Will discontinuing double coupons affect the way you shop?
(05/14/14) - It's a practice that many coupon clippers in Mid-Michigan have depended on for years.
Wednesday, a fast way to increase your savings on groceries came to an end.
Local Kroger stores will no longer double the value of coupons at the register. That change may impact the way you shop.
Kroger says eventually shoppers will notice that this change isn't such a bad idea.
"A typical day right now with Kroger doubling up to a dollar, our members, if there's a mega event sale, our members save between 75 and 80 percent on their groceries," said Carla Hurd, of the Michigan Coupon Club.
For the past five years, Hurd has been the owner of the Michigan Coupon Club, teaching nearly 500 members how to save hundreds of dollars on groceries a month.
"I know we spent $900 a month before couponing, once we got into couponing and got our own system down and eventually purchased the club, we now spend between $300 and $350 a month on the groceries, so we save $600 a month," she said.
Last year, Meijer stores stopped their double coupon policy, and now that Kroger has jumped on the bandwagon when it comes to the coupon policy, Hurd fears it will be a deal breaker for members of her group.
She also believes it will hurt area agencies who depend on her club.
"I am sure that the women in our club are going to go elsewhere and many, many, many church pantries, we teach churches, whole congregations on how to build a food pantry through couponing and it's one of the first things I heard is, 'Oh no, how am I going to keep giving deodorant to the East Side Soup Kitchen?'" she said.
Ken McClure is the consumer communications manager for the Kroger Michigan Division. He says less than one percent of Kroger customers are traditional coupon users. While the company is getting rid of its double coupon policy, all Kroger customers will save money in the long run.
"For us to have the ability to go throughout the store across all departments of the store and lower prices on the items most frequently found in the customers baskets I think is really going to extend savings across the board for everyone. Additionally, we're not the first Kroger division nor the first retailer in Michigan to discontinue double coupons, so I think this model has been out there for sometime, perhaps we were a little more careful studying it and pursing it before deciding that this was the best source of action," he said.
"I think they're going to go to other stores until Kroger lowers their prices and when Kroger does, we'll let them know and then they'll come back, but they've got to do it, they have to lower their prices like they said they would," Hurd said.
Kroger is still accepting printable or electronic coupons and the store will have special events throughout the year to offer savings.
Hurd says despite the changes, members of her club can still save. She has a few tips on how to do that.
Number one: comparison shopping.
"For example, if almond milk is on sale at Meijer and at Kroger, where can you get it cheaper with a coupon - at Kroger or at Meijer? We will tell you so you'll be able to have that information in a matter of seconds instead of doing all of the research, so we're going to do that," she said.
"Michigan coupon club has focused on 60 percent savings, but with this change, we think it's going to be 40 percent savings," she said. "OK, so not as good but still good, right? I mean, if your household spends $1,000 dollars a groceries and you're saving 40 percent, aren't you still saving $400 a month?"
Lastly: "We hired two people to walk through the stores in the middle of the week to get unadvertised sales for our members," she said.
Hurd says although the news is disappointing, she's not shocked by Kroger's decision because she believes so many people clear the shelves at stores and take more than their families need.