Wednesday, October 7, 2009

e-Coupons Etiquette

After much talk with my fellow couponers on doing the right thing PLUS knowing just what that was, I have decided to share with you MY point of view on stacking e-coupons with "paper" coupons.

When I first learned about e-coupons, I thought that they were backed by the site (CellFire, Shortcuts) and not by the manufacturer. I honestly don't know why I thought that since one of the sites is P&G (Hello?!?! Tide! Bounce! Dawn!) but nonetheless I did. So I stacked away and thought that e-coupons were the best thing EVER. Then a few months ago I was given some information from CellFire stating that e-coupons were Manufacturer's Coupons (MFGC) and that stacking them is a no-no. So I looked into Shortcuts and P&G as well. Same thing, they are backed by the Manufacturer. Uh-oh!

So here is my stand on the subject:

- I will NOT promote the use of an e-coupon with a "paper" coupon. I now know better so I will do better. Quick story - My son came home from school a few days ago and told me that he was disobeying a rule at lunch but the teacher didn't see him so it didn't count. I was able to take that moment and turn it into a wonderful lesson that he will take with him (hopefully) for the rest of his life. That lesson was, just because you "can" get away with doing something that you know is wrong, it doesn't make it right. To which he responded, "Mom, I never thought about that! Maybe the Mom's of the bad people that stole your car should have told them that when they were my age." Ahhh! Sweet huh? I love 'em! When us couponers get treated like criminals at the checkout stand, this is the reason why. If you are like me then you didn't know it was wrong but now you do so help me spread the word. Let's try and turn our bad image around! If for nobody else but Target! Ha ha!

- I will NOT be posting any match-ups with e-coupons unless the e-coupon is better than any "paper" coupon that is readily accessible to the masses. I don't even want to show a glimpse of impropriety nor do I want to make a "newbie" to the world of couponing think that it is ok. I remember how nervous I was the first time that I used a coupon and that was before e-coupons, I would hate for a newbie to have a cashier spot the double dipping and embarrass them, therefore turning them off to the fabulous world of couponing.

- I will still have the links (top of the post) to the appropriate e-coupon sites for each grocery match-up so that you will still have those options handy. I know that some of you only use e-coupons and that this change will be less convenient for you but you should still be able to look at my match-ups and compare them to your list of e-coupons all the while spending very little time on it.

- I will let you know when new e-coupons come out so that you can load them if you wish. I still use e-coupons (& still love them!!) and load each and everyone of them each and every time but I have (2) loyalty cards for each store that accepts e-coupons (Kroger & Tom Thumb for me), one with e-coupons and one without. I was asked once at Tom Thumb (shocker!) why I had (2) cards and when I explained they almost gave me a kiss for being so honest! This is what has worked out the best for me, it might not for you. Two more tags on my janitor key chain didn't phase me a bit!

So why is this such bad coupon etiquette?
#1 - You are applying (2) Manufacturers discounts to the same product and that results in the Manufacturer losing money on the product. If the Manufacturer loses money on products because of coupons they could stop releasing coupons all together, which would be B-A-D for everyone.
#2 - You are cheating the system of how coupons work and that makes all couponers look bad. When Retailers get that stereotype in their mind it makes them very leery of us and more willing to find reasons to deny the coupons altogether, which is again B-A-D for everyone.

The exception to stacking e-coupons is, uPromise. When you stack a "paper" coupon with a uPromise coupon/deposit it is 100% A-Ok. uPromise is the only e-coupon site (that I know of) where you can stack a MFGC with an e-coupon since it is a deposit into a college tuition savings account and not an actual savings at the register. If you haven't signed up for uPromise, go here. It takes minutes of your time, it's FREE!!, and you can select anybody you choose to receive the benefit plus, if necessary, make changes to the beneficiary. I don't even really pay attention to the uPromise e-coupons, I load them each month and treat them as a happy surprise when I get my statement!

I hope that I have shared a little insight into the etiquette of e-coupons and I hope that you will join me in my one-woman crusade to change the image of couponers.

Let me know your thoughts on the subject. I love your feedback.


  1. Holla! ;)

    Great post, Hollie! Well-said, and great timing. We definitely need to know the HONEST way to coupon... and that coupon bloggers we love are promoting it!

    Love ya!

  2. Honestly, this has always bothered me and I don't even load e-coupons. It just seems like cheating and I don't keep close enough track to remember what I have on my cards.

    Good for you!

  3. I think alot of couponers don't realize this is a no-no, so I am glad you are here to lay it all out. Great job!

  4. Thanks Hollie for the insightful look at this. I'm making the appropriate changes to my match-ups!

  5. This post was needed. Thanks!

  6. Hollie, this is an awesome post; it gives newbies like me a chance to learn about this stuff so we don't make the mistake of upsetting people. I will admit that I am guilty of stacking coupons, but until you taught me what I needed to know, I didn't know that I was doing anything wrong. I just thought I got a killer deal on some things!

  7. Thanks for this post. I didn't even know about e-coupons and I have been coupon shopping for over a year. So say I have three paper coupons and one e-coupon for tide. I just buy four items and it automatically takes it off for me when I scan my Smith's card?? But if I only buy three I should only give her two paper coupons if it is already loaded on my card. I am a little slow and this is new. You were pretty clear but I want to do it right. You can email me at if you have time. Thanks

  8. Hi Brandie!
    I emailed you as well but yes you are 100% correct! You got it girl!

  9. Wonderful post Hollie! I forget to load coupons on my card most of the time but when I do now, I will be sure it isn't something I have a paper coupon for unless, like you said, it's a better deal.