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See I told you, this would help!

Coupon Abbreviations
  • SC = Store Coupon
  • MC = Manufacturer Coupon
  • SS = Smart Source
  • RP = Red Plum
  • PG = Proctor and Gamble
Coupon Terms
  • WYB = When You Buy
  • B1G1 = Buy One Get One Free
  • .75/1 = 75 cents off one item
  • .75/3 = 75 cents off three items
  • EXP = Expiration Date

Going Nuts? I can help you understand coupon terms and abbreviations

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I recently got an email asking me what I thought couponing would look like in the not-so-distant future.  Would electronic coupons be replacing paper?  Would offers be limited?

Really, I think these questions cross all of our minds every time we get a free item in the store. “This really can’t be true, and definitely can’t last forever.”  Over the last 6 years of couponing for me, we have seen some changes, but not that many.  So far the largest change we’ve seen is an increase in limits on deals.  It feels like ages ago, but “back in the day” CVS deals used to have a limit of 5 on all the freebies and we saw larger or no limits on similar deals in other stores.

What does the future hold?
While I can’t pretend to know everything, here is what I think we will see based on trends and my dealings with companies.

Will we be all electronic?
Not for a VERY long time if ever.  There are two big reasons why electronic will not take over.  First, they have little to no following from older generations who aren’t computer savvy.  While this generation will eventually not be couponing, the rest of us will age and still be technology inept as technology changes (I already can’t program things around the house).  Second, for the big coupon saver, electronic coupons don’t double.  I know all the folks in Florida don’t care, but the rest of us will quickly decide to use a paper coupon over an electronic coupon any day!

That said, we will continue to see a rise in electronic coupons being offered.  They are safe for companies, with little to no fraud and a way to limit households to one coupon per offer.  We are also seeing some stores finally start to embrace electronics (like Publix).

Will deals end or not be as good?
Some would say that this has already happened thanks to a certain TV show.  However I would argue for most of us the new limits imposed do not hinder our savings when we are sticking with the plan to only stock up for 6 weeks.  The real changes to our deals have not been from an increase in couponing, but from an increase in the cost of goods.  We’ve also seen an increase of deals in some markets with more tripling or doubling offers for coupons, accepting competitor coupons, and even price matching.

Will Manufacturers stop releasing coupons?
Nope.  I can honestly say coupons will not go anywhere.  You may not realize this but coupons started in 1887 thanks to Coca-Cola. They did such a large push behind these coupons that by 1913 it was estimated that 1 out every 9 Americans had redeemed a coupon for a free drink.  To compare that to today’s redemption rates… in 2011 coupons that came in the newspaper accounted for 87.7% of the coupons released, however only 0.51% of those were actually redeemed!

Coupons will continue as long as companies see it as a viable way to market products, and those same companies have budgets to handle the promotion.  The latter part of that is where we are seeing the most decline.  We are all in this recession together, and the marketing budgets of large manufacturer’s is not what it was 6 years ago.  We are seeing less advertising everywhere not just in the coupon world. Look at newspapers, TV and online media and you see how advertising dollars have dropped significantly.

What changes have we seen?

Negative
We have seen expiration periods shorten, and we’ve also seen coupon values drop slightly.  The value drop is not as easily tracked though, they are hiding it by releasing the same $1 off coupons but now they are $1 off (2) products.  Unrelated to coupons, we saw prices on some items rise almost 10% in 2011, with the largest rise being in fats and oils, meat, and dairy.

Many stores have created tighter coupon policies with limits on deals or coupons excepted.  Generally this may be annoying, but it’s not a deal breaker for most shoppers.  It was also started not to control shoppers but rather to reign in fraudulent activity.

Positive
The best change in the last year has been the implementation of the databar on coupons and the end of traditional bar codes.  This has and will continue to decrease coupon fraud (a massive loss to manufacturers).  It has also opened coupon offers up to smaller companies.  The old barcode was almost maxed out with no more available brands that could create offers. With the new system it will allow a lot of smaller companies to get into the coupon market.  There are more stores now accepting coupons than in previous years, like Dollar Tree starting this week.  Some stores have also revised their coupon policies to be more competitive in their market with better offers.

That’s probably a long answer for some of you… anyone else have any ideas on what couponing will look like in the next few years?

    • darkenmind1326

      :)

    • Boydsixpack

      I’m not seeing near the peanut butter q’s as there use to be. Lunch meat q’s seam to be decreasing as well.

      • AshleyAshley

         I think with peanut butter….you might find the coupons less apparent. There was a $1/1 planters product coupon a while ago. Their small jars are on sale 2 for $4 dollars till the end of the month…name brand for a buck, ok. It’s there it’s just harder to find….but yes, I’ve noticed less Skippy coupons less frequently.

      • Nonnie Mouse

        Peanuts were hit hard this year. Expect prices for that to be up for a while and (since the manufacturers share the financial pain) manufacturer Qs to be slim in that area for a while.

        As for meat: the drought has put a hard hit on livestock feed. Hay prices will be sky high again this winter so many operations will be (and already are) thinning the herds severely, to reduce winter feeding costs. Get your meat in ASAP, if you want it, because prices will be up until well into next spring, at least.

    • Esyke623

      I agree– I think many of the limits to stop mass couponers who clear shelves (and store for their entire lives??) really don’t affect me, personally, anyway.  I very seldom buy more than 1 or 2 of a product– both because I only buy about 6 weeks ahead, and because I want to leave some “goodies” for other couponers.  I have even offered, in the store, if I see someone at an empty shelf looking forlornly at their coupon, to share one of the 2 items in my basket so that they can have one.  I do notice, though (like you said), that expiration dates sometimes are only 2 weeks away from the time you get the coupon.  And since prices keep inching up, the coupons don’t put the “dent” in my bill, like they used to.  I find myself, more and more, relying on my stockpile, waiting for good prices that never quite seem to get there.  I would consider myself a faithful couponer– but, lately, I have been going to Aldi, because, even with my coupons, I feel like, with the stores we have up here (no Publix or Bilo), I get better deals at Aldi.  I guess we will all just keep saving money the best we can to feed our families :)

    • I just really think they policies for each individual store will get tighter, but don’t think that coupons will ever be phased out! How could saving money ever phase out?!

    • Beotts

      Great article…you do a wonderful job!

    • oldgraymare

      I have to take issue with “older” citizens are not computer literate. We are the first generation that started working with computers.  I am 63 and have worked with computers, in one form or another, since 1969.  Yes, we had them in the dark ages. :)

       Love the article and have noticed many of the changes you write about. Keep up the good work.

      • Peg

        Old gray mare, you are NOT an old gray mare!  I take issue with the news media that says someone is elderly and then find out they are only in their 60’s.  Jenny is talking about people like my 87 year old mom who doesn’t own a computer and runs into problems with banks, etc. who insist she should use one to do business with them.

        • jessica2140

          Not trying to start a fight here, but my mother is 59, and can’t check her e-mail without one of us “kids” holding her hand.  My father is also 59, and refuses to even learn where the “on” switch is at.  :)  Not fair to the computer literate in the older crowd, but I do know LOTS of older people in the “not so much” set.  :)

      • Peg

        Old gray mare, you are NOT an old gray mare!  I take issue with the news media that says someone is elderly and then find out they are only in their 60’s.  Jenny is talking about people like my 87 year old mom who doesn’t own a computer and runs into problems with banks, etc. who insist she should use one to do business with them.

    • Kraby

      I can remember my grandpa clipping 5 & 10 cent coupons back in the 60’s.  He did the grocery shopping. There was always sodas & ice cream to treat the grandkids.  Granny baked alot & of course it took alot of baking products.  I’m sure his couponing allowed for those extras in their budget.

    • SavingStar

      Great post Jenny! At SavingStar we certainly believe in the future of electronic coupons as society moves away from paper. One thing we think you’ll see more of are offers to increase shopper loyalty – meaning offers that extend over a longer period of time, either with a small percentage savings on every purchase (save 5% on every purchase you make for the next 3 months) or a larger savings offer when shoppers meet the purchase threshold (for example our current offer to save $5 when you spend $20 on Kingsford Charcoal/KC Masterpiece sauce). -Josh from SavingStar

      • Dobiesnj

         I emailed SavingStar about not getting credit for an ecoupon from your site that I used a LONG time ago and still haven’t gotten credit for. I pretty much have given up using the site because I’ll never hit $5 at that rate.

        • SavingStar

          Hi Dobiesnj, Thank you for commenting. Please note that we personally respond to every email that we get. If you send me an email, I’ll be more than happy to look into it for you. My email is jgrossman AT SavingStar DOT com Thanks, Josh

        • SavingStar

          Hi Dobiesnj, Thank you for commenting. Please note that we personally respond to every email that we get. If you send me an email, I’ll be more than happy to look into it for you. My email is jgrossman AT SavingStar DOT com Thanks, Josh

      • Dobiesnj

         I emailed SavingStar about not getting credit for an ecoupon from your site that I used a LONG time ago and still haven’t gotten credit for. I pretty much have given up using the site because I’ll never hit $5 at that rate.

    • Reba

      As far as those of us who live in FL, we DO care if we don’t have TWO coupons as we are allowed to use a coupon for each product on the B1G1. Thank you for your report, good points.

      • Couponqueencarly

        I am pretty sure that she meant double coupons as a policy where the store matches the value on the coupon…. Not double the quantity if coupons…. My .50 q becomes $1 at Publix and Kroger…

    • Drseusnc

      I have noticed the $ off of 2, then 3 products becoming the norm. I eat soup regularly and 4 years ago the coupon used to be for one can, which made the soup almost free. Then as prices started increasing every month the coupons offered money off of 2, then 3, now 4. I do agree with Jenny that since prices have been creeping up steadily the coupons don’t and can’t offer the freebies we are used to. As bleak as some aspects of the coupon world have become there is still a bright ray. We may not be saving as much money or walk away with as many freebies but at least we ARE saving money! Jenny, as always, many thanks for all you do!!!!

    • 28086

      A very positive review, when many of us were loosing hope on couponing. 

    • ireneY

      Couponing for groceries definitely isn’t as satisfying as it used to be. Huge matchups for staple items were the norm. Now, the rare matchup is for new processed foods or a IP with limited prints. Retailers are wise to the grocery game and adjusted to their advantage. I am adjusting by buying raw ingredients at the farmers market or growing my own veggies and making things from scratch. It’s a much healthier diet than loads of free yakisoba and frozen meals.
      Of course, the HBA deals are still kicking butt at CVS. Won’t be needing to make my own soap or toothpaste for a while! :)

    • mrn1

      I sure hope Publix doesn’t move to all electronic ever.  We are in an area using the digital coupons.  I bought Aquafresh twice and the digital coupon that states “any Aquafresh” didn’t come off either time.  I want dependability with my coupons and deals.  If they wanted me to buy the more expensive brands, it should have been further detailed on the link for that coupon but wasn’t.  Same way with Kroger and their ecoupons.  I don’t even use Cellfire, Shortcuts, Savingstar or Kroger ecoupons anymore.  

      • Nonnie Mouse

        I use SavingStar still, because it is more of a rebate than a coupon, and so will stack. (Also, it doesn’t mess with the coupon process at the register like Kroger’s horrible e-coupons: “It says it applied an e-coupon for this already, so you can’t use the paper coupon, even though no discount for the mysterious e-coupon is showing…”.) However, I do not depend on the discount it provides when calculating the final price; sometimes it comes off, sometimes it doesn’t, and it all depends on when the store decides to process their e-coupons (something totally out of my control).

        For me, Savingstar cash has become more a matter of serendipity than a matter of plan…

        • SavingStar

          Hi Nonnie, Thank you for your comment. I’d love to understand better what you mean by “sometimes it comes off, sometimes it doesn’t”. If you redeem a SavingStar eCoupon you will get credit for it. Each store sends us data on a different schedule so savings post within 2-30 days, but you will get credit in your account. If you feel something did not post, our customer service representatives are more than happy to look into it for you. We’ll always make sure that you get your savings. SavingStar is committed to making sure that all of our users get their savings. Thanks, Josh

          • Nonnie Mouse

            Thanks Josh. The problem generally occurs with Kroger, in my experience. I’ve found that if I purchase an item that qualifies for a SavingStar coupon credit, that about half of the time the coupon expires without my receiving credit. My understanding is that this is due to some stores not submitting the records until after the coupon has expired.

            I could be wrong, however. I have had credits posted unexpectedly that I assumed were due to items my husband had collected e-coupons for which I was not aware of. Perhaps some of those were for very old transactions I had given up on and thus forgotten about.
            Perhaps a tracking system that the user can view providing a limited history showing how they earned their credits would clear this up on both ends?
            I have heard of your excellent customer service (and you are providing an admirable example), but it really isn’t worth my time to record and track recipts for myself a month at a time and then make a service call just for .50 or so.
            I appreciate your follow-up. Please consider the credit-history idea. I think it would improve customer retention and happiness significantly.

            • SavingStar

              Hi Nonnie, Thank you for the comment. Please note that if you click My Account after logging in you can see a history of your credits. You can view activations and redemptions. Also, please note that if you buy a product and then the coupon expires before the store sends the purchase data, you will still receive credit once we do receive the data, so your savings will always post. Kroger purchases can take up to 30 days to post. Other stores post within a few days. If you have any other questions, please let me know. Thanks, Josh

            • Eazbroze

              I thought I should follow up with this: I had one coupon from Savingstar that did not come off after a Kroger purchase, even though the 30 days had passed.  (I browse the account history every month or so when I go to load new coupons).  I sent a quick message to Savingstar and got a quick and courteous reply.  They apologized, noted that my records did show the purchase, and credited my account.  I have used many coupons from Savingstar and have very pleased.

            • SavingStar

              Hi Eazbroze, Thank you for telling us about your experience and for using SavingStar! -Josh

            • April

              I’ve only had one issue with SavingStar,  but it was addressed  within hours of receiving my email, and the folks were super nice. I love to keep as much money in my account for as long as possible so that I can put it toward something special. I tell everyone I know about the program, even strangers I meet in the stores I shop at! Between Ebates and SavingStar , I was able to buy two new pairs of shoes last month! :-)

    • Jruth52

      In my county, Wal Mart will not price-match and accept a mfg. coupon on that product. They will either do one or the other, but not both. Is this the norm for WM everywhere else?

      •  That is not the corporate policy at all.  They will always be reimbursed by the manufacturer coupon, no matter the sales price, so to not accept it makes no sense.  I would call Walmart corporate with your store number and see what they say.

        • Heather

          My walmart will no longer price match aldi. they said it was because they don’t have an ad; however i had their as in hand. i had a buggy full of stuff to price match; i was so embarassed. i called corporate and they put me in touch with my local store and he said that most of the walmarts around hartwell ga will not price match aldi. is there anything else that can be done?

          • ireneY

            When people take their business elsewhere, Walmart might change their minds. Or just shop at Aldi’s!

      • kayla culwell

        My Walmart tried to say that too… I was like really? Definitely call and complain! My walmart went through a phase where they were completely anti-coupon. Luckily it died out, because it’s one of three grocery stores in my immediate area, so I need to be able to shop there.

      • jessica2140

        My WalMart does the same (and then some).  I’ve called corporate REPEATEDLY on both of the WalMarts in my town…and nothing ever changes with them.  I actually drive 45 minutes to another town because THAT Wal Mart will play ball!

    • Carissa

      Not in regards to the future, but over the past year or so, I’ve seen the exact same changes as you’ve posted above.  But along with decreased coupon value and shorter expiration dates, the sales and coupons don’t match up as often or regularly as they once did.  Especially in the area of Publix BOGO sales.  Once the sale has ended a manufacturer coupon will show up.  Or, the manufacturer OR STORE coupon will expire just before the sale starts.

    • kayla culwell

      There’s a typo in this, just FYI… Not being a butt, just pointing it out. It happens… 

      It’s under the Negative heading, you have excepted where it should say “Limits on deals or coupons accepted.” :)

      • Thanks English police.  I’m sure she will try to be more perfect next time

        • Betty S

          Shouldn’t that be Bobbie and not police!??? Lol not that I’m any where near perfect …

        • Okellyatl

          Wow Jessica…in my line of work I love for people to let me know about stuff like this and Jenny might actually appreciate the feedback…cause that’s all it is is feedback until you got catty.

          • Jessica

             Can you imagine the amount of time it takes to post as much as she does? I would find it very frustrating if every post I made someone felt the need to grade it like an English paper.  

    • kayla culwell

      There’s a typo in this, just FYI… Not being a butt, just pointing it out. It happens… 

      It’s under the Negative heading, you have excepted where it should say “Limits on deals or coupons accepted.” :)

    • Peg

      I have been couponing long enough that I still have some of the old “No expiration” coupons with the shorter bar codes.  You should see the expressions on the faces of the younger cashiers when I use them!  Several months ago, I finally threw away the ones that didn’t even have bar codes as no one would accept them.

    • Momsdword1

      I started serious couponing years ago before the drug stores and grocery stores changed it all up on us.   They definitely have found out when and how to match and mismatch Q’s with their weekly sales.  I will always be a thrifty shopper using coupons, sales and insider info from Southern Savers and other blogs. I sure hope they keep rolling out the Q’s. 

    • Julie

      Thank you for such an informative article!  I have been wondering (and worrying) if some of the great deals we can currently get by couponing could be curtailed by store policies changing.  Working the coupon matchups and getting deals in the grocery store has become a way of life for me and I can’t imagine not being able to shop this way. Learning how to find the deals in the grocery store has even spilled over into the other areas of our family spending.  I now work to find a “deal” on nearly everything we buy.  Nowadays you can find a deal or coupon on just about every product or service if you know where to look!  Thanks again, Jenny for all you do!

    • Jmgregory_99

      One thing I have noticed is some companies are printing on their coupons that it is a crime to sell their coupons.  I realize those who offer “free coupons” are charging for services, etc.  I just wonder what impact that is having?

      • jessica2140

        No impact.  This is a kind of sad attempt by larger companies to try to “control” extreme couponers.  I will be fair and say that some of the concern is that people will steal the coupons out of Sunday papers to sell them.  In all honesty though…it’s legal.  While the coupons have no cash value, as in using them like you would a dollar bill, they are correct.  But sadly for them, the laws of supply and demand state that as long as someone will pay for something, it has value.  Anyway, some major coupon companies tried to sue Ebay not too long ago and didn’t get anywhere because like I said…if people will pay for something, you can’t stop someone for selling it! 

        ALL that being said…I don’t think that has an impact.  I honestly think it’s all about “That Show That Shall Remain Nameless”.  Lots of people didn’t realize that couponing to that level could be done, and suddenly became interested.  Which then alerted the big wigs in the stores and became their “issue du jour”.  I think once that show goes off of the air and the idea of couponing retreates to the back of people’s minds, you’ll see deals/coupons pick up again!

        • jessica2140

          I’m sorry to all of the English Majors out there…I just read over my post, and it’s riddled with errors.  Chalk it up to typing while eating dinner and cut me a little slack just this once.  :)

    • Shweird

      I just finished a shopping trip at the brand new Publix in Tifton, GA.  This is it’s opening day and it was very crowded.  However they brought in cashiers and baggers from neighboring towns so checkout was a breeze!  I got $185 worth for $45!  Now I won’t have to go out of town to shop at Publix anymore!

    • Melissa

      If coupons all go electronic then newspapers would go out of business :)
      Jenny, you made some awesome points. between all the fraud and the long term recession, the coupons arent going to be as valuable.
      What I have noticed is not as many people are going coupon crazy any more. a year ago when I started couponing the right way, I had to be out the door by 7:30am on Sundays to pick up the newspapers I wanted, they were usually gone by 8:30 or 9 at the latest. Now, I can get the same Sunday newspaper on Wednesday or thursday if I need to. Another truth from the show is that it was a “fad” and now you do not see it as much any more, the people have stopped couponing. Couponing is hard work and you really have to keep it up or you end up starting all over.

    • jessica2140

      Agree with Melissa!!  I’ve noticed it getting easier to find things lately, also.  I’ve also noticed that some stores are starting to lighten up about their policies, as I see fewer and fewer binders in the stores.  Crossing my fingers…but hopefully, we’ll see a return to “the good old days” once that show completely goes off of the air!

      • Jessica

        So true! I was shocked at how many coupon binders were around every time I went to Harris Teeter.  Now I only see them during doubles or triples

    • guest

      Thank you Jenny for this timely article.  I have absolutely noticed the changes you mention.  Procter & Gamble have, in my opinion, recently become amusingly stingy – is anyone going to buy high-priced Puffs to get the 25 cents off 3 boxes such as in this 8/26 issue of P&G coupons?  That is laughable to even the most casual couponer. As one person below notes, it has become necessary to rely on one’s stockpile extremely heavily, once one knows prices and sees that the deals just aren’t there as much.  But having couponed for about 12 yrs I do think that things are somewhat cyclical, so while we’re at a low point with The Show having taught retailers to defeat both ethical and unethical coupon practices and the recession making prices crazy high, things will change again back toward our benefit. Lowe’s Foods is another one who has decided to make sure that good sales and good coupons do not intersect; kind of feels like a game of Chicken with such retailers.  Couponing is also about fun, the sense of a good deal if not the reality, and the sense certainly comes from combining coupons with sales.  Customers who have fun, come back.  CVS sure knows that.

    • nikkib

      I believe stores may begin not accepting home printed coupons…I heard that walmarts will begin doing that. I don’t know when…has anyone else heard this news?

      • jessica2140

        I haven’t heard Wal Mart specifically, but I have heard some noise about some other stores doing it. 

    • MelindaNC

      Hi Jenny, I’m new to couponing and got interested because of that Show that will not be named. My interest really comes from necessity. We had huge debt and needed to pay it down. This was one way that I could help make more money available each month to put on the debt. I have learned a LOT from the comments. People have been really kind in sharing how to set up stacking and making the best deals. Even if the future of coupons is more difficult I’m still going to be in it for the fun and thrill of the deals. Thanks you and all your followers for the helpful hints on how to save money.

    • Dobiesnj

      I’m computer literate and I use my good old desktop. For whatever reason, I just don’t care for laptops. So I know my way around a computer and I print my little heart out to get my coupons. However, I refuse…and I mean refuse, to get a smart phone (I’m happy with my flip phone lol). It’s nothing to do with my age (early 50s), but that I honestly don’t want to be bothered and also I can’t afford to pay for data, etc. because I’m on a fixed income. So if coupons go the way of having to scan with a smartphone, I’m going to be out of luck. I hope it doesn’t come to that.

    • Dobiesnj

      I’m computer literate and I use my good old desktop. For whatever reason, I just don’t care for laptops. So I know my way around a computer and I print my little heart out to get my coupons. However, I refuse…and I mean refuse, to get a smart phone (I’m happy with my flip phone lol). It’s nothing to do with my age (early 50s), but that I honestly don’t want to be bothered and also I can’t afford to pay for data, etc. because I’m on a fixed income. So if coupons go the way of having to scan with a smartphone, I’m going to be out of luck. I hope it doesn’t come to that.

      • zeb

        Glad to know I’m not the only one who isn’t jumping on the smartphone bandwagon.  Im not technophobic and I use the latest technology when it suits my needs but the only way I would switch to a smartphone is if the savings to make the switch were higher than the price of the plan every month.

        • PinchingEveryPenny

          You should try StraightTalk. I only pay $49 a month for unlimited talk text and web. You can buy their smartphones for about what you would pay for the “discounted” 2 year price at the major carriers. I have NEVER had a problem with my service and I’ve had it a year now. No I don’t work for them and get absolutely nothing for recommending them. I just try to help others save money where I see they can.

    • Nonnie Mouse

      Thanks so much for the insightful article, Jenny.

      Couponing runs in popularity cycles, a lot like anything else (my mom did couponing for a while years ago, but left when the fad at that time dried it up). It feels nice to be getting out of the latest fad-season. Coupon values in some areas seem to have bumped up a tad and I’m finding FAR fewer cleared shelves. Stores have also been lightening up, it seems.
      But unless couponers totally alienate the stores themselves, coupons will not be disappearing. Manufacturers, while they make mistakes once in a while, are not stupid enough to give away and KEEP giving it away for decades. Coupons provide profitable advertising for companies and their products.
      Most of the tight-fisted coupon changes that have occured are a result of unethical or thoughtless behavior (ex. using credit cards on multiple tiny purchase amounts, not realizing that the store takes a hit larger than that for every transaction) on the part of some couponers. The more we strive to coupon thoughtfully, intelligently, and ethically ourselves and encourage ethical and thoughtful behavior among the couponing community, the more of a profit that stores and manufacturers will turn, and the better deals they will send back down the line to us.
      I’ve had some cashiers tell me that they generally hate couponers because they are inconsiderate and demanding and others tell me that couponers are some of their favorite, most enjoyable people to check out. My goal is always to be the latter.

    • Mkelly4

      Jenny can you tell me why FL stores do not offer double or triple coupons? I have wondered that for years now, since we moved here from TN.

      • jessica2140

        Jenny probably knows better than I, but my understanding is that 20 years or so ago, Publix (which is still a HUGE store down here, but back then was the #1 biggest with almost no competition as “big” as they were) decided that since they were the big dog in the state, they were going to stop doubling coupons, and it wouldn’t hurt their business.  They were right, because there weren’t any other monster chains to deal with.  The smaller chains took notice and followed suit and before long, no one doubled anymore.   Other chains have gotten larger, and larger stores have moved in (WalMart Supercenters for one, did not exist back then)…but no one has ever felt the need to double again because all of the existing stores have gotten away with it for so long. I think one of the big reasons that Publix couldn’t “infect” the other states is because there are LARGE chains that didn’t have to follow suit! There is a small, small chain store called Hitchcock’s in Alachua County that I’ve heard doubles on occasion and every now an then K-Mart does one of their 5 on a $25 order double deals, but those are the only ones I know about!

        If anyone else has a better answer…please advise!  This is just what I got when I googled it on the internet a few years ago!

    • Seanmart

      I am sure no matter what the future of couponing  has in store, your site will be the first to inform us and help us through. I have used Southern Savers now for several years and it is still the best above all! I usually take extra copies of my weekly grocery list with me when I do my shopping so if I see someone using coupons, I’ll ask if they have heard of Southern Savers, show them how it works, and give them a copy of the list with the website address for their later use. I’ll also print off extra coupons and take with me if the store has a good deal on an item I don’t intend to purchase and leave it in the store with the item for others. As you said in your article, we are all in this recession together, and this is my way of helping others.  Thank you Jenny for all you do and the help you give others. You have saved me lots of money and I will always be a loyal Southern Saver!

      • zeb

        I am all for the coupon fairy.  I love leaving coupons for items I dont need or use for others who will use them, but I would not give away printables to anyone I didnt trust 100 percent because they have trackable information on them that identifies the computer they were printed from.  Some people don’t know that they arent allowed to copy printables, or might find the temptation to do so too enticing.  When the company discovers printables are being copied from a certain IP address, they can block any more prints from that IP, and I would “die” if I was ever blocked from bricks coupons.

      • zeb

        I am all for the coupon fairy.  I love leaving coupons for items I dont need or use for others who will use them, but I would not give away printables to anyone I didnt trust 100 percent because they have trackable information on them that identifies the computer they were printed from.  Some people don’t know that they arent allowed to copy printables, or might find the temptation to do so too enticing.  When the company discovers printables are being copied from a certain IP address, they can block any more prints from that IP, and I would “die” if I was ever blocked from bricks coupons.

    • ME

      The reality is couponing will never go anywhere.. companies use coupons to get their products out there or off the shelf to make room for the new and improved type.  They need us couponers just as much as we need their coupons.   I started couponing strictly out of necessity to feed my family.  As I learned the savings grew. The truth is that those of us that fully understand the value of those little cut out slips of paper will continue to coupon and those that are looking to score 20 wagons of groceries for $1 every time they go shopping will be extremely disappointed and move on the next bigger and better thing that appears to be less work.  Companies will continue to cater to the needs of the consumer.  Consumers want a quality product for a reasonable price that is easy to obtain. 

    • ME

      The reality is couponing will never go anywhere.. companies use coupons to get their products out there or off the shelf to make room for the new and improved type.  They need us couponers just as much as we need their coupons.   I started couponing strictly out of necessity to feed my family.  As I learned the savings grew. The truth is that those of us that fully understand the value of those little cut out slips of paper will continue to coupon and those that are looking to score 20 wagons of groceries for $1 every time they go shopping will be extremely disappointed and move on the next bigger and better thing that appears to be less work.  Companies will continue to cater to the needs of the consumer.  Consumers want a quality product for a reasonable price that is easy to obtain. 

    • JenneyG

      I totally agree that coupons will never go away because that’s a marketing strategy for companies. If there’s a product priced at $4, there are people who absolutely need it and will pay $4 for it, there are people who may or may not need it and will pay $2 for it with a $2 coupon, and there are people who don’t need it at all but are willing to try it for free with a $2sq+$2mq.

      I have noticed that internet coupon usually has a higher value than newspaper one. But there are large amount fraud due to people copying them and that’s why stores like Kroger, walmart and target hesitate to take them. If companies can come up with a one time scanning barcode like cvs’ ecbs then that’ll eliminate the concern and make couponing easier.

      • jessica2140

        I’ve grown to love the printies that are numbered for that reason!  We happen to have 4 computers in the house (Laptops for me, hub, oldest daughter, and a desktop for everyone else to use) to I get to print a goodly amount of coupons.  It makes me REALLY uncomfortable when people give me “the eye” when redeeming them…I feel like the individual number system PROVES I am innocent of coupon scamming.  :)

    • ireneY

      Pros and cons of couponing at Publix lately:

      Pro:
      Cashiers are more educated about usage (i.e., stacking manu with store Q).

      Con:
      BOGOs rarely match Qs.

      Same packaged items on sale each week… zzzzzz

      Certain cashiers at a certain store take an inordinent amount of time to read every single word on the Q as if any mistake mean the death penalty (not exaggerating!), even though I am there every week with squeaky clean credentials. A couple of them are looking for any excuse to reject a Q (black/white IP, uses photo as guide rather than description, etc.)

      So, you see, at the moment, the cons outweigh the pros. Persevere and hope for a change in the consumer’s favor in the future.