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Are Coupon Bloggers Really Helping You Save Money?

rantJessica and I spend Sunday morning scanning all the ads and coupons – just like every other couponer – and we also surf blogs looking for matchups  – just like you.  This morning we tripped over another one of those Blood Glucose Monitor deals that other bloggers call Money-Makers and it pissed us off – AGAIN.  So we thought we’d address the term ‘Money-Maker’ for a minute…

When we use the terms ‘Money-Maker’ or ‘Free’ here at the Happy Couponer, this is what we mean:

The price of the product is equal to or less than the value of the coupon.  Period.

For example, we found the Progresso Recipe Starters Cooking Sauce on sale at Dollar Tree 2/$1 on Saturday.  We have a $.50/1 coupon.  When we used two coupons we got two cans FREE. A few weeks ago we had a coupon for $.75 off a 4.0 oz tube of Colgate Toothpaste.  Kroger had it on sale in their 10/$10 deal which made them $1 each.  Our Kroger doubles coupons up to $.99, so this was a Money-maker – we actually made $.50 on that tube of toothpaste and Kroger gave us $.50 credit on something else in our cart. Other coupon bloggers (and there are several – who shall remain nameless) tell you you’re getting something for free or you’re making money back if you stack a coupon with a sale, pay for the product, and end up with some type of reward points or coupons you can use on your next order.  Yes, these are ‘Money-Maker’ deal scenarios, but these other bloggers are very misleading with their headlines. If you have to pay cash out-of-pocket to walk out of the store with the item and those points or coupons that are only good on your next purchase, then you did not get that item for free.  You had to pay for it.  Yes, you get a reward, but only after you dish out some cold, hard cash. For example, one of the bloggers we follow does a great job of finding all those Catalina deals and Rewards Points deals but her headlines always read:  “FREE soup at Kroger.  FREE  diapers at Target.  Make $3 on such-and-such at whatever store.”  But she’s wrong.  Or, at the very least, she’s purposely vague. If you have to pay $2 for three cans of soup and then you get a $2 Catalina coupon you can use on your next purchase, that soup was not free – you still had to pay $2 for it.  Yes, you walked out of the store with $2 in your pocket, but it’s not real money.  You can only spend it in that same store, on the items they carry, at their own retail prices which may be higher than the other guy’s, and you have to return to the store to spend it. If you have to pay $25 for a Blood Glucose Monitor and you get $25 in reward points, that monitor was not free – you still had to pay $25 for it – right out of your pocket – to earn $25 in points you can use on your next purchase.  Sure, if you’re going to donate that monitor that’s great.  But will you really?  And if you don’t, why not just keep the $25 in your pocket – until your next purchase?  In essence, you just wasted $25 that you KNOW you need to earn $25 that you MIGHT be able to use in the future – when products you really need are no longer on sale. We even follow a blogger who goes so far as to suggest you go ahead, use that coupon and buy that $25 monitor, get your $25 worth of Catalinas or reward points – and then RETURN the monitor to get your money back!   This same blogger pulls in innocent readers with headlines that brag about saving 98% on his last shopping trip.  But he skims over the fact that most of his “savings” was racked up in rewards points and rebates he wouldn’t even see for 8-10 weeks – for products the average person wouldn’t ever use.  This guy makes us sick! These bloggers all do a great job of finding the deals and putting the scenarios together for their readers but they piss us off because so many shoppers are looking for real ways to save money right now.  They’re stressed and they’re panicking and these misleading bloggers suck them in and then these poor shoppers wonder why everyone else is saving 98% on their weekly grocery bill but theirs just keeps getting bigger. Don’t get us wrong.  We frequently go after the reward points and recommend those same deals to you.  But we always stress two important facts:  You have to first spend money out of your own pocket and the points can only be used on your next purchase. And the guy who suggests you buy that monitor, get the points, and then return it for a cash refund?  Well, at the very least it’s unethical, but it’s also fraud.  It’s no wonder some people and stores look down on couponers.  I wouldn’t want this guy shopping in my store, either. Why do these bloggers piss us off so much?  Because we’re coupon bloggers, too.  These guys suck you in with their hype about free products and money-maker coupons but eventually you’re going to wonder why you’re still spending the same amount of money for groceries, week after week after week.  You’re spending hours clipping coupons and chasing deals and you’re still not saving any money, and eventually you’re going to think ALL coupon bloggers suck! At The Happy Couponer, if we tell you you’re going to get a can of soup for free, we mean you can walk into the store with zero dollars in your pocket and walk out with a can of soup.  If we tell you a coupon is a ‘Money-Maker’ we mean the value of the coupon exceeds the cost of the product and you’ll either get the overage in cold, hard cash or it will be applied to the rest of the items in your cart.  And if you’re going to walk out of the store with reward points or a Catalina coupon we tell you how much those points or coupons are going to cost up front. We only hope you’ll believe us!

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