Responsible Couponing

Using coupons in a responsible manner is something that I feel strongly about. Using coupons in a way other than what the manufacturer intended is wrong.  This includes using the coupon for an item other than what the coupon states or for another quantity and obtaining a coupon from an authorized medium.  This is a short term gain that hurts all coupon users in the long term.

Today Crystal the Thrifty Mama has a great post regarding the use of CVS coupons available for printing online.  Please take some time to read it as she clearly explains why the use of these coupons is wrong.  Andrea from Mommy Snacks also wrote another piece lately regarding the use of e-coupons and paper coupons at Kroger and other participating stores.

The bottom line is this, you may be able to get a great deal buy using coupons illegitimately.  But chances are you are just hurting the chances of getting another good deal in the future.  Would you rather save now or save always?

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  • Samantha Thomas

    For whatever reason, perhaps people using illegitimate coupons, Walgreens (in Kenosha WI) only accepts one online coupon at checkout. I recently tried to purchase Ultra Northern, buy 2 for $10.00 and use two $1.00 off coupons and they said they only use one coupon for a product regardless of how many I was actually purchasing. So, I only bought the one even though I was buying two and using two coupons. Just a thought.

  • Thanks for posting about the CVS q’s!! So many of us are misinformed and using them without knowing its not legit!!

  • Julieann

    I didn’t know that these were not legit either….I have used them a couple times now, but sure don’t want CVS to lose money and shut down their ECB program or coupons!

  • It just boggles my mind that people would use coupons in such a manner…I have trouble EVERY.SINGLE.TIME I go to Pick N Save and use tons of coupons. Why? Because I USE TOO MANY, according to the cashier. Just like Walmart, Pick has a “more than X number of coupons needs a managers’ approval” policy, from what I can see. And it irritates me to no end, but I know that in the end, it actually protects legitimate couponers. I’m grateful and thankful for the deals I’m able to acquire from these stores, legitimately speaking. I’m able to provide for my family, to help out the local food pantry and church, and to be able to give to my parents, neighbors, and friends too, all honestly and legitimately.

    I sure would be bummed if I couldn’t coupon anymore!

  • Jen

    Thanks for the info and links. I always wondered about the e-coupons and paper coupons being used together. I enjoy coupon shopping and want to make sure I do it “responsibly” and honestly. 🙂

  • Emma

    So while you’re on the topic of coupon ethics….how about the people who completely clean out the deals with more than one card? And then to top it off they donate 17 bottles of free shampoo to charity to clear their guilty conscience? Many of us are one sick day away from needing assistance and using coupons helps keep me in the black. I applaud all those who donate their excess goods to charity — but please don’t buy up everything just because you can. The rest of us need the deals too.

  • Emma, ITA! I have no problem with cleaning a shelf at 10:45 pm on the last day of a sale – my grocery store closes at 11 pm, and usually, I’m the ONLY one left in the store besides the few employees working. And, I love cleaning the shelves of good deals at that time of night because I know I’m not affecting anyone but helping the food pantry at that point. But to do that on the first day of the sale, I just think that isn’t fair, I have to agree with you there. And I’ve noticed a lot of stores have switched from “One loyalty card per person” to “…per household”. That is MUCH more fair than having “family” cards.

    We have one card for our family, and that is IT.

  • Ruby

    Even if someone thought it was a legit coupon and used it, the coupon states one per customer so using it more than once was a blatent no no. CVS item limits also usually state per household. So regardless of how many cards in the family, you should only get the item limit per household.

  • Sarah

    Well I do agree with the using the CVS coupon. One should of been enough. However, on the cleaning out the shelf. Do I feel guilty if I have the coupons from the paper that I got up at 4 am to buy 10 papers? No I do not. That is the reason I am able to feed my family as cheaply as I do.

  • Mindy

    I completely agree with legitimate q-poning, and I love to get a good deal, but it is completely frustrating to go to Walgreen’s week after week (I usually can’t get there til Tuesday), and the shelves are completely wiped out of every single good deal! Can a person get a raincheck on these things?

  • Mindy

    Also, does anyone else have trouble with the cashiers at Walgreen’s not scanning the coupons in the order you give them? I think it must benefit them to do differently.

  • fran

    Mindy, You can definitely get rainchecks at Walgreens- they never expire. The thing is, when will they get the item in? I have rainchecks from last month. My manufacturers coupons expired already. They never got the stuff in yet. Also, either tell cashier to take the coupons off in the order you gave them to him/her or do like I do, give coupons to them one at a time. Hope that helps.

  • Alison

    Is it wrong to get overage from a coupon? Today while at a kroger affiliated store I had a coupon for $2.00 off a Johnson and Johnson product. I used it to buy some baby wash that was on sale for $1.38. The cashier changed the coupon amount to $1.38 and talked to me like I was garbage. She made me feel really guilty. Other stores allow it and sometimes at this same store different cashiers allow it. Should I feel guilty for getting a couple cents overage from a coupon? Don’t the stores get reimbursed for the coupon and if they change the coupon amount are they then making money by submiting for the full reimbursement?

    • Hi Alison,

      In theory there’s no reaosn for the cashier to give you grief and adjusting the coupon down is what she is supposed to do. Overage really depends on the cahiser and store management. some stores recognize that they will get reimbursed the full face value of the coupon plus a handling fee so they don’t bother adjusting coupons down. Others go the extra step of adjusting the coupon down and writing on the face of the coupon the new value. Whether a store gets reimbursed the adjusted down value or the face value I do not know.
      I would love to take a trip to a coupon clearinghouse to find out how this works.


  • Mercedes, thanks for the link!

    And, your point is such a great one too! I want to save always! I can’t imagine our finances without coupons last year. In this economy we can’t afford to lose any of the great coupons that we’re lucky to receive!

  • Emma

    Let me clarify my “cleaning out the aisles” comment. Kudos to you if you get up at 4 am to buy 10 papers and get the best deal to feed your family. I am simply saying that if you don’t actually need/want the product, don’t buy all of it just so that you can give it away. I’m not discouraging giving to charity/food banks, etc and I’m not discouraging getting the best deal — the early bird gets the worm, right? But I do think its unethical to use multiple cards to clean out a product that you have no use for anyway. I mean, I might need those preparation H wipes and its breaking my budget to pay full price – but you bought them all because you had a coupon that paid $.01 overage and now you’ll donate them to a shelter. I have no problem with Andrea’s suggestion of buying it all on the last day of the sale — that is very respectful of other “couponers” and gracious at the same time.

  • Mercedes and others –

    I ALWAYS understood it that if a coupon is going to provide overage, the store MUST give you the FULL discount. If you read the fine print, any alteration is fraud. One of my good friends is an assistant manager at Walgreens, and she has told me numerous times to fight for the full value of the coupon, as the store won’t get reimbursed if they alter the price.

    I guess ya’ll can take that for what it is worth, but I fight for every penny here. 😉

  • Mindy

    Thanks so much Fran…I never bothered to ask for a raincheck and I assumed they would expire. I sure will now!

  • If you live in the greater Richmond, VA area be sure to pick up the free publications of Richmond Parents Monthly and Fifty Plus which you can find in the front of your CVS stores. The REAL $3.00 off CVS brand coupons can be found in them. (January issues)

  • Sandra

    I feel so bad after reading this post. I printed that coupon out and thought that it was totally legit. What about the Bath & Body coupons? Are those also fraudulent?

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