Monday, July 14, 2008

My thoughts on coupons and bargain hunting

I am not meaning to offend anyone here, point fingers, lay mean intentions at all. Just me putting to "paper" my thoughts that have been swirling around in my head with all the hoopla on coupons, bargain hunting, stockpiling, whatever. I use coupons and buy sale items. It's great! I save at least 10% on every big shopping trip for groceries and sundries (about $20 on average!) I get my coupons out of the Sunday paper (one Sunday paper that is local and that I also relish reading) from company websites like Betty Crocker or General Mills, and coupon websites such as Smart Source. Oh, and when I'm lucky the products I buy will have coupons in or on the package.

Even my little bit of couponing draws ire from people in line behind me or even cashiers because it takes up their time or they don't believe my coupons are real. I would have to say that the frenzy of late with all these blogs and websites devoted to getting things for free at drugstores and books detailing how you can use coupons to stockpile has probably contributed to retailers' doubts and reservations with frugal shopping. I am sure the drugstores never intended their "money back" or "rewards cards" to be used by one person with 4 different transactions buying multiple shampoos. And the coupons available to shoppers in their local papers or online are meant to save you on your purchase of the manufactures' item...not to be photocopied, transferred or sold, or used in multiples of 5 or 10.

I know that most of the people doing this are just having fun getting great deals and saving money. But if these kinds of practices continue, we will all lose out on savings. Just yesterday I was in Target and saw a sign posted saying they no longer were taking a certain coupon due to fraud. And yes, I know, using multiple coupons or "stacking" or buying 12 shampoos to get reward money is not illegal. I just question whether it's a good idea to take advantage of such opportunities. It's a good thing to save money by using a coupon or to get rewards for buying certain items. It's not so good to abuse the privilege.