Couponing 101: Couponing Etiquette
There are some basic unsaid rules to couponing and knowing some quick coupon etiquette is important when first starting.
We are all after the same goal, to save money, so out of respect for others we should be honest and respectful couponers.
Most of these are common sense. However, you’d be surprised how many people throw their morals out the window in order to score a deal.
I have left many coupon groups on Facebook after seeing poor couponing etiquette being promoted.
Many of those poor couponing etiquette instances are what causes policies to change. It also causes staff at these stores to look at us as someone trying to scam them.
Don’t ruin it for everyone and be honest, you can still get amazing savings while being an honest couponer!
Learn How To Coupon: Couponing Etiquette
Only take what you need:
You can find many tear-pad coupons in your local retail and grocery stores as well as pharmacies.
- Take only what you know you will use before the expiry date.
- Don’t take a handful or the whole pad as there are other people who need coupons too.
- If the pad is still there next time you go, it’s ok to grab a few more.
- My rule of thumb is: if it is a coupon I will use often I will take 5-10 per visit or location.
- If you find an amazing coupon go to a few locations that store has and get more that way.
- Don’t remove peelies from the product unless you are purchasing that product.
If you you need more coupons than you are able to find/order, ask friends and family to order or be on the lookout for in-store coupons for you.
Be a coupon fairy:
We don’t always have a use for every coupon we order or find.
If you have coupons you won’t use or they are nearing their expiry date, take they with you shopping and place them by the products they are for.
Even if you don’t witness it the person who finds and uses the coupon will be very appreciative of your kind gesture!
Share with your friends & family:
If you do not need certain coupons save them for family or friends who can make use of them.
For example: you have no children but your sister does, collect and order the baby ones so you can help them out.
Be kind to your cashier (even when they are grumpy):
Although this isn’t required by any means, being nice to your cashier may make things easier on you.
We all have bad days and we don’t know why some cashiers are grumpy!
There could have been a couponer that was rude to the cashier, and now here comes another one.
Couponing checkouts take longer and it adds to a cashiers stress level. They have a job to do and need to do it correctly.
When you get to the cashier smile and ask them how they are. Let them know you will be price matching and have coupons, so it may take a little longer than usual.
They might appreciate your kindness, and it may give them a new outlook on couponers!
Let other customers go ahead of you:
If you are still loading the belt with your items and someone comes behind you with a few items, it is kind to allow them to go ahead.
There will always be someone behind you, and of course you are not going to let everyone go ahead, but allowing one or two as you organize the belt is appreciated by those waiting.
Of course there will be times when someone is moaning and groaning. Just smile and say “I may be a while you might want to find another cashier”.
If you are doing more than one transaction at the checkout and someone comes in line behind you, ask them if they’d like to checkout in between one of your transactions.
Be organized at checkout:
The first tip to being organized at checkout starts before you even leave your house. Before each and every shop I sit down and make a printed list of what I will be buying. I also make sure to note if I am price matching and if I have a coupon.
Next, I get all the coupons I will be using for my shopping trip together. I paper clip them if multiples and then I put them in my coupon organizer.
When I get to the checkout I place any items I am not price matching at the front. Behind that I place my price matching items and try to group together items from the same store.
These steps make checkout go much quicker and smoother than being completely disorganized!
Don’t use coupons improperly:
There are many different ways you can use coupons improperly and most are just common sense!
For instance a coupon says $1.00 off Bear Paws Crackers but you use it on a box of Bear Paws Cookies. Even though you may “get away” with it, it is wrong.
The manufacturer put out that coupon to promote a certain product and using it on any other product than what it is intended to be used on is fraud.
The best way to prevent this is to fully read the coupon for certain flavours, sizes and any other restriction that you could over look which would cause you to use the coupon improperly.
Don’t use expired coupons:
Even though you may get away with using an expired coupon, be it one day or one year pass the expiry date, it is wrong.
The store you used the coupon at may not be reimbursed from the manufacturer due to it being expired when accepted.
A good way to keep track of expiry dates is to highlight them so they are visible to you – check your coupons often for those that are expired and remove them.
Don’t photocopy coupons:
When printing internet coupons most are printed through an app that limits you to two prints per coupon per computer. These coupons are printed with unique barcodes each time – they do not have universal barcodes like pdf formatted coupons. This is to enforce limits and these coupons should NEVER be photocopied.
No coupon should be photocopied, this is reproduction of a coupon and it is fraud.
Printable coupons often have unique barcodes. They can be traced back to your personal computer through your IP address. If you are photocopying internet printed coupons you can be found and can be prosecuted.
A way to get more printed unique barcode coupons is by having more than one computer. Simply hook your printer up to your other computer(s) and print again.
If you do not have access to more than one computer at home, using library or work computers is another choice.
You can even ask friends or family if they do not mind printing you off the limit on their computer.
Don’t use more than one coupon per item:
Using more than one coupon per item is not allowed in Canada for the most part, unless shopping at stores that allow stacking.
In rare cases there are some coupons that specify that more than one coupon can be used on one item.
However, the coupons you will come across for the most part are to be used one coupon per item you are buying.
Be cautious of pdf/jpg format and other printable coupons:
There are a lot of fraudulent coupons circulating the internet in various formats. If you do not find the coupon on a reputable site be cautious.
If you are ever worried about a coupon you find on the internet, feel free to email me the link to the coupon. I will gladly look into it for you and let you know if it is indeed a valid coupon.
With coupons in pdf format remember to only print what your family needs. Even if the item is FREE with the coupon. Remember that many things expire, and clearing shelves to have 100 boxes of something that would likely expire before you could use it is quite silly.
Read more posts in our Learn To Coupon Series