Extreme Couponing Crackdown
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Extreme Couponing Crackdown

Posted on Wednesday, July 20th, 2011 at 4:12 pm
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Is there a backlash to “Extreme Couponing” and if so, how will it affect the price you pay for groceries?

Extreme Couponing is the practice of using as many coupons as you can to get your groceries for free or nearly free. From dumpster diving for coupons to stockpiling years worth of supplies, the goal of an extreme couponer is to never pay money for groceries ever again.

While getting hundreds or even thousands of dollars worth of free food using grocery coupons can be exciting, there are a few people that aren’t so thrilled with the way this practice works, namely the owners and managers of the stores themselves. That is because smart shoppers can take things a little too far by clearing the shelves and making it harder for markets to sell to the people who are willing to pay full price.

If you do use coupons, you may have already seen changes lately that are affecting how much you can save. Some stores are cracking down on extreme couponers by changing their coupon policy. Rite Aid, Target and Publix are three places that have recently limited coupon use or have placed additional restrictions on coupons.

Another change you may have noticed is in your coupons themselves. Many manufacturer coupons specifically say, “Do Not Double,” and there is talk that the cents or dollar off value of coupons will be coming down. So that $0.75 off coupon for toothpaste you usually expect may now be only a $0.50 off coupon for the same product.

This all comes at a time when the “Great Recession” has made it harder for families to afford the new higher cost of feeding everyone. Coupons, if you are willing to do the work, can be a way to offset the rise in food prices.

To cope with all of this backlash, shoppers will have to be prepared by carrying a copy of a store’s coupon policy and including a combination of other grocery saving strategies to bring down the bill. For example, buying in bulk and buying generic products, growing your own food and cooking from scratch are all ways to spend less money.

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Good Tip: Saving money is important – especially if you have a lot of expenses like bills to pay, loans to pay off, and all the other things that drain your bank account. Figuring out a way to save money can feel tedious to some, and like a punishment to others. U.S. News suggests that you try one of these money saving challenges. The “No Eating Out for a Month” Challenge This one is self-explanatory. The goal is to avoid eating out for an entire month. This might be super easy for people who enjoy making meals at home. People who really enjoy dining out, or ordering food to be sent to their home, may struggle with this one. It’s worth a try because spending money on take-out is more expensive than buying groceries. The Pantry Challenge This one is a variation of the “No Eating Out for a Month” challenge. The goal is to use up all of your groceries before you buy more. It forces you to try and remember why you bought a food or beverage that you don’t know what to do with, and gives you the opportunity to find a way to use it. The one exemption to this challenge is the foods that have expired. Don’t eat them! Throw them in the trash. The “No Spend” Challenge Make a goal to avoid spending money during an entire weekend. The only exemption in this challenge is that you are allowed to pay bills. This challenge is interesting because it requires creativity. You must be creative and find workarounds for problems that you would typically solve by spending money. You may have a different outlook on spending after finishing this challenge.