in price. Like laundry soaps. I bought All for $1.99 Tuesday because it was part of the buy 10 and I had 3 coupons for All..used all 3 and won’t need laundry soap for 4 months now.
Bought my hair care products at Walgreens, had coupons for every item, they gave me a $5.00 register reward, which I used to buy 12 large rolls pk of Cottonel TP.
Bought my BOGO vitamins at Rite Aid with coupons, and the RR’s to buy an 8 pk of Viva paper towels and a box of Kleenex which was BOGO final cost $1.36 for the paper products.
Who gets hit for the "double coupon"? If I bring a 50¢ coupon to Kroger and they double it, does the manufacturer pay $1 + handling costs, or do they just pay 50¢ + handling and Kroger eats the other 50¢?
Last week Kroger had a sale on Quaker Quakes rice snacks. Normally around $2, but it was on sale for $1.29 and if you bought ten items from a list you got $5 off so the net price was $0.79. On top of that, the coupon printer at the checkout printed a coupon for $3 off a purchase of 5 bags. The second time through the line I picked up 5 more bags for 19¢ each net. And I got another coupon. I would have bought more, but I was well on my way to being on a special episode of Hoarders.
Why did the cashier even worry about it? It’s not like the money was coming out of her/his pocket. Reminds me of the waitress who gets p-oed when she refills the coffee a time more than she feels is necessary. They should have a new reality show called, ‘Mind your own business.’
She called the manager to the front of the store instead. He proceeded to apologize profusely and rang up my original, perfectly legal deal just like she should have done. I then suggested to him that perhaps he'd like to educate his cashiers on proper coupon use instead of having them accuse their customers of criminal activity. I never saw her in that store after that so either she quit or they got rid of her snarling face.
Toss me on the ping list please, PJ. I’m going to have to study this.
And you can use what you saved to buy that Rib eye steak or fill your gas tank. Or maybe a nice dinner :-) there are even coupons for that. O’Charley’s and Ruby Tuesday’s often have coupons in the Sunday fish wrapper.
She does. Target is her favorite stomping grounds. We have a “insider” that lets us know when they are going to put something on clearance. We got our 42” LCD tv for 175 bucks I think it was. Target will put an additional discount on the floor model when it’s the last remaining one on a discontinued model.
Last time laundry soap went on “clearance” she bought 22 gallons of it.
Total cost (she did use a coupon or 2 or 3 on it) 22 bucks.
Even with 2 kids I think that should last a while.
We don’t have Krogers here. but the two large local chains do have 10 for 10 and “dollar day” sales.
I don’t have any hair so nothing needed there ;)
Excellent work. Jewell had a similar deal last year that we took advantage of.
I remember a story about a woman who clipped forty-some coupons from the Yellow Pages that promised $100 off a new car. As the coupon didn't state "only one coupon per purchase" she was certain she was owed a free car for her efforts. She didn't get the car (thankfully), but was exactly was her thought process? It certainly wasn't based on a system of fair play.
But it keeps the SampleMen employed.
Normally my wife has something like a $400 total coming down to the mid-late $100s, so the manager knows her by name now.
mine to! They’ll joke about it. “not quite as good this time” “wow, that’s a deal!” they don’t know each other at all out side of the checkout lane.
One nice thing is she can hit target, cub (Supervalue) Rainbow (roundy’s) aldi, Costco, dollar store, Sams, walgreens and CVS and travel a total from leaving the house and getting back of 3 miles. It’s an all day adventure that I don’t like to go on (she loves it though) where she comes home and adds up the savings. Normally it’s 4 figures.
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