Stores have adjusted to extreme couponers. What strategies still work?

Coupon Strategies That Work

by Dollar Stretcher Contributors

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I liked this story and would like to see one on the changing environment in the stores thanks to the extreme couponers. The stores are becoming wiser to tactics like coupon "stacking" on sale items to get multiple savings. I had some coupons for $1 off on any size bag of the dog food I buy, which happened to be on sale last week at my local Hy-Vee store. With the coupon, I would have received $3 off per bag. Imagine my surprise when the checker explained that I couldn't "double up" on coupons. If the item is on sale, they won't take a coupon for it! What coupon strategies are people using that do still work?

Continue to Use Manufacturer's Coupons

I typically use coupons on sale items and have never had any trouble at any store I use. I also use double dollar coupons on sale items without issue.

I wonder if you had a store coupon rather than a manufacturer's coupon. Manufacturers reimburse stores for the amount of the coupon plus a small handling fee, but a store coupon would be an exception to this.

I suggest that you continue to use manufacturer's coupons when items are on sale. If the clerk balks, ask to speak to the manager. If you are a regular customer, point that out in a pleasant manner. I'll bet they'll take your coupon.
Barbara in CT

Know a Store's Coupon Policy

The most important thing is to understand the coupon policy at the store where you are shopping. Sometimes it is beneficial to carry a copy of the store policy with you! Sometimes the clerks don't know the policy.

It is also important to clarify what it means to stack a coupon. It is using one store coupon and one manufacturer coupon on the same item. It is still fairly common misconception among new coupon users that you can use multiple manufacturer's coupons on a single item.

The couponing seen on TV is not realistic. Many stores have bent their coupon policies in order to get bigger savings and publicity. Some of the couponers have committed fraud by using coupons improperly and others have used fake coupons!

Couponing done ethically can usually save you 70 percent off the retail price of groceries. Saving more than 90 percent isn't as common but is possible with the right sales and matchups only if you are buying just sale items. Overages are becoming less common as coupon values change and stores change their policies.
Micki S

What Is Stacking?

Chances are this was just a cashier error or you were trying to use more than one coupon.

Hy-Vee's coupon policy can be seen here. The store cannot refuse to let you use a manufacturer coupon because a product is on sale. They either accept manufacturer's coupons or they don't. The store must abide by the policy of the manufacturer as printed on the coupon. The shelf price has nothing to do with it.

Stacking is not using a coupon on a sale item. Stacking is using more than one type of coupon, such as using a manufacturer's coupon (like you get in the newspaper) and a store coupon. (Hy-Vee allows this according to their policy.)

Take the Next Step:

  • Get cash back on the groceries you buy. Checkout 51 can show you how!
  • Continue to trim food costs by visiting our food & groceries section to get tips and tools for keeping more of your hard-earned dollars in your pocket.

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