Photo from flickr.com
Disclaimer: This is strictly my opinion (like 99% of the posts on this blog). My opinion on coupon clipping services is based on my experience and the availability of coupons in my region (South Mississippi). Please keep in mind this response may not be true for all areas of the country, so take my advice as just that...advice.
This question has been asked by reader RevJen:
"What do you think about coupon clippers and other services like that? Don't you waste your savings paying the clipping? On the other hand, the paper costs as well. Thoughts?"This is going to take a multilevel response. Starting with:
- Is the purchase of coupons from online services legal? After all, coupons state "Cannot be sold and intended for original consumer."
That gray area is the reason "coupon clipping services" were born. It's a "service" therefore you are paying the person clipping the coupons or collecting the inserts for their time, not the product. Is that legal? Well, like I said gray area. I personally feel that if you are only getting a few inserts or specific coupons then it's ok, but when you cross over that line and start buying hundreds of inserts/coupons each week from clipping services then there maybe a problem.
- Should you use coupon clipping services comes down two questions:
- Are you wanting to be an
HoardingExtreme Couponer(like TLC's Extreme Couponers)?
- Are you just wanting to save your family some money?I still call this an extreme couponer!
What's the difference?
- Most Extreme Couponers (like on TLC's show) that amass stockpiles so large that it over takes their home and controls their every moment would say BUY, BUY, BUY as many coupons as you can! Coupon clipping services are great!
- Extreme Couponers who are just wanting to save their families money and stockpile just a few weeks (or months) worth of products would tell you, coupon clipping services can be beneficial but don't go crazy!
When I first started couponing I would buy my coupons from a service (about four sets of each insert for that given week) because at the time I felt like these coupons were better than what I was receiving locally. At the time it was a good thing, I was getting some really great coupons. Over time however, I realized that I could get just as good of coupons online through Facebook, company websites and coupon sites (like coupons.com, smartsource.com etc) and there was really no need for me to purchase my inserts. Plus, my style of extreme couponing is different than anywhere outside of the Mississippi state line. We don't have Randall's, Shaw's, Publix or many of these other stores that offer great deals and have awesome coupon policies (like doubling). We have Walmart, Winn Dixie and lots of mom & pop style grocery stores.
- Is it a waste of money?
- My advice and general rule of thumb:
Keep an eye on the inserts and watch the coupon insert previews on blogs like Hip2Save or Deal Seeking Mom. If you see a coupon coming out that would benefit your family and it's not likely you'll receive it in your local paper, use a clipping service to grab a few. Just ask yourself this before you hit that purchase button, "Is this a product my family can benefit from and can I get it cheap in my area using this coupon?"