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There’s a lot going on in Washington these days: legislative battles, Congressional investigations – and lots and lots of couponing.

Perhaps in an effort to distract themselves from politics, or to build up their stockpile in the event the election didn’t go their way, residents of the Washington area were apparently the most prodigious printable coupon users last year.

That’s according to Coupons.com’s seventh annual ranking of “America’s Most Frugal Cities”, released today. It’s the first time Washington has been named number one. Until now, Orlando and Atlanta have been the most frequent cities atop the list, with San Francisco making a surprise appearance at the top a couple of years ago.

The sort-of scientific survey calculates the number of Coupons.com coupons printed per capita, in the country’s largest metro areas. Shoppers in the DC area printed 23 million Coupons.com offers, worth more than $31 million, representing an annual savings of $258 per “active couponer”. Orlando was knocked down to second place on the list, followed by Charlotte, Raleigh, Dallas, Tampa, Nashville, Cleveland, Virginia Beach and Atlanta.

A bit further down the list, Chicago, Sacramento and Houston cracked the top 25 after not appearing on last year’s list. And Denver, Columbus and Las Vegas fell off the list altogether.


So what does it all mean? Are Washingtonians super savers or super cheap? Are shoppers in Denver, Columbus and Vegas too rich to bother with coupons, or too foolhardy to recognize their value?

The announcement of this year’s list doesn’t offer many in-depth insights. “The Most Frugal Cities list from Coupons.com demonstrates that shoppers throughout the country are using coupons to stretch their dollars,” the announcement notes superficially. “People sought out digital coupons to stretch their budgets and, perhaps, to make themselves feel better.”

At any rate, Coupons.com bequeaths the title of “America’s Most Frugal City” upon the winner. But that’s allowing for a little poetic license. What about other printable coupon sites? What about newspaper coupons, digital coupons and rebate apps? What if Washingtonians print a ton of coupons but never actually get around to using them?

The “Most Frugal City” rankings may not hold up when you start to deconstruct them. But it makes for a nice little advertisement for Coupons.com, and a near-guaranteed mention in local newscasts and newspapers in the top ten cities (“We’ve been named among America’s most frugal cities!”) by journalists looking for an easy story that creates a bit of buzz, if you don’t think about it too hard.

After all, there are enough important stories to cover in Washington these days. A little coupon-related news could be just the distraction that everyone needs.

Photo by szeke

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