The Joy of Coupons (Which You’ll Never Experience Down Under)

6 Jul

I remarked to G today in the car, while making the shopping list, “You know what I’ve never seen at the grocery store here? People using coupons on checkout.”

No kidding. I have never seen it, not once.

In America, it’s pretty commonplace and there are even whole TV shows devoted to people who spend 40+ hours a week clipping coupons and planning their shopping trips and then getting $200 worth of groceries for like $7.18 or something crazy like that. But even for those of us who aren’t extreme couponers, it’s still pretty common for normal people who spend only the normal amount of time thinking about grocery shopping to use a coupon or two.

After all, why wouldn’t you? You get pages and pages of manufacturer’s coupons in the Sunday paper. I was personally never very good at organising my coupons and half the time I would forget to take them with me and of the times I did remember, half the time I forgot they were in my purse until after I had checked out. I guess I wouldn’t be a very good extreme couponer.(That’s okay, though, because I think those kinds of shenanigans are morally wrong.)

But the idea of saving 40 cents on a pack of Chips Ahoy is appealing and it’s extra nice when the grocery store will even double the face value of the coupon (one of the tricks they use to get you to spend your coupon with them instead of at another store- for people who don’t know about coupons, the store gets reimbursed the face value of the coupon by the manufacturer).

At first, H thought the reason there are no manufacturer’s coupons anymore (he vaguely remembers seeing them rarely when he was a kid) is because the duopoly of Woolworth’s and Cole’s means there is no incentive to offer a lower price other than weekly sale items, but when I explained that it is the manufacturer who actually bears the burden of the cost, then he didn’t have an explanation for that.

It’s totally to the manufacturer’s benefit to offer such coupons. Everyone knows that people will be more likely to buy something they wouldn’t usually buy if they have a coupon for it. I mean, I wouldn’t normally buy Chips Ahoy, being perpetually on a diet and all, but 40 cents off makes it a lot more tempting. It’s also a good way to encourage people to try your product, especially if it is a brand new product that no one is familiar with yet.

But I guess this is just the Australian way. Retailers in this country seem totally averse to lowering prices in any way. Their idea of a really good sale is 20% off. (For the record, a good sale is when Macy’s has the entire department store at 50-70% off including homewares. 20% is actually really pathetic and kind of insulting. Just saying.) Kind of no surprise I can’t seem to get the monthly grocery budget under control!

So the poor people of Australia (literally, if they keep buying stuff at the jacked up prices around here) will never know the true joy of checking out with coupons instead of cold hard cash. They will never know the joy of clipping coupons out of the Sunday paper and debating long and hard about clipping out the one for Chips Ahoy because they are on a diet. They will never experience the face-palm frustration of loading up their shopping into their car and realising they could have saved like $10 if only they had remembered ten minutes ago that they have a whole envelope of coupons in their purse. And young Australian children will never know the joy of having their mother say that yes, indeed they can get those Chips Ahoy today because, by golly, she has a coupon for it this time.

The only thing worse than not having coupons in Australia is receiving my monthly shipment of mail from America which is chock full of coupons that I can’t even use because 1) I’m too far away and 2) they’re expired by the time they get to me.

I think this should be declared as a national tragedy and the Australian people should definitely rise up against this violation of their human rights.

17 Responses to “The Joy of Coupons (Which You’ll Never Experience Down Under)”

  1. Cosette July 8, 2012 at 11:12 am #

    Oh, I’m totally reblogging this next week.

    • housewifedownunder July 8, 2012 at 3:45 pm #

      Thanks! Please do. šŸ™‚ I look forward to whatever comments you have on it. I’m sure they will be insightful, as always. šŸ™‚

  2. Hailey July 15, 2012 at 9:22 pm #

    The stores print out coupons around here if you buy a certain amount – but the coupons are never for anything that I buy.

  3. Rebekah Kaminski September 16, 2012 at 9:59 pm #

    Agreed. Completely agreed. So annoying.

  4. Karren Carr April 9, 2013 at 2:22 pm #

    I totally want to get on board with couponing but Australia is frustrating šŸ˜¦

    • housewifedownunder April 12, 2013 at 12:52 pm #

      It’s nigh impossible when no one offers coupons. The best I can do for saving money is going to Costco and such. About once every two months, they have a lot of products that they put on sale, so I tend to wait for that.

  5. Sarah May 17, 2013 at 7:32 pm #

    I’m sorry, but I disagree with this post. Unlike America, where consumers’ dream-like situation is built on the slavery of others (in their own country and abroad), in Australia we pay the true cost of the goods and services we receive, and why shouldn’t we? Every time you get a fantastic deal at the shops, someone is suffering as a result – animals reared in cheap but disgusting circumstances, children in India working all day making clothes instead of making clothes etc. It’s not a violation of our human rights; please don’t even make such a comparison!

    • housewifedownunder May 17, 2013 at 10:53 pm #

      What is it with you Australians and your complete inability to interpret humour and sarcasm visa a text-based medium? Did you really think I was serious with the “human rights” comment? Please tell me you are not that dense! You can disagree all you like, but it’d be helpful if you first understood the content of the post you are purporting to disagree with.

      Do you honestly believe that Australians pay the “true cost”? Companies here buy their products that are made by slave labour in third world countries and sell them on the Australian market at jacked up prices, the same as they do in America. The higher minimum wage in Australia contributes to some of this, but the biggest problem here is the same as in America: Corporations simply rip people off. Goods in Australia cost two to three times more than the identical product in America. And retailers here get away with it because Australians can’t be bothered to complain and because there is no real competition in the market here.

      Next time you are out shopping, contentedly paying your high prices and feeling smug for doing so, why don’t you check and see if there are any stores running a sale on a sense of humour? šŸ˜‰

      • Angel July 17, 2013 at 3:58 pm #

        WORD, lady. I just started watching Extreme Couponing (I’m in a slump, my only explanation for such shenanigans) and I so want to give it a try! No giant hoard or anything, just help me out on a tight budget, since I’m not working for annoying medical reasons and centrelink does not provide one with great riches when you have pharma bills to pay. I haven’t looked in the sunday papers in so long – do they really not offer coupons anymore? Oh, I suppose they’re just the weekly sales ads. Ugh, so frustrating because you’re completely right about things being cheaper in the US (and the lower minimum wage) and I don’t even want to BE in Australia but since I am, I can’t really afford to feed myself and take meds because of the prices. Frustrating…
        Least when I go back to the UK, I can try it for real. They’ve a Sainsburys and a Morrisons in my town, and a Lidl (Aldi equivalent, if you haven’t heard of it) and two other budget supermarkets (Farmfoods and B&M). I want to have a go!

      • housewifedownunder July 18, 2013 at 12:35 pm #

        No, I’ve never seen coupons. I think I got a coupon once for Juice Boost that was part of a showbag from the Royal Melbourne Show and that’s the only coupon I can ever remember getting here. Very annoying!

  6. Tonka July 13, 2013 at 5:24 pm #

    Australia is one of the most expensive places in the world to live, you travel overseas and everything is so much cheaper. Would love to see coupons in Australia. I have emailed Australian companies as to why they don’t offer similar incentives here but don’t expect it will happen anytime soon.

  7. erin September 24, 2013 at 2:38 am #

    It does suck not having coupons is Australia! Growing up in Canada i remember my mom using them when we did the shopping and when i moved out my roomie and i would cut down on our costs by doing the shopping together and using them. Not everything in Australia is $ but geez its annoying when food produced in Australia is cheaper overseas than it is here!! If lower income families could save even 20$ on a grocery shop it would be a great thing long live coupons and i dont mean the lame carpet cleaning or mc donalds ones on the back of a receipt

  8. Lena September 27, 2013 at 8:30 pm #

    Hi! I’m an American housewife living in AUS and I LOVE a sale. Although I never really used coupons in the US, I did scour for sales. And yes, 20% off is a joke. With that said, I just realized (yes, I used a ZED in realized) that in the middle and sometimes the back of the monthly Woolies free magazine there are manufacturer coupons. Often they are for the woolies brand cleaning supplies, but I saved $30 today. 1/2 off for BioAttack front loader detergent (which works in a top loader but not the other way around), 1/2 off indoor outdoor barrier bug spray, and 1/2 off woolies brand general purpose spray cleaner. The cashier was like “uhhhhh, what do you want me to do with this strange paper, are you buying this paper?????????” Check it out and get your savings on!

  9. Amy October 24, 2013 at 8:07 am #

    I grew up in Australia and moved to the U.S.A. when I was 21, I got married over in America and have 4 children.

    I can’t even imagine not having coupons to shop with. I usually save around 70% off my grocery bill by using coupons! You can’t save on everything, it’s difficult, (but not impossible), to find coupons for meat, milk, fruit & vegetables, etc. However, if you are saving a lot of money on the staples, then you can afford to pay for those items. I can save between 75% – 100% on dry pasta, spaghetti sauce, toothpaste, floss, deodorant, body wash, condiments, snacks, razors, shaving cream, makeup, toilet paper, paper towels, etc.

    I’m a legitimate couponer. Some of the people on those extreme shows are either breaking the law, or the stores have bent the rules for them so they can get tv exposure. As with anything, there are people who will try to cheat the system, and then other people will suffer.

    You have to change how you shop. You don’t do a weekly, or fortnightly shop. You buy extra when things are on sale and there are good coupons available, that way you have enough to last you for when they’re not on sale. You have to combine store coupons and manufacturers coupons with a sale when you can to further boost your savings. There is definitely a learning curve, but once you get the hang of it you would never want to go back to any other way of shopping!!

  10. Colleen Ball January 8, 2014 at 2:55 pm #

    Maybe we need to start asking coles and wollies about this. They shove Halloween down our throats but not something that would save us money

  11. Jessica January 12, 2014 at 10:22 pm #

    We NEED couponing in Australia, i would be doing the same thing as the ladies on Extreme Couponing, ive looked everywhere online for coupons in Australia but no luck!!!

  12. Glenne Booth January 13, 2014 at 11:51 pm #

    I watch the show and really think that the big supermarkets and manufacturers should give battlers in Oz a chance and supply coupons to help with savings.It might also get them to try new products.
    One thing with extreme couponers that really annoys me is why do they need to be so bloody greedy?Shelf clearing is so inconsiderate and rude.Another thing,what about the shelf life of all the frozen food ,soft drinks and canned goods they grab?Do they ever get to use it all up before it goes bad? I think looking at most of the items they buy,that a high percentage of their diets is extremely bad,processed foods like hot dogs,chips,softdrinks premade meals,high in salt sugars .carbs and preservatives.No wonder so many are overweight and their health will eventually suffer too.

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