Coupon Etiquette: The Big No-Nos of Couponing

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Chances are you may have seen some risky tips on a certain reality show. The truth is couponing isn’t a cut-throat act that requires clearing the shelves or using sneaky methods. You can save without breaking the law or using less than desirable tactics. Whether it’s clearing tear pads or photocopying coupons, there are things you never want to do when couponing. Here are 5 big no-nos when it comes to coupon etiquette.

1. Don’t Clear Tear Pads

Throughout the store, you may see tear pads or little gadgets that spit out coupons. Providing there are plenty left, don’t take all of the coupons. These are meant for everyone. One person ripping off a stack of 40 coupons is just bad taste and is looked down on by most couponers.

2. Don’t Clear the Shelves

Another big no-no is clearing the shelves when you spot a great deal. Buy what you need, and that’s it. You don’t really need four cases of corn, even if your coupons get you the product for free. Remember that sales and coupons are repeated throughout the year. The sale will come around again.

3. Don’t Photocopy Coupons

If you’ve ever been to a store that doesn’t take printed coupons it’s usually because other couponers have ruined it for everyone else. Photocopying coupons is illegal. Manufacturers only honor and reimburse stores for a certain number of coupons, which means stores could lose money if you don’t properly redeem those savings. 

4. Don’t Buy More Than You Need

Even if you’re not clearing the shelf, it pays to repeat this. You only want to buy the number of products you need. You don’t need a grocery store in your own home.  If you travel to 4 different stores to avoid clearing shelves because you need to get 20 bottles of free mustard, you may want to ask yourself if you really need that much.  Instead, try to balance your savings by focusing on various deals you would use in about a 3 to 4-month timeframe.

5. Don’t Print More Than the Limit

Last but not least, do not print more coupons than allowed. Some people use tricks to beat the system or think that because they have the option to print more than 1 on their pop-up screen, it’s ok to do it. It isn’t. Manufacturers only allow so many prints of each coupon. When you go hog wild, someone is missing out, and it will be less likely couponers receive good coupons in the future. Print the allowed limit and move on.

That certain reality show encouraged some horrible habits when it comes to couponing. Don’t be one of those couponers that buys all the cereal or uses photocopied coupons. Follow the rules, save money, and fellow couponers will be happy to save right alongside you.

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