Coupon Ethics -Proper Use of Coupons

April 23, 2011

in Beginners,Beginners & Policies,Proper Coupon Usage

Coupon ethics

Coupon Ethics -Proper Coupon Usage

I wanted to post some information about this again, because the popularity of couponing is on the rise.  If you are new to the world of couponing, this is for you:)  If you are an oldie, this is for you too, LOL!  Everybody, need to make sure they are using coupons properly!

(1) NEVER make copies of coupons! Most printable websites will allow (2) prints per computer. Manufacturers set a limit on how many coupons can be printed globally. If they allow for 100,000 coupons to be printed & 105,000 coupons come back, that means 5,000 coupons will not be reimbursed to the stores they were used at. Each coupon printed has a unique number on it somewhere. If a copy is used the store will not get paid for the coupon. This is really no different from stealing. Maybe you can live with that………….BUT… will eventually catch up with you. How?? Coupons from printable websites are also printed with your “IP” address. The ip address from the computer they were printed from is all the way around the coupon and teeny tiny, under the date of the coupon. Just about every class I teach, somebody says, “oh no, I have copied coupons, I didn’t know it was wrong”. It okay…just don’t ever do it again! I would hate for our stores to stop taking internet printables!

(2) Always use coupons for the exact product they were intended. If a coupon says “Trix cereal 17.5 oz box”  this does not mean it is okay to use on a 12 oz box.  Or if a coupon says “Honey Nut Cheerios”  and we use it on “Cheerios Yellow box”, this is ALSO wrong.  Some store registers may not catch this, but we know it is wrong.

(3) Never use fraudulent coupons! If it sounds to good to be true…It probably is a fraudulent coupon!  Be cautious of coupons that are for a FREE item when no purchase is necessary.  Also, if a printable coupon is missing an expiration date there is a good chance it is fraudulent.  The Coupon Information Corporation does an excellent job keeping us informed about fraudulent coupons.  You can go HERE to see the list of fraudulent coupons.

(4) Don’t Double Dip!  Many times manufacturers will attach a PEELIE to a product.  If a product has a manufacturer PEELIE, it is NOT okay to use another manufacturer coupon with this product!  Even if the cashier does not catch it..  If you catch it, it is your responsibility to let them know you are using another coupon.  This is one of the “GOLDEN RULES” of couponing!  Just about every coupon you see will have the disclaimer.. Only ONE manufacturer coupon per product listed. Stores get audited from time to time and they must be able to prove that the sales match the coupons.  Meaning if they sent in 2000 coupons, they better have 2000 sales for the product.

(5) Don’t attempt to use Expire Coupons.  Most stores DO NOT knowingly accept expired coupons.  I know that a few Publix stores will accept expired coupons that expired within the same week.  However, this is NOT a policy.  Please ask before attempting to use an expired coupon.

It is so important that we use coupons responsibly!  Don’t take advantage of stores by attempting to bend or break the rules.  I promise, you will SAVE ton’s of money without using coupons fraudulently.  Always remember…”Just because it scans..It doesn’t make it right”

If you have any questions about coupon usage, please feel free to email me:


Lana April 23, 2011 at 4:26 pm

What about pdf coupons? I have read on several sites that if a coupon is a pdf printable, then you can print multiple copies. Also, according to the CIC, we should not use any type of coupon clipping service. Also, I think it’s good to mention how people should not have multiple cards when you are only supposed to have one for the drugstores. I guess we shouldn’t be doing multiple transactions to make it “okay” to get more items using coupons that say only___number of coupons per transaction. I mean really, this is not what the people who put out coupons intend for people to do, or why would they put a limit on usage in the first place? When you think about it, we really probably shouldn’t be doing half of the things we are :( I do like purchasing my inserts and don’t plan on discontinuing any time soon.

The Q Tipping Mom April 25, 2011 at 5:44 pm

Most of those coupons that limit say”Limit 4 per transaction” This to me means that it is actually okay to do more than one transaction. If the coupon states only # coupons per household, that would be different to me. PDF coupons differ from or Redplum. Most PDF Q’s do not set a limit on how many you can print. Now, do I think you should print 50 & go get 50 items at a time. NO, I don’t think that is what was intended. As far as multiple cards for pharmacy shopping, I always advise against that, not because it may be wrong, but because it is too confusing. I do have 2 CVS cards, one for my household & for my inlaws household, because I do pick up things for them from time to time. I think there is nothing wrong with that. I think you are perfectly fine ordering from a insert service.

Rhonda Whitley May 10, 2011 at 2:55 pm

I am brand new at couponing and have just been introduced to your website. It is extremely refreshing to see you offering advice filled with integrity as well as sound financial wisdom! Great JOB!!! Praying I can stay organized enough to save money with coupons!!! lol

The Q Tipping Mom May 10, 2011 at 3:31 pm

Thank you so much for your kind words!

Mindy franke May 27, 2011 at 8:20 pm

Agreed, Rhonda. I’m in the process of getting started organizing my 6″ of unclipped coupons – how daunting is that?! – and this is one of the first sites where I’ve seen sound advice for everyone. Thanks to The Q Tipping Mom for putting such a helpful site together, I’m already learning a lot tonight :)

One of my questions has to do with how you get extra copies of coupons without turning over your entire budget buying papers? I heard someone on “Extreme Couponing” arranged to get extras from her paper instead of them throwing them away. Any ideas on who I could approach to try the same thing where I am?


The Q Tipping Mom May 27, 2011 at 8:42 pm

First of all, thanks so much for your kind words! That really means a lot. The cheapest way I have found to get extra individual coupons is ebay. Most places charge actual shipping & a fairly reasonable charge for the service of gathering the coupons. If you are interested in whole inserts, go HERE and see my favorite places to find them. Also, a way to grab free ones is to check out your local recycling center. I know of at least one where I live that you can go through the recycled newpapers. It is in Athens, Al. It is clean. Also, if your neighborhood has recycling go through peoples recycling, LOL! I send my oldest 2 daughters out & you would be SHOCKED to see how many people throw away the inserts! Hope that helps:)

Melissa June 10, 2011 at 10:09 pm

I just had to comment on this. I won’t do the dumpster diving like I have heard other people do but recycling bins I can handle. Your intergrity is refreshing too, thanks for all the hard work getting this info out there. One question: somehow I was able to sign up to receive Redplum inserts at my house, do you know anything about this?

The Q Tipping Mom June 10, 2011 at 11:09 pm

I haven’t posted about this since last year! Thanks for the reminder! SO many folks are missing out on inserts now, i need to repost it.. HERE is the link:)

Lisa June 22, 2013 at 3:56 am

Hi I’m very new to couponing.

Is it considered double dipping if you use the coupons from the cvs coupon book that’s .99¢
An use I coupon that’s from a subscription site and or a coupon that cvs has sent to your email?
Break down of what I’m trying to say
• revlon 1 off from magazine + 1 off coupon from revlon site +or cvs coupon email 2$off?
Like majority of us here are looking for awesome deals to save money but I don’t want get in trouble.

The Q Tipping Mom June 22, 2013 at 5:04 pm

Hey Lisa! Thanks for your Question!! At CVS you are allowed one CVS store Coupon and one manufacturer coupon per item. For example, If you are talking about the coupon “$1/1 Revlon Beauty Tool, Any (Manuf. Coupon) – CVS Reinventing Beauty, June 2013” it is a manufacturer coupon. It can be stacked with a CVS store coupon without a problem, but not with another manufacturer coupon. The only time (2) CVS coupons can be used together would be in a situation like this… I could use a $2/$10 Revlon Purchase CVS Coupon, $1/1 Revlon Product CVS coupon and $1/1 Revlon manufacturer coupon. A good indicator of whether or not a coupon is a CVS store coupon is: A CVS store coupon usually starts with the number (4) at the beginning of the bar code. You will see some manufacturer coupons with the CVS store logo. Hope this makes sense:)

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