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Why coupons are losing popularity

Posted at 7:43 AM, Jun 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-22 07:44:02-04

Remember when couponing was all the rage and even spawned some reality shows? Now coupon use is now dropping off sharply.  Those couponing shows are disappearing faster than Honey Boo Boo.

And one reason, according to a new report, is that most of them are duds. And many customers are frustrated by today's grocery coupon offerings.

A report from the money saving website "Credit Donkey" says coupons don't always save you money and can actually lead to unhealthy habits.

It says many of today's coupons encourage junk food cravings, make you buy processed food, trigger impulse buys of things you don't need, and make you buy two or three items when you just need one. After all, unless you run a restaurant, do you really need three bottles of ketchup?

What's more, coupon values are getting smaller. Many are just 25 cents off instead of 75 cents or $1. And fewer stores double coupon values. And most coupons are for unpopular items that are not selling well instead of popular items like Tide and Cheerios. Sure, you can still find some good coupons -- such as for laundry detergent or vitamins-- but they are fewer and fewer.

Finally, stores are limiting the number of coupons you can use per trip.

Many stores are transitioning to digital coupons. It's often worth signing up for a store's coupon offerings sent directly to your phone or inbox.

Also consider apps that give you rebates for buying certain items such as Ibotta or ReceiptHog.

If your paper coupons are just for things you would never buy otherwise, you're better off not using them so you don't waste your money.