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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Why some coupons have shorter expiration dates

Have you ever clipped or printed a coupon, only to have it expire before you have a chance to use it?  Don't blame yourself -- many coupons currently have expiration dates within a couple weeks of release.

Here's a few reasons why some coupons have shorter expiration dates, courtesy of CPGmatters:

  • The company is trying to create a sense of urgency to buy their products.  Spend Less, Shop More readers saw this in February with the $4 off 4 Kellogg's coupon that popped up in February 2012 on -- not only did the coupon disappear quickly, but it expired within ten days of printing.  That meant that shoppers had to get out to the store quickly and look for a good deal instead of waiting for the best stockpile price to roll around.
  • The company didn't set a large budget for that coupon promotion.  Remember, coupons are a marketing tool for companies -- and sometimes a company wants the buzz that a high-value coupon creates, without having to pay for large amounts of them to be redeemed.  So if a coupon is only good for a week, odds are good fewer coupons will actually be used, which means less money out of pocket for the brand that released the coupon.
  • The company is rewarding current customers, not looking for new ones.  If you haven't used a product before, you're less likely to rush to the store to pick it up (unless, of course, it's free.)  Regular customers who are familiar with how much a product usually costs, on the other hand, get much more excited about a coupon with a short turnaround.
If you're looking for coupons that last longer, your best bet is to avoid printable coupons, which normally have expiration dates of 30 days or less.  Instead, use coupons that come out in the newspaper, or request coupons directly from the company itself.  

Proctor & Gamble, for example, will mail coupons to your home quarterly, as long as you ask for them -- and those coupons are usually good for six months or longer.  That means you have lots of time to find the best sales and deals and stock up for your family.

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