Thursday, April 11, 2013

Guest Post: The Fallout of TLC's Extreme Couponing (Morgan Wright)

Morgan Wright is a stay at home mother of two and a freelance writer. Through her writing, she helps her friends and readers find the best available ULTA coupons and other beauty products. Apart from writing, Morgan enjoys experimenting with different dishes. 

Since TLC’s Extreme Couponing show gained popularity, many couponers are complaining that manufacturers have been stricter with their coupons. They accuse TLC of exposing their secrets to the masses, ruining potential saving in the future. But is there any hard proof of this, or is it all purely anecdotal evidence?

Despite these concerns, more people than ever are trying their own hand at couponing. If you’re interested in trying for extreme savings yourself, try out these beginner tips!

Look Online
While those little weekly flyers still weigh down the Sunday paper, and there are still the little coupons at the grocery stores, online coupons have been gaining popularity. Looking online for coupons can be more convenient than keeping track of piles of shiny bits of paper. Coupons can be found all across the internet for almost any item you can think of; from department store merchandise, to large electronic items, there is literally a coupon for everything.

Heck, you can even get coupons on your smartphone with services like Groupon and like-minded companies. Even sites that already sell marked down items can have extra savings if you just take the time to look, like these coupons for example. Even branded items like Levi’s, or specialty companies like 1-800-Flowers. Almost any established online retailer will have online coupons that will net you extra savings.

If You Can’t Lick ‘em, Join ‘em! 
Go to TLC, grab your handy notebook, and write down those couponing tips that catch your eye. While you might know all about dumpster diving to score extra coupons, I bet you’ve never tried it because you think you’re above it even if it’s a great (albeit dirty) tactic! And what about multiple transactions? While some coupons require this extra step that can be a hindrance, the savings can more than make up for the multiple transactions. There are plenty of tips to gleam from the TLC show. Yes, some are extreme, but some can still help even a regular couponer score extra savings.

Recognizing Coupon Fraud 
This one is serious and TLC’s show exposed a woman who intentionally chose to defraud the system by using coupons that didn’t match the items that she was purchasing. How serious is this? It is fraud and a criminal offense. Worst of all, it reflects poorly upon those of us who are sincere in our couponing efforts.

Knowingly purchasing items that do not match coupons is a big no-no and as a result manufacturers have changed their bar code policies directly due to participants on Extreme Couponing.

At the end of the day, extreme couponing isn’t for everyone. As a matter of fact, couponers are a rather rare breed. They are great at spotting sales and savings, and are not afraid to flash that coupon binder at a moment’s notice. If this sounds like you, don’t forget couponing hasn’t, nor will it ever, go out of fashion. After all, couponers and manufacturers have a symbiotic relationship. One is necessary for the other’s survival.

Be smart, savvy, and keep the coupons clipping.

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