Are You An Ultimate Coupon Ninja?

Are you an extreme couponer? When you find coupons combos and deals where the cashback exceeds the retail price of the product, do you rush out and buy up a whole ton to resell at flea markets and on eBay for profit? Whether it be at the grocery store, CVS, or Best Buy, If you do things like this and are up for being interviewed by us, email me at ben@consumerist.com.

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  1. nonsane says:

    What do Niqab’s have to do with Ninja’s? i’m confused

    …(not really)

  2. haggis for the soul says:

    No, because the bulk of coupons I see are for processed crap that I don’t eat.

    • Muddie says:

      Why do you assume it’s just for food? What about inedible goods? Or detergents?

      Hop down off that high horse and play with us a little.

      • haggis for the soul says:

        Because for those things I tend to buy off brands that I never see coupons for. So coupons just aren’t on my radar much.

        • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

          So you would rather spend more for off brands than you would for an on brand w/a coupon?

          • haggis for the soul says:

            Yes. Yes, I would. In my experience, there hasn’t been that much of a savings difference, so they’re not really worth the hassle.

            • Moosehawk says:

              oh

            • JulesNoctambule says:

              Using a coupon, I recently bought a name-brand pack of nail files for 89 cents. The store brand was $1.99. Please, tell me again how it’s better not to use coupons and always buy generic instead.

            • pecan 3.14159265 says:

              If you saved five cents every grocery trip by buying the name brand with a coupon over the store brand without a coupon, you would save more than $1 throughout the year. No, it doesn’t seem like a huge cost savings, but why do we save our change at all then? Why does it collect in the couch cushions to be scavenged later? We do care about the little costs. I’d rather save $1 than nothing.

      • Heresy Of Truth says:

        I am in the same boat. I use coupons for everything I can, but as for food, there is no point. I don’t eat things from the middle of the grocery store much.

    • denros says:

      same. I could save a couple dollars here and there on things I occaisonally buy, but I don’t see a whole lot of coupons for cage-free eggs, broccoli and elk.

    • Alvis says:

      *dismissive wanking motion*

      99% of food is “processed” somehow or other, whether that’s washing it, cooking it, or what-have-you. Un-processed != better.

      • Dallas_shopper says:

        I think when some people say “processed” they mean “non-perishable.” I don’t eat much from the middle aisles myself. Most food that stays edible at room temperature doesn’t taste very good to me.

    • zekebullseye says:

      This week using coupons I bought a can of tuna, a box of Barilla pasta, a stick of deodorant (yes, my favorite brand), and a toothbrush. Total expenditure: 4 bucks.

  3. raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

    I am bad with coupons; sometimes when I am presented with a coupon, I will purchase things for which I have no need or desire, simply because of the discount.

  4. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    Worst I did was take the bundles of Sunday papers behind the 7-11 on Monday, pull all the coupon inserts out, and then return them on Tuesday.

    • denros says:

      Considering how much most newspapers are hurting for circulation right now, you probably actually helped them out. They give out free papers everywhere they can here, all the time.

    • Dallas_shopper says:

      I’d be furious if I bought a Sunday paper and somebody had taken the coupons out. In fact I would bring the entire paper back and ask for a refund. The coupons are one of the main reasons I ever buy a Sunday paper.

      Ever think of that?

      • Dallas_shopper says:

        OK, just saw the “on Monday” part. Apologies.

        But a lot of people here do steal the coupon inserts out of newspapers here. Drives me nuts. :-(

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      I would love it if the grocery stores gave away Sunday’s paper on Monday. I just want the coupons!

  5. Alvis says:

    I can use coupon skills to bring checkout lines to a screeching halt.

    • Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

      To which I reply: thank (imaginary entity) for self-serve checkouts! Which don’t accept coupons (least not the ones at my local Loblaws.) Unfortunately it doesn’t stop me from ending up next in line with all the self-serve checkouts occupied by that woman (yes, not meaning to sound sexist, but it invariably is always a woman) who can’t figure out how the thing works, or takes her sweet lovable time with scanning/putting in bag/digging wallet out of purse/digging card out of wallet/acting dumbfounded as to how to swipe card/enter PIN… meanwhile the milk I’m holding in my hand’s probably curdled from being out so long that I got to walk clear to the other end of the supermarket to put it back and get one that hasn’t been sitting out for so long while waiting for Miss Flabbergasted to be on her way. Seems I’ve been digressing a lot around here of late. /rant

      • Alvis says:

        My personal fav are the people who try to buy booze in the self-checkout lane.

        • Bremma says:

          I used to do that all time the. All you had to do at the store I did it at (a Kroger in Va, for reference), was show your ID to the cashier watching over the check outs. Or if they had seen you enough times, they’d just clear you. Regardless, I’d have my ID ready once I scanned the beer.

      • Skankingmike says:

        every self checkout we have here allows coupons in fact the machines ask you.

        Best thing in the world was when I shopped at stop and shop and they have personal scanner devises that gave you additional discounts cause it memorized what you bought :P. So my peanut butter was always super cheap :P

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        Yep, I’ve been behind a similar lady. When these people are in front of me, I tend to step in and help them and in my experience, people are thankful.

        On one occasion, it was during the peak of tourist season here in DC, I was in line to reload my transit card at the station and there were two sets of people in front of me and the whole line was being held up by the first couple who had absolutely no clue how to buy fare. Instead of getting really annoyed and doing nothing, I leaned over to tell them what they had to do. I don’t even say “do you need help?” because most people, even if they do need help, are too proud to admit it. Within three minutes everyone had their proper fare and I could finally reload my card. When I started reloading my card, a guy in the line next to mine was like “oh, I thought you worked here.” And I helped him with his fare issues too.

      • Dallas_shopper says:

        Around here the people who can’t figure out the self-checkouts are so-called “professional” men, old people, and fence-jumpers. This FEMALE blows through them pretty darn fast without any help.

    • JulesNoctambule says:

      I’m so skilled I can use coupons *and* check myself out quickly all at once! Gotta love those self-checkouts.

    • LadySiren is murdering her kids with HFCS and processed cheese says:

      This.

      I have mad skillz when it comes to couponing. I too, can stop an entire line of shoppers in their tracks with my encyclopedia of coupons, but I try my hardest not to (i.e. – I keep my stuff organized so as not to impose on shoppers behind me).

      I think my best score was walking away from CVS with $100 in toys and Christmas junk for $5 out of pocket (stacking and ECB rolling FTW). Some we kept, some went to our local Angel Tree.

      Coupons = money.

  6. Muddie says:

    It’s interesting that everyone is reading this as “grocery store coupons” when there wasn’t a specific mention of food anywhere in the article.

    Personally, I don’t use them much. If I can remember, I’ll print out and use my Best Buy rewards. I’ll also use Think Geek points to get free stuff that I probably wouldn’t have bought.

    For the grocery store, I don’t pay attention at all. I just buy what I want and give them my card when I checkout. If I save stuff, wahoo!

    I honestly wish they would stop with the automatic printed coupons at the end of my transaction however (or at least give me the option to opt-out of getting them). It’s such a waste of paper to me.

    • Destron says:

      My local grocery stores put the coupons on the back of the receipt paper so they are just using the same paper they would have used anyway… what irritates me is the surveys. They will turn a 4 inch receipt in to a 14 inch receipt just to tell you to do their survey so you won’t win $5000

      • Muddie says:

        ARGH! Yes! I almost took a picture of my CVS receipt one day. I bought one thing and came out with a receipt that had to be a foot and a half long. Seriously. No.

      • Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

        I take it you’ve just bought one thing at Best Buy? %] That’s my general experience with them. Buy one thing, take a 3′ long piece of thermal paper home with you. Good thing Best Buys up here generally don’t hassle you at the exit for a receipt check, or else I’d strangle the guy with it.

    • goldilockz says:

      What you consider wastes of paper, I consider free money. They always relate to whatever you just bought and they are better than most newspaper coupons. So I hope they keep printing them bad boys out.

      • Muddie says:

        I’m glad you love them — and I do think they serve a purpose, I just wish I could refuse them instead of not having an option.

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          Just leave them, then. You don’t have to take them. I always look for self checking aisles where people leave their catalinas (that’s what they’re called). I’ve saved some money by using the catalinas people leave at the register. Whenever I get one I don’t need I’ll leave it there, usually on top of the few that other people have left.

    • mczajkow78 says:

      I used to think exactly like you did. Then, one day I went to the grocery store and ahead of me was a lady buying food/household items for her family. She had racked up about $88. Then when asked for coupons, she proceeded to present a volley of coupons including: local, manufacturing and store coupons with combos and deals that exceeded the retail price for many of them. Literally the store was paying her to take some of her items. In the end, she paid $27. I was shocked. I quickly looked over her items and discovered that most of them were name brands. When my turn came up, I looked pretty stupid just handing the clerk my store card and saving $1.80 on a $30 purchase.

      Clearly, the moral of this story is: if you want to spend the time to become a coupon-ninja, you can save mega $. There isn’t any question about it – I saw a ninja in action.

  7. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    A coupon for a name brand item that, after applying said coupon, is still more expensive than an off-brand or store brand is not worth my time.

    And that constitutes 90% of the coupons I find.

    • Buckus says:

      Agreed. Coupons are worthwhile if it’s for something you would have bought anyways, or for something substantially similar to something you would have bought AND it brings the price of the alternative below the price of what you would have bought. In my experience, that hardly ever happens.

      That being said, I will use the occassionaly restaurant coupon, mainly the BOGO.

    • RandomHookup says:

      The coupon ninjas are working in a whole different world than most shoppers. They are the ones who walk out of Krogers with 75 boxes of Cheerios after spending 32 cents.

      • LadySiren is murdering her kids with HFCS and processed cheese says:

        One of our local grocery chains doubles coupons and regularly has special events where they triple those coupons or will do “super-doubles” where you can double coupons that have a value of up to $1.99. If you stack those savings with certain manufacturer promotions, it gets crazy. For example:

        This store ran a sale on Pop-Tarts not too long ago. There were also Pop-Tart coupons in the Sunday circulars. Then, Kellogg’s ran a promotion that if you purchased 10 Kellogg’s items, you’d get a $10 catalina coupon good for $10 off your next purchase. The promotion allowed shoppers to get an unlimited number of these catalinas.

        Since the Pop-Tarts were on sale and most of us ninja-y types get extra coupons (buying extra newspapers, printing them out from the Internet, trading, ebay, or sites like The Coupon Clippers), it made for lots and lots and LOTS of free or very low-price Pop-Tarts. One coupon site I visit regularly had a couponer who showed off her haul…75 boxes. Or to put it another way, 592 individual Pop-Tarts. The average posted by other users was in the 40 – 50 box range. Unfortunately, I’d already used my Pop-Tart coupons and was low on cash that week, so I couldn’t do the deal.

        Before anyone gets preachy about conspicuous consumption and not needing that many Pop-Tarts, many of the couponers in question donated good amounts of their purchases to food banks and schools.

    • rbear says:

      Just check the Rite Aid each week and there is almost always at least one thing that is free after rebate. Use a coupon and you just made money. Usually, they are brand name items that companies are trying to advertise.

      Just this week you can get 5 different pain relievers for free. Check it out in October and there is one week were they will have up to $100 worth of medicine for free after rebate. No kidding, I’ve done if for the past two years.

    • JulesNoctambule says:

      You find sucky coupons, it seems. My sympathies; the Sunday paper I get is usually chock-full of coupons that make name-brand items substantially cheaper than generic ones where I live. Paid 49 cents for a full-size tube of Colgate toothpaste this week thanks to a coupon!

      • snowmentality says:

        I want to know where you live. My experience with coupons has been like Lolas’s. I even subscribed to The Grocery Game for several months, hoping they could match me up with good sales.

        Subscribing to the Sunday paper (to get the coupon inserts) cost about $10/month; subscribing to The Grocery Game cost $10/month for one store. The most I ever saved using coupons was $5 one month, so I wasn’t even coming close to recouping costs. There were very, very few mega-deals at all, and they were on stuff I just do not under any circumstances use (like mac and cheese and kids’ fruit snacks).

        I respect coupon ninjas, but I have no idea how it’s possible for them. The best I can do is occasionally save a buck here and there. Buying store brands and buying in bulk at Costco genuinely saves me more money than couponing did.

  8. SpongeBathSquarePants says:

    Know who all of the real coupon ninjas are? The old people who are in the supermarket at the crack of dawn and somehow manage to get the all coupon inserts out of every single newspaper without messing them up. That’s ninja skills!

  9. evnmorlo says:

    A real coupon ninja would not want to be interviewed. Stores hate this kind of thing. They want customers to get the occasional modest deal; when people get deals on everything or deals that are too good, foot-soldiers are deployed and fortifications are constructed.

    • caradrake says:

      This :( I used to be massively into couponing, and I was always of the mindset that if I taught other people my tricks, especially people that lived in my area, the stores would catch on really quick, or the shelves would be out of product when I went to do my deals. Cashiers and managers hate couponers – even though they don’t lose money, they THINK that they are, just because they aren’t getting as much money upfront.

      Coming home with dozens of large packs of toilet paper, and spending mere pennies on each package, was great.

      • goldilockz says:

        I was a cashier and I didn’t hate couponers. No one I know who has worked at a grocery store hates couponers. It’s just another thing to scan and sometimes you have to type in a price. It’s not usually a big deal.

        • LadySiren is murdering her kids with HFCS and processed cheese says:

          I know that there are some stores where the cashiers and individual store managers feel the need to be coupon nazis but there are also stores that welcome us coupon queen types. It’s hit or miss, really.

          Walmart has recently cracked down on coupon use by limiting the amount you can save (you can’t get more than $25 off in a single order when using coupons), but I hate shopping there anyway. Some stores like the Harris Teeter chain, actually try to entice couponers in by running doubling and tripling events. I love it when they do triples – free food!

          Personally, I won’t shop at a grocery store or a chain drug store location if I know I’m going to be hassled because I use coupons. They obviously don’t want me to spend my money there so I’ll go elsewhere.

        • RandomHookup says:

          You’ll be amazed at how suspicious some cashiers are—they are convinced they are being ripped off somehow if you get things for free after coupon, they instantly think all internet-printed coupons are fake or against policy or sometimes they don’t know their own policies on things like competitors’ coupons or using a store coupon with a manufacturers coupon. This type of cashier calls over the supervisor all the time to ask questions in a way that makes the couponer look silly, such as “can we take copied coupons?” (meaning computer printed ones). Ninjas know how many coupons they have so they are likely to question the cashier more aggressively.

    • wrjohnston91283 says:

      Shaws (and possibly more of the Supervalu family of grocery stores) actually said in an interview a few months ago that they’ve been discounting too much and too often, and the customers now refuse to pay the regular price for things, since they know in a few weeks it will be back on sale. Years ago when I worked at a Shaw’s soda was 5.99 a 12 pack regular price, yet every other week either Pepsi or Coke was on sale for less than $3 a 12 pack. Very few people bought it full price (and I secretly laughed at those who did).

  10. Duckula22 says:

    Can someone please explain coupons to me, see this is what I don’t get. If a company is willing to let their products go for less, why do they need/want a piece of paper in return? Is that piece of paper of any value to them? Does it somehow compensate in terms of demographical information in order to better target products. All I know about coupons is they aren’t worth my time and patience. Oh I almost forgot, the other thing I know about coupons is you’ll piss me off I you’re in front of me paying for every single item you got with them.

    • caradrake says:

      Manufacturers print coupons because they know most people won’t take the time to clip them, and many that do, will never redeem them. So it’s cheaper than suggesting a price decrease.

      It’s also a good way to encourage people to try new products, get hooked, and buy the product without the savings in the future.

      It’s the same with rebates – manufacturers don’t expect everyone to mail in their paperwork in time, yet by that time, the sale would have been made and the manufacturer would have gotten money (or the store).

    • KyBash says:

      The bottom line is they’d only be able to reduce the wholesale price a fraction of a penny to compensate for the amount ‘lost’ to coupons.

      And the ‘lost’ income is more than compensated by savings in advertising — coupon use generates more new customers than any other form of advertising.

    • Coles_Law says:

      The manufacturer actually makes more money off of coupons. Say you sell a widget. Some people may be willing to pay $10 for that widget. A larger number would be willing to pay $8. If you price the widget at $10, you lose out on the people who only thought it was worth $8 and don’t buy it. If you price it at $8, you get more sales but get $2 less from each person who was willing to pay $10. The solution? Price it at $10, and have $2 coupons. Some people who were willing to pay $10 will still get the coupon, but if there’s a demographic difference between groups (or the $10 group is less likely to cut coupons out), you can target the coupons and make more sales and money.

    • fantomesq says:

      Coupons and rebates do much more than that. They allow manufacturers to to maximize profit by establishing multiple position points on the price/demand curve.

      In general, the lower the price for a product, the more of that product will sell. It is the manufacturer’s (and retailer’s) duty to establish prices that will bring them the greatest possible profit.

      Say they have a product that costs them $80 to produce and deliver to market. Say they then establish that the single price point that would maximize their profits is $100. They expect to sell 2,000 at that price producing net profits of $40,000 ($20×2000).

      If they were to set the price at $90, they would have sold 3200. ($32,000 profit) BUT if they set a price of $100 with a $10 rebate they will still make all 2000 of the sales they would have made at $100 and they will ALSO make many (say 1000) of the sales they WOULD have made at $90, so now they have sold 3000 at an in-store price of $100 for a net profit of $60,000 (3000x$20) up front before the rebates. They also have a potential liability of $30,000 for the rebates but the nature of rebates is that relatively few (say 10%) of the first 2000 sales will actually bother to jump through the hoops to process the rebates because they already value the product at the full $100 price ($2000 liability). Most of the additional 1000 customers (let’s say 100%) who would not have purchased at the $100 price WILL process the rebates since they do NOT value the product at $100 ($2000 liability). This leaves the manufacturer with $56,000 net profit ($60,000-$2000-$2000) or $16,000 MORE than they would have made.

      So no the manufacturer does not value those little pieces of paper, it values all the little green pieces of paper that those little pieces of paper produce.

      • fantomesq says:

        Correction on my numbers. If 100% of the additional sales processed the rebate that would be an additional liability of $10,000 (not the $2000 stated) so this reduces the profits to $48,000 ($60,000-$2000-$10000) but still represents a 20% profit increase over taking a single price point.

      • Buckus says:

        Yes, but rebates and coupons are different. Rebates are sent in by the consumer. Coupons (at least manufacturer’s) are sent in by the store – and believe you me, they make sure everyone of those gets sent. Now, coupons issued by the store are a different story, and yes, the store loses that per-unit revenue, but they end up selling more (usually.)

  11. ellemdee says:

    One of my favorite coupon ninja moments was when I made $15 profit on $85 worth of purchases. CVS had crazy deals the last couple of years (when stacked with coupons and ECBs), so I stocked up and got paid to do it.

    I often profit by using coupons that give you a $20-$25 gift card when you fill a ‘script (sometimes requiring you to transfer it from another pharmacy).

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      I like when Target offers $5 gift cards for purchases. The last time I needed to buy laundry detergent, Tide was something like $6 each and it included a $5 gift card. I also had a coupon!

      • LadySiren is murdering her kids with HFCS and processed cheese says:

        Oooh, me too. I love it when they do GCs for DVDs. I especially love it when there are coupons for those same DVDs. I did this with Princess & The Frog and got the DVD for $5 before the GC. Love it, love it!

  12. metsarethe... says:

    I’ve killed a man with coupons over a coupon before

  13. CookiePuss says:

    Slickdeals+online coupon codes+cash back sites like Ebates(RIP BING)=Profit.

    I looooves me some online coupon goodness. Never bothered reselling anything though. Although I did get a tractor trailer full of underwear if anyones interested. I didn’t realize the chocolate milk in high school added so much weight so the 58″ waist is no good. Will trade for moo-moo’s.

  14. Erika'sPowerMinute says:

    Question for the people who get impatient with couponers ahead of them–would you bat an eyelid if the cashier were scanning 10 more grocery items instead of 10 coupons? Assuming there’s not arguing over fine print going on, what difference does it make whether the cashier scans a fistful of coupons or scans a fistful of candy bars?

    • RandomHookup says:

      Self entitled frustration in the grocery line is a right of the American public. Heaven forbid the buyer uses an EBT card or needs a price check.

      • Conformist138 says:

        Yesterday, the man in line ahead of me paid for his groceries with a check. He didn’t even have his own pen and didn’t start writing it out until after every single item was scanned. I nearly beat him to death with a frozen chicken.

    • katarzyna says:

      It doesn’t matter if all the coupons go through. It’s when things go wrong, and the manager needs to be called, and everyone continues to argue. I’ve actually offered the customer the price of the coupon in order to move things along.

      • Dallas_shopper says:

        Me too; organized couponers are fine, their coupons are quickly scanned and they check their receipt off to the side. No objections there.

        The ones that piss me off are the ones who pass up a bunch of coupons for shit they didn’t buy, coupons that are expired, catalinas for a different store, etc. then demand to speak to a manager and hold the rest of us up. Ugh.

    • ames says:

      It’s more that I think they’re done, the cart is empty, it’s finally my turn – and then out comes the two-inch stack of coupons that has to be rifled through, scanned, rescanned, checked against the receipt – it’s maddening.

      • goldilockz says:

        When you look at what would be a $300 grocery bill and you only paid $60 and the time invested was less than an hour…. you might change your mind about coupons being a hassle and not worth it. ;)

        People roll their eyes when they see a stack of coupons because of the very few inconsiderate couponers who aren’t very organized. I am one of the infamous binder ladies and I take out the coupon that corresponds with an item as soon as that item is in my cart in the aisle. It’s really quite rare that the cashier has to stop to check an item. It’s a very fast process these days.

        And relax a little. It’s not really that darn serious that you have to get all pissy in your pants over someone trying to save a few bucks. If you’re that irate that you have to stand in line an extra five minutes, maybe you’re the one with the issues.

        • ames says:

          hey, she asked, I answered. If you’re not one of the disorganized people whipping out a stack of expired and not properly utilized coupons right at the end of an already huge purchase, then obviously my comment doesn’t apply to you, does it? Don’t be so defensive.

  15. guitargirl327 says:

    You should write the lady who runs the blog called money saving mom, because she does this a ton and even sends out daily emails of the best deals. She’s awesome at it and it’s very helpful.

  16. damageinc says:

    Endless.com 40% bing cashback combined with their price match guarantee made for some unbelievable deals. The price match refund was calculated from the original price, not the cashback price, meaning the percentage off of the price match ADDED to the 40% off. I found an authorized retailer selling their Oakley’s at 30% off, so in the end I was getting them for 70% off. On top of that, endless has free return shipping up to one year, so if I didn’t like the glasses or the bing cashback fell through, I could return them risk free. Got a couple styles for myself, as well as a couple more to flip on ebay, plus some new running and work shoes.

  17. shepd says:

    Coupons rarely do well enough to get you even 20% off where I am. I try to find price error sales, much better luck ’round these parts, what with the outmoded computer systems running registers nowadays. Just picked up a projector listed at $699 for $200 today… :-)

  18. WhiteWolfAniu says:

    Work at CVS, have to deal with many ‘coupon ninjas’ or ‘coupon’ people we call them.. you wipe our store outta goods and then when someone who actually wants to just take advantage of a sale, we are out, and we get yelled at by upper management for not being in stock, and some coupon people are really, really mean. If you piss me off, I’m glad that you will do your couponing elsewhere.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Those people are just jerks and everyone dislikes them. It has nothing to do with coupons.

      Most people are respectful enough to know that you shouldn’t deplete a store’s supply, especially not when that store is a convenience store that stocks limited supply in the first place. I love coupons and have a huge stack of them at home whenever we need something. I know four months in advance whether we’ll be needing toothpaste, deodorant, or laundry detergent so I stock up on those and take advantage of whatever brand happens to be on the best sale. But there’s no way I’d take 16 jugs of detergent to the counter and deplete the stock.

      • Dallas_shopper says:

        Why on Earth not? First come first served I say. When I find a great deal on cat litter, I buy the store out of it.

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          It’s one thing to make two trips and take a lot of the items to stock up – it’s another to completely wipe out one shelf when the store very well might not get another shipment of inventory until tomorrow. You’re taking away from other customers, and it’s rude.

          • Dallas_shopper says:

            Bullshit. Rude my ass. I got there before they did.

            • LadySiren is murdering her kids with HFCS and processed cheese says:

              Sorry, I’m with Lady Pi over there. It’s rude. Go to any of the popular coupon forums and you’ll see that shelf-clearing is frowned upon.

              I never clear a shelf, even though I might be able to. There are others who also want to take advantage of a great deal, including my fellow couponers. Those couponers who share your “me first” entitlement attitude ruin it for the rest of us who do try to be considerate to fellow shoppers and retailers.

  19. guitargirl327 says:

    You should write the lady who runs the blog called money saving mom, because she does this a ton and even sends out daily emails of the best deals. She’s awesome at it and it’s very helpful.

  20. zekebullseye says:

    If stores hated coupons like you say, they wouldn’t accept them. Look at the small print on the coupon. The merchant receives 8 to 15 cents per coupon. If the checkout people hate them, I’ve never seen any evidence of it. Merchants say cha-ching every time one is brought into the store.

    • RandomHookup says:

      Except the 8 cent processing fee usually goes to the clearing house. There are also coupons that don’t get reimbursed because of fraud or some other problem. They don’t make as much on coupons as they do on cash unless you factor in the possibility that the consumer is only buying the product because of the coupon.

      They hate couponers in the same way they hate people who talk on cell phones at the register. Irritating, but they aren’t willing to cost themselves sales by turning them away.

  21. Hobz says:

    My wife has a friend who is the ultimate ninja, I’ll explain;

    Several weeks ago at a local (big name) grocery store, there was a promotional deal offered by the store for $5 off when you buy 5 Kellogg’s products. Little did a lot of people know, when you bought 10 Kellogg’s items, the manufacturer would print off a $10 off your next PURCHASE coupon at the grocery store. That is more or less like a grocery store gift card with and expiration date.

    So, if you bought 10 Kellogg’s items your total savings would be $20 which paid for the 10 Kellogg’s items. When she would throw in a manufacturers coupon, she could actually get money back from the store. This was something she avoided like the plague though as it began to raise red flags. So she started buying BoGo items to soak up the extra money she was getting back. You would think that $700 worth of food for $30 would be the cats meow, but she also saved $0.70 off her next gas purchase from the grocery store.

    Yes sensei?

    • Hobz says:

      “but she also saved $0.70 off her next gas purchase from the grocery store.”

      Sorry, meant to say, $0.70 per gallon.

    • RandomHookup says:

      My first big coupon experience was something like that. The store had a “Crazy 8″ sale — buy 8 of certain items and get a coupon for $8 off your next order. Many of the items were $1 each and there were coupons available. You could keep rolling the deal, adding a few other items to soak up the excess coupon value. I think I ended up with $800 worth of soup, applesauce, orange juice and frozen pizzas.

      Even without the coupons to start, this would have been a killer deal because you could buy 8 items for $8 and get an $8 coupon you could use on your next order and get another $8 coupon, etc.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      While your wife’s friend is certainly qualified to be a coupon ninja, the issue I always have with some of these ninjas (and this might not apply to her) is that inevitably they’re buying things for the sake of saving money, and getting ahead in “the game” – in real life, it does matter whether you actually eat or need those 10 kelloggs items. I get coupons every week for cereal, and it’s always “buy two get one free” – how many are you willing to buy before you’re just buying for the sake of playing the game? I don’t at all. In the long run, it’s more frugal just to stick to the items you actually want to consume or use. The only time I buy for the sake of buying is when I can get more for my money when I’m donating foods to charity. If I can get six cans of soup for $2, I’ll do it and donate the soup to charity.

      • Hobz says:

        “The only time I buy for the sake of buying is when I can get more for my money when I’m donating foods to charity. If I can get six cans of soup for $2, I’ll do it and donate the soup to charity.”

        This, a majority of the stuff she got was donated to a local food bank or given to friends and neighbors. Another portion of it was kept in her basement while keeping in mind the shelf life. For her it meant that she would not have to buy that item for a year which in the long run is the savings.

        I will admit that to me it seemed as though she may have been in it for the sport more than anything though.

    • LadySiren is murdering her kids with HFCS and processed cheese says:

      Harris Teeter, right? I was so pissed I missed out on this for various reasons. :(

  22. Ben_Q2 says:

    I started to use these back when I was a paperboy. To this date I can use a coupon to save in most case 20% or better. Last weekend I bought a Label printer that cost $100 for $30 ship. If you try to buy that today its $100.00. I also went to Target bought all at the sametime.

    32 cans of Cat Food $13.99ea
    Law Abiding Citizen Blu-Ray $29.99
    FlipFloppys $9.99 (The only thing I paid full price for)
    97Hx108Wx108D (Big Ass) Umbrella $169.99
    Total $273.95
    Tax $20.83

    Yes I paid only $28.89 with TAX!

    Yes I have sent “Ben” a Jpg of it.

    Best part I never go looking for coupons, discounts or the likes.

  23. legolex says:

    Recently has been the only time I have felt triumphant when using coupons; I ended up getting a cart full of SmartOnes for only $1.60 each. That’s cheaper than Wal-Mart and I got to shop at my regular non-Walmart grocery store.

    Unfortunately I don’t get to be a coupon Ninja enough because 90% of the time I need items outside of sale times or I don’t need them while there’s a sale going on. I don’t purchase items solely to ‘stock up’ because I am very forgetful and won’t remember what I’ve stocked up on.

  24. bunchofpants says:

    I’m a grocery coupon “Ninja” of sorts in that I routinely save 75% at the the grocery/drug store by combining coupons and sales, and I get tons of stuff for free. When I find a great deal I do stock up … but I never resell stuff. That’s outside of my ethics zone. If I have too much of something I either give it to friends and co-workers or donate it. I often get free personal care items that I don’t need just so I can donate them to the local rescue mission. I also try not to run the store out of something. If I have two coupons for something and there are only two items left on the shelf I’ll often just get one and leave the other for someone else (the decision depends on how much of a “necessity” an item is … if it’s not something I really need I’d rather give another person a chance.)

    And people who think coupons are only for processed crap don’t have any idea what they are talking about. Sure, there’s an endless supply of coupons for crap no one should be eating, but if you’re diligent you’ll get coupons for eggs, avocados, bagged salads, breads (both “artesanal” and regular loaves–I always get whole-grain), lots and lots of frozen veggies (maybe not as great as fresh, but still veggies!) and cheese. Also, I never, ever pay for toothpaste, toothbrushes or dental floss. I also rarely pay more than 50 cents for any cleaning product and pay way less than off-brand prices for toilet paper and other necessities.

    It takes some time, organization and planning, which puts a lot of people off, but I’ve saved huge amounts of money and eat a way more balanced diet than before I couponed. Let the haters hate all they want … my life as a coupon “ninja” is GOOD!

    (BTW, because i live solo and don’t have kids, I’m nowhere near the kind of coupon ninja some people are. If you want to meet a REAL coupon ninja, go talk to Jenny Martin at southernsavers.com. She’s the Master Coupon Ninja!)

    • LadySiren is murdering her kids with HFCS and processed cheese says:

      Yes, Jenny is the bomb! Love her site. Hot Coupon World and A Full Cup are also good.

  25. Awesome McAwesomeness says:

    I hate when couponers buy up the whole lot of stuff leaving nothing for others. This is why I love stores with limits. I have also noticed from friends that do this that they end up with a lot of free or low cost crap they never use and overly processed food and instant meal type things, which are not very nutritious.

    • Dallas_shopper says:

      It’s the store’s fault for not limiting it, the manufacturer’s fault for not limiting it…the store’s fault for not ordering enough inventory…but how the hell can you blame a smart consumer who is operating within the parameters set by the store and/or the manufacturer?

      Since when did it become the RULE that you can’t buy 3 boxes of cat litter if that’s all they have? What the fuck? When did we become so whiny that we think we’re entitled to fully stocked store at all times and others MUST leave some for us even though they got there before we did?

      WAH. Seriously.

  26. mbz32190 says:

    I use coupons all the time, and it doesn’t really take much time or effort. It also helps that where I live, we have multiple major-chain grocery stores, so they already all battle on low prices. Three of the four markets I go to on a weekly basis double (and once in a while, triple), coupons which helps a lot. Sure, a lot of the coupons are for processed stuff, but “everyone” eats pickles, ketchup, coffee-mate, cereal, tuna, etc. I usually never use coupons for things I would not buy, unless the item is free, or nearly free. This week I was able to get two laundry detergents for free..last week was four 12 packs for toilet paper for less than four bucks total. Even if you do not use them for food, you can really save on household/health and beauty type stuff.
    And HotCouponWorld.com makes it real easy…people line up weekly supermarket sales and match it to coupons. Sometimes it is only a matter of two mouse clicks to print a coupon and get a free item.

  27. cheezfri says:

    I have not had good luck couponing, but you definitely want to interview this guy: http://www.grocerycouponguide.com/articles/eating-well-on-1-a-day/
    It starts out a little rough, eating on $1 per day, but once he gets the hang of couponing, finding sales, etc., he gets all kinds of crazy deals — enough to donate regularly to food banks. He bought over $1000 worth of food for less than $100 in 100 days.

  28. almightytora says:

    Ralph’s did a sale on Sobe last week. They were $0.99 each, but if you bought eight of them, the total price would be discounted by $4 (making each Sobe $0.49).

    If you have been playing the game on Sobe’s website, you will most likely win a coupon for “buy one get one free”.

    I used the coupon at Ralph’s (all but one store took them), and the checker discounted the price by an additional 99 cents.

    Ending total for 8 Sobe (including CRV): $3.33.

  29. almightytora says:

    Another coupon that is very useful is the CVS coupons that come out when you visit the coupon kiosk. Sometimes, some very interesting coupons come out.

    For a while, a coupon for $1 off of 2 certain brand of stationery was coming out. I would go to the stationery aisle and find one of the brand’s items priced at 2 for $1. At one time, it was pocket portfolios, another time it was a box of 24 pencils, and yet another time the pocket portfolios were 8 for $1.

    In all cases, I came in, got school supplies, and left with a receipt saying I paid $0.00.

  30. Ben_Q2 says:

    I just got back from Sally’s. Buy the time I was done Shampoo .90 (with tax) per gal. 8 gals total. They had a sale, I had a coupon 20%, plus a coupon $5.00 off, and renew my membership $5 (then again the membership did cost me $5).