If you’ve been around here for any amount of time, you know how I have STRONG feelings about ethical couponing! You’ve probably heard me rant about fraud committed on Extreme Couponing, and other unethical practices and how to steer clear of them. Did you know that coupon fraud (even though it may SEEM to be no big deal) is actually a crime, punishable by fines and jail time? But what exactly IS ethical couponing and how can you make sure what you are doing is ethical and legal? Read on to find out!
First things first, you want to make sure the sites you are getting your coupon information (tutorials, matchups, printable coupons, etc) are legitimate sites. If you are doing printable coupons, your best bet for valid coupons are going to be either from a manufacturer’s website, a store website (like Target), or a known printable coupon source such as Coupons.com, Smartsource.com, or Redplum.com.
Also, you should make sure the coupon blogs/websites you follow have the Coupon Integrity badge. Sites such as An Exercise In Frugality have been tested and checked out by Coupon Integrity to make sure we comply with the rules of couponing. If you’re finding a deal on my site, it is ethical and legitimate. Not every site is a member, and just because they are not a member doesn’t necessarily indicate the condone fraud, but you are taking a risk on an unverified site. Want to know if the sites you frequent are certified by Coupon Integrity? Look for the Coupon Integrity badge on the site (mine is at the bottom of the page) or check out www.couponintegrity.com to make sure the sites you visit are compliant-there is a list of approved sites on the right hand sidebar.
While you’re there, make sure you read up on their rules for ethical and legal couponing. Most are common sense, but it is important to educate yourself so you don’t put yourself at risk for doing something illegal. Again, no deals on this site will EVER be illegal or unethical. We all have accidentally misread a coupon, that happens from time to time, and if I discover a deal I have posted is wrong or somehow unethical, it will be removed and you will be notified immediately. Please know it would never be done intentionally and I do my very best to fact check deals and verify coupons are legit before I post them for you to see!
I caution you against printing coupons from any site other than those listed above. An exception for example would be my printable coupon database. Although you are printing coupons from my website, it is really just an affiliate interface through coupons.com. All this means is that when you print your coupons from my database, I earn a small commission (cough cough REALLY small) from Coupons.com for referring you. The coupons are 100% legitimate and print directly from Coupons.com.