How’s your stockpile looking? As coronavirus fears spread, and nervous shoppers flock to the stores to stock up on supplies, many couponers are actually feeling pretty confident.

“Everyone laughed at my stockpiling of non-perishable foods when Harris Teeter does double coupons,” one Twitter user wrote. “But when the quarantine starts, ya’ll are going to be jealous that I have 20 boxes of pasta, 50 cans of soups and enough hand soap to disinfect the entire block.”

Another savvy shopper tweeted that she has no need to go to the store anytime soon: “Good thing we’re stocked up on diapers, wipes, food, water and more because we coupon – so we’ll be good for monthsssss.”

Stockpiles are all the rage at the moment, as people try to load up on food, toiletries and other necessities to prepare for all of the possibilities, in case a local coronavirus outbreak confines them to their homes for a while. Some who are unprepared have been emptying store shelves. Others are already prepared. And people from both camps are heading to social media to share their stories.

“Coupon moms will be the only survivors of the coronavirus,” one Twitter user wrote – jokingly, but perhaps just a bit jealously.

Costco stores have been particularly hard hit, as many shoppers buy in bulk to help build their stockpiles in a hurry. “It’s been a little crazy this past week,” Costco Chief Financial Officer Richard Galanti told investors on Friday. Social media is filled with pictures of empty Costco shelves where items like bottled water, toilet paper and cleaning supplies used to be. “We’re doing our best to stay in stock on these and other items,” Galanti said. “We’re getting deliveries daily, but still not enough.”


Last weekend in particular was something of a perfect Costco storm. Not only because shoppers are worried about the coronavirus, but because they have more practical, money-saving concerns. “The coronavirus panic is upon everyone,” one shopper tweeted. “Except me. I came because my coupons are going to expire tomorrow.” The last weekend of the month before Costco’s monthly coupons expire typically bring in the crowds, global health fears or not. “It was busy, and we kept asking workers if this was normal or coronavirus related,” another shopper tweeted. “They were all just like, ‘no, this is just the day before coupon day ends.’”

Some couponers who are already well-supplied with all of the necessities have found themselves feeling a little self-conscious while just doing their regular grocery shopping. “We bought 3 gigantic packs of toilet paper today because we had coupons that were about to expire,” one Twitter user wrote. “Pretty sure everyone we passed thought we were stocking up for the coronavirus – we actually weren’t!” Another couponer decided it was best to just let some of her coupons go unused. “Went grocery shopping and considered getting toilet paper because I had a coupon, but didn’t want to look like a panic buyer, so I didn’t,” she tweeted.

Stocking up isn’t the only concern shoppers are facing. They want to make sure the very act of shopping doesn’t put them at risk of getting the virus. And that can complicate simple matters like trying to redeem a mobile coupon. “Today at work, I asked a lady with a coupon on her phone if I could look at it,” one retail worker wrote on Twitter. “Her response was, ‘I guess. I just don’t want to get the coronavirus.’”

Some mobile coupon users are already wary about handing over their phones to cashiers. But fears of catching a potentially deadly virus have made them even more reluctant to do so. “Shopped today and turned my phone around so the coupons could be scanned and the lady took it out of my hand & touched it all over,” a shopper tweeted. “I don’t know if she’s sick or if I’m sick but it can’t be good.”

While emergency preparedness experts do say it’s a good idea to have enough supplies on hand to last you anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks, most agree that the kind of panic buying we’ve been seeing isn’t necessary and is actually stressing the system. So some thrifty shoppers are taking it all in stride, keeping away from the crowds but also demonstrating that not even a virus can discourage them from saving money. “Tempting coronavirus fate by going to a pick-your-toppings froyo place before my birthday coupon expires,” one Twitter user wrote. “I will die as I lived: getting stuff just because it’s available for a discounted price.”

And the only thing better than getting a discount, is getting something for nothing. “I got a free bottle of hand sanitizer at work and was super excited,” another frugal shopper tweeted. “Not because of panic, but because I like free stuff.”

So coronavirus or not, the deals are still out there. As long as you keep on couponing, not even a public health emergency can force you to pay full price.

Image source: Twitter/@NikkuMan_

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