Gone are the days when you could use as many coupons to stock up on as many products as you wanted in a grocery shopping trip. Stores and manufacturers began imposing limits several years ago – and now one of the most prominent coupon issuers has tightened its own limits even further.

Effective this weekend with its July 2 publication, all coupons in Procter & Gamble’s brandSAVER insert now state “limit of 2 identical coupons per household per day”. P&G has been phasing in the new limit over the past few months on certain coupons, but now every coupon for every brand in the monthly insert has a limit of 2 like coupons, down from the previous 4.

So if there’s a good deal and you want to stock up on Crest, or Charmin, or Pampers, or Puffs, you’ll only be able to use two of the same coupons on two of the same items. Any others you’ll either have to buy at full price, buy another day – or not buy at all.

Why the change? “The vast majority of consumers only utilize one or two coupons at a time, and so making this the standard practice will allow us to ensure more shoppers can take advantage of our brands and are able to find our products,” P&G spokesperson Victoria Schooler told Coupons in the News.

The new limit puts P&G in line with other manufacturers like Unilever and Reckitt Benckiser, which have imprinted their coupons with “2 like coupon” restrictions for several years now.

But when the world’s largest consumer products company does it, people really notice.

“Going to make CVS diaper deals harder,” one online commenter lamented. “How can I buy 3 and use coupons to get a $5 free card?” another wondered about a buy-three-items-get-a-gift-card deal that will now require the purchase of one item at full price.

Of course, some will find ways to avoid the new restriction. All it will take is an inattentive cashier or a trip to a self-checkout to get around the “2 like coupons” limit, for those who aren’t inclined to follow the rules. But the new limit is printed in bold red letters to get cashiers’ attention. And bloggers who do business with P&G and other coupon-issuing companies will be expected to respect the limits when they post coupon matchups – if they don’t post deals that require the use of more than 2 like coupons, then fewer people are likely to attempt it.

The new limit is just the latest change that P&G has made to its brandSAVER coupons over the past several years, in an ongoing effort to thwart activity it would like to discourage.

P&G first imposed a restriction of “4 like coupons in same shopping trip” back in 2010, to help discourage shelf-clearing. That wording was tweaked to “4 like coupons per household per day” two years later.

The next major change in the brandSAVER coupons occurred early last year. The insert coupons had almost always been valid for a full month, by which time the next insert was issued. But beginning in January 2016, many coupons started expiring within two weeks instead of four. That made it harder to use them – or hold onto them and wait for a good deal – before they expired.

“Over the past few years, P&G and its brands have seen significant increases in coupon fraud,” a company spokesperson told Coupons in the News at the time. “To help stem these losses and ensure we are able to provide the highest coupon values to consumers, many brands are moving to shorter duration coupons.”

Then there are the infamous “not a coupon” coupons – and there are more of those in the July brandSAVER as well. Beginning last year, P&G began withholding certain coupons from some regions’ brandSAVER inserts, instructing users to print coupons from the P&G website instead. That effort was expanded significantly a couple of months ago, as couponers in cities across the country opened their brandSAVER inserts to find things that looked kind of like coupons, but were branded “NOT A COUPON”. That effort is largely seen as targeting insert sellers – they can’t sell some of the most popular insert coupons, if they can’t get their hands on them. But now, neither can a whole lot of legitimate coupon users.

You could argue that it’s extreme couponers who prompted all of the changes, and that P&G is just trying to level the playing field for everyone else. But with so many new limits and restrictions, it’s enough to make you wonder whether P&G is so intent on discouraging the scammers, shelf-clearers and insert sellers, that it’s also discouraging everyday couponers. By making its coupons harder to find, harder to use before they expire, and harder to use to save on multiple purchases of your favorite brands, it’s almost as if P&G would rather you didn’t use its coupons – or buy its products – at all anymore.

Some disgruntled couponers are already vowing to do just that. Others are okay with reasonable limits – after all, typical shoppers who aren’t heavy couponers get a single brandSAVER each month, and are fine with using just one like coupon, let alone two.

Time will tell whether everyone else will get used to buying just two of the same P&G products with coupons at a time – or whether the new limits will have them buying something else instead.

13 Comments

  1. My biggest pet peeve is that now we can only print one coupon per product, not two like everyone else does. And also the fact in different regions get tide coupons, they buy them either get ten bottles using coupons, and the rest of us get one for a family of five!!

  2. Whatever will we do without a whole quarter off DAWN or Charmin?!?! Get bent P&G, there are plenty of other equally good or better products out there.

    • It is so sad! I remember my stockpile full of great P&G stuff. Now it is frustrating! If you are lucky to have a store that double coupons then it helps a bit. Dollar Tree accepts coupon so there is a bit of help there unless the coupon restricts it! Remember the great $1 off 2 dawn hand renewal line? That was helpful and I had nearly the whole cabinet row of it! Now I have to budget for dish soap avoiding the “watery” dollar kinds. Aldi’s does have good soap for $2 big bottle.

  3. It is sad! I remember the good old days of great P&G coupons. High value coupons without any price limits, higher value, no size restrictions such as trial sizes, and could buy several. Now it is extremely hard and many expires in two weeks. I spot good toothpaste deals but it is day after the coupon expiration. UGH!

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  7. james jenkins says:

    Just stop using them. P&G will get tired of spending hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars printing them without them being used or the backlash of stores sales going down bc P&G decided to limit the coupon so much you can’t find deals anymore.

  8. P&G can do this beause other brands did, & it worked.
    They will lost $$$$, i dont think so, why?: 1st: they did introduce less expensive line of products: tide simply, & people buying,
    2nd: normal people will force to buy many stores cheap brands(NO CUOPONS offers) but whose actually manuafacture them? P&g could be their parent company ?

  9. I subscribe to 5 Houston Chronicle Sunday papers and I am offended that P&G won’t put coupons for all of their products in the Sunday paper. As the 4th largest city in the nation this is an insult and since P&G won’t change their policy I don’t buy any of their products!

  10. Denise B. says:

    It’s rare that we buy P&G products. Their products are over-priced and most of their coupon values are low.

    • Agreed. Unless you have a store that doubled coupons then it might helped save a bit money. Also Dollar Tree take coupons and they have some P&G stuff there if the coupon doesn’t excludes them.

  11. Henceforth, the brandsaver inserts will go right from the street to the trash. It’s not even worth ten seconds to look at.

    Might even cancel the ten Sunday paper subscriptions we have. There certainly isn’t any news worth reading once, let alone ten times, but with such severe limits on coupons, no reason to waste time with them.

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