While we all enjoy saving money, there are some coupon pet peeves that continue to annoy my readers. Here's a recent sampling of emails from my inbox from readers sharing their frustrations.
"Dear Jill: I think it's a shame how many coupons have a full-page advertisement for the product with one coupon at the bottom of the page. Why don't they fill each page up with coupons to save paper?" — Teddy A.
While it may seem wasteful, when a page within the coupon inserts features just one coupon, you're more likely to cut that coupon out and redeem it. According to a 2018 NCH Marketing study, coupons that appear alone on one page in the coupon inserts have a 17 percent higher redemption rate over coupons that share the same page with other offers. There's actually a method to this seeming "madness" — when a coupon is the only offer on the page, you're more likely to look at it, focus on it and consider using it.
"Dear Jill: How do you make sure all of your electronic coupons are credited at the cash register? I am somewhat new to using these via my store's website. Twice now though I have loaded coupons to my card and have not gotten credit for them. First, I had 50 cents off one tub of ice cream. I bought a new flavor that the cashier said was not recognized by the system and the coupon was not credited. The second time I purchased a juice beverage that said it was valid on any 64-ounce bottle of juice. The store said because I bought a juice blend, it did not work.
I think I prefer using paper coupons, but at times my store has offers on their website that I cannot find in the paper." — Maurissa P.
To use electronic coupons effectively, you really do learn to watch the register closely. At most stores, when an electronic coupon is applied, it shows on the screen and on the receipt beneath the item to which it applies. I like to make notes on my shopping list to remind me for which items I have electronic coupons. That way, I can watch when those products are scanned to make sure the discount is applied.
The issue of different varieties, flavors or scents of an item not scanning correctly with regard to an electronic coupon is something I've experienced, too. Most recently, I bought a color-safe bleach variety of laundry detergent with a $1 e-coupon valid on "any" variety of the detergent. While I bought the correct size, the electronic coupon apparently wasn't coded to apply to the bleaching variety. I pointed it out to my cashier, and he corrected it before I paid for my items. It helped that, in this instance, my supermarket was advertising the $1 app coupon in their weekly print ad, and the cashier had a copyright at the register, too.
"Dear Jill: Which kind of coupons do you prefer the traditional ones from the newspaper, the kind you print from the computer or the electronic kind from stores and cash-back apps? All in all, I am irked by things I have to take an extra step for. Give me a pair of scissors and the paper any day." — Kerri F.
Let me preface this by pointing out that I do use every kind of coupon that's available. I clip coupons from the newspaper inserts each week; I utilize websites like Coupons.com and SmartSource.com to print offers; and I also load electronic coupons via both store and third-party apps. That said, I am a traditionalist who prefers the simplicity of cutting coupons from the paper. Seeing my coupons scanned at the register and verifying that each discount has been correctly applied is very satisfying.
Because I am only cutting the coupons I need to use each week versus cutting everything that appears in the paper, I spend far less time planning my shopping trips than one might expect. Next week, I'll go over this method and why it's such a time-saver for coupon clippers.
Jill Cataldo, a coupon workshop instructor, writer and mother of three, never passes up a good deal. Learn more about Super-Couponing at her website, www.jillcataldo.com. Email your own couponing victories and questions to email@example.com.
The H-D saves you money
Follow The Herald-Dispatch on Facebook for daily tips on how to use the newspaper to save money.