Monday, September 14, 2009

Understanding Coupons

I have had several questions in regard to using coupons lately. I hope this answers your questions! Feel free to leave comments with questions too.

Coupons are incentives to buy products. Using coupons to your advantage doesn't mean always using every coupon out there. You have to be smart, combine the coupon with a sale or clearance price, rebates, and promotions. Coupons have expiration dates to watch. Some coupons can be doubled, which means if the coupon is $1/1 item, you would get $2/1 instead. That's one way you can get ahead! Always read the fine print on your coupons before you use them to make sure you are matching up the item and coupon correctly.

Manufacturer coupons: These are coupons put out by the companies to entice you to purchase their products. These kinds of coupons can be printable coupons, Sunday coupons, mailer coupons. It will say 'manufacturer coupon' at the top of the coupon. When you use these coupons on a product at the store, the store is reimbursed the value of the coupon plus 8 cents. You cannot combine two manufacturer coupons on the same product.

Store coupons: These coupons are store specific, usually in their weekly ads. Unless other stores accept competitor coupons, you can only use store coupons at the store specified. You CAN combine store coupons and manufacturer coupons on the same purchase. For example, let’s say Walgreens has Trident gum on sale for $2 per package. They also have a store coupon in their weekly ad you can use that is $1 off each package. BUT, you also have a manufacturer coupon from the newspaper for another $1 off. Use both coupons together and you will get free gum! All you will pay is sales tax.

Printable coupons: These coupons are found online. Printable coupons are manufacturer coupons. Generally you are allowed to print 2 copies of each coupon from printable coupon websites. It is illegal to photocopy coupons!! But you can print them in black and white.

Peelies: These are the coupons you find stuck to store items that you peel off. These are most of the time manufacturer coupons.

Blinkies: Coupons in the red boxes attached to store shelves. When you pull out the coupon, another one generates to be pulled out. These are also manufacturer coupons.

How do you use your coupons when purchasing items? Read your coupon. It will tell you how many items you need to buy to use it. It might say $1 off one item, or $1 off 2 items. There is also some common coupon terms and usage meanings that you need to understand.

"One coupon per purchase": This means that you can use one coupon per item, with the item considered to be the purchase. For example, if you had 5 identical packages of gum and 5 grocery coupons for that gum, you could use all 5 coupons for your order. You could not use 2 identical coupons if you were only buying one pack of gum because that would be more than "one coupon per purchase." Don't confuse this term with "one coupon per transaction." A transaction is your entire purchase order you are making, not individual items.

"One coupon per transaction": This means that you can only use that specific coupon once per order. If a shopper had more than one coupon, they could use one coupon per store visit, which would be one coupon per order.

"One coupon per household": This is the most restrictive coupon term. Some coupons are so generous that stores will limit their liability by making sure shoppers do not make multiple trips to the store to use several coupons.

Please remember that any store can make decisions on how they decide to interpret the coupons. Sometimes they don't understand the terms the way the manufacturer intended them to be interpreted. If you politely explain the terms to them, they are more likely to accept your coupon. GO HERE to see store coupon policies. When using coupons on Buy 1 Get 1 Free items, many times you can use 2 for each item. The first coupon on the item you are buying, the second coupon for the item you are getting free. But this varies from store to store, so your mileage may vary.

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