ETHICAL Couponing

With TLC's Extreme Couponing skyrocketing as a popular TV show, there is a total misconception as to what is appropriate behavior as an ethical couponer.  The following list is just some basic information on how to be an ethical couponer and still saving a ton of money!

  • You should not CLEAR out shelves!  The first Extreme Couponing show I watched had a lovely lady cleaning out a stores entire stock of mustard just because it was free.  Honestly, do you need 100 bottles of mustard?  The show has made couponing out to be a hoarding free-for-all, while really, most of us use it to feed our family on a budget.  If you do need more than 5 of an item, give your store manger a call and pre-order it!  They don't want unhappy customers when their shelves are cleared, so they are more than happy to help you out!
  • ALWAYS be considerate of others shopping at your store.  This could feed into the non-clearing out of shelves, but it goes beyond that.  Anytime I am checking out with an order where I have several transactions, price matching, or lots of coupons, I let anyone who gets in behind me know what I am doing.  That way, if they need to get in and out in a hurry, they can hit a different line.  If I am at a smaller drug store with only one register, I will usually do one transaction, then allow anyone in line behind me to check out their items before my next transaction. 
  • ALWAYS be courteous to your cashier.  I have posted not to let them intimidate you, and you shouldn't, however, being rude will never get you a positive experience.  There are times where your coupon might be a tad vague.  If you have been rude to your cashier, they are not going to go the extra mile to help your coupon go through.  If you are pleasant and thank them, they are more likely to help you out without hassle.
  • Only use coupons for the item they are intended for.  Trying to pass off coupons for items that they are not really for is coupon fraud. 
  • Do not ever copy a coupon.  This is also coupon fraud.  If you are that desperate for a coupon, you can usually print at least two from your computer, then ask family, friends and neighbors to help you out.  Or head to the library and pay the $.10/copy.  Who wants to go to jail for faking a coupon? =)
  • Consider donating half of what you are able to get a good deal on!  I have said it before, and I will say it a thousand times more, God has given us the ability, patience, and perseverance to find these deals and use them to live frugally.  We are called to share that gift with those in need!  If you get 4 bottles of free BBQ sauce, give 2 away.  You got them for free anyway, so you aren't out anything!