Coupon Use At Record High

According to a new report from coupon marketing company NCH, the volume of coupons redeemed rose about 8% from a year ago, and marked the seventh consecutive quarter of growth. The report also indicates that manufacturers are increasing the value of coupons but moving up the expiration dates.

Over at RetailWire (registration required), one marketing expert says he thinks some companies are using coupons as an easy-to-turn-off solution to the Grocery Shrink Ray. Now that manufacturing costs have gone down, manufacturers need a way to become more price competitive without pushing through an official price drop or hauling out an Embiggening Ray, and coupons handle this task nicely.

“Continued Growth of Coupon Distribution Builds on Record-breaking Trend and Boosts Redemption” [PRNewswire]
“Coupon Redemption at All Time High” [RetailWire]


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  1. FreshPorcupineSalad says:

    Imagine how high it would be if more coupons were actually honored.

  2. apd09 says:

    I have been trying to use coupons but refuse to buy 2 items just save 50 cents. Why am I going to spend 4 dollars to save 50 cents when 1 item is 2 dollars and I am spending twice as much to save such a little amount.

    Remember when coupons were actually worth using, like save 75 cents on 1 item, or buy one get one free?

    I try to find coupons online through or other places, but the ones I see are just not worth it because we do not like the items or they are useless to us like Go-Gurt coupons.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      I’ve figured that the best way to fight the “buy two” ripoff is to wait until the item I want is on sale and stack the deal.

      Once I had a $1 off coupon but you had to buy two bags of Ghiradelli chocolate chips. I waffled on buying Ghiradelli chocolate chips (usually around $3 at my store) just because I had a coupon. Then, behold, the chips were put on a buy one get one free promotion.

      Because the self checkout register still counted that I had ‘purchased’ two bags and just split the cost of one bag between the two (so each bag was $3 and they were ‘reduced’ to $1.50 so it would count as one free one), I was still able to use my coupon and get two bags of Ghiradelli chocolate chips for $2 because I stacked the deal.

    • Coalpepper says:

      You need to shop at the right grocery store. While often i won’t use one of these, Fry’s does at times make it worth it, as all coupons are double or raised to a dollar, whichever is lower. Right now they’re advertising all coupons worth a dollar. Combine that with a sale as Pecan said, and it can get down right cheap, even BOGO or better on occasion.

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

      Like other posters have said, you just need to work on it a bit. Take that $.50/2, wait until the item is BOGO at a store, then enjoy your savings. Better yet, take that coupon, stack it with an in-store coupon (like at Walgreens), and buy both items. Voila – you’ve saved money and stockpiled for future use.

  3. brianisthegreatest says:

    I still have yet to master the art of coupon clipping. I usually get a store ad and look at specials of course, but no coupons. It seems like a lot of work to me to dig around and clip things out to save coins on items. I imagine it’s a lot over time, but at the time of each coupon, it doesn’t feel so valuable.

    • RandomHookup says:

      Most coupons are for $1 or $2 (though P&G puts out .25 off 1 coupons for some reason), so it does add up pretty quickly. It’s not worth it for everyone, but just clipping the coupons off the stuff you already buy and matching those with a good sale will save you quite a bit.

    • Dover says:

      The real value of couponing comes when you can combine several different discounts (store specials, store coupons, manufacturer’s coupons, and mail-in-rebates) to get a super deal and then stock up on the items. It sounds daunting, but there are websites that do all the “hard work” of figuring out the deals and present you with a list of matchups to take advantage of. Search for [store name] coupon matchups.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      I’m with you. I’ve read several articles on couponing, and I don’t for the life of me understand where they are getting all these useful coupons. I’ve checked the Sunday paper and a few websites, but the coupons are for crap unneccesary items I don’t want, or name-brand items that I can get a cheaper generic for anyway.

      I don’t know how they do this.

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

        Some of the really high value coupons are word of mouth, like the ones that appear on Facebook. I’d suggest following a couple of blogs that track these coupons – Southern Savers is good, so is Hey, It’s Free. Buxr works well, too.

        If you want multiples of a given high-value coupon, you can pay a “shipping and handling” fee (selling coupons is illegal) from places like The Coupon Clippers to get them.

    • JulesNoctambule says:

      Check the Sunday paper, look for the little machines in the grocery store that dispense coupons, go to the manufacturer’s website; some grocery stores even have promotional coupon books at the register or customer service desk. I saved $50 on groceries this week combining coupons and store sales, and the (very short) time it took me to cut out those coupons was well worth it.

    • Outrun1986 says:

      It depends on the area you live in too, you can actually make money on groceries if you live in the right area and play your cards right. I watched a TV special on this and what they forget to tell you is not all grocery stores have the same specials as the one in the TV show. So its impossible for everyone to do the same.

  4. NarcolepticGirl says:

    As apd09 said, some of the coupons are crappy now. “Buy 10, save .50”
    I notice this in the couponsaver in teh Sunday paper.

    Here’s the way I find better coupons:

    -If there’s a brand or product I like a lot, I go to their webpage and see if they have any coupons I can print out. Usually these coupons are better than in a newspaper.
    -I search coupon forums for links to coupons that sound like good deals
    -I am on a few product/brand/store email lists that provide decent monthly coupons. These include World Market and Earth Fare [earth fare usually uses manufacturer’s coupons – so most stores will except them)
    -I have signed up for coupon books like Mambo Sprouts and the P&G coupon book (great for savings on cleaning supplies)
    -Ordering free samples – they usually come with good coupons

    So, it takes some time during the week to find some good deals. We usually shop at Kroger and along with their savings card thing, I usually save about $20-30 off of a $120 grocery bill.
    Some grocery stores accept double coupons, too.

    • NarcolepticGirl says:

      oh, and that’s with just basic coupons. I haven’t dived into it hardcore like some people.
      I don’t look at store ads to see which ones have the deals and drive to 4 different stores… and I am not too familiar with using mutliple coupons for one product – as I don’t come across that too often.

    • Mighty914 says:

      If you really like a product, call the customer satisfaction number and give an opinion. Most companies will dole out a few coupons in exchange for the free marketing. I’ve saved a ton on Dannon yogurt this way.

  5. smo0 says:

    I get plenty of coupons for the items I buy from a receipt type paper that comes with the receipt, even on the back of the receipt itself.
    I buy Silk Almond Milk, and I usually get a dollar off couple printed out from the machine each time I go to the store to buy it.

  6. pb5000 says:

    My wife has recently been finding more and more deals through coupons over the past year, we’ll only clip the ones for stuff we would have bought anyway. She’ll get excited about it and make comments like, “I saved $30 by using coupons on our last grocery trip!” and will get comments like, “Oh I remember when we used to have to use coupons.” Our response is why in the world would you want to spend more if there is an option to save? The time it takes us to clip them and organize them is very minimal and well worth it. Plus, we usually shop at odd hours when the store is not crowded and there are very few, if any at all, in line behind us.

    • smo0 says:

      LoL… I live in Vegas, where the lines at 2 am rival the lines at 2pm. Added bonus? 1 check out lane open *cheer.*

      My grandmother had special mini collapsable folders made especially for coupons sorted by date and store…. she religiously used them. It was a carefully coordinated, strategic battle plan…. Mission: “to market to market to buy a fat pig.”

      She said that a lot when I was growing up.

  7. dolemite says:

    I’d love some good sources of reliable coupons. 95% of the time it’s a name brand that we don’t use anyhow, because the generic is cheaper, even with a coupon.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      We generally buy generic for everything, but the bread we like is usually $2.99 a loaf, so I’m really happy when we get coupons for that brand. We always get a ton of Tropicana coupons, too, and the stores always put Tropicana on sale so I like stacking them.

  8. lain1k says:

    I have tried to use coupons but have found that it would require me to buy higher priced items (name brand vs store brand) or buy things I normally wouldn’t. When they start having coupons for fruits and veggies I’ll join in.

  9. evnmorlo says:

    It’s probably all of the unemployed people with the time to clip coupons. Unfortunately coupons have not come close to catching up with price increases in our “near zero inflation” environment.

  10. Mighty914 says:

    In an unrelated story, line waiting time is now 17% longer.

  11. SugarMag says:

    I actually coupon….because I find it fun. Whether or not I save any real money, I still do it…for fun.

    To comment on name brands vs generics: Most of the time the name brand around here with a coupon (doubled) + sale is much cheaper than generic.

    Between sales and coupons (or the sale + coupon combo) I rarely pay full price for most staples. I dont even know the full cost of most items after all this time. I intentially don’t run out of things because then I will be forced to pay full price….yicky.

  12. Dallas_shopper says:

    I clip coupons and check store fliers before heading out and go for the best deal I can get. If it’s name-brand with coupon, fine. If it’s generic with no coupon, also fine. I just want the best deal. I’m just as happy with Up and Up tp (from Target) as I am with Charmin or Angel Soft. And I think Up and Up is probably easier on the city’s sewer system anyway. Charmin is almost like fabric.

  13. Outrun1986 says:

    Again it depends on the area you live in and the types of promotions your grocery store runs. Our grocery stores don’t run the types of programs that I have seen advertised in shows on couponing and deal hunting, so that is moot to me since our stores just don’t have those types of promotions.

    Sometimes its cheaper to buy the brand name here, especially since generics are usually only 20 or 30 cents cheaper than the brand name. 2 stores here also do double coupons, so if you have a coupon for 50 cents then it doubles to a dollar, you are saving a dollar off the item. Much better than buying generic and paying more. Of course if you don’t have a coupon, you are probably better off taking the generic.

  14. webweazel says:

    I’ve tried coupons in the past. They just don’t work for me anymore. The ones I come across are always for stuff I would never buy anyway. Air fresheners, canned biscuit dough, makeup, pricey shampoos, frozen convenience foods. Once I cut those out, I might have one or two left. Of those, on one I’ll have to buy two $3.00 items to save 50 cents. The other is an item I don’t need right now, and maybe not for a few months hence, but it expires in 3 weeks. I haven’t seen a store that doubles coupons since the mid 80’s. I just don’t bother anymore.

  15. skapig says:

    I’ve recently tried to start looking for coupons prior to shopping, but they don’t always turn out to be a deal when compared with the generic alternative. It all depends on the price difference and value of the coupon (doubled by the store). Of course for those brand names that I prefer, it’s always a win.

    Also worth noting is that a lot of the deals advertised by my grocery store are based on multi-item purchases, but you’ll get the deal anyway buying fewer unless a minimum is explicitly noted which is pretty rare.

  16. Yoda1979 says:

    My wife uses coupons, but I cannot say we actually benefit from them. If there is a $1 off coupon, she will generally use it to buy an item we wouldn’t regularly buy and probably did not need. Like a new variety of upscale biscuits for the dog. For us it is a net loss.