Top 10: What not to do in couponing

WRAL's Smart Shopper Faye Prosser shares the top 10 things not to do when using coupons.

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Faye Prosser

For those of you new to couponing or getting back into it, here is your Top 10 list of what not to do while trying to save a buck. Some are humorous, but some are flat-out illegal so keep these tips in mind when you head to the store to use all your fabulous coupons.

10. Do NOT forget to scan your card at the in-store coupon kiosks found in many stores, like CVS. Do this as soon as you walk in to the store. There are some great coupons that come out of these little machines – sometimes for FREE product! And you can couple the store coupons for an amount off a product with manufacturer coupons for the same product to really increase your savings!

9. Do NOT wait until you are at the register to start looking for your coupons. Have them ready to go before you ever get in line. If you are prepared when you get to the register, you will be less frazzled, your transaction will go much more smoothly, and you won’t irritate everyone in line behind you and the cashier.

8. Do NOT use multiple reward cards to get more than the allowed quantity of a deal per person. If the ad indicates limit 2 per person, that is the most you should buy.

7. Do NOT take the coupons out of Sunday papers that you did not purchase from the paper box or from inside the store. Wonder why many stores keep the Sunday paper behind the counter now? So people can’t steal the coupon inserts without paying for them.

6. Do NOT clear the shelves, taking 25 of a product, and expect the store to suspend their couponing policy because you saw people on a TV show do it. Thankfully, the stores in our area all have limits on the number of coupons you can use, so shelf clearing is a lot harder to do.

5. Do NOT yell at the cashier because the store is out of stock. It is not her fault, and you are just being mean. It’s just a coupon, get a hold of yourself! I have seen wild behavior from adults getting really angry at teenage cashiers for absolutely no reason.

4. Do NOT try to use a coupon on an item it is clearly not intended to be used on. If the coupon indicates it is for the 24 count, do not try to use it on the 10 count.

3. Do NOT be surprised if your transaction is watched closely by management if you are someone who repeatedly tries to cheat the policies in the stores in your area. The employees remember those couponers who break the rules, and they watch them much more closely. You don’t want to be that person.

2. Do NOT take Sunday papers from the driveways of foreclosed homes like one of the folks actually did on the TLC couponing show. It’s stealing!

1. Do NOT be afraid to advocate for yourself. If you think a deal should work differently or they should be taking a coupon you present, ask to speak with a manager. It’s perfectly fine to ask for clarification. Fixing a deal while you are in the store is much easier than trying to figure out what happened three days ago. Sometimes the cashier just needs a little more training. BUT, remember, the nicer you are about it, the more likely the manager will be receptive to what you say. Attitude is everything, and when there is a gray issue in couponing, the kind customer has a much better chance of having her coupon accepted than the customer spewing venom. Actually, that’s kind of the way it is when dealing with most things.

So that is your Top 10 list. It basically boils down to doing the right thing and being an advocate for yourself and your family.

If you have any other thoughts on what not to do in couponing , feel free to post them here on the blog.

As I always say, it’s your money, spend it wisely!

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