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How To Be a Courteous Couponer {Tips & Tricks}

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I love couponing.

Now, I must admit since I now have to do the larger majority of my shopping online, I don't get to do it often... but boy do I miss it! I miss handing over those coupons at the end of my transaction and watching those numbers go down, down, down! I mean, who doesn't right?

Over the next several weeks, I will be sharing a variety of couponing tips and tricks... from where to find coupons to savings ideas on particular stores. But before we get to that, let's talk couponing etiquette! Today I'm sharing my tips to being a courteous couponer.

  • Know and Follow the Rules. This goes without saying, right? Some of the couponing rules are written right there on the coupons themselves, but policies vary from store to store. For instance, my Kroger store will only allow five of the same coupons to be used in a single transaction (regardless if such stipulations appear on the coupon itself), whereas I could use more at other stores. So, get to know your stores policies on coupons, price matching, etc. 
  • Don't Clear Shelves. We've all seen those extreme couponing shows, right? They go in and clear the shelves so there is none left for anyone else. Now, the reality is--- some of that is likely just for show... still it does happen. Don't be that guy. Buy what you reasonably use and need and try to leave some for others when you can. (Sometimes it is unavoidable... but chances that you REALLY need 25+ detergents? Well... I'm thinking unlikely.)
  • Leave Unwanted Coupons. I don't know about you, but I love when I'm shopping and find a coupon for an item I need placed on the shelf next to the item, so I try to do the same for others. If there is a coupon that I know I will not use before expiration, I simply place it near the item on shelf, or offer it to someone looking. 
  • Watch Expiration Dates. I don't know if this really counts as courteous, BUT it will certainly save you AND the cashier some headaches and confusion at checkout.
  • Don't Take All the Coupons. Depending on where you shop, you might find that some stores offer little coupon books throughout the aisles. Now, it can be tempting to pick up as many as you can on a good value coupon for a product you like, but it goes right along with shelf clearing... it's okay to take multiples if you'll use them all, but take only what you need and leave some for other shoppers. 
  • Be Kind to Your Cashier. I mean this should go without saying whether or not you use coupons, but unfortunately that's not always the case. Couponers often get a bad reputation for being short with cashiers if a coupon doesn't scan through or if perhaps the cashier isn't 100% familiar with the store's coupon policy. (Many carry the policies with them to avoid any confusion, but if you do need to resort to this, at least use kindness in doing so. It goes a lot further.)
  • Be Kind to Fellow Shoppers. The reality of couponing is--- sometimes it takes awhile. Coupons don't ring through correctly, we have to run multiple transactions to get the best deals, or we just have a TON to scan. When possible, let someone with fewer items go before you, or at the very least when that's not an option, give them a little forewarning before they get behind you so they are prepared ahead of time. Another option is to use self check outs when they are available. 
  • Be Organized. Now, back when I was REALLY couponing, I had my binder neatly organized by area of the grocery story... super handy. Once I finished shopping, I would find a quiet corner and start sorting. I would go through each page, taking out each coupon I needed to use and have them ready, I would also organize my cart as I shopped separating items that used coupons, and those that did not. When I went to checkout, I'd put all the non-coupon items first, followed by the items I would be using coupons on next. The reason? If there were any issues with coupons ringing up, those products would be the most recently scanned and easiest to find. If I happened to have free item coupons, these would be the very last and I would let the cashier know beforehand that I did have the free coupons for those, as often they would have to manually input the amount. I have found that by being organized, not only am I less likely to miss a coupon I could have used, but it makes checkout a lot quicker too. 

Like I said, between clearing stores and holding up lines, couponers can get a really bad rep... but these simple tips can help you get those great deals you want while still being kind to your fellow shoppers and cashiers. 

Are you a couponer? What tips and tricks would you share to help others be more courteous in their couponing? 


  1. These are great ideas for sure! My husband works at a grocery store and he doesn't like when people leave unwanted coupons. Although I understand it because I use to think it was nice from a couponer perspective. He said it is usually just trash he has to clean up.

    If I could add with "Don't take all the coupons", you mentioned coupon booklets and that is a great point. I would like to add about peelies which of course you know are coupons found on product. I have seen people go through and take all the peelies, but never buy that product. Those coupons are put on their by manufacturers (people come into stores to do this) so their product will more likely be bought. People who take peelies with no intention of using them at that time are screwing with the system. And what this does is effects sales which makes prices go up in the long run.


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