If you're new to couponing or just learning, the big news this week in the coupon world is that Fry's has changed their coupon policy. They have eliminated a very popular program that made all coupons under $1 worth $1.
What has made a lot of people mad is how secretive Fry's was about the policy. There were rumors swirling and corporate denied them, and then on October 1, Fry's announced that they were changing the policy.
I understand that Fry's probably made a business decision. I think what we're actually seeing is a price increase. It only has to be a price increase if you're not couponing or making smart buying decisions, though.
If you're upset about this, here are some things to consider:
1. Couponing and Stockpiling Are a Hedge Against High Prices
I was grateful for my stockpile this week after the announcement. If I don't get another free package of wipes or paper towels for several months, I'm not at the mercy of full retail prices.
2. Fry's is not the only place to shop.
Fry's will still have great deals on some items.
For me, this change in the policy means I will be going to Fry's less. The rounding up might have lured me in for deals on junk food that I shouldn't be eating, but not anymore.
Safeway is still rounding up coupons to $1. Bargain Believer does coupon matchups for Safeway, too. She does a great job.
I started shopping at Sprouts after I went paleo. They have always beat the organic and conventional produce prices at Fry's.
Whole Foods prices are more and more competitive. They have their store brand, called 365, with a big list of high quality items with competitive prices that never change. Often, there are coupons for those items in the coupon booklets.
I have great luck at CVS and Target because they allow stacking. I love shopping at CVS because of their ExtraCare program.
3. Coupon values are going up, especially printable coupons.
As I was cutting coupons out the other night, I was thinking about the change in policy. When I looked at the coupons I had printed out, I realized that most of them were already worth $1 or more!
Coupon values, especially the printable coupons, are high value already. Combine those coupons with sales and you probably won't see a big increase in your grocery bill.
If you don't want to clip coupons, use the new rebate apps available and figure out when it makes the most sense to shop. For example, Double Ad Wednesdays at Sprouts will save you a lot of time and money without clipping coupons.
I think people who weren't using coupons won't notice many changes. Also, if you like using Fry's digital coupons, that may be easier than clipping out paper coupons.
In the four years I've been couponing, there will be something new that develops from the change. It's definitely NOT time to give up couponing.