Coupon Usage Guidelines

1) Never photocopy a coupon.

2) Use a coupon for what it’s intended to be used for. I’m sure some of you have run into issues at the grocery store with a cashier saying that the item you are purchasing doesn’t match the picture on the coupon. That’s not what I’m talking about here. If a coupon says $2/1 ANY Huggies Diapers, it can be used on ANY Huggies diapers. Now, if the coupon says $2/1 Huggies Pure and Natural Diapers, it can only be used on Huggies Pure and Natural. It’s not valid on any other type of Huggies diapers. Read the phrasing on the coupon that is next to the dollar amount. If it specifies that it can only be used on a certain product, it’s only valid on that product. Sometiemes there a few products listed on a coupon ex $1/2 Kellogg’s Raisin bran, Frosted Flakes, or Fruit Loops, it can be used on any of those three products when you purchase two of them .

3) Only one manufacturer coupon can be used per item if it’s a $1/1 coupon. If the quantity is different see #4,  Sometimes cashiers do not understand this rule. When a cashier tells you that you cannot use 3 coupons for Huggies when you’ve bought 3 Huggies they are mistaken, unless the coupon is limited to once per transaction, or once per shopping trip, or once per person/household. You can use 3 Huggies coupons only when you buy 3 packages of Huggies diapers. I do not advocate using a Buy One Get One Free coupon in addition to a  cents off coupon.

4)Always read the fine print on the coupon, check for brand, quantity and size. Remember that if a coupon is for a specific item(s) , only those items can be purchased. When a coupon states $1/2 , two items must be purchased. One more thing, if you have (2) coupons for $2 off, and (1) coupon for $1/2, in order to use all three coupons you’d need to purchase 4 applicable items. Some coupons now say 1 per household/transaction/day follow these guidelines as well.

5) When using a digital coupon, keep in mind that  it’s a manufacturer coupon and it cannot be stacked (used) with another manufacturer paper coupon or digital coupon. This goes back to #3, only one manufacturer coupon per item.

6) Don’t use a coupon past it’s expiration date.

6) Another hot topic right now is SavingsStar. SavingsStar is a website with manufacturer coupons that you can load on to your store loyalty cards. Savings star coupons are not deducted at the register, once you reach $5 in value from SavingsStar coupons you can “cash” them out and get an Amazon Gift Card, Paypal payment, or have them deposited into your checking account. When SavingsStar first came out, many experienced couponers asked them a question, and their response was very interesting to me.

This is a quote from the SavingsStar FAQ*

I emphasized a portion of Saving’sStar’s response*.

Do SavingStar eCoupons stack with in-store discounts or manufacturer’s coupons?SavingStar eCoupons will work whether or not you combine them with other services’ coupons, but they are not intended to be used this way. Generally, manufacturers state that it is against their policies for shoppers to redeem more than one manufacturer’s coupon for the same purchase. Using in-store coupons in combination with SavingStar eCoupons is not a problem.In the future, we may implement mechanisms to limit the combination of SavingStar eCoupons with other manufacturer coupons.

For this reason, I do not encourage my readers to use SavingsStar coupons with a manufacturer coupon.

There is one exception to this sometimes Savingstar will have a coupon that says $5/$15 x brand. These are similar to catalina’s and can be stacked with a manufacturer coupon.

7) I am pretty wary of PDF coupons.

8) Don’t clear shelves. A stockpile of your favorite products should be enough to last you until the next sale. Buy enough of your favorite products when they are on sale to last you 2-3 months depending on what part of the country you live in.

8) When you see a coupon attached to a product, they are called peelies, don’t take the coupon off if you are not purchasing the product.

10)When you see a pad of coupons, take a couple for your family. Please don’t take the whole stack there are other couponers who want the tearpad coupons too.

11) I personally do not use or endorse any coupon clipping services. The reason for it is this  stores are not getting reimbursed from the manufacturer for them. If you’d like some more information about this check out Jill Catlaldo’s website, she’s one of the top coupon trainers in America. Here’s the linkhttp://www.jillcataldo.com/no_more_selling_coupon

12)) The print limit for most coupons is two.  The coupons that you get from Coupons.com, Red Plum, and Smartsource have limits of two prints,After you print your first, you may print another. If the coupon says only one per household/transaction/day, please follow those guidelines ..  Some websites limit the prints to one, the coupon does not always state that we may only use one, so sometimes we need to check on the website we print it on. In order to find out the limits on the prints check the fine print on the page where you access the coupons.

13 ) On the coupon websites (coupons.com etc) some coupons are regional, based on your zip, I do not use zips that I am not located at. While it may seem unfair certain regions are offered higher valued coupons. I only enter my zip code for these coupons because there is a possibility that the stores will not be reimbursed for the value of the coupon by the manufacturer if it was used outside of the region it was intended for.

14) If a coupon says it can’t be used with any other coupons, it can’t be stacked. Some Manufacturer’s may also say it may not be combined with other coupons or offers. Both of these phrases mean the same thing. Stacking is using a store coupon in addition to a manufacturer coupon for additional savings. I’ll get into this a little more in a moment

Here are some exceptions to stacking coupons.You can still stack sometimes and definitely save a lot of money. Coupon guidelines have gotten a lot stricter since Extreme Couponing came out, but there are still lots of ways to save both time and money while using coupons.When stacking coupons (using a manufacturer and a store coupon) at your favorite store always double check to make sure that they don’t indicate “no other coupon may be used with this coupon” or ” may not be combined with other offers” or “only one coupon valid for items”. Many manufacturer coupons are starting to state this in the fine print, so they cannot be stacked with store coupons. Let me know if you have any questions about this.

I hope this list isn’t overwhelming to you. I’ve seen a lot of coupon misuse since I started couponing 4 years ago, in part due an emphasis on shows like Extreme Couponing where coupon misuse is very prevalent.

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