Using coupons successfully can be a tricky thing to learn. However, if you take the time to learn to use them correctly and ethically, they will more than pay off in the end. In this lesson, we’re going to go over the basics of using them.
Reading the Coupon
First, lets look at the types of coupons available. Currently available are manufacturers coupons, store coupon and digital or e-coupons. There are certain things that ALL coupons will have. This includes the expiration date, coupon information section, type of coupon (manufacturer or store), and legal information.
First let’s look at a manufacturer coupon:
In this example, I’ve used an image of an expired printable coupon. You’ll see the in the top row of the coupon we have both the type of coupon and the expiration date. In this case, it is a manufacturer coupon that expires on 1/26/2011. The expiration date means that this coupon MUST HAVE been used by 1/26/2011 or it is no longer valid. The manufacturer coupon means that the manufacturer issued this coupon and it can be used any place that accepts coupons.
Below that you will see “Save $3.00 on One (1) BENGAY Pain Relief + Massage product.” This is the coupon information section. This section tells you what you have to purchase and how many of those items you must purchase in order to use the coupon. You’ll notice that it says “excluding trial sizes.” That means that this coupon is NOT valid on trial sizes and must be used on a full sized product.
Next you see the legal information for the coupon. This section contains all of the necessary mumbo jumbo information for the coupon. You want to pay attention to this area because it contains the remit to address (the address the store send the coupon to redeem), any limits (like 4 per shopping trip) and all legal info.
Store coupons are done pretty much the same, with the exception that the coupon type section will say “X coupon” (as in Target coupon or Publix coupon)
Digital or E-coupons are coupons that are loaded onto your shopper card for a specific store. They can only be used at that store and are “scanned” when your shoppers card is scanned and you have the correct item/number of items needed for the coupon to redeem.
The Actual Useage of Coupons:
I had a reader email me the other day and ask about this so I wanted to explain it. Say you have a coupon that says “Save 1.50 off 2 Tide products, 32 load or larger,” in order to use this coupon you MUST purchase 2 32 load packages of Tide detergent. You can not buy 1 package and still use this coupon and if you purchase 3, the coupon will deduct only $1.50 from the 3. This does not mean $1.50 off each bottle, it means $1.50 off 2 bottles as a whole.
Some stores will allow your coupons to double. In my area, Kroger, Giant Eagle and Meijer all double. What this means is that in my case, at my Kroger (which doubles to .99) a .75 off coupon will become 1.50 off but a $1.00 off coupon will remain at $1.00. Doubling coupons can be a GREAT way to really rack up some additional savings. Contact your local store to see if they double coupons. Make sure to ask them about the $$ amount it’s limited to and any limits for the # of coupons you can use per transaction.
Same principle as double coupons and if you have a store that triples? I want to live where you do. LOL!
Go run and grab a current Procter and Gamble coupon. Go on, I’ll wait.
Remember where the legal info section is? Read it. “Limit 4 like coupons per transaction.” What does this mean? Well first, let’s make sure you understand what a transaction is. This is something that is misunderstood A LOT in the couponing world. Each time you pay for something it is a transaction. So if I go thru the line and I have 40 items that I split up into groups of 20, I pay twice, that is 2 transactions. A purchase is each item. If I have 10 toothbrushes, that is 10 purchases.
Procter and Gamble coupons (as well as some others) have a limit of how many can be used per transaction. You MUST follow the rules on this or the manufacturer can refuse to redeem the coupon and the store ends up losing money.
Those are the basics. Hopefully it’s enough to get you started. As always, if you have ANY questions at all, please feel free to contact me using the email button (looks like an envelope) to your right.