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Coupon Clippers Negatively Judged, Even in a Recession

I grew up reading the comics as my dad sat across from me and clipped grocery coupons on Sunday mornings, so I've never been one to judge those who use them. There are some people who are embarrassed to shop with coupons, and even in our slow-as-molasses economy, self-conscious shoppers are still projecting their feelings onto coupon-using shoppers.

One study found that people waiting in line thought shoppers using low-value coupons were cheap, and that sentiment was carried over to the person in line behind the coupon holder. This particular study observed shoppers buying pens in a bookstore, and those who used a $0.50 discount for a $4 pen were judged most harshly, while shoppers who used a $2 coupon to buy a $5.50 pen weren't considered to be as cheap.

Coupons are all about getting more for your money — as a kid we had my favorite Breyer's ice cream in the freezer instead of the store brand carton, because a coupon brought down the cost of the name brand product. It's not much different than refusing to buy a particular item until it goes on sale, except you have to be comfortable using coupons at the register. Do you ever find yourself passing judgment on coupon clippers?


Join The Conversation
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
Totally, Pegona. "Look that person over there, SAVING MONEY! What a loser! Who wants to SAVE MONEY???"
Pegona Pegona 8 years
Maybe they're (we're?) thought of as cheap, but to what extent do people think being cheap is a bad thing?
bsglrok132 bsglrok132 8 years
I always save the coupons that come in the mail, although I usually forget to use them. But I admire people who do, because I know that every dollar, or in some cases cent, counts.
ferret ferret 8 years
i'm with everyone else. who the hell looks down on people who use coupons? so weird! i personally always forget to bring 'em, but that is just poor way to feel superior over another person. it may be annoying, but hell, you know what annoys me more? the person (behind you in line) who pushes their cart up against you impatiently. the line's not gonna get any faster, dude!
fcseamstress fcseamstress 8 years
My husband is embarrassed by using coupons, especially at restaurants and stuff. He says if you can't afford full price, you shouldn't be going out to eat... His only exception is pizza. I on the other hand don't care at all about looking 'cheap' or 'poor'. Every week when I do meal planning, I open my recipe site, open the ads for my local store and plan away based on sales. They tell you how much you save after ringing up, and I average $30-40 per week. Occasionally I'll grab the physical ad from the newspaper at work, but most of the time I just shop sales since the coupon or two in the paper usually sucks. I also tend to 'buy ahead' (buy laundry detergent not because I'm out but because it's on sale). Oh, and I REFUSE to go shopping for fabric without my handy flier. It saves me LOADS on fabric and craft supplies. There's always at least 1 40% off coupon... Here's a happy coupon: I got a $10 gift card cash coupon from my grocery store! I'm going to use it to buy a brother a $20 gift card for Best Buy, but only spend $10! That's awesome!
loopymoi loopymoi 8 years
My mom always used coupons and I have no problem using coupons especially when it comes to clothing stores. Why should I be judged because I'm trying to find the best way to spend my money?
kapikani kapikani 8 years
I love using coupons. I only use the ones that I really need; I don't clip every coupon that I see. Imagine this, I shop at New York & Company religiously and I always get the $30 off $75 (doubles to $60 off $150). I almost always spend over 150 so I pretty much get full-priced and sell items for a very low price. I can honestly say that by using the coupon, I always get 6-10 items for around $90! Sometimes they have ales at the store, like 30% off, so if you use that coupon you get an additional amount off. Just yesterday I bought a nice wool coat; it was originally priced at $100, was on sale for 30% off and I used my coupon. I paid about $40! Same goes for Victoria's Secret; they always send coupons for a free panty (no purchase necessary). I use them and don't feel bad for doing so. I also use coupons for diapers, wipes or any baby related coupon. Again I only use what I need and have my coupons ready before hitting the stores.
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
Judging people for being thrifty is damn stupid, IMO. But I'll admit I get annoyed--not judgmental, just annoyed--when I have to wait in line at the supermarket behind someone who's using like a million coupons.
Dhorwich Dhorwich 8 years
I was raised in a family that used coupons so I've never considered it unusual to use them. It always surprises me how many people don't. I'd be more inclinded to judge people who 'throw money away' by not clipping coupons than those who value their hard-earned cash and try to save wherever possible. All products - food, clothing, whatever - are marked up an amazing amount. More than most people realize. Paying full price is fine but why do it when you can get a discount? That seems like a no-brainer, and quite easy really. Plus, most of the products I buy regularly give me the opportunity to sign for coupons that they email to me or send directly to my mailbox (like Dove, as one example). It allows me to be brand-loyal and save. What's not to love about that?!
Kat-E Kat-E 8 years
I would be a coupon clipper if i remembered to clip them, so no, I don't judge. My friend who works at Origins tipped me off by the way that I would be receiving a $25 off coupon in the mail from them, but that there were no stipulations on it, so if I went into the store and found something under $25, I could walk out with it for free. I wouldn't do this because I'd feel like I was stealing, but it's good to know there's no "after you spend $100"stipulation on it.
CiaoBella2 CiaoBella2 8 years
Why would anyone not want to save money??? I use them in stores and look for them online too. If it bothers the person behind me in line then they can go to another register.
hippiecowgirl hippiecowgirl 8 years
I'm also a proud coupon clipper. It's well worth it for the money I save. I keep mine in baseball card sleeves in a binder and pull out those I'm going to use so that it's as quick as possible in the checkout line.
desertbanshee desertbanshee 8 years
I love coupons, rebates, and stackable coupons. Love getting a deal!
margokhal margokhal 8 years
Oh, and for mochick: pretty much any grocery should take coupons, Target, Walmart, whoever. The only stipulation at Walmart is that using the coupon can't make the item free [at least at all of the ones that I've been to]. Like, if a can of green beans costs $0.60, and you have a coupon for $0.60 off of those green beans, they won't let you use it because the green beans would be free. If the coupon is FOR something free [like a free bag of M&Ms or something], they won't let you use the coupon, either. Also, Walmart I know for sure does price matching. This is really helpful when it comes to things like fresh fruits and veggies! :)
margokhal margokhal 8 years
I always get "the look" when I take coupons to the store. *Even* at a discount store like Walmart. Maybe people think I'm being cheap, but I'd rather take some time to have some more in my pocket that run around broke trying to keep up appearances of being rich - especially in a recession!!! I judge coupon clippers and price-matchers who don't have their stuff together and hold up the line trying to ARGUE the rest of the price down. THAT ticks me off. You have a coupon, you're NOT going to get it for free!!! @_@
starangel82 starangel82 8 years
I use coupons, but I have them ready to go when I get to the cash register. When I make my list, I pick out my coupons for things I need. Then just double check them as I go through the store. Not everyone may need to save money, but I do!
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
honestly, if you're looking down upon someone who's trying to save money any way that they can - then you have issues. i used to get a little embarrassed about it, but honestly, why would manufacturers make coupons if they didn't hope to have them redeemed, and the fact of the matter is that there are coupons since prices are inflated when they get to the store. my mom plays 'THE GROCERY GAME' which is a really great way to buy groceries at discounted rates and know when to use your coupons to get the best deal.
sundrops sundrops 8 years
I'm not sure I've ever been behind a coupon clipper. If I have, I haven't noticed, which must mean I don't get irritated. If I have noticed people using them it's been my friends, and it has encouraged to use coupons for places I normally would get embarrassed using them (Express, Victoria's Secret, etc).
emsmiley emsmiley 8 years
In response to mochick: WalMart, CVS, Target and most major retailers accept coupons. It never hurts to ask! For Example: This week batteries are on sale at my CVS for $2.99 (crazy-low!)with the CVS card and I have a coupon for $1.00 off. I'm going to get a 4 pack of batteries for $2! Woot!
emsmiley emsmiley 8 years
I have always clipped coupons for my mom growing up and now for myself, but just recently I have joined the Grcery Game and sat down to really consider how much money i can save. What those jerks who judge me don't realize is that at many grocery stores (Publix and Kroger in GA) they will double those "low-value" coupons up to 50 cents, so that 50 cents off may have actually been a full dollar off for that customer. I know someone who walked into Publix with all her coupons ready to go and purchased nearly $200 worth of groceries for less than $50. Coupons are great and even more powerful when you strategize their use with sales.
outofhere outofhere 8 years
Passing judgement on people using coupons? Why? The only thing that bugs me is when I forget to use the blasted things!
acf222 acf222 8 years
I was raised by immigrant parents who came to the US with very little, so bargain-hunting and coupon-clipping was a way of life in my family. Now that I'm an adult earning my own money, I have no shame in using coupons and taking a little bit of time to compare prices. Clipping isn't too much work at all...take a few minutes and clip the coupons you know you will use or use Google to find coupon codes for online shopping. You can't build wealth by paying full-price for everything!
bleached bleached 8 years
If I could ever get a coupon for the products I use, I would totally use them...
a1stbornunicorn a1stbornunicorn 8 years
I don't typically use coupons at the grocery store but I wouldn't be opposed to it and certainly don't look down on others for doing so. I think it's smart economics to get the most for your money. I LOVE Ulta's $3.50 of $10 and 20% off ones though, and use them religiously. It validates my excuse to try new beauty products ;p.
rocketgirl rocketgirl 8 years
I think more highly of people who use coupons. It's a smart, savvy thing to do.
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