Double coupons. Wow. It seems like our site is flooded daily with comments and questions concerning them and lately, I’ve found them on Facebook as well.
As I was looking on the page of rural store in our state, I noticed the following question posted by one of their fans:
1. What is a double coupon?
Why do some stores double coupons?
The idea is to bring you into the store so you will buy other products. In the mind of the store, if they offer you a discount on some products but you walk in and buy a weeks worth of groceries on top of that then it’s well worth it. This is a store promotion, just like a weekly sales flyer or store coupon would be. All are designed to bring you into the store so you will shop and buy everything on your list whether it is on sale or not.
3. Do stores lose money on double coupons?
Yes…and no. Well, it depends. First, the majority of stores do not get reimbursed for the ‘double’ portion of the coupon. So, if you visit Homeland and give them a $1 off coupon for Blue Bell ice cream, they will get reimbursed $1 for that coupon from the manufacturer directly but they will not get reimbursed the $1 double portion of the coupon because this is the store promotion. In this case, the store loses $1 on this purchase.
Again, the idea behind double coupons is that you (the consumer) will go into the store to get your good deals but then decide to pick up other items while you are in there. This would make the loss of the double coupon worth it to the store in the end.
If you picked up 3 things at a double coupon store that were free after double coupons but you spent another $200 on other things while you were there, then the store could easily afford to lose the $3 for the doubles. In this case, it would be a win for the store.
This is what bothers me about the facebook statement above where obviously, this person was yelling at the store (in computer language) for not doubling coupons and even more obviously, not realizing that doubling coupons does cost that store (which is a business) real money.
Telling the store that it will ‘promote a WHOLE LOT more purchases’ won’t matter that much if the store loses money on every single one of those purchases. In fact, that statement may have just scared the double coupon right out of them!
4. Why do some double coupon stores get so upset with couponers?
Simple. As couponers, we are only going into the store for what we have coupons for and that is it. We are flying in the face of the original design of double coupon marketing and therefore, we do cost the store money.
There are some stores in our area that had a double coupon policy long before couponing became popular. It was a good policy for them because it brought in the few money conscious spenders who then bought the rest of their groceries in the store as well.
Then, we came along.
These stores were originally ok with the loss because they made up the difference however, that is no longer the case. Now, we come in with our coupons and use the policy the store has in place to get our groceries for next to nothing. The store gets reimbursed for the face value of the coupon so that is no big deal but the store is taking a loss on every single double coupon (and that’s all we’re using) and that is a big deal…at least to them.
5. Why are there certain days for double coupons & why are there strict policies?
Some stores offer double coupons every single day, if the value of the double coupon is low (say .50) then they don’t feel the heat quite as much and offering a daily double coupon amount that low does not impact the budget as severely especially if their everyday prices are on the high end.
However, if the store has a high double coupon value (like $1) and doubles that every single day, then the rate of their loss increases each day. This then forces the store to become more strict on the policy to ensure they do not lose even more money.
Many stores around the country do offer the $1 double coupon everyday however, those tend to be large stores that attract plenty of non-couponers as well.
In other cases, you’ll see stores offer only a double coupon week as in, one week out of the month. This entices money conscious grocery buyers but then also helps establish a relationship between that store and the customer that may not have been there before. And, if the store is lucky, you’ll stop by their store on the other weeks that the double coupon promotion is not taking place.
These are the stores that take the loss as more of an advertising fee as they are hoping they have made such a good impact on you that you’ll come back for more with or without your coupons.
Double coupons are a big deal for couponers as they do give us double the savings however, it is important to realize that it is a privilege to have a store that offers double coupons, it is not a right. It is disturbing to see people ‘demanding’ double coupons at stores. That is a promotion that they must weigh the pros and cons of financially before they could offer and I’m not so sure yelling at them would convince them to do so.
For the stores that do double coupons, I believe it is important for us to thank them for that and respect what their policy tells us. If that policy is getting too strict then there are plenty of other stores to shop at. Simply price matching and using coupons at Walmart can give you double savings and also combining store and manufacturer coupons at places like CVS, Walgreens or Target.
Double coupons are not needed all the time in order to save money however, if you are so blessed to have been able to use double coupons, just keep in mind a good attitude can go a long way and the better we treat these stores, the more likely they are to keep the double coupons. Also, the next time you just need a gallon of milk, keep that store in mind and help ’em out a bit.
We have a Couponing 101 page on this site and it will house all the information you need to cut your grocery bill by 80% or more! For those of you just getting started, I wanted to help you out with a few tips and ways to find great coupons:
1. The Newspaper: If you live in Oklahoma, I would suggest you pick up The Oklahoman (the OKC paper) which typically has more coupons than the other newspapers. Coupons are regional so even though your local paper may not have great coupons another city paper may be packed with great deals. In order to find out what coupons will be in your newspaper, visit SundayCouponPreview.comeach week.
2. Visit Manufacturer Websites: Go right to the source. If you’re all about Arm & Hammer detergent then check out ArmandHammer.com for coupons. Sign up for their newsletter and print coupons right from their website. You can do this for almost any major brands. Think outside the box on this one too and visit produce and meat websites like GoldnPlump.com!
3. Printable Coupons: Visit printable coupon websites such as Coupons.com, Smartsource.com,Redplum.com and SuperTarget.com. Each will land you great coupons. Be sure to print the ones you like right away as most do have print limits and check back, new coupons are posted each month.
4. Use the Coupon Database: Did you know we have our own Coupon Database? You can search it for any coupon you’d like and if there is one available the database will let you know where to print it or what newspaper it came out in.
5. Pick up Magazines: You know those $5 magazine subscriptions we’re always talking about on here? Well, it’s not only for the content of the magazine but the coupons as well. Many magazines have coupons in them so be sure to keep an eye out for FREE subscriptions or cheap subscriptions. Of course, All You , is the couponer’s favorite. Pick it up at Walmart or subscribe to All You .
6. Buy Coupons Online: Yep, it’s legal. The reason why this is such a great option is because you can pick up those coupons that are not in your newspaper. Since coupons are regional, you’re more likely to find the coupons for the products you want by using a coupon clipping service. I do this all the time for my son’s specialty foods (allergy free & organic), I hardly ever find those coupons in our newspaper but I can get them from these services. I use Coupons and Things by Dede most often, but you can also check out TheCouponClippers.com as well.
7. Peelies, Blinkies and Tearpads: Peelies are the sticker-like coupons stuck on the products themselves. Blinkies are coupons from Smartsource machines (red boxes) usually found in cereal aisles. Tearpads are usually found on product shelves or displays. Companies are trying to get you to see that their product is cheaper by offering you one last savings method right there in the store. Tearpads and Blinkies can be taken right there in the store and used on a later trip for a better deal. Peelies, however, are literally for the product you are purchasing. So please resist the temptation to peel the stickers off the products that you are not buying.
8. Catalina Coupons: These are the cash register tape coupons that print out after you’ve bought a product. They’re usually red and come out with your receipt. Many are thrown away, however, be aware these coupons have been much better lately than ever before. And, most are manufacturer coupons that can be used anywhere. They are triggered by the purchase you make at the store and can be a great way to save.
9. Store Coupons: Walgreens, CVS and Target have store coupons which can be combined with manufacturer coupons. You can find these in their ads, at the store website or in the store itself. For Walgreens, they offer a coupon book the second you walk into the store right by the sales ads. CVS offers coupons via e-mail and also with your CVS card (you can scan it under the coupon machine in the store). Target offers coupons on SuperTarget.com and they’ll mail them to you too every once in awhile. These are some of my favorite coupons!
10. Recycle Bins: Well, if you saw Extreme Couponing on TLC you likely saw this. I wouldn’t recommend jumping in the dumpster in fact, I’m pretty sure most places will stop you from doing that. And for those of you sticking your children in the bins, totally not cool. Remember, what you see on TV is in fact, for TV.
In our area, our recycle bins have doors on the side that you can open, stick your hand in and get the coupons. However, it is recommend that you ask permission before doing so. I know many of our readers volunteer at recycling centers in order to get early dibs on the coupons too.
Want to learn even more? Be sure to check out The Power of Coupons: 13 Ways to Save.
Disclosure: Affiliate links in post.
Do your coupons expire before you ever remember to use them? That’s likely because of organization. Keep in mind, I’m a throw-it-in-a-box person but with coupons, organization is the key to savings. The most popular way of organizing coupons is by using the coupon binder.
1. Use a 3-ring binder: You can start with a 1″ then work your way up if need be. You can also use the old school Trapper Keeper’s too.
2. Baseball Card Holders: Baseball card dividers can be picked up at most hobby stores, Walmart, Target and Kmart. I love these on Amazon, they’re sturdy and perfect for multiple coupons. This is what you’re seeing in the picture on top. Honestly, this is the best way to organize your coupons in a way you can actually see them. Just fold them and tuck them in. You can stack them pretty deep too.
3. Section Dividers: You’ll need to divide each section to make it easier to find. If you only shop at one store, you can set up the dividers to be each individual aisle at that store. However in my case, I have them divided up by the following sections (in any order you’d like):
Breakfast Foods/ Cereals
You can add a calculator, scissors or anything else you’d prefer as well. Really, great organization is very personal, it’s all about what works for you. I’ve found this to be the most popular method and certainly the easiest one for me.
Here’s another question from one of our FB readers:
Is buying in bulk (i.e. Sam’s Club, Costco) really saving you money?
Sam’s Club is typically the store that draws the most confusion when it comes to searching out good deals. After all, 500 Ziploc bags for $8.99 doesn’t sound bad at all, does it? But then there’s the $40 membership fee that has to be taken into account as well. The truth of the matter is Sam’s Club does not take coupons. In the case of the Ziploc bags, you could have actually purchased them individually with a coupon at Walmart for less.
As far as normal grocery shopping goes, I would suggest using coupons and following store sales at ‘traditional’ grocery stores is a much better option. In saying that, below are 5 Ways You Can Save Money at Sam’s Club:
1. Discount Meat: Typically, Sam’s will clearance out meat in the mornings. You may find yesterday’s fresh cuts or meat they are trying to move off the shelf before another truck come in. Most of this is packaged in bulk which makes it easy to stock up on. Remember, you can ask them to cut it anyway you’d like as well. If you find a good deal on steak, they can cut it in half which will give you twice as much.
2. Produce: While not Aldi prices, Sam’s Club prices on produce are pretty incredible. I bought 2 pounds of grapes for under $4 while the same amount would have been nearly $7 at my local Walmart store.
3. Ready Made Meals: Alright, I confess, I am addicted to these. In the meat department, you’ll find fresh, ready made meals for less than $12 each. In fact, the Stuffed Shells above cost only $8. Could I make it cheaper with coupons? Possibly. Did it save me an incredible amount of time that was worth the price? Yes. The good part about these is that they are fresh (and certainly taste better than my cooking), the meals containing chicken are usually made from the leftover Rotisserie chickens. While I wouldn’t recommend purchasing these for all of your meals, in a pinch, these are great and not so hard on the wallet.
4. Clearance Sales: Have you shopped clearance at Sam’s? You’ll probably find it hidden in the back of the store so you have to keep your eyes peeled. My dining room table was $250 but I grabbed it for only $50 on clearance. Sam’s is great about clearancing out displays, I found the table and sat my niece on it to hold it for me while I called my husband to bring the truck. That was a few years ago and we still use the table today!
5. Try It Out First: Many times you can ask for a guest pass and get a free trial at Sam’s Club just to see if you like it. You may decide it is not right for you or you may decide it’s a great buy. This will give you a chance to check it out before you buy. You can also go with a friend if they have a membership…the Sam’s Club Policy states this “Our Members are welcome to bring their children and up to two guests to Sam’s Club. A Member must accompany children and guests – at all times. Only a Member may purchase items.”
The Queen’s opinion: I do like Sam’s for the reasons above, and on occasion, I will purchase bulk items such as plastic cups or utensils for parties. Is it worth the $40 fee? I let my membership go over a year ago and didn’t miss it. If you know your prices per ounce then you could really save a ton of money. I found a Pantene deal at Sam’s that would have saved me $30 if I would have bought it. Seriously, that’s a steal!
What is your favorite thing about shopping at Sam’s?