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The Truth About Why Retailers Dislike Frugal Bloggers

by Freebies4Mom on March 9, 2012 10:22 am

Freebies 4 Mom

Frequently Asked Question: Why do some retailers dislike Frugal Bloggers?

I’ve been asking myself this question a lot lately – and I hear other bloggers asking it too. I’d like to share my opinion with you (and I’d love to hear yours too!).

Frugal Bloggers write to help their readers save money. Retailers don’t always like the help that Frugal Bloggers give their readers. It’s a sad but growing trend I’ve seen recently for retailers to actively discourage Frugal Bloggers from helping their readers save money. Retailers do this by changing coupon policies, lowering affiliate commissions, ignoring applications from Frugal Bloggers for paid opportunities, and cancelling affiliate accounts.

Retailers are discouraging other Frugal Bloggers and discouraging me too. It doesn’t make sense to Frugal Bloggers that these retailers do not want the smart readers they are sending to them as potential customers. But I’ve got to believe it all comes down to profits, and retailers are not profitting as much from the readers of frugal blogs than from other consumers. So retailers take action by discouraging Frugal Bloggers from blogging about them, or even discouraging consumers from saving money with them.

Why am I telling you about this trend? I’m trying to offer you a general explanation of why you may see me avoid mentioning certain companies on my blog. The reason is that those companies do not value my efforts to help you save money. But that’s ok, because I’m still going to be an independent voice that helps people save money in many different ways. And I’m still going to give you all of the resources I can so you can still save money with those retailers (even if they dislike Frugal Bloggers like me).

What can you do to support independent frugal blogs like Freebies 4 Mom? Just keep reading and contributing your money-saving tips. You are so much more important than the retailers I work with, because I’ll always be able to find a few special retailers who actually value the work I do and will pay me for it so I can keep blogging full-time. But I won’t always be able to find such a strong group of  smart and loyal readers who love reading my blog. You are a valuable resource to me!

I love helping you to the best of my ability and I’m honored that I can share this truth with you. Thank you for reading and celebrating a frugal lifestyle – it’s definitely something to be proud of and we won’t let a few retailers make us feel bad about the value we place on saving a buck!

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{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Ruthann March 12, 2012 at 2:06 pm

Being an employee of a retail store, I have heard a few comments of my managers about the customers who come in and take advantage of the RR’s. They just get disgusted with the ones who are taking advantage of how the system works. Like the ones who buy more than there fair share, the ones who try to cheat the system by trying to use illegally printed coupons,  and the ones who don’t understand how RR’s work and get mad because they didn’t get what they thought they should have. The managers don’t like customers who hold the line up with multiple orders while using all their RR’s on additional transactions. I will use coupons and love it when I see a great deal, half the time though I am too late. I do though get frustrated when the bloggers advertise something, and it’s not there, or not what they say. But all in all couponing is advantageous and we can use all the help we can get to save money. So thanks for all the hard work you put into it.


Stack March 12, 2012 at 7:55 am

Heather-my family and I so appreciate all the hard work that you do and I am sorry you aren’t getting full support from retailers. I have worked in marketing for over 30 years and am astonished at how often customer service is ignored. I have sampled many products via a mention on your website and gone on to buy the product regularly for my family so its very shortsighted for retailers not to support you in every way they can. You have always been upfront about anyone who is paying you or providing you with products and I hope you will continue to do the great work that you do-I will cross companies off my list that will not support you


Jenny Dantuma March 11, 2012 at 6:03 pm

Heather: Thank you for all you do – you and all the other bloggers are a blessing to so many!!! Not just savers like me but it trickles down to many other people through my donations to food pantries and all the individuals that I share with. I couldn’t afford to share much at all w/o all of the great tips. I know many other shoppers are doing the same thing. Thanks for valuing us, too!


Beth @ In Good Cents March 11, 2012 at 12:59 pm

Thank you, Heather, for bringing this up.  I honestly believe it’s a lack of understanding too.  Most, like Barnes & Noble, don’t realize that when we send readers there for free books, they may purchase other things.  Talking about all the free Nook books promotes the Nook itself.  Just the other day, I went to get a free book I found on a blog and also bought the entire The Hunger Games series for my Kindle while I was there.  And, I didn’t even want a Kindle until I saw all the free books I could get.

I think grocery stores have the same misconception.  Most readers aren’t going to go to 5 stores to do their weekly shopping, so if they decide to go to one store because they can get free Chex Mix or whatever catches their attention, they are more likely to do all of their shopping there.  With 3 kids, I don’t have time to go to multiple stores to get all the best deals, so I usually pick one store that has what I need or want and do all my shopping there.  In the past, I use to just go to Meijer, but not I spread my business out at many different stores.

I wish they’d stop looking at is as us causing readers to spend less at their stores and hurting their bottomline, and see it as the free advertising it provides them.


Freebies4Mom March 11, 2012 at 1:09 pm

Beth –

I totally agree! Thankfully there are some retailers who value and want free advertising from us Frugal Bloggers!


J Anklam March 11, 2012 at 11:11 am

Thank you!


Cindy March 11, 2012 at 8:07 am

So did i read this correctly in that you will not be posting the best deals – but only the best deals from companies that pay you?  i understand your position, but it is kind of discouraging to me.


Freebies4Mom March 11, 2012 at 9:19 am

Cindy –

I’ll still be posting the best deals – whether the company pays me or not. I post lots of things that contain no affiliate links (I make no money from them). There is only one retailer that has removed me from their affiliate program and has asked me to remove all content related to their site. That is the only retailer that I won’t be posting deals from – this post was a general explanation of a change you may notice in what I post. But also my observation of a growing trend of retailers not wanting to work with bloggers.


Debbie March 10, 2012 at 4:18 pm

Just to let you know, I appreciate everything you do, helping us find the good deals.  Please keep it up!!!!


SD Deals and Steals March 10, 2012 at 12:55 am

ugh! I totally agree – I have noticed this myself – I thought it was just those of us smaller deal sites – I can’t believe they are shutting out such a great opportunity to work with you!  Think of all the influence you have – I think it is a bad move for that retailer – you keep being who you are – glad you are able to blog full time!


Amber March 9, 2012 at 8:53 pm

You go girl! 🙂 ….I know you are a woman not a girl. Thank you sooooooo much for your blog. It is my favorite by far. You’ve even inspired me to start ‘sweeping’. Don’t let them get you down- just let them learn the hard way.
You keep blogging, we will wish that they (whoever they are) do downhill…. win/win.


Jessica March 9, 2012 at 3:51 pm

I have a second job at Gap, and definately see this. We used to send out Friends and family coupons on facebook. heck, they used to cover the whole gap “family”, one F&F card could be used in the same weekend at bannana and old navy. Now, we only get gap ones, and disgruntled responses if we ask about banana or old navy ones and when they are.


4our2cents March 9, 2012 at 2:02 pm

Wonderful food for thought.  Unfortunately I think this comes back to the age old “one bad egg” analogy.  As “that couponing show” has also proved, those who are stretching the rules (or flat our breaking them) are making it harder on those of us who value ethical saving.  

As a “newish” frugal blog, we so appreciate all that you have done to lead the way in helping us all save for our families- the right way!


CheapandProudofIt March 9, 2012 at 1:42 pm

Is Barnes & Noble one of the retailers giving you grief?  I notice all of your free ebook notices these days are only for the Kindle, when BN does quite a few as well.  I know The Cheap blog nearly shut down when BN stopped paying commissions, but I think they figured something out. 


Anna March 9, 2012 at 1:15 pm

 Your doing a great job.  I have been using your site since August of last year. I have gotten a lot of freebies which always help with two kids.  Thanks for all your help!


shopinchic March 9, 2012 at 11:57 am

Wow, I had no idea about that. I have 2 blogs and one of them is a frugal/freebie blog so this gives me a lot to think about. Thank you for posting this!


Sarah Naumcheff March 9, 2012 at 11:07 am

For large companies yes, I will get as much free crap from them as I can, but it makes sense if the company is a small company who offers a deal which they think will bring them business although the deal will cause them to lose money in the short run, because if a blogger with a large reach announces their deal then literally 1000’s of people (and because I’m sure other frugal bloggers follow each other to get the good stuff if they themselves missed it could even be in the 10’s or 100’s of thousands) come to get the “good deal” they run out of business because they didnt have enough  money to cover for this (the reason they were having a deal in the first place being business wasnt doing so good). So yes, if its a big business then I have absolutely no problem with taking advantage of deals and saving as much money as I can but after I read an article about a cupcake company that went out of business due to such practices (look it up, its true, I dont want to link to it in case thats frowned upon) if the company isn’t one I’ve ever heard of before or seems small then I wont take advantage of them. 

(Steps off soap box, oh and please excuse the extremely long run on sentences…)


mommyswishlist March 9, 2012 at 11:05 am

Heather, thank you for addressing this issue so proudly. You are a leader in our category of blogging, and this is a perfect example of your leadership. 


Heidi March 9, 2012 at 11:04 am

I think the real problem started when the television show ” Extreme couponing” or whatever it is came on.  I think that show infuriated businesses and I think it affected their bottom line more than just the regular couponers ever did.  It has affected the deals available I believe and I hae actually stopped shopping at Walgreens and Rite Aid, because the deals are always gone and they do not give rainchecks with the extra store dollars attached that you would earn if you bought the product.  I have discussed this with people working at the above two stores and I know they agree with me.  Keep up the good work.


Anne K March 9, 2012 at 4:26 pm

Yes I agree Heidi. The Extreme couponing show made a huge impact on coupon policies and store policies.  Lets hope that show goes away…….


Stasi Coffey March 9, 2012 at 11:01 am

It’s bad enough that we are living in a time where the economy is so unstable.  Granted the unemployment rate has gone down some, but not enough.  There are so many people living check to check, so saving money is on almost everyone’s mind.  I think that these retailers that have decided they don’t like that aren’t in my opinion being very business savvy.  If i owned a business i would think that a person coming in and saving money on an item is better than not selling said items at all.  In the end business end up asking themselves why are sales down, why are we closing our doors?? If you don’t respect your customers and show them that you care about their needs then they shouldn’t be suprised.  Do I think some of the money saving stuff is ridiculous, like standing behind the lady at Meijer while they rang up 36 packs of gum, and then 36 $1 off coupons therefore free, yes as a retailer i may get frustrated with that.  But overall why not help the consumers save, and they will be loyal to your business.  Repeat customers come back to a place because the experience was positive.  But to each there own, this frugal mama is going to do everything i can to help my family save.  The retailers in the end i think are going to lose out.  Especially if  they are marketing an item that may not be a necessity.  I mean come on if i can save a couple bucks on something i wouldn’t normally buy, then I am going to pick it up, but if not that item is going to sit on the shelf as i walk past it.  Just sayin…..  that is my opinion for the day 🙂


ms March 9, 2012 at 10:38 am

Thank you for posting this, I love your honesty! You are doing a wonderful job and I wish you lots and lots of success in the coming years . Thank you for all your hard work.


Lola March 9, 2012 at 10:17 am

Thanks so much for explaining this to us, even though you didn’t have to. We truly do appreciate all your hard work… God will bless you endlessly… 


Kim gates March 9, 2012 at 10:11 am

Wow companies are just something else!! It’s all about the bottom line and the same thing for consumers. But what they don’t understand the more I save somewhere the more I can use that somewhere else! If that budget is for $100 to eat out and  someone can save 50% then two companies can benefit someone eating out twice instead of only once. I know you can’t tell us the companies that do that but I sure do wish you could. I don’t blame you for what you’re doing. I’ve also found out that some companies put put good offers and then when you try to use them they change the offer. I just didn’t shop with them at all. Good luck and thanks for all of your hard work!! I enjoy reading your offers and will continue.  🙂


Lucylovesharold March 9, 2012 at 8:11 pm

I applaud you for all the hard work you do. Thank you so much .Please keep up the great job.


Brenda Faulkner March 9, 2012 at 10:07 am

Keep your chin up – we appreciate all that you do!


Stacy Sander- Slockbower March 9, 2012 at 10:03 am

So sorry but keep on keeping on you’re doing a great job! In this economy we can all use the help! I would love to have the list of who gives you a hard time or discourages you cause I would boycott their stores!


Carol March 9, 2012 at 9:55 am

wow – I can totally understand 🙁


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