Pamela Riemenschneider, Aisle Wandering
Pamela Riemenschneider, Aisle Wandering

I have several friends who are “Extreme Couponers.” 

They’re the ones who brag about going in to Walgreens or CVS and coming out with a sack of shampoo and toothpaste, having paid basically nothing or even coming out ahead.

I know most retailers grit their teeth at these tactics, but there’s no denying for those of us on a budget, coupons are “extreme”ly popular.

Why can’t I clip more coupons for produce, though?

I know two of the biggest reasons are the cost-prohibitive nature of free standing inserts in the Sunday paper and the fact that many retailers carry multiple brands in a single Stock Keeping Unit in their stores. 

A consumer might have a coupon for one brand of strawberries, for example, and their store carries several, depending on availability.

But the old way of getting the scissors out and clipping coupons from the Sunday paper to carry around in your mini accordion file doesn’t take into account the newer — and cheaper — ways to reach younger consumers.

Most of my friends go online to print coupons obtained directly through manufacturers or even from their local retailer. 

I follow many retailers on Facebook, and regularly see links to blog posts with printable deals valid in a particular store, for a particular timeframe.

And why do I need to clip them anyway? 


Coupons issued in-store have some of the highest redemption rates, according to Catalina Marketing Inc., St. Petersburg, Fla., which works with produce brands to do in-store coupons. 

My local H.E. Butt grocery store has coupons all over its shelves that look like something my elementary school teacher made with yellow copier paper and a hole punch.

They litter the produce department with these things and I use most of them that I find. 

They do buy-one-get-one offers, like giving a free angel food cake with the purchase of a clamshell of strawberries, or a branded promotion like offering a tube of Spice World’s squeezable garlic alongside a pack of microwaveable asparagus under H.E. Butt’s Ready Fresh Go brand.

They even offer straight up $1 and cents-off coupons for produce.

That type of promotion doesn’t require a major marketing budget for FSIs, and it goes a long way to spur purchases. 

I’d never pick up my local store’s $5.99 pint of freshly made guacamole without that $1 off coupon they always seem to have right beside it.

And if you’re worried about the “extreme couponers” clearing you out, consider that it’s much easier to hoard toothpaste than fresh mushrooms.

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