Do Stores Lose When Couponers Win?

If you're a regular reader of my column by now you know that I love paying as little as possible for my groceries. Getting many things for free is great for the household budget, and it's fun, too. Yet, as you start to see your weekly grocery bill dropping by a third or even by half you may start to wonder, "Is my store losing money because I use coupons?"

You'll be happy to know that your store doesn't lose a dime when you use coupons. In fact, they make more money when you use coupons to save. The next time you're clipping coupons, read the fine print on one. The text reads, "Manufacturer will reimburse retailer the face value of this coupon plus $0.08 handling fee."

Did you catch that? Not only does the store get back the coupon's entire worth, it also will receive from the product manufacturer a payment of 8 cents per coupon redeemed. Now, 8 cents may not seem like a lot, but if I take 20 coupons to the store this week, the store will make an extra $1.60 during my shopping trip. I save money and the store makes more money. It's a win-win.

In one of my coupon classes recently, someone asked me if the store still makes money when a shopper uses a coupon to get an item for free. Yes, it does. Here's a great example. This week, my grocery store is having a "dollar sale" in which items are on sale for $1 each. Pairing $1 coupons with a $1 sale is one of the easiest and best ways to get grocery items for free. So, I had five $1 coupons during this sale and I bought five $1 items with them. Even though I got those five products for free my store will still get the $5 cost of those items reimbursed to them, plus 8 cents for each coupon I've used. I went home with five free products and my store will receive $5.40 from my coupons. Rest assured, even though you're taking home free things, your store is still being paid for them ... just not by you.

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