Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Jill Cataldo just wrote another great post highlighting the fraud 
that has occured on TLC's All Star Finale. You can read it here!

I have to say I very much appreciate her doing this because it just helps point out that not all things you see are true or worth repeating!  

I had done the following post for you after the All Star Finale because I also saw the fraud and to be completely honest:
It is really upsetting to be beaten by a bunch of cheats!
If these couponers are "PROS" as they like to say they are
then I guarantee they new exactly what they where doing and new the coupons they were using were fake!  


Let me start off first by saying this:
FREE item coupons do exist and there is nothing fake or fraudulent about using them 
if they are legit!! 

Last night on Extreme Couponing All-Star Finale we watched three shoppers strive for 100% savings using nothing but FREE item coupons.  Is there anything wrong with that?  NO!  Though it sure leaves many wondering how does someone get their hands on two coupons for FREE Tide, let alone $800 worth!

There are many ways to get your hands on FREE Item Coupons:
  •  Manufacture Facebook 
    • giveaways are usually for a FREE Item, that will come in the form of a coupon
  • Rebates 
    • I bought a washer & dryer and got a rebate for a year supply of Tide that came in the form of 12 free bottle of Tide coupons
  • Store reward promos
    • Last year Rite Aid had a diaper sale which instead of a +Up Reward you got a coupon for 1 free package of Huggies (limit 1)
  • Calling Manufactures and asking
    • When the limited addition Huggies Jean diapers came out I called the company and told them how much I loved the product, they sent me 5 coupons for free packages of diapers
  • Catalinas
    • durring a water catalina promo last summer, I bought 24 cases of water.  None of the catalinas printed so I called the company and they send me 4 coupons for a free case of water
  • Conventions or events that manufactures maybe sponsoring
    • 2 years ago at the Smart Women, Smart Money Event Lighthouse was a sponsor and put 1 coupons for a free Lighthouse product in every goody bag
  • Employees of a company 
    • Many companies will give their employees free item coupons for the products they carry.  Are they all using them or selling them....I'm sure a little bit of both
  • Rewards programs
    • Both Huggies and Pampers have a point rewards program.  There are codes on their products, after you purchase them  you can enter that code on their website.  Those codes are worth point which you can use to purchase items from their little web stores.  I personally save my points up to buy a coupon from them that is for a free package of diapers.
  • EBAY!  
    • Here you will find legit and fake free item coupons.  Is it legal for them to sell these coupons? Absolutely, as long as they stick with the guidelines and make clear that you are getting the coupons free, but you are paying for their time to cut,clip,gather,sort.....blah blah blah!
    • All of the ones you see on Ebay came from one of the other sources listed about.  There is not a single manufacture that is going to "sell" their free item coupons on Ebay.  Someone has gotten them and instead of using them are choosing to sell them for profit.
These are all legit ways to get legit free item coupons.  Though all of these avenues have limits.  If you call up a company and ask for coupons you might get 2-5, attending a convention you are only going to get 1 in your goody bag (maybe you will get lucky and 2 stuck together), rebate offers or store promos are going to be a limit of 1, even the "year supply" of Tide that came with my washer & dryer was only 12 coupons (= 1 a month...I go through more Tide then 1 a month)

Ebay is a great source to get regional and high value coupons you don't normally see on any given day and at a quantity that you are not going to get anywhere else.
BUT....It is going to cost you!  No one is going to pay more then the value of the coupon.

For Example: 
The Toilet Paper coupons they had last night, they said the value was up to $14.99
So that coupon is going to sale for around $10-13 on Ebay.

Yo are still going to save a few dollars, but to me paying $10 for ANY package of TP is way to much!!

HELLO...I'm a Charmin Snob and NEVER Pay more then 
$7 for a 12 pack of Ultra Soft Charmin; let alone Angel Soft!!

I don't have a set price that I am willing to pay for coupons on Ebay.  Here is my equation to decide if buying the coupons from Ebay is going to be worth the price:
Cost of the coupons + shipping + what I will be paying at the store / by quantity purchased = price per item

*If that price per item is a stock up price for me then it is worth purchasing the coupons....if not, don't buy them!  You will not be saving any money!
Read my "How to buy coupon from Ebay"  This will help make sure you buy legit coupons at the right price!


Here is sale for 2 coupons for 1 free bag of Malt-O-Meal Cereal up to $6.50 a bag.  
The "Buy it Now" price is $5.25 w/free shipping

Seems like a good price....but do the math:
Cost of coupons $5.25 + shipping $0.00 + Cost at Store $0.00 / quantity purchased 2 = $2.63 a bag + tax 


Take a look at this one....No one is going to convince me that they got free diapers if they bought this coupon!

Cost of coupon $15.64 + Shipping $.50 + Cost at store $0.00 = $16.14 for 1 pack of diapers!
Sure it is a Jumbo pack, but even a size 1 jumbo pack only has 42 diapers = $.38 a diaper!

2 Freschetta Frozen Pizzas coupons buy it now price $5.99 + free shipping

We watched one person last night pre-order 200 of these pizzas

*I don't know what they actually paid for the coupons at the time they were filming, this equation is based off of today's Ebay price.  (though I can't imagine it being much cheaper if any)

this equation is pretending that 200 were bought from the same buyer:

Cost of coupon $599.00 + Shipping $0.00 + Cost at Store $0.00 / by 200 pizzas = $3.00 a pizza

We also saw last night 250 of these pizza being pre-ordered.

For sale is 2 coupons for 1 FREE Red Baron Product, buy it now price $8.95 + $.44 shipping

*I don't know what they actually paid for the coupons at the time they were filming, this equation is based off of today's Ebay price.  (though I can't imagine it being much cheaper if any)

this equation is pretending that 250 were bought from the same buyer:

Cost of coupon $1,118.75 + Shipping $55.00 + Cost at Store $0.00 / by 250 pizzas = $4.70 a pizza

I hope this helps you understand where these coupons come from and what it cost.  I guess you can say you have to pay to play.  In my eyes, if it is not a stockup price it is not worth buying!

These coupons do exist and are real; but just as many real ones are out there you can bet an equal amount of fake coupons will be tagging right along.  Remember to follow my rules of buying from Ebay.  This will help make sure you are buying legit coupons and have a great couponing experience when at the store.  

*All information is my own opinion; There are many different things that factor into where coupons come from and their level of ethics.  

Like what you see? Sign up for my FREE daily email!


  1. Thank you! That is what I get for typing quickly while ticked off! :)

  2. No worries! I do the same thing when I'm on my not-so-smart phone. ;)

  3. You know Jessica, you taught us to be kind, to coupon correctly, and always be mindful that our stores could have a policy change at anytime. I have always tried to coupon with integrity and be kind not only to my cashiers, but also to people who are not couponing. I was "IRKED" at Albertson's when they implemented their 3 doublers per transaction policy, and felt that you had sided with them over us, but i see that this whole couponing thing has gone way beyond right and wrong. I do apologize if i offended you in the past. I am glad to see that you are still trying to educate people to stay above board when couponing. I was recently approached by a fellow couponer asking me if i wanted in on buying doublers. I declined, a gut feeling that this could be the end of doublers if that were to get started. I hope you will continue to educate the people who follow your blog as to the do's and don'ts of couponing.i also want to express that because of all the fraud and even the ignorant fraud that is comitted, i have shyed away from other couponers in an attempt to keep it real from my own side of it. i prefer to not judge, but keep to what I know is right. Hopefully the fraud whether innocent or pre-meditated will stop and not ruin the efforts of families to save money.~ Keep up the Good Work!~

  4. If you want to complain to the FCC about the fraud and illegal activity openly endorsed by TLC on Extreme couponing, here is the form. Armchair activists, unite!

    1. I have done refunds for several years now and I asked the same question regarding the free Tide,Northern toilet paper and frozen pizzas.Companies have basically stopped issuing refund offers but when they did you had to send in the required mail- in form plus whatever the qualifier the company was asking for for the refund or free product coupon that was your reward.

    2. Right I remember those days. And fraud changed all that. People bought complete deals, sold fake cash register tapes, turned their houses into "apartments" to submit multiple rebates.

      Fraud changes couponing. These people have to own it. And the FCC has to investigate. Like they did with game shows in the fifties.