EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

September 20, 2013

Cutting cost carefully: ethics for coupon queens

Last week, I received a pair of interesting emails. As a consumer who finds myself constantly straddling the line between a consumer’s coupon issues and navigating the industry’s practices, I found both of these emails interesting, and I imagine you will too.

Dear Jill,

I have read your column for a while and I have to ask, whose side are you on? People need to save all the money they can right now but whenever a question of ethics comes up, or maybe, a ‘could we do this’ and use this coupon in a way that makes it a better deal, you always take the side of the stores and the brands. What about us? If you are really devoted to helping save money you could share some information about ways we could save even more. Instead you are more of a right way to use coupons guru.

Claire P.

It’s true that there are plenty of ways to misuse coupons, but you won’t learn any of them from me. I am committed to ethical, correct coupon usage for many reasons. First, I believe that coupons are a privilege, not a right. Retailers and manufacturers don’t need to issue coupons at all. And, while I am committed to helping people learn the best and most effective strategies to cut their grocery and household expenses with coupons, I’m not going to steer my readers into shady coupon usage for the sake of ‘saving’ a little more money here or there. I’m very pro-industry, because we as coupon enthusiasts simply don’t exist without the industry. If suddenly, every brand stopped deciding to issue coupons, where would we be? I’m always grateful for the money I can save each week with coupons, but I never lose sight of the fact that the main players in the game can change it at will.

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