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Lesley Mitchell
Lesley Mitchell has been a business reporter at The Tribune since 1997, covering real estate, the retail industry, personal finance and economic development. A graduate of Utah State University's MBA program, Lesley, and her family, are dedicated to finding creative ways to save money, avoid debt and still have fun.

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New Rite Aid coupon policy

Rite Aid has made some more changes in its coupon policy in an effort to thwart shelf-clearing shoppers. The largest change is that it is limiting its loyalty card program — and all the savings and benefits attached to it — to one per household. It's loading any coupons shoppers have earned to that card and making it more difficult for shoppers to skirt store policies and deplete inventory of sale items. Go HERE to read about them. Thanks SavvyShopperDeals.com!

Many stores, including Rite Aid, Smith’s Food & Drug and Target, have become more restrictive with their coupon policies over the past year in an effort to create an environment where everybody can get deals. The show "Extreme Couponing" promoted the idea of amassing large amounts of coupons and using them to buy huge quantities of groceries and other items. Since the show first aired, many stores have struggled to keep enough of certain sale items in stock.

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As a result, last year Rite Aid began prohibiting shoppers from combining a buy-one-get-one-free sale or promotion with a buy-one-get-one-free coupon to get two items for free. When it allowed the combination, one shopper with a lot of coupons could wipe out an entire shelf of product.

Rite Aid also stopped allowing shoppers to use manufacturers’ coupons on free items. If an item is on a buy-one-get-one-free sale, a shopper at Rite Aid can no longer use a manufacturer’s coupon on the free item; they can use only one manufacturer’s coupon on the item they are actually paying for.

Target, which allows shoppers to use one manufacturer’s coupon and one store coupon on each item, also prohibits shoppers from using a buy-one-get-one-free store coupon and a manufacturer’s coupon to get two items for free. It’s one of several steps Target has made to prevent shelf-clearing, such as limiting the number of store coupons that can be printed off its website to two. Target used to allow shoppers to print an unlimited number of each coupon.

Target also has stopped accepting printable coupons for free items that have no purchase requirement. Smith’s Food & Drug still accepts free-item coupons, but the chain has given individual store managers more leeway to reject coupons as well as limit the number of coupons shoppers may use each day. One Smith’s store where I shop allows shoppers to use only two of each type of coupon printed off the Internet.

Smith’s also has put a stop to the practice of using two manufacturers’ coupons — one in print and one loaded onto a Fresh Values shopper card — on the same item. (Stores get reimbursed only for one manufacturer’s coupon per item.)



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