Money in a Minute: Shelf-clearing gives couponers a bad name

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – Saving money is easy.  But knowing the difference between right and wrong can save you embarrassment and sometimes even legal trouble.

Did you know there are ethics when it comes to couponing?

The basic premise is that you want to do the right thing, but when you're starting out, you may now know you're crossing a line.

For example, I didn't know I was crossing a line when I used an Iams dog food coupon to buy a dog treats.  The coupon worked, but really, it wasn't the right thing to do.  I honestly didn't realize I was doing something wrong until another couponer pointed it out to me.

We'll just talk about one rule today.  The basic of all basic etiquette rules is DON'T be a shelf clearer.

What does that mean?  Just because you've got enough coupons to wipe out the store, don't.  Refrain.

If you know anything about sales, you know they are cyclical.  About every six to eight weeks the price of any given product drops to its lowest.  So when you're buying something you need, only get about six weeks worth of products.  But don't take the last item because someone behind you may need it more than you.  And, they may only need just one.

Even if you're donating to charity, don't clear the shelf.

Remember, even when you're saving money, you need to do it with integrity. It's got to be good for the consumer, the store and the manufacturer for couponing to continue.

And here's another thought—a lot of people say they don't like the reality coupon shows because they aren't realistic .  Many stores try to prevent clearing shelves nowadays with a limit on how many identical coupons you can use during one trip.  Often, that number is 3 or 4.

Got any tips?  Any questions?  Send them to Michelle Li!

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