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Extreme Couponing Affecting the Un-Extreme?

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So, I received the following email from reader, Rashelle. She is feeling very discouraged about using coupons and even dreads going to the store. Here’s what she had to say:

Hi Collin, I know this may seem odd but I was wondering if you have heard from any readers that they have been feeling down about using coupons lately because I have. Ever since the “Extreme Couponing” show has been airing I feel myself getting looks from other customers. For example, I was at Toys ‘R’ Us the other day with my son and a lady in front of me had items that I had a store coupon for which I wasn’t going to use and I asked if she wanted it, she was very thankful and asked if I was sure I didn’t need it and my son said, don’t worry she has a whole binder of them at home, and her tone changed drastically as she said “Oh, you’re one of Those.”

I was in Publix last night doing my weekly coupon shopping and was flipping thru my binder when a couple of women walked past me, looked me up and down and then one said to the other “she’s loco” (crazy in Spanish) and at checkout a husband and wife came into line behind me at the end of my transaction while my coupons were being scanned and started talking very loudly about how the people on “that show” take advantage of shopping (and I didn’t even have a cart full of stuff).

There have been so many times lately when I feel glaring eyes upon me and I feel I need to justify myself to these people and say I am not a hoarder, I don’t have a small grocery store in my house, I am not clearing shelves, and so on, but of course I just smile and keep my mouth shut. I hate this feeling of being embarrassed and ashamed of my coupons because I use to be so proud and happy of all of my great savings and I don’t want this to ruin couponing for me, but it has left me very discouraged, and instead of being excited to do my weekly trip, I almost dread it. I was just wondering if I am the only one experiencing this behavior. Thanks for your time and for everything you do!

Since I cannot give you a hug (I so love hugs!) or tackle the stores with you, I am hoping that all of you readers can make Rashelle feel inspired to continue being proud to use her coupons! What ways have you motivated yourself in times of discouragement? How have you made your couponing adventures positive and fun?

Join The Discussion

Comments 1072

  1. dmpinkie

    my mom taught all six of her kids how to use coupons and refunds. i always use coupons. mom never had the computer to help her. she had coupon round robins. and now my daughter use coupons. we save on just about everything. just smile and keep making ends meet with coupons, it will make you feel good. (: too you.

  2. jannagee


    I am fairly new to couponing and I do it because I am retired on a limited income and it helps a lot. I put a lot of time and effort into it. I don’t let what others think bother me because I know why I am doing it and it is not like the show. Just hold your head up and be proud that you have the expertise and are not too lazy to put in the time and effort that it takes. These people are probably just envious that they can’t save like you do. Hip2save has helped me tremendously. Hat’s off to this site and a big thank you.

  3. Cristen

    I am 29 years old (almost 30) and have been seriously couponing for going on 7.5 years. I have always had the naysayers that whine and complain about all the “work” it takes and that you really don’t save $ and yada yada. I really look at it as, each to his own. If they want to go into a grocery store or whatever it may be and spends 100s and 100s of more dollars than me on the same items then so be it.

    I consider couponing in my job description as a SAHM to my 2 kids. Its part of what allows me to be with them. When I think of it that way and how much $ I save it doesn’t bother me if people cheer or complain. (most people I come across by the way are very interested and positive). I coupon with integrity (meaning I won’t take 50 or 100 of the same items.) and the rest is their problem. 🙂

    I guarentee you’ll start to come across the positive people but just remember why you do it and how much you save. 🙂

  4. jan

    Tell them you will send them a postcard from (choose some exotic/fun location)…..because that’s where your family is going this year with the money you saved. Then smile sweetly.

  5. Robine Wright

    Just got back from Publix shopping trip. Great deals for the week…I am with you all that I have always had a great experience couponing…the cashiers ring the bell (hypothetically seaking) when I check out to see what I saved overall. Which makes it fun. Today, however, was very different. The cashier demanded my coupons right away before starting to check what I had bought out. I gave her my BOGOs and free coupons right away and then she demanded the rest. I have always given the free and BOGOS first but she was very rude. Then she saw the Jimmy Dean coupons and I had bought the ones on sale and it was Jimmy Dean scrambles. I said…I believe since this is a Jimmy Dean product this will work. She said that my transaction was improper. I said really…I have been shopping here since this store opened..I have never had a problem. I always play by the rules. She then went through all my coupons and I did save alot. However, when she was done she told me that she realized that I was a longtime employee..she had worked there a long time also and she will accept this transaction today…but understand never again…..WWWWHHHAT How is it possible that this woman had the right to speak to me in this manner and so rudely….NO…I looked at her and stated…I have never been treated so poorly by an employee before until today. The new Publix policy does not give you the right or priviledge to treat me any different than before. Then I walked up to the front desk and reported how she handled me to the store manager. I come in alot so all the employees know that I play by the rules. This noted…the Lance cracker coupons had a different product on the coupon than the store product sale and she never said a word…which I commented on…Extreme couponing gives the wrong view how couponers live and work with the public stores. The store could not begin to apologize enough and promised me that it would never happen again. They gave me tons of store coupons trying to make me feel better. So this noted….stand up for your right to shop the best way for your family and be proud.

    • Robine Wright

      I meant longtime customer not employee…I have never worked for Publix.

  6. Shana R

    I have only been couponing for a little while, since April actually, and I have only had one person approach me. She was very nice and only had positive things to say. Even if someone were rude or said something nasty, they don’t understand that we use coupons because we don’t have thousands of dollars in the bank. I’m a full time college student who works part time, my husband works full time, but with our debt load we just can’t compete. We are currently living with roommate and are miserable. I plan to use coupons to improve our situation. What we do is a noble thing. So keep your head up and remember, if they weren’t smart enough to do the math, then they don’t deserve to save like we do!

  7. cw

    I have been couponing for one year. If someone gives me a dirty look I tell the cashier how thankful I am for coupons, that it has cut my weekly grocery bill by 60% (at least) and enables me many times to donate free items I wouldnt normally buy or use to those in need. Yes, as Rashelle said I’ve experienced negative comments since that show came on the air (prior to that, never!). Even my own cousin once made a comment on Facebook about “people who coupon” and oh believe me, he got an earful of a post back from me! On the flip side, many people have stopped me in the aisle when they see my handful of coupons and say “I wish I could do that”. I spend two minutes referring them to this site and others that make couponing a breeze and they all write down the website names wherever they can (hand, ripped paper, purse, tell family member to remember that site, etc). I often hear people say they are struggling financially and they are very thankful that God put me in their path that day. That makes all the negative comments not matter even more :).

  8. Anonymous

    My biggest pet peeve is people who do the extreme couponing, get something for next to nothing and then go and return it without the receipt so they can get the full value back. Drives me nuts because that is fraud. I’ve seen people get DVDs/CDs/Wii games/etc and then turn around return them to a different store even and get either money or store credit for the item. That is what is really going to ruin it for the honest ones.

  9. Carol

    I have noticed, when I read articles in non-couponing papers or web sites about “Those Couponers”, the responses are overwhelmingly negative. Usually it doesn’t take much reading to find out they’re either ignorant or miserable or overbearing old farts who think they are the only authority on what every one else should be doing.

    Consider yourself lucky that you live in an area where you can avail yourself of Publix. Publix has a very strong customer service/satisfaction policy. Even my most miserable cashiers (usually grouchy old ladies) don’t DARE get nasty about coupons. They know that if they do, the wrath of Corporate will land on them. Most of my cashiers are great. They’re interested in how I do it and always act as my cheerleaders when I’m a little down because I didn’t save as much as expected. I love shopping at Publix!

    As far as being embarrassed about your shopping methods, with time you will become immune to those miserable customers commenting on what you’re doing. You’ll KNOW that YOU’RE the smart one. Just remember, that ignorant, shuffling, huffing old man behind you in line is not smart enough to do what you’re doing. He’ll come in and buy the same cart of food you are and pay 3 or 4 times as much as you did for the same products. Who’s the smart one now? Just remember, there’s a lot of miserable people in the world and for some warped reason, it makes them feel better about themselves to put down or look down on other people. Always keep in mind that YOU’RE the smart one and they have no concept of the good you’re doing for your family.

  10. Damien Barber

    I am glad someone has mentioned this show. I have been watching it on a semi-regular basis (and it is more like a train-wreck that I just can’t help but watch) and it annoys me how thyese people have little/ no couponing etiquette. There was one lady who took 62 of 63 bottles of mustard just because she could get it for like $0.39, and now nobody coming behind her who wanted the deal could take advantage of it… and what is she going to do with that much Mustard?!? I wish someone would straighten these people out because they do make couponers look bad.

    I did, however, see one person on that show that from what I saw was respectable. He called ahead and ordered the amount of a product he needed when getting a bunch and he was not just doing it for himself, but he was shopping to be able to give hundreds of products to people in need.

    All that having been said, I have not as of yet received any harassment about couponing, but if anyone said anything to me, I would just ignore it and know that I am saving money so I don’t care what they say… or if I am feeling froggy I might retort back with a smart comment about how I’m saving tons and don’t care what they have to say about it 🙂

  11. Jo-Ann

    I don’t bother with people’s comments because I’m focusing on the cashier ringing up my items and deducting my coupons. I’m polite and make eye contact and if a coupon won’t scan right after several tries, then ask for that item to be removed and the coupon returned to me. I try to make my transaction as smooth, quick and friendly as possible for both the cashier and myself, so we both have a positive experience. After all, I will most likely have more transactions with that cashier and don’t even know the people in line.

    I usually have great experiences with cashiers: one at CVS joked that he should shop with me the next time to see how I coupon, one at Target said that his wife just started couponing and that it’s a way to save money, one at Rite Aid said she should start couponing and where do I get my coupons from, another at CVS said she couldn’t understand why customers didn’t take their receipts with ECB’s on them to save money, even though she would encourage them to, etc. Cashiers see all kinds of people coming through their lines, and clearly see the positive effects of couponing.

    I also focus on how much money I’m saving for my family and how I can give items to family & friends, and charitable organizations. Keep focusing on the positive aspects of couponing, Rashelle! Hang in there! 🙂

  12. Rashelle

    I know most everyone who made a comment on this post probably won’t see this, but I finally was able to read thru all of the comments and cannot even begin to thank everyone for all of the great advice that you have given to me and everyone else that was having similar problems. I most definitley would not let these comments stop me from couponing because it saves my family too much money but just needed some encouragement to outweigh all of the negativity that has been happening and hope that everyone else benefited from what all the readers had to say as well. Again thank you, I was overwhelmed by how many people had took the time to say how they felt and the words of advice that were given. I just have to say that Collin and ALL of the Hip 2 Save readers are truly the BEST!!!!

  13. martine

    I actually came back to check on the comments. I am glad that we were able to share some advice. It happened to me today at CVS. I had to make 4 separate transactions and I told the cashier that in advance. She gave me the dirtiest look but you know what? I “killed” her with kindness. I said thank you after each transaction and before I left, I told her to have a great day!!.

    She probably didn’t want to work but I had 4 mini transactions that totaled up to 14 items and I paid $8.67. If she had a problem with it, then she should have paid the amount that I saved..
    Have a great day Rashelle 🙂

  14. julie

    i was in a store using coupons and 2 women who work there were at another register, they started rolling there eyes and they were laughing. when my husband and i were outside in the car, I asked him if he heard them because I was kind of embarrassed. My husband had a really good point. he said honey you are a stay at home mom that can stay home because of your couponing, and those rude ladies at the register are both working in that store on a weekend (and your not). that really made me feel good and from now on I am not going to get embarressed at all.

    • MAry

      What a wonderful point and also great support from your husband! My boyfriend didnt know what to think when I started couponing but he is really proud of me now and I can tell he likes when we visit his family and take them bags of extra cleaner and products we got for free or very little.

  15. nancy

    The cashier is getting paid the same whether I shop with or without coupons. If I can clip little pieces of paper that I can legally use for money, I’ll do it every time because I need the most bang for my buck. My money (and coupons) spend just like everyone else’s. I play by the rules. I don’t clean off shelves. I always have coupons ready when I hit the checkout so as to not delay any more than necessary. And finally, everyone has the the opportunity to use coupons. If people don’t take the time the clip and use them, DON’T TAKE IT OUT ON ME!!!

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