Kroger shocked the couponing world by stopping their long-time practice of unlimited double coupons in their headquarter city of Cincinnati this month. I’m sure I heard the collective cry of “Noooooo!” from couponers across the region! Now, this may not be the case for your particular region or store… yet. I do think that many other grocery stores all over the country will be following suit very soon.
Why the demise of double coupons? Because of the popularity of “Extreme Couponing” and the state of the economy, more people are using coupons in general. When a store doubles a coupon, they don’t get reimbursed from the manufacturer for that. The store only gets the face value of the coupon, plus a small processing fee. Unfortunately, there are some individuals out there who break the rules when it comes to redeeming coupons – otherwise known as coupon fraud. This misuse of coupons hurts both the store and the manufacturer. By not doubling coupons, the stores are able to shield themselves from some of the effects of coupon fraud.
So, what will be the fallout for Kroger and other stores who stop doubling coupons? I’m sure retail giants who have never doubled coupons, like Target and Wal-Mart, are cheering this move because shoppers will be more likely to frequent their stores instead. Amanda Smearman of Girl Loves a Bargain explains why. “Both Target and Wal-Mart price-match other stores’ ads. If double coupons aren’t a part of the equation, it would be easiest to go to one store to get the price matching and use my coupons.”
Stephanie Hebert, known to her fans as Super Frugal Stephanie, frequents drug stores (such as Walgreens and CVS) that allow customers to stack manufacturer coupons with their store coupons to score free and cheap items. Many of these drug stores have great deals for coupons good off of your next order, which can be used on anything in the store! Target also allows one store coupon plus one manufacturer coupon for the same item, which means I will shopping there more often.
In an effort to not lose customers over the demise of double coupons, Kroger has lowered prices on many items throughout their stores. I’ve also seen some enhancements to their digital coupons, which I think we’ll see more of. Some of the digital coupons can now be used up to five times in one transaction. So, if there’s a 75-cent digital coupon on Duracell batteries, you could buy up to five packages and the coupon would come off your order for each package. This is definitely a step in the right direction! I’ve also noticed larger values on digital coupons.
My opinion is that more and more coupons will be going digital because it’s much harder for the average person to intentionally or unintentionally misuse them. And as for me, I’ll be happy when I don’t have to clip, file, organize and lug around a huge binder of coupons. I’d love for coupons to be 100% digital, but I think that’s still a ways off.
So, what am I doing to boost my savings in the wake of no more doubles, besides taking advantage of price matching and store coupons? I recently went to my local dollar store and was pleasantly surprised by the good deals that I found on cleaning supplies and paper products. I have a feeling I’ll be shopping there more frequently, especially because they accept manufacturer’s coupons. I’ll also be scouring the internet for printable rebate forms to see if I can score some cash back or free items. Amanda Smearman reminds us not to get discouraged over the demise of double coupons. Any savings is good savings!