Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Rules of the game.

Every game has it's rules, and the Couponing game is no different. If you take anything away from me, I hope it's that for everyone to be able to benefit from couponing, we must all follow the rules.

I won't go into a long tirade about personal honesty, as most of us had the value of honesty taught to us as kids. I just want to say that, as in other aspects of life, trying to cheat the rules hurts everyone, yourself included.

If we don't follow the rules, or attempt to cheat the system, it causes stores to change their policies in order to protect themselves. That gives us less deals, less coupons, less ways to use them, and overall - screwed us all. So an extra buck is not worth it.

So, to go over it briefly:

1). Be familiar with your store's coupon policy.
KCL has the policies on their website, but you can also request a copy from your local store's manager. Read it, learn it. A cashier is no infallible, and sometimes they might simply not know the policy. Don't get angry, be informed. Don't be afraid to point out the policy to the cashier or the manager, but do it in the nice way.

2) Pay attention to your coupons.
Misusing your coupons, knowingly or un-knowlingly takes off your "trust points".  Don't be THAT guy/girl, who makes the cashier scrutinize each item you get. Know what you are buying and what your coupon limitations are. After all, understanding your coupons and getting the best deal despite of the limitation is the biggest part of the game. You are not gaming the system - you are being a smart shopper.

3) Don't be an ass to other couponers/shoppers.
I know, the TLC's "Extreme Couponing" attempted to make the purchase of 300 bottles of ketchup seem cool and savvy. I'm sorry if it offends anyone, but that's an asshole move. Even if you have 100 of coupons for an item, you are not the only one in town that would like to get on that deal. Don't be lazy - call the store and order extra pallet of that stuff. Don't be the shelf-emptyer. That's just greedy.

If you see a fellow couponer, smile. Strike a conversation. Offer a coupon that you weren't gonna use that day, even if they ARE emptying the shelf in front of your eyes - move on. Such is life, and life ain't fair. Not everyone wants to play nice int he sandbox, but it don't mean that you cannot kill them with kindness. Perhaps next time they will pass it on to someone else.

4) Don't duplicate coupons. It's illegal. Enough said. You will get caught, and you will feel like crap. And your mother will be ashamed of you.

5) Let the guy with a single loaf of bread go first.
We are all busy, we are all in a rush. It's not very fair to make your fellow shoppers wait on your 20 separate transactions. Whoever is first, shall be last, whoever is last - shall be first.

6) Don't hoard the knowledge.
A good friend took time out from her busy life and taught me and my friends about couponing. I have saved several hundred dollars on food alone so far. Pass on the knowledge, don't hide it like some super-secret club. Tell the lady in the isle about it, if she is curious about your ridiculous binder. If you found an awesome sale - tell your friends. If you found a cool way to do something, let them know.
Couponing is for everyone - everyone wins. Stores make money, manufacturers make money. You save money, your friends and family save money. Couponing is great for economy!

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