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5 coupon changes you need to know
JCPenney is famous in one of the worst possible ways when it comes to coupons. Back in 2011, they stopped issuing coupons in favor of an “everyday low pricing” model and sales didn't just plummet, they crashed and burned. Regardless of the evidence, changing or removing coupons and opting for other “sales strategies” isn't always the best idea. It appears history is doomed to repeat itself. And not just at JCP, other stores and businesses are making coupon changes too, and whether or not they are on-track for what consumers are looking for in the current economy remains to be seen.
5 coupon changes you need to know:
(1) Believe it or not, JCPenney is again changing their coupons.
Based on data research, they are going to move to “targeted” coupon offers, rather than the general ones we've all come to know and love. In other words, it's likely goodbye to the $10 off $10+ coupons as well as the $10 off $25+ coupons. The way it sounds, JCP will no longer issue coupons good on the vast majority of items in the store. Instead, watch for coupons that are more specific, like $5 off $15+ in home goods. Those type of coupons will allow JCP to both limit and better control coupon usage. But for the consumer, it's likely that more coupons will simply go unused altogether.
On the brighter side, JCPenney also plans to region-adjust pricing in their stores. Up until now, their pricing has been consistent store-to-store, regardless of area, but this change should result in lower prices for some areas of the country.
(2) Target has killed printable store coupons altogether.
It's been a slow-fade… so not surprising to avid couponers that Target has finally completely discontinued printable store coupons. They will continue to offer printable manufacturer's coupons, but not Target store coupons. This change came over time, as Target aimed to drive more and more consumers to their Cartwheel app, as well as help stem coupon overuse and outright fraud. Through the app, they can better control who gets their store coupons and redeems them – but that's not perfect either. The much-anticipated Cartwheel Perks app has been shown to be vulnerable to hackers who've easily created numerous accounts to take advantage of generous offers.
On the brighter side, Target doesn't plan to get rid of their store coupons altogether and is planning on “going back to [its] roots”, according to CEO Brian Cornell. Target is sinking over $7 billion into revamping stores, lowering prices, adding new brands, and increasing technology. But the new plan also includes fewer sales, in favor of “everyday low pricing”. Sound familiar? We'll see if they can be successful with this strategy where other stores have failed.
(3) Wal-Mart threatens big name manufacturers in an attempt to lower prices.
Wal-Mart has always had a good coupon policy and redeeming coupons there is fairly easy. But now, in an attempt to reclaim their self-proclaimed “lowest prices” title, they have another strategy – simply cut prices. It sounds great for consumers, except this strategy demands they threaten big name manufacturers – the ones most likely to put out coupons. If a manufacturer won't cut their wholesale prices, Wal-Mart will retaliate by no longer prominently displaying their goods. Or possibly discontinuing the offer of certain product lines completely. The result for the consumer is that if manufacturers decide not to comply, it won't matter if you have a coupon for their product or not.
On the brighter side, any lower prices, whether you can also use a coupon or not, are always a welcome thing. And if you happen to live where ad-matching still exists, you have that. For now.
(4) Kroger has chimed the final death bell for double coupons – and Senior Discounts?
Kroger systematically phased out double-couponing at their stores over the past 6 years. And finally, the last area (Nashville region) has fallen. This isn't necessarily news but there is a bright spot. If you have Harris Teeter or Roundy's in your area, even though they are owned by Kroger, they still do double coupons. But on a sad note, the discontinuation of their Senior Discount day is on the horizon. Some Kroger divisions have already discontinued the offer and others are sure to follow suit. Kroger claims that ending these types of programs will allow them to lower prices for all customers. Whether that plays out remains to be seen.
(5) Swagbucks has been offering coupon “double-dipping”.
Swagbucks' printable grocery coupons give you both the discount at the store, AND Swagbucks towards cash back and/or gift cards when you redeem the coupons. Swagbucks also offers “double-dipping” on hundreds of other coupons, for everything from clothing to experiences to services – and they are always adding new savings opportunities. Go to SavingsAngel.com/Swagbucks to save.
Good money-saving reads you may have missed:
6 ways you think you’re saving money, but you’re not
Overcoming frugal fatigue: 5 ways to dump lazy money spending