Coupon Etiquette 101: the Unspoken Rules
With the coupon craze being so popular right now, there are a lot of things to remember while couponing and trying to save money. There is actually some unwritten coupon etiquette that a lot of people don't know about because they are new to couponing, or because they have been doing it so long they don't realize things have changed. This is meant to be a coupon etiquette 101 of sorts to help people save money and make sure they are not stepping on peoples toes in the process.
Clearing tear pads- The number 1 rule of coupon etiquette would be to never clear a coupon tear pad in a store. The basic rule is to take a couple of the same coupon or 5 max if it is something you buy a lot of. It is really frustrating when you find out about a new tear pad in a store and then the next day they are totally cleared out. People often take a ton of coupons wanting to trade or sell them but this is really poor etiquette behavior. There are in fact a number of Facebook groups out right now that are specifically geared towards trading coupons and members often have 10+ of the same coupon up for grabs. This is not proper etiquette to grab coupons that you just don't need so that you can trade them for something you do need. It is the same thing as selling coupons online. Only take what you will use and leave the rest for other that need them.
Clearing shelves- Another rule to remember just like you shouldn't clear the tear pads, you should never clear the shelves as well. A lot of the time you will find high value coupons that will either get you a free product, overages or or a great price. Don't take all of the products because there are many places that only put out a certain number of each product and other won't be able to take advantage of the deal.
Be a coupon fairy- If you have a coupon that you won't be using or that is about to expire and you don't need, then leave it for someone that can. Simply place the coupon on the shelf with the product if you can so that some lucky person can take advantage of it. Paying it forward is always a good thing to do!
Make big trips during slow hours- Nothing is more frustrating then getting in line behind a person that has like 20 or more coupons and it is rush hour at the supermarket. If you are using a lot of coupons, try going later at night or early in the morning. Not only will the shelves be more full, but you won't be holding up busy lines.
Be organized- It will make a world of difference for the cashier if you are organized and have your coupons ready to hand to them with the product as it is rung through. Canada is not like in the States where you can hand the cashier a stack of coupons and have them scan them at the end. They have some strict rules to read the coupons carefully and make sure they match the proper product. Try to have each coupon ready for the cashier as the product is rung through.
Do everything legal- Don't photocopy coupons, or try to give expired coupons to a cashier. Don't try to use a coupon for a product that is not meant for that product. You may get a freebie here and there but in the long run everyone loses. Companies are putting more restrictions on coupons because of people trying to pull fast ones so that they don't lose money. It will benefit everyone to keep things legal.
These are the main coupon etiquette rules that should be followed but there are a few more. Coupons are a great way to save money when you do it properly. There are more than enough to go around. A great place to get coupons is our Bargainmoose coupon forum. Simply enter the name of the store or product in the search and any printable coupons that are out there will come up in the search for you to bring shopping with you.
We have also started a post every week with the best of the weeks printable coupons all in one spot for you to take advantage of.
What other coupon etiquette advice you you couponers have that would help out our newbies? The more we work together, the more we can all save together!
(Thanks to o5com for the picture)