Couponing is a popular money-saving strategy, but some people view it with skepticism. So, is couponing a legitimate way to save money or is it just a scam?

A user asked the forum, “Is couponing a scam?” Here are the top responses.


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“When I first moved out on my own, I was 17. My home life was a mess. About a week later, my 11-year-old brother moved in with me. I got official custody of him when I was 19, and he was 13.

We were BROKE. Extra broke. I clipped every coupon, only bought store brand, and if it wasn’t on sale, we didn’t eat it.

This was a couple of years before the extreme couponing shows were popular, and I definitely saw a shift in how much I could save before and after.

As of now, it’s a waste most of the time. Kroger sends coupons to my house based on my shopping history, and I do use those. Yesterday, Publix had my coffee on sale. Buy one get one free, so I got 4.

I spent 20 minutes earlier breaking down a whole sirloin tip (3.98$/lb). There are a ton of ways to save a dollar here or there; I’m not sure “coupon shopping” is the best use of my time, though.”


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“Not a scam. I used to do heavy couponing when it was worth it, and it’s not anymore.

My best couponing trip ever was a super double coupon weekend at a store. I must have had 70 coupons, and all but a handful would super double; they were just double.

Super double was up to $2, so a $2 coupon doubled to $4; a $1.50 coupon doubled to $3; 0.50 of course doubled to $1.

I got to the register and we had two carts full of groceries with $100 to spend max. The original total was $550ish. After the savings card and all coupons, the total came down to ~$60. Best and most successful trip ever. Never been able to do it again.

Don’t bother with couponing anymore since it’s all “Save $1.00 on 5” and “Save 0.75 on 3″, that kind of stuff. Just isn’t worth it anymore.”


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“I haven’t used coupons in about five years, but I was a pretty hardcore couponer to the point that I was buying things for my neighbors and family and having a “garage sale.”

Diapers $5/pack, wipes $1, all hair care – Garnier, Tresemme, dove, all the brands you would see in a “box store” – $2 or 3 for $5. Toothpaste $1, deodorant $2, occasionally paper products.

I built a spreadsheet with all the formulas, so I just input the prices, coupons, and rewards, and it would figure totals and taxes for me. I was also a stay-at-home mom and had the time to put into it, which was a lot.

The key there was to “stack” deals. For instance:

Two hair products, maybe a shampoo and conditioner, are $4.99 each. Store sale is to buy one get one (BOGO) 50% off plus get $2 “rewards” when you spend (was) $10, have a $2/2 store coupon, and manufacturer coupons for $0.75 each.

2 x $4.99 = $9.98 (this usually triggers the reward; most stores have a 5% buffer.

– 50% of one ($2.49), $9.98 – 2.49 = 7.49

-$2 store coupon, $5.49

-$1.50 manufacturer coupons, $3.99

Pay $3.99 out of pocket and get $2 back in rewards.

Net cost $1.99 + tax

Rewards might be like Walgreens Register Rewards and Balance Points, Target gift card deals, Rite Aid has points, CVS has Bucks, etc.

I don’t know all the rules anymore, but sometimes you could get amazing deals, freebies, or even money-makers. I used to follow Krazy Coupon Lady and a few other blogs, but KCL is where I go if I want to check for deals these days.”


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“Not a scam, and places are actively fighting against using them. My Kroger told me last week that they won’t be accepting any paper coupons at the end of September because they only want to use digital coupons. Even manufacturer coupons will no longer be accepted at my store.”


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“Couponing used to be a way to get people into stores of different varieties for deals; now that our grocery stores are running as a giant monopoly for the most part, there is 0 incentive to make products on sale anymore if you as an owner/franchisee know that people are forced to shop in your store anyway.

Couponing died a long time ago. The deals that are now offered are basically “deals” for now that would have just been the regular market price five years ago. Getting scammed into paying full price for things even with coupons and discounts, everything else above that margin is a straight-up ripoff.”


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“Even if they are successful, it takes a ton of time that you could spend on other activities – including side gigs. It also annoys the heck out of the cashier and everyone else at the checkout.”


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“It’s a scam in the sense that you’re trading your personal data, which is infinitely more valuable, for often not very much savings. The level of data collection that companies are allowed to engage in should be illegal, and it’s often the most disenfranchised people who are having their data mined the most.

If you can afford to keep your private data private in the meantime while we wait on basic privacy laws, you absolutely should.”


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“Not really a scam, but a waste of time. Many grocery stores don’t let you use more than one coupon per item per order, so unless you want to do a ton of separate orders, it won’t work.

I can find printable coupons on websites like and p&g, but usually only look for them if I know I am buying an item.”

IT SAVES $10-20

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“I always try to use coupons when I grocery shop, mainly through the store’s app. In the last couple of months, I’ve easily saved anywhere from $30-50 using coupons and having an account with my store (Safeway).

Sometimes, the coupons are good, and I stock up on things, but on average, I still probably save $10-20 on trips, any bit helps at this rate.”


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“It depends on how much time and effort you want to put into it. I used to spend a couple of hours a week clipping coupons, watching coupon channels, making up my own scenarios, etc. I usually did my couponing hauls one day a week.

Food couponing never really worked out for me. The coupons in the paper were usually stuff we didn’t use. To save money in that area, I usually just shopped and stocked up when the prices were good.

Personal hygiene, laundry stuff, cleaning supplies, makeup, and baby stuff were easy to get dirt cheap. It helps if you don’t have a personal preference for certain brands. Places like Dollar General, Walgreens, and CVS are easy to coupon at since they give brand coupons, store coupons, and general $ off coupons for certain items. (Ex laundry supplies, baby stuff, spend $15 on create get $5 off)

It takes some time to figure out how the different coupons work together. It also helps if you have a patient cashier. I was always polite and would move to the back of the line if I had more than one transaction.

If you are serious about couponing, you can check out people like the Couponing Lady, and FB has a lot of store-specific coupon groups. Just beware of any groups that mention “glittering.” That’s when you use coupons on things they are not meant for. It can get you banned from the store, in trouble with the police, and it causes stores to stop accepting coupons.”


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“I find the weekly deals and digital coupons are superior. The buy 4/5 save x on each can be hit and miss.”


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“Couponing is like a hobby and an art mixed together. It takes time and patience to learn how to do it, and some places are better for it than others.

Also, if you’re watching coupon haul videos, just know some people do commit fraud to do them and have been arrested. There are some grocery stores known for being really good to coupon at, and then there are others that are not as good.

I live between Albertsons, Trader Joe’s, and Costco. None of those places are really great for the couponing hauls that you see on YouTube or the old TV shows.

There’s also a return on investment; as a single person who works full-time and has my daughter part-time, I find it’s just easier to meal plan and stock up on when things are on sale compared to spending hours trying to figure out all the coupons and how to make them work together.

I was spending 2 to 4 hours a week trying to figure out how to make coupons stretch my money, and then I was so exhausted after that I would go with an easy, more expensive meal or even go out to eat because I just spent 4 hours a time that I could have used to make cheaper meals.

If you have a big family and a big food budget, you might be in a completely different scenario. So it’s very much a YMMV thing with coupons.”


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“It isn’t as worthwhile as it used to be. I got into it about nine years right before my daughter was born, after realizing how expensive diapers were. I’d use a combination of paper coupons, printable coupons (both of which you could purchase in bulk from resellers), and in-store promotions.

It took me dozens of hours to perfect, but I was able to get diapers for around $3-$4 a pack and sell the ones we never used.

Some retailers used to allow you to double coupons or combine paper and digital coupons, but this is much harder to do now/ nearly impossible. You can still save a decent amount of money with coupons, combining them with weekly deals, but there’s a bit of a learning curve. I highly recommend following couponers on Instagram, which is where I started.”

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This article was originally published on Mrs. Daaku Studio.

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