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Why grocery coupons really stink these days

If your paper coupons are just for things you would never buy otherwise, then it may be a case of don't waste your money. (MGN Online)

Remember a few years back when couponing was all the rage, and even spawned some reality shows?

But coupon use is now dropping off sharply. Those couponing shows are disappearing faster than Honey Boo Boo.

And one reason, according to a new report, is that most of them are duds.

Many Shoppers Frustrated

You're not the only one who's gotten frustrated by today's grocery coupon offerings.

A report from the money saving website "Credit Donkey" says they don't always save you money, and can lead to unhealthy habits.

It says many of today's coupons:

  • Encourage junk food cravings.
  • Make you buy processed food.
  • Trigger impulse buys of things you don't need.
  • Make you buy two or three items, when you just wanted one.

Unless you run a restaurant, do you really need three bottles of ketchup?

Doesn't That Stink?

But from the "doesn't that stink" file, the main reasons the couponing craze has been waning.

  • Coupon values are getting smaller (Many are just 25 cents off instead of 75 cents or $1)
  • Coupon doubling is disappearing (Kroger ended it in most markets 2 years ago)

Most coupons are for unpopular items, that are not selling well, instead of things like Tide and Cheerios.

Finally, stores are limiting the number of coupons you can use per trip.

Sure, you can still find some good coupons -- such as for laundry detergent or vitamins-- but they are fewer and fewer.

Alternatives to Couponing

Many stores are transitioning to digital coupons.

It's often worth signing up for a store's coupon offerings, sent directly to your phone or Inbox.

Also consider apps that give you rebates for buying certain items such as Ibotta or ReceiptHog.

If your paper coupons are just for things you would never buy otherwise, then it may be a case of don't waste your money.

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