Bad news, coupon cutters.
Chicago area Jewel-Osco stores, which allow shoppers to use expired coupons, is changing its coupon policy.
Starting May 1, the stores will no longer accept expired coupons.
Jewel-Osco spokeswoman Karen May did not explain the business rationale behind the decision, but issued a statement Tuesday explaining that the company prefers customers to use the stores' other money-saving promotions.
"This practice is being phased out given the wide range of in-store money-saving opportunities, including the use of Jewel-Osco's Preferred Card, regularly advertised sales, availability of online coupons, and special in-store promotions," May said.
Jewel-Osco stores will continue to accept valid coupons, which customers use by the thousands every day, May added.
Coupon-cutting expert Jill Cataldo, of Huntley, speculated that Jewel-Osco probably doesn't get reimbursed for old coupons, and with the recession pushing coupon use up, it might have been becoming a bigger loss for them.
Jewel-Osco's policy actually changed a year ago but not all of the stores enforced it, added Cataldo, who teaches coupon-cutting classes and runs supercouponing.com. She said she hasn't been able to use her expired coupons at her local Jewel for months.
"Jewel isn't the only game in town, though. Dominick's still takes them up to six months expired. And some Meijer's stores do. It's up to the individual stores," she said. "There are plenty of other ways to save at Jewel. I do the brunt of my shopping there."
Jewel shoppers reacted to the policy change with more understanding than anger. Liz Molli of Barrington Hills uses coupons for household staples and to try out new products at the Jewel in Barrington.
"I'm going to make it my priority to use as many of my expired coupons in the next two weeks," she joked.