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Are new store coupon doubling policies driving you nuts?

March 6th, 2009 at 12:01 am

Well, they are me. But it's a good thing Smile

Ten years ago, most stores in our area were doubling coupons up to 50 cents. This means that a manufacturers coupon, could be redeemed on the item, and the store would equal the value of the coupon to double the discount. In other words, if I had a coupon for 50 cents off the price of a box of Cheerios, I would receive a $1 discount (50 cents from the manufacturer and 50 cents from the store) off at the register. On a sale of $1 a box, that would make free Cheerios. Yeah!

Well, okay, I don't eat Cheerios. But the point is, most stores "doubled" coupon values up to $1 ($2 off received). Then...things changed, the economy got bumped around, competition changed, and some stores went for lower prices, others to more organic selections, etc., and coupon policies were changed. Fewer stores had double coupons, some stores limited coupons to four items, some stores reduced the value that they would double.

As the economy has gotten tighter, competition between stores for business has stiffened. And hence, each store is updating it's coupon policies to attract more of the new "coupon saavy" shoppers.

Our local Superfresh started things off by returning to doubling coupons up to 99c (for a $1.98 discount), but will only allow four of the same coupon or item. Then our local Acme store raised their limit up to 99c (again, $1.98 total), but allow an unlimited number of coupons to be used, as long as it's one coupon per item. So...if you have 10 50 cents off Zone bars and Zone bars are on sale for $1 each, they double all ten coupons to purchase 10 bars for free.

Superfresh started periodically having TRIPLE coupons up to 99c. Which, if you triple a 75c coupon to give $2.25 off, can provide some great deals. Even if it's only 4 items each, if you can find them on sale at the same time as the triple coupons are available, you can purchase a good supply of expensive items for free, or almost free.

But, now Superfresh is running triples for only three days, usually only once a month. Acme continues to allow unlimited doubles. Safeway just entered the game two weeks ago, with up to 99c doubles and no item limits. And tomorrow, Giant Foods is test marketing with a week of four clip and save "double one dollar" coupons from their weekly flyer.

Other stores locally double 50 cents, and some stores double only four, others unlimited, even within the same store Chain but different cities.

While this is fantastic for savings, it also complicates the effort of shopping! Reading the circulars from each store, looking for differences in prices and savings, is complicated. Then there are the unadvertised instore sale prices (when the ad says "more savings in stores"), and then trying to remember which store has which rules on doubling coupons, which days, which limits, and therefore the best deals. And then, of course, the trade off of which store to shop at, since who has the time, or wants to absorb the costs of gasoline, to run all over the place to find one or two items.

Sigh. I think I will enlist DH, two brains might be better than one, and it just might take a rocket scientist to keep it straight Smile

7 Responses to “Are new store coupon doubling policies driving you nuts?”

  1. frugaltexan75 Says:

    I just wanted to say hi Flash. Smile Good to see you. Smile
    I haven't been doing much with couponing for a while now, so haven't paid too much attention to stores coupon policies - but it sure does sound like it could be quite confusing!

  2. oceansluver78 Says:

    I thought about couponing but almost everything that i could find them for was usually unhealthy food. It is cheaper for me to buy canned veggies and chicken in bulk.

  3. Thrifty Ray Says:

    FLASH! Nice of you to pop in...I saw the title of your blog and had an instinct it might be you! I hope things are going better for you and yours this year, than they did the last couple...thanks for sharing your knowledge with us again...I have missed it (and you!)

  4. baselle Says:

    Hey, flash, good to hear from you!
    We still don't have double couponing here in Seattle, so no shopping Sudoku.
    Look on the bright side: tactically, this double and triple couponing should prepare you for doing taxes. Keep your mind and your pencil sharp!

  5. homebody Says:

    OMG Flash is back?? Waving madly!!!

  6. flash Says:

    Hi!

    Yes, I'm here. Jeffrey has invited me and my DH to start blogging some tips on GroceryCouponGuide.com to help people get started, too! So you should be seeing me around a bit more Smile
    Healthy foods? Absolutely! Muir Glen and Cascadian Farms, Kashi, O Organics, to name a few, all have GREAT coupons out there. I'll be describing more later, but I've got to go check out the blog site for coupons and see how it works Smile
    Thanks for the warm welcome back!

  7. flash Says:

    Yep, now Giant is having TRIPLE coupons, clip n save, starting Friday. Hmmm...75 cents on Muir Glen would be $2.25 off, but I have no idea how their prices compare.

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