Coupon Myth #4: Using Coupons Makes Stores Lose Money

Missed the other posts in this series?  Read them now: Coupon Myth #1, Coupon Myth #2, Coupon Myth #3.

I kind of let the ball drop on my coupon myth series.  I had this final post that I wanted to do but I had so many great deals to share for a bit that I unintentionally sort of let it go to the back burner. 

A lot of people think that by using coupons you are causing stores to lose money.  In fact, for a long time my husband believed this and while he was okay with me using coupons he also sort of felt bad because it seemed to him like I had to be ripping off the stores.

The opposite is actually true.  When you use a coupon, the store actually makes a little bit of money because they not only get reimbursed the value of the coupon from the manufacturer, they also get reimbursed an 8 cents handling fee per coupon.  (Look on any coupon and you’ll read that in the fine print.)  Now obviously stores are not getting rich off that extra 8 cents.  But my point is, they are not losing any money by allowing you to shop using coupons at their store.

I also believe that stores that allow coupon usage actually get more business as a result.  For instance, before I used coupons I pretty much shopped exclusively at Aldi and Walmart.  However, when I became a couponer I started shopping at Giant because not only do they accept coupons, they also double them meaning that, coupled with sales, I can often get better deals there than what I can at Walmart or Aldi.  So because of my coupon usage Giant is getting more business.

So are stores losing money because I’m using coupons?  No.  The only way they lose money is if people use coupons fraudulently- and that is a topic in itself.  But as long as you use coupons legitimately, I personally believe that you are actually helping, not hindering the profit of the stores you shop at.

What are your thoughts?  I’d love to hear them!

Image: Shopping on a Budget via Shutterstock

Add a Comment
Back To The Thrifty Frugal Mom
  1. by Zach Rosenberg

    On April 4, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    However – nowadays, with sites like Groupon and Bogopod, stores can in fact lose money. Granted, these are vouchers instead of manufacturer’s coupons. And while one can argue the “more eyes on the store” stance, we should be wary of these groupon-type deals for local businesses if we want them to survive.

    Case-in-point: a Maddy’s Market (organic grocer) opened near us. The Groupon was $19 – and was good for $40 (!) of groceries. The manager at the store let me know that Groupon collects $9 of the $19 charged – which left the store with a $10 revenue off of my $40 of groceries. Now, though some of the items I bought like a fresh bread can pull a profit because they cost pennies to make, other packaged goods are more expensive for the store, sheerly because they’re organic.

    So, moral of the story: for a local business, using a Groupon won’t sink their business, but if you do like what you saw or bought, try to go back for full price to support the business. Plus, the manager might remember you and it’d give him warm fuzzies to know someone came back.

  2. by Lydia Beiler

    On April 4, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    Zach, good point. And I like your “moral of the story”. I know that stores often lose with Groupons and the like but I figure it’s their way of advertising. I often view it as a way to try out places and yes, if we like them we’ll go back.

    Thanks for taking the time to comment!