Monday, May 13, 2013

Couponing for the Rest of Us


I wanted to take some time to review this book which offers a very good introduction to the world of couponing. 

Some background information on me so you know the perspective that I am coming from....I have been a couponer since 2006.  I ran a blog in Nashville which highlighted the deals for Publix (a grocery chain based out of Florida that has stores in FL, GA, AL, SC, NC and TN).  I taught coupon classes in Nashville from 2007-2010. 

I really enjoyed reading Kasey's book.  She gives a very thorough and well-written overview of couponing.  Her writing style is excellent and I actually thought that book was easy to read and very comprehensive but not too overwhelming.  Perfect for the person that is trying to learn about couponing.  I also thought that the book provided a nice personal perspective on her own journey with couponing.  She is an affable writer and is probably someone that I would enjoy spending time with so you will also enjoy purchasing her book and spending time with her.

If you are interested in learning how to coupon and the subject matter is overwhelming to you then I highly recommend purchasing her book.  You can read it a chapter a night and the information is very useful.  It will teach you why you should use coupons, how to gather coupons, how to organize coupons, and how to organize your shops.

In general I loved the book but I disagree with Kasey in a few areas. 

1.  She utilizes some scriptures throughout the book and I found these distracting as they didn't fit the context of what she was writing about.  I am a bible-believing Christian and was actually put off by her use of the scriptures as they were taken out of context and inserted carelessly at times. I'm sure she means well, however, careful consideration should always be given when inserting God's word.  A proper hermeneutic is essential when dealing with scripture. 

2.  She tries to set standards for couponers regarding how many coupons they should take at the store and whether or not they should take peelies off of products.  I believe that these are personal conscience issues and they shouldn't be dictated by her opinion.  I also found her information to be inaccurate regarding peelies.  IRC's (Instant Rebate Coupons) are put on the products by the manufacturers (not the store managers) and the manufacturers could care less if you peel them before you buy the product (yes, even if they have language that says that they are to be used after purchasing the product).  I researched this issue and spoke with many manufacturers and they informed me that they are to be used just like regular coupons.  My neighbor used to be one of the people that put "peelies" on products for a living.  The author may have an ethical issue personally with peeling the stickers off the product but it is not "wrong" to do so.  I believe that coupon ethics are not black and white and everyone should do what their conscience dictates and that will be different for each person.

3. I found alot of the information in her book to be more useful for the markets where there are Publix stores as several of her examples are for these specific stores (i.e. the Buy 1, Get 1 deals and the doubling of coupons).  Some stores do have Buy 1, Get 1 deals but they are not as prolific as the deals at Publix.  I have lived in several different states and you can get the most for your money if you shop at Publix when they double store coupons.  The other states that I have lived in (CA and TX) are vast wastelands for couponers and it is much more difficult to save large amounts although you can still save some money.  These states, for example, generally do not allow for doubling of coupons at most of their stores and the Buy 1, Get 1 deals are fewer and far between.

4.  The store coupons that Publix puts out in their fliers are actually coupons that they have negotiated with the manufacturers.  Publix is not losing money on these coupons.  They are essentially manufacturer coupons (even though they say "store coupons" on them).  You can still use them in conjunction with a manufacturer coupon.  I just wanted to make it clear that the store is not taking a "loss" on the product when you use these coupons.  The manufacturer's work with Publix to put out these coupons for all kinds of reasons.  Sometimes the manufacturer really wants their product to move off the shelf (i.e. grocery stores set limits for that manufacturer's product and if the manufacturer doesn't meet that limit then their product can get pulled and the store will put another product in it's place) and sometimes they just want to be the market leader in their particular category.  Sometimes they are just changing their packaging and they practically give their products away to get them off the shelves.

Still, even with the above, I thought that this was an excellent introduction.  In fact, I thought that it was one of the best introduction books that I have ever read.  It is very well-organized that is important when covering a topic like couponing.  Good job Kasey!

Available May 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

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