A report by Valassis—the company behind a popular coupon circular— found that 94 percent of millennials coupon in some shape or form. Couponing is yet another side hustle that millennials have adopted to reclaim a smidgen of basic economic freedom. The basic concept of couponing—company offers a deal, customers redeem that deal—remains unchanged. Over the years, a digital-savvy community of deal-seekers has formed its own highly sensitive boutique industry that harnesses the power of the internet to hunt for the most deals as quickly as possible.
And on the front lines of it all are couponing influencers, who are now making a living out of navigating the circuitous rules of manufacturer discounts, retailer discounts, rebates, and rewards. The result is a new widespread access to the eye-popping deals once so unbelievable they were reserved for reality TV.
The way people are couponing is changing, and as a result, so has the nature of the coupon.
Coupons are no longer a static concept limited to a tangible piece of paper. Deals are the new clickbait. Not only does Miller see herself as a representative for that new model of deal discovery, but she has grand designs to transform the perception of discount shopping as we know it.
Miller was first inspired to learn about couponing 10 years ago. While on a routine shopping errand, she witnessed a woman with a cart full of merchandise ring up at an impressively low total. Once I learned how to do it, it was just like a chain reaction. This was around , when the recession was at its peak and coupon usage had surged among middle-class families who were struggling to keep up with costs.
A handful of new, homegrown media outlets like Fabulessly Frugal and The Krazy Coupon Lady cropped up to teach cash-strapped Americans the virtues of Sunday circulars. By , the budding media industry built around teaching struggling households to save reached its logical conclusion: a TLC reality show called Extreme Couponing. It traded all that practical budget-focused advice for close-ups of stockpiles and high-stakes checkout totals. Though largely unrealistic , it gave coupon bloggers an opportunity to engage with pop culture and drove people to investigate the world of couponing. Demer and her partner worked with Sharp Entertainment to consult on a handful of couponing reality TV concepts in , one of which became Extreme Couponing.
Many hardcore couponers fact-checked the series. Cataldo called it out for unintentionally featuring coupon fraud.
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Miller was one of those people. She read the blogs, watched the show, and became a self-taught scholar of the practice. Today she is a coupon fine-print cryptologist. She tracks stocking schedules, price fluctuations, and company stock prices like an astrologist does moon cycles. Her frequent shopping trips to local pharmacies and grocery stores has made her admired by managers, feared by fledgling cashiers, and sometimes despised by the people waiting in her checkout line.
Miller had always used the internet to learn about deals, occasionally consulting a handful of Facebook groups for information. People were posting selfies with their stockpiles, prized receipts, and photos of their shopping carts overflowing with product.
Others focused on acquiring and selling coupon inserts en masse—usually by striking up a deal with newspaper distribution companies or hunting for them in waste management facilities. There were also guides to deciphering the couponing lingo that the community had come up with to explain their deals.
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The average consumer might walk into a store and go straight to the products they plan to buy. Miller was initially shocked to learn that people were so forthcoming about their money-saving shopping habits online. As it turns out, Instagram is incredibly well designed to serve the needs of intense deal-seekers.
Because coupon circulars for grocery and drug stores are frequently regional—Wegmans in the East, Albertsons in the West, and so on—the location of a coupon influencer is especially important to his or her followers.
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A site like The Krazy Coupon Lady employs about 40 people at its Boise, Idaho, headquarters and has far more manpower than a single person with a smartphone. The photo-sharing platform is also ideal for the time-sensitive nature of coupons. Instagram is designed to be visual- and mobile-first; it also gives users the ability to receive push notifications from specific accounts. All that helps discount shoppers spot deals and beat people to the checkout line before inventory runs dry. Miller acknowledges that by educating people about couponing on social media, she is also contributing to an environment that makes it harder for her to land exciting deals.
During our second stop at Publix, for instance, we rolled up to the adult diapers section for some TENA pads. There was an empty spot on the shelf where they were supposed to be.
Publix Weekly Ad & Coupon Matchup 9/5-9/11
Rather than give up, she began rifling through nearby diapers. Aside from its practical applications, Instagram has also modernized the image of the American deal-seeker. During the recession, the stereotypical representative of the couponing community was a Middle American mom with a big family and a tight budget. But the economy that the recession left behind has made couponers out of an entire new generation, many of whom engage in discount shopping so they can afford to live comfortably.
Daniel Woodsinger, 26, is a full-time pharmacist, but in his free time he runs a feed called ikillu4coupons. His posts are a mix of deal alerts for Suja Kombucha or Talenti ice cream, life updates, and videos of him gyrating and lip-synching in front of his merchandise stockpiles or voguing in scantily clad outfits at Burning Man. He mostly does it for fun and says 60 percent of his , followers are between the ages of 25 and Besides, she has no room for a stockpile in the city. Her Instagram page is one of the main traffic streams to her deal-seeking website of the same name.
Literally dying right now. Miller is also a couponing anomaly. She has no children to feed, no major bills to pay, and lives a comfortable life in a sleepy bedroom community just outside Jacksonville. Her husband makes enough money to support their household, but she says her hobby is a way to feel financially independent. Since she began building her brand, Miller now enjoys the added benefit of online attention whenever she scores a good deal.
And that attention has translated into sponsorship opportunities and ad revenue. Cashback companies like Ebates and CoinOut have recently inquired about partnerships. Don't miss out on the great savings in the upcoming Publix weekly ad! Hi Jim. Deals on dairy, meat, and soda seem to vary by region so be sure to always check your local ad before shopping to see the local prices. Why only cinnamon? Recipe Rating. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.
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