Here are a few ways you can show some coupon courtesy:
Plan your couponing before you enter the store. Nothing irritates your family, store clerks, and the people behind you in line more than a someone who is frantically flipping through a ratty envelope looking for a coupon. Planning ahead not only saves you time, it can save you money.
Organize your coupons. Some stores prefer to ring up the store coupons first, and then the manufacturer coupons. Ring up items that are free after coupons last so that the clerk doesn’t have to scan the whole receipt to find out how much money to take off your tab. Find out what your favorite stores like, and you’ll make checking out a breeze.
Don’t steal peelies. You know those little coupons that you can peel off of packages in the store? Yeah. Those are for the people buying the products. If you aren’t buying the product, please don’t take the peelie.
Don’t tear all the sheets off tear pads. It’s nice when stores put little tear pads and coupon dispensers around the store so that you can grab a coupon or two. But please, leave some for someone else. Do you really need that many coupons for one product?
Don’t commit coupon fraud. This is a no-brainer. Don’t try to “sneak” an expired coupon past a clerk or use a coupon for a product it isn’t designed for. Don’t photocopy printed coupons. Don’t sign up for coupons under 10 different e-mail addresses to get coupons. Don’t be greedy with freebies. When we abuse the system, everyone ends up losing.
Don’t send someone else to shop for you unless they’re skilled at bargain hunting. Many a marriage has been strained by a woman who has the perfect money-saving deal worked out and a man who doesn’t read the fine print. If your coupon deal is a little complicated, be sure to carve out time to work the deal yourself.
Shop when the stores aren’t busy. If you know you’re going to use a lot of coupons, or you’re planning to do more than one transaction, try to shop during off-peak times. The cashier is less likely to make mistakes, you’re less likely to make mistakes, and people who are just trying to get home after a long day of work will be grateful they don’t have to stand behind you in line.
Be assertive, but polite. Anyone who has ever tried to redeem a coupon has had to deal with snarky salespeople at one time or another. If you’re certain you have a legitimate coupon and that you’ve purchased the right product for the coupon, be assertive, but polite. Ask to speak to a manager or contact customer service. The nicer you are to the them, the more willing they will be to help you save money.
Spread the coupon love. Got extra coupons you won’t use? Share them with your fellow shoppers. I’ve given diaper coupons to a busy mom while we were both browsing the baby section I’ve left toilet paper coupons in the paper goods aisle. Tell the people around you where you got your coupons and how you managed to find good deals. They’ll appreciate the information.
It feels good to save money, but it feels even better when you can help others save money, too.