Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Couponing Rules and Tips

Couponing Rules and Tips

There is so much to learn about couponing, it can be overwhelming when you first start out.  Here are a few rules of couponing that you will want to know before venturing out into the coupon world!

1. Coupons may only be used once.  If you want to buy 3 boxes of cereal, and have one coupon for $1, only $1 will be taken off of one box.  The coupon does not apply for each item, unless you have more than one coupon.

2. You may use one coupon per indicated items purchased. If you have two coupons to save $1 on one box of cereal, you can buy two boxes and use both coupons.  The coupon will say “one coupon per purchase.”  This means you may not use both $1 coupons on one box.  If you purchase two boxes then you may use two coupons.

3. You may not use two coupons on one item. You may not buy one package of diapers and use ten coupons on it.  You may only use one of your coupons on the diapers.  The exception to this is if you have a store coupon, you can use one store coupon and one manufacturer coupon on one item.  Ex. You have a Rite Aid coupon from the ad, and you have a manufacturer coupon from the Sunday paper.  You can use BOTH on one item!

4. Coupons may not be copied.  Copying coupons is illegal. You can obtain multiples of coupons in legal ways like buying multiple newspapers, or printing 2 coupons from a website. DO NOT, however, print a coupon, scan it, and print the same one from the scanner.  When stores find out a coupon has been copied, they can choose not to accept ANY coupons.

5. Read the wording of the coupon and ignore the picture! Manufacturer’s usually put a picture of their most expensive product on the coupon to make you think that is what you have to buy.  If you actually read the terms of the coupon, it will usually say “save on ANY brand xyz product.”  That means you can buy even the least expensive product and still save with the coupon!  Check for size restrictions.  Often coupons will exclude trial sizes, or say something like "valid only on 8oz or larger". 

6. You can use a coupon on an item that is on sale or clearance too! Occasionally I will have a store clerk tell me otherwise, but it is usually cleared up with a chat with a manager or a call to corporate. You can find great deals in the clearance section!

7. If a product rings up higher than advertised or they miss one of your coupons, let them know!  I always read over my receipt before I leave the store to make sure everything is correct.  Any mistakes over $1 are pointed out to customer service.  Sometimes coupons stick together, so watch carefully as the cashier scans them!

8. Try to plan your trip ahead of time.  If I make my list before I leave home, and estimate my total minus coupons, it is a lot easier to find a mistake in pricing!  Usually if my total is $5-$10 more than I planned, it is because I forgot one of my coupons in my envelope!

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