June 20, 2018

Honest Couponing?

Nov 11, 2008

Dana from Frugal in Virginia wrote an excellent guest post at Keeping the Kingdom First about Honest Couponing.

It is so easy to get caught up in getting a great deal and to be tempted to use coupons dishonestly. Do you think it is not that important to follow the “couponing rules?” Dana sets the tone of her post with this passage of scripture:

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own? No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” –Luke 16:10-13 (Holy Bible, New International Version)

Dishonest couponing affects everyone, not just yourself. When you use coupons in ways they are not intended, it affects the manufacturers, stores, and other couponers. Manufacturers lower the value of their coupons or even stop issuing coupons altogether. Since the stores don’t get reimbursed for misused coupons, they begin to put more limits on coupons and sometimes act rudely towards couponers. Don’t let greed ruin it for others. Many people rely on coupons to feed their families.

There are so many great deals to be had! If you miss out on one deal, there is always another right around the corner. CVS deals are so plentiful that it is not necessary to use multiple cards in order to get multiple freebies. CVS puts limits on their deals for a reason. There is no need to ruin it for others by clearing the shelves and using multiple cards to get around the limits. If a coupon says that it is intended only for the varieties specified then use the coupon appropriately. Don’t stand by the “if it scans it must be okay” line. Just because it scans, doesn’t make it right. Read the fine print of the coupon. If it says limit one per customer then you should abide by the rule even if it is inconvenient for you.

How to be an honest couponer:

  • Respect the limits
  • Don’t clear the shelves
  • Read the fine print
  • Know your store policy
  • Be kind to cashiers
  • Let it go – there are always more deals to come!

I highly recommend reading Honest Couponing. I hope you find it as intriguing, helpful, and encouraging as I did.


  1. Excellent post! I agree wholeheartedly.


  2. “Let it go – there are always more deals to come!”

    Unless it’s the Glade Candle deal and you drove 45 minutes to go get it and you KNOW that you are right.


  3. “Unless it’s the Glade Candle deal and you drove 45 minutes to go get it and you KNOW that you are right.”

    Maybe except for then, lol!

  4. Thank you! I am so sad when I go to get deals and every store around is out of all the good stuff! I think I’m going to start scouting out the deals immediately after church on Sunday!

    • @The Grays, I get my SS check on the third..thats usually the last day of the sale and the new prices are already in the computer…I dont fault the tores…you dont know how many price changes they have to do(I was a csm at Walmarts) go to the customer servce desk of your store(I shop Stop and shop) they will honor the price and coupon and if that doesnt work..they will give you a raincheck (shop anytime with that way) I have saved 1137.00 for the yr in coupons(all legally..lol) and they hve been great at honoring the sale prices and coupons..

  5. I don’t know. Just because you clear the shelves, does that make you “dishonest”? Are you against stockpiling too, because sometimes there are few items on the shelf to begin with.

  6. Jenna,

    There is a big difference between clearing the shelves and stockpiling. If there are only 1-2 left on the shelf, take them, obviously others have already gotten their fair share. If there are 100 on the shelf and you take 100, that’s hoarding – not stockpiling. Stockpiling is getting what you need for your family without denying everyone who shops at your store a chance to get in on the deal. If you plan on purchasing many items and you don’t think that the store will have sufficient stock, it might be a good idea to ask the manager to order more. I’ve heard that most managers will happily comply.

    So, I’m definitely not against stockpiling! 🙂 It’s one of the most imporant elements to saving money on groceries. I’m just against taking all there is and not leaving any for others.

    I hope that answers your question. If not, my email is Stephanie (at) couponing101 (dot) com.

  7. There are never 100 of any item on a shelf. Even if there are 25 (and that’s a lot) of an item on a shelf, and I take all the product, I might not consider that hoarding. Everyone should realize the element of “limited number on the shelf” when a sale is on – especially if there is a coupon out with the sale. I think it’s wrong for others to have an attitude just because one or 15 other people beat them to it. Yes, it would be kind of me to inform a mgr. if I’m taking all product, but I wouldn’t call it my responsibility. Just my opinion.

  8. Of course it’s not your responsibility. Of course you should feel free to take as many of the items as you need for your family.

    My opinion?
    Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. 🙂

  9. AMEN Steph!

  10. Thank you so much for that post about honest couponing and respecting other people who use coupons. I work for one of these retail stores and it is aggravating when people try to go above and beyond and then get mad at us because we get mad that they break the rules. I understand the need to save money, especially in an economy like this, but taking advantage of retailers, manufacturers, etc. is just plain wrong. And just an added tip to anyone who considers couponing the dishonest way, if we notice that you try to take advantage we will give you a harder time then someone who does it honestly. (and that applies to most retail stores)

  11. I really like this post!! Several years ago, I used to try to circument the rules, using a coupon for an item which was not the same size, flavor, etc, but still the same product, and other ways that were, I guess, dishonest. Then it occured to me, when I was on a coupon website where people were trying to do the same thing, that it was wrong. I really like that scripture above, and applied to this, it does make sense!! I got thinking about it, and while I am not one to preach, when I was talking to my Pastor, (I’m Mormon, so we actually call them Bishop), and realized that dishonesty can be big, or small, whether it is embezling money from your employer, or trying to cheat someone out of a few dollars. I’m not perfect by any means, and I would not force my beliefs on anyone or lecture someone who might want to do dishonest couponing, but I just feel that this is what is right for me.
    BTW, I have used a $1 off with a B1G1, but only after asking the cashier if it was OK. Usually, they will say that if it scans, then they will take it. Couponing does sometimes fall into gray areas! Also, there are some stores that gladly accept expired coupons, as long as it’s only 1-2 days after the date. Just make sure to ask before you use them.

  12. Shelley says:

    Thanks for the tip about expired coupons by a day or two, Vickie! I often find that I accidently let a good one expire and I get so mad at myself. I will definately ask next time. BTW, I enjoyed reading all the comments for the first time tonight. 🙂 I am new to couponing to this extent.

  13. I just saw an amazing show on TLC titled ‘Extreme Couponing’, which followed 4 people to their homes, “stockpiles” and stores as they go through the process of couponing. It was very insightful and interesting. Although, a couple of them broke your rule #2.

  14. Mary Lamphere says:

    I am all about honest couponing and have been a cashier who has had to deal with rude customers who got mad at me when I wouldn’t take a bad coupon. But I have a question for you ladies, it is a gray area. When you are shopping and you see a coupon on the packaging of you item and you only need one, but the others have the coupon too. Can I take enough to last me intil they would expire? Or maybe take two or three? Is that honest couponing?

  15. I have very limited storage for my stock pile so on most of my purchases I try to stock up for at least a month maybe two. Plus I have seen programs on TV where people get really over-the-top with their “saving”.
    I’m impressed with their grocery bill when they are done but those stockpiles scare me a bit. Who can possible use that much toilet paper?

  16. How about the shelf life of some of these products? Each package of food has a date for maximum freshness. These people who stockpile so much food, how do they arrange it so they are using the food that expires first and then subsequently follow the order. It is not saving money when you are wasting food!

  17. I have only watched “Extreme Couponing” one time & was so disgusted by the way these people “HOARD”. I think this show ruined couponing for lots of stores & HONEST people trying to make their dollar stretch. I LOATHE that show.

  18. Betty Fernandez says:

    Hi everyone! I’m new to couponing and last night I had 3 months ‘ worth of inserts that I clipped. Some were expired but I have a bunch left. I’m starting this week. I’m in Northern NJ and have 5 kids ages 24-14. So you can imagine how much I spend in groceries every week! I’ve always taken advantage of CVS sales and their extrabucks. But, I’ve never really done couponing with supermarkets. I’m going to work with two, Pathmark and Shoprite. Stephanie, I also am a believer and in my business and personal life I always try to speak the truth and not cheat anyone. My business is not doing well in this economy because I don’t cheat insurance companies or my patients. ( I’m in a healthcare field) It’s ironic isn’t it? Anyway, I’m glad I found this website. I’ve also noticed quite a few DO NOT DOUBLE coupons out there. I guess it’s the TLC show? I watch it to.

  19. How do you interpret this scenario: A retail store has a sale for 3 Large bottles of Scope for 6.99. You have 3 coupons that are for $2 off of your purchase of 1 bottle of scope. You have already been told that since it is a 3 for deal that 1 coupon would be able to be used not all three. Is that right of the retailer to limit it when they have a offer that low or should I be able to buy all three for a grand total of 99 cent

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