Target, Rite Aid and Publix Clamp Down on Extreme Couponers


Working Around the Restrictions

Engels and his wife started clipping coupons in 2007 to stay afloat of mounting credit card debt.

"We realized we were overspending and undersaving," Engels said. "[Clipping coupons] leads you into a life of frugality, which helps tremendously."

The Kentucky native, who attributes a 50 percent savings on his weekly grocery store bill to coupons, has found ways to work around the coupon restrictions to cash in on bargains: multiple transactions.

"You may have to go to the store twice a week instead of just once. You may have to bring your husband with you when you shop, if you really want to get 10 products," Engles said. "You can work within the policy but change your strategy a little bit."

Extreme couponer J'aime Kirlew, whose stint on the TLC series Extreme Couponing led to allegations of fraudulent coupon use, agrees.

"Restricting couponers to three or four like items at a store makes me have to shop a little more and shop more frequently and shop at multiple stores," Kirlew said.

Both extreme shoppers agree that stores with looser coupon policies, like Wal-Mart, will win out over those that implement restrictions by attracting more customers.

While other retailers curb their enthusiasm for coupons, Wal-Mart has eliminated per-transaction coupon limits and implemented an "ad match guarantee," in which they match products with lower advertised prices.

Christner, who frequents Wal-Mart and CVS, continues extreme couponing to save on her weekly food purchases. "I have a family of four and I don't get paid much money," she said. "I do it to save 40 to 60 percent on my weekly shopping experiences. That's the biggest bang that you'll get out of couponing."

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