How couponing has changed over the last year

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For those of you that have been couponing for at least a year you will notice many changes. The changes could be partially attributed to Extreme Couponing on TLC but I’m sure there are quite a few other factors that have caused these changes. A sensational show such as Extreme Couponing is both good and bad. It can encourage and attract others to begin couponing but it also tends to portray a view that is not exactly practical or useful for the ordinary shopper. Those who think they can get 8 carts full of groceries for $10 usually drop off after a few weeks or month when they realize it’s not so easy but often they leave a wake of frustrated cashiers, fellow shoppers, and manufacturers. Here are just a few of the changes that have made couponing slightly more complicated recently:

  1. Lower coupon values. For example, a manufacturer that used to offer $1.00/1 coupons now releases coupons for only $0.50/1 or at best $1.00 off TWO products instead of just one.
  2. Changing store policies. The drug stores and a few of the bigger “box” stores have changed their coupon policies to disallow bogo coupons in conjunction with a bogo store sale and have made overage a thing of the past (with the exception of Walmart).
  3. Store limits. Some stores (whether it is the store’s manager, or the store’s corporate policy) have started to impose limits on shoppers. Sometimes these limits are for the number of transactions, sometimes they are for the number of certain items you are able to purchase at any one time.
  4. Coupon limits. Many manufacturers have begun to impose limits in the fine print wording on their coupons. Often the limit is a certain number of coupons allowed per shopping trip or per transaction.
  5. Expiration dates. Coupons used to have no expiration dates at all but over the years they have gotten shorter and shorter.
  6. Locked merchandise. Stores have begun locking up the “popular” merchandise to discourage stealing or easy access to certain products.
  7. Stickers on merchandise. Unfortunately some shoppers think they can make a quick buck by purchasing items for cheap or free with coupons and then they resell them for a profit. So stores began putting stickers on certain products that say “this is a product of xxxx store, if found for sale elsewhere, please call.”

What other changes have you seen recently?


  1. Things have changed so much since last year in January….I do not like the TLC show because it is just not real. I do extreme couponing but have never gotten tissue paper and things like they do on the show with the “proper coupon” for them. wow….I have “trained” several people who continue to coupon but do see a big difference in the amount of “value” per coupon…….poooooooooor pooooooor me…..Things are getting tight………

  2. Molly Rosencrans says:

    Alot of more limited quantities available either posted (ex limit 3 offers) or low stock and no rain checks offered

  3. Coupon Erin says:

    Hopefully the fad will die soon & then if we are lucky, we can see some of the high value coupons come back.

  4. Just that fact that blogs like this also contribute to the changes. Now don’t jump all over me…I love Coupon Wizards and the valuable service that you all do for us…… so hear me out.
    Coupons have always been veiwed as an advertising tool for two reasons, to get new people to try their product and hopefully gain a new customer but also to measure the affectivenss of their advertising. They would code coupons differently for each ad they were placed in a trace the response to see how many come back. So if a Good Housekeepin ad generated 10,000 coupons to be returned and Woman’s Day only a 3,000 they new which ads needed to be tweaked or cut. With people now buying magazines specifically for coupons they have to tweak their strategy.

    Now that we have great tools like Coupon Wizards letting us know how to effectively use the coupons, more people are actually using coupons and manufacturers have always banked on a low return of coupons. There was all a school of thought about people not returning coupons…they clip them the product is on their mind but oops they forgot the coupon at home so they by it anyway…or they see a new product with a coupo clip the coupon months later they find it…the coupon is expired, but they are reminded darn I wanted to try that. and they may pick it up. The fact blogs like this remind us that there is a coupon for a favorite product.. we are more aware of what coupons we have and more likely to redeem them.

    Based that I work in Marketing… I have to applaud Menards for the genuis of their rebate programs…… tehy have found a way to double-dip on the non-return rate. First there is a great percentage of items that are purchased and eligible for rebates that people do not return…….then for those that remember to mail in the rebate they recieve a rebate check ONLY redeemable at Menards……..and there is another percentage of those that go unredeemed. Does this seem mean or evil on Menards part? I don’t know but thanks to some people’s forgetfullness and laziness the rebates keep coming for me and you to enjoy.

  5. I have to admit that it was because of EC that I started to coupon again almost 2 years ago, and for that I am grateful. Unfortunately, as long as we are still in a down economy, and unemployment rates are still high (12% unemployment rate in Los Angeles county), we will see probably more people using coupons, and more misuse.

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