Couponing 101

Couponing 101:  Basics
Please read this section thoroughly if you are new to couponing.  It may seem simple but you never know when you will have to argue with a cashier who doesn't understand how coupons work!  You may also learn a little something along the way :)

Types of coupons:

Manufacturing Coupons

State "Manufacturer Coupon"


 Store Coupons 

 States the store name or store coupon on the coupon.



Fine Print?!    What the wording really means.  Yes you need to know this!
  •  Pay attention to the wording of the coupon NOT the picture.  Usually manufacturers will put an expensive type on the coupon. 
    • Example:  If a coupon reads "Good for $1.00 off any Colgate toothpaste 4.0 oz or larger" then you can use this on Colgate toothpaste that meets the size requirement as long as it is Colgate brand.  Another example is a coupon that states "Good for $1.00 off any Colgate toothpaste" which is ANY Colgate toothpaste regardless of size.  Often you can receive trial sizes for free this way or smaller packages of a product!

  • "Limit One Per Purchase"  - This means one coupon per item purchased NOT transaction. 
    • Example: If you purchase two tubes of toothpaste and have coupons for $1.00 off you can use one coupon per item so 2 ($1.00/1 toothpaste) in a single transaction as long as you have the items.  Only 1 manufacturer coupon PER item!

    • "One Coupon Per Transaction or Customer" means exactly that.  You can only use one coupon in a single transaction or one coupon per customer of that type.  This means you can use other coupons for your other items.  
      • Example: You have a BOGO coupon for tea.  The coupon states "One coupon per customer" meaning you can only use 1 coupon.  This does not apply to other coupons for different items such as a coupon on toothpaste as mentioned above. 
    • "Do Not Double" means the coupon does not double.  If you are ever unsure if a coupon can be doubled, a trick is to look at the bottom of the coupon at the bar code.   If the coupon starts with a '5' it will double however if it starts with a '9' it doesn't.   A common saying for Do Not Double coupons that start with a 5 is, "Your Mileage May Vary" or YMMV
      • Example:
    <-- This may double even if it says differently.

    <-- Do not expect coupons starting with a 9 to scan at double!

    -->Coupons with Sale Prices Only<-- 

     Use coupons to get items free. Using the toothpaste example (it is very easy to score free toothpaste), if Crest is on sale for $0.88 and I have a $1.00/1 coupon, I get the toothpaste for free!  This is also why you only use your coupons with items on sale unless they are about to expire and you need the item.


    Stacking Coupons

    You can't use 2 manufacturer coupons on the same item ever. 

    Item A can only have 1 manufacturer coupon however it can also have 1 store coupon as well!  In the pictures above, you can use both coupons and save big! The "formula" for success with couponing is:

    Sale + Manufacturer Coupon + Store Coupon + Stockpile = Savings

    Stockpiling is desired because you have items you need for inexpensive prices rather than going out and purchasing items as you need them.  If you are limited for space, only stockpile enough goods to last three months as this is the approximate time coupons and sales cycle.

    Do not buy large!!!!  If you have 3 similar coupons you should buy the smallest possible with the coupons to save the most.

    Doubling and Tripling 

    Find a store that doubles coupons and triples coupons!  You will save a lot of money this way.  You can still save a lot of money if your store doesn't double or triple.  Usually these store offer more store coupons to stack with manufacturer and sale items.

    Reward Programs

    Reward programs are amazing to help you get items for free.  Many drug stores offer reward programs and you can roll rewards week to week and get items for next to nothing! Example: $2.00 off your next order or $2.00 register rewards (+UP) etc.

    Walgreens: Register Rewards (no card needed!)

    Where do I get coupons and savings?!

    Here are the traditional inserts (coupon "books") in the Sunday paper:

    If you get RP you will prob get SS as well

    Red Plum (RP)
    Click HERE to find out what papers carry RP in your area

    P&G (comes once a month around the 1st)

    This is a preview of what you can expect in the inserts

    *** Amounts and quantity vary regionally ***

    Other inserts show up time to time from other manufacturers like GM and Pepsi for example.

    Here are some of the online printing sites I use:

    Savings attached to saving card: (gives you CASH BACK!)

    Please feel free to post a comment with additional saving sites!

    Congrats!  You have learned the first steps to couponing.  If you are ready to proceed click HERE.