Honest Couponing: Follow Up

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

Dana’s guest post last week caused quite a stir throughout the blogosphere. It is a conversation that desperately needs to be heard among the frugal.

Here are just a handful of comments that struck me:

“I’ve seen several areas where I have let my desire for a great deal override my judgment and God’s principles. I have been convicted about it and am now turning things around… I know that by taking advantage of the stores, companies, and deals, I am destroying the generosity they have offered, and God’s trust in me.”

“My husband and I really are NEEDING to be frugal as we start off our marriage, but we’re trying to do it all to honor the Lord, and using a coupon I knew wasn’t legit, was not honoring Him and wasn’t worth it!”

“Thanks for the discussion. Very important info that really hits home. I think I needed to hear it today!”

“Like others, I have used and even posted coupons not intended for me. I think couponing can be as bad of an addiction as some of the more obvious bad addictions. It’s probably easier to get away with abusing coupon priviledges and more than likely you won’t be arrested for printing a $2/10 CVS coupon, but God sees and knows everything we do.”

“But from this blog I can see that the real issue here is not about the manufacturer or the store it’s about ME (and you) and our Lord. Not only is this thing dishonest but yes, it is bad for the reputation of fellow couponers and the future of couponing but the worst thing is that is says to our Lord – I don’t trust you. I don’t trust that you will take care of me in this trying economical time and I don’t trust that you will provide me with all the things I need and I don’t trust you that I can get by if I don’t get every single item free or discounted. Of course, the Bible says we should trust in the Lord with ALL of our hearts.”

Other related discussions were heard around the blogosphere:

Me and My Three Boys

Saved, Saving, Save

Homemaker Hero

Centsible Savings

Deal Seeking Mom

*Other Notes:

I also want to clear up a few misconceptions I noticed. First of all, using a BOGO coupon with a BOGO sale is not necessarily misuse of coupons. Depending on your manager at CVS, this is usually allowed. Walgreens, on the other hand, does not allow it.

Since the BOGO sale is a store promotion, and the coupon is a manufacturer’s promotion, the store will be 100% reimbursed for the price of one item.

My best advice is to find out your specific store’s coupon policy. This is usually easy to obtain by emailing customer service. Getting something in writing is your best bet, since you can present it at the store if necessary.

In regards to $/$$ CVS coupons, it was widely believed throughout the blogosphere that these were legitimate and perfectly fine to use. Only recently, a post at Hot Coupon World changed that conception.

My personal policy as of late is to only use CVS coupons that I obtain from the magic coupon machine, or from a personal email.

What changes, if any, have you decided to make since reading about Honest Couponing?


  1. FrugalArmadillo says

    My Walgreens does allow the use of a BOGO coupon on a BOGO sale (I’ve done it several times). Is it a corporate policy to not allow it and my store does things wrong, or is just a store by store thing?

  2. annieck says

    Alyssa, thanks for this great post and for your tips and pointers. So many people look to you for advice and as a leadership. It is great to know that you lead with honesty and integrity.
    You are a rare gem! Thanks for all you do!!!
    Thanks, too, for the shout out. :) You are a blessing.

  3. Yarnball says

    I was totally convicted by this. And, I cannot believe how hard it was for me to throw away all my additional "one per customer" coupons. I knew that's what the coupon said & I was using them multiple times anyway convincing myself it was okay because I was donating the extra items. I have a lot of introspection to do because it has been really, really hard for me to just quit it!!! Thank you!!!

  4. Courtney at Homemaker Hero says

    I think all of us have been pretty clever creating deals the weeks these extra coupons haven’t been available. It seems like torture to not be able to use those extra XX/XX CVS coupons anymore, but it really won’t be. If you never have it, you’ll never miss it. Besides, it looks like CVS is going to be doing a good job at emailing out coupons to it’s customers instead of having all of us cheat and use coupons not intended for us.
    I pray this message reaches out across the nation and more and more people show their convicted hearts and start to do the right thing. I can only imagine how much more we’ll be blessed when we do!!!

  5. Corrie says

    Interesting…I do try to be honest about using my coupons. However, I did not know that about the CVS $/$$ coupons. I’ll definitely have to discontinue using them. I don’t want to get a good deal at the expense of my morals.

  6. Krista says

    I completely agree with these posts. I’m glad to see that others do, too. It’s hard not to fall to the temptation of the $/$$ coupons, but a few extra bucks isn’t worth the questions on my conscience. Thanks for posting this!

  7. Lisa says

    I have not used a cvs coupon printed off the internet for months now. I only use what they email me, the machine prints out, what is in their store literature AND what I find in my local paper that I can clip myself. When the fb coupon buzz started I had a feeling there was something fishy about it. I’m so glad my conscious is clear because I didnt use them even though there were people saying they called and the marketing company was saying they were legit. I just hope the companies are able to recoup and still offer honest coupons for us honest couponers. Coupons have been a god send for me and my family, although it takes a lot of my time I feel like I’m doing something to help my family and I honestly.

  8. Lisa @ Stop and Smell the Chocolates says

    Great post! Since I’m not a very good couponer (yet!), I didn’t even know this was something that was an issue. Interesting to hear about. Glad to hear that people want to do the right thing!

  9. Andrea says

    Alyssa – this is a great discussion. I strive to coupon ethically and feel the Lord has opened my eyes to various practices I used to follow as being against His will and desire for my life. I live according to the Lord’s word, never what a message board or a blog tells me is OK. Granted, these are great resources to encourage our walks but sometimes even they lead us astray. That’s why Keeping the Kingdom First is a great resource because you share the same personal values as me and I know it’s to glorify God – and hopefully save a few bucks doing it the way God wants us to.

  10. Heidi says

    Ditto, ditto and ditto again. I too, tossed my “one per customer” coupons today. But, as someone pointed out, we are honoring the Lord by being honest and we will be rewarded for it. Wouldn’t you RATHER have shiny jewels in your heavenly crown than a measly $2/10?!
    We can sharpen our shopping skills even more by doing more with less, too!
    Keep on bloggin’ girl – love to visit your site!

  11. jess says

    I think some of these folks are taking things a little too far. Yes, I like coupons. I get the Sunday paper mostly because of the coupon inserts. Some friends and family give me their inserts when they are done, and I pass mine along as well. I do print internet coupons from certain websites that use bricks technology that automatically limits you to two copies of any coupon. Some manufacturers and online publications also offer printable coupons that require registration, filling out a survey, or sometimes nothing at all, like the Meijer Mealbox. The reality is, less than 5% of coupons issued are redeemed. The Columbus Dispatch and other publications recently ran a story stating that fact. Most people do not use coupons. I do not use all the coupons in my Sunday inserts, either.

    Coupons are a form of advertisement. When issued by a manufacturer, they advertise a particular product. Sometimes coupons are for a new item, other times simply to build brand loyalty. Coupons issued by a particular store are to get you to come in and spend money. Essentially, coupons are issued to get you to spend money. Six months ago, I rarely stopped in a CVS. Now, I go there more than once a week. Am I getting good deals? Yes. Am I using coupons issued by them and by manufacturers? Yes. Am I spending money out of my pocket? Usually. I usually do have a small balance after extracare bucks that I do pay. Extracare bucks are essentially another gimmick to get you to come in and spend money. I’m sure most people don’t even use them, because I’ve seen them on the ground and in the trash cans.

    Some of these blogs went so far as giving testimony to going into a CVS and recruiting people to go to their churches! Without getting into a hubbub about religious practices, I just don’t feel that CVS is the place to do that (nor is any other store). First of all, it isn’t public property, and anyone doing that could get kicked out or escorted out. Second, think of the cashiers. It is their workplace. I would not want someone coming into my workplace and trying to teach me about God. For one thing, I could get in trouble with my employer. For another, that is personal, and while at work, an employee shouldn’t be doing personal things like joining a church. Third, think of the corporation. If word got out that Church X is going into CVS stores and proselytizing, that is going to offend a lot of people. I would no longer patronize such an establishment and I’m certain many others would join me.

    Would you want me to come into your Sunday “celebration”, mass, seder, service, or whatever you call your religious practice, and start telling you about all my great deals? There is a time and a place for everything.

    Now, all this said, I have used the 2/10 more than once. I didn’t do it trying to be sneaky or dishonest. I didn’t even think about “ethical couponing”. I was just making a purchase and trying to get the best deal for my money. I plan my transactions carefully. Sometimes things don’t ring up on sale. Sometimes a cashier will claim to have scanned a coupon when they didn’t. Sometimes a coupon for which you are buying the correct item(s) beeps and they say “computer won’t take it” and they won’t let you use it, even though it is a valid purchase. Do you argue or do you resign it to God? Do you let the store rip you off or do you stand up for yourself? Is standing up for yourself “loving money”? What about if a coupon is more than the item price and the computer takes of the whole value and gives you “overage”? Do you accept it? What if something rings lower than advertised? Do you correct it? If you find a penny on the sidewalk do you search high and low for its rightful owner, because it’s not your penny?

    There is a happy medium of honesty, honoring God, and doing right by your family. God doesn’t mean for us to give him everything and let our children starve, nor does he mean for us to horde, cheat and be dishonest to accumulate wealth.

  12. Anonymous says

    Great discussion – it’s something I just recently was confronted with as I have pursued more couponing and I’m glad to be challenged up front to stay honest!

  13. Jennifer (Niffer) says

    I’ve had this talk with myself after becoming a coupon addict. I feel that I’m on the right track now, I just do the work (lots of hours on the internet) of finding the deals to be frugal, not print someonelse’s pdf coupons. BTW Walgreen’s DOES let you use a BOGO coupon with a BOGO sale… I just got 6 free Rimmel eye shadows! WOOHOO!

  14. tina says

    well i hope that this ladies that come to my store read this but even if they dont i know god is looking and he knows everything they use 3 or 4 cvs coupons 5 on 25 etcc and they clean the shelfs i dont think is fare for other couponers . they come to the store and is empty.

  15. says

    I agree with everything I read. I have to LOL @ the magic coupon machine.

    It’s hard for newbies to couponing and newbies to blogging to know what is and is Not okay. I have probably posted coupon links that I should not have in the past. It was an honest mistake, but a mistake none the less.

    It is wonderful that you put these posts up, it is very easy to do the “wrong” thing for a nice reason and not even realize that you did something “wrong”.

    Thank you :0)
    .-= JamieAnne´s last blog ..Honesty in coupon usage =-.

  16. Pat Clark says

    I have a question. I have a friend that has been pushing me into couponing. It’s been neat watching 40 or more dollars come off my bill, but I’m not doing nearly as well as she is. She got $300 worth of groceries the other day for $18. I was trying to figure out how she did that. She said she loaded her Kroger card with cellfire and shortcuts? coupons and then she also used her crest whitening strips $10 off coupons on a regular box of crest because it had a few free whitening strips on it and got a 2.00 box of toothpaste with $8 worth of overage. Something didn’t seem right about some of her ways of using them to get such a great deal. I even tried to attempt to use that massive coupon at Kroger a few days later, but caved when I sat there. I just felt like the Lord convicted me and said it was stealing. I also had friends a year ago that were dumpster diving to get coupons out. Both of these seemed wrong to me. Can you help me clarify this and do you think I should say something to her? Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge