Coupons 201: Coupon Types & Basic Stacking

by Beth Montgomery on January 3, 2009

in Coupons & Rebates

Once you figure out the art of stacking coupons, it’s really not as hard as it may seem. First, you’ll have to know the coupon lingo.

Store Coupons
Store coupons are coupons issued by the store and are good only at that store and stores that accept competitor coupons, such as Walmart and Meijer (general merchandise only). Store coupons are available through each store in different ways. Check out the 101 tips to find out where you can get a particular store’s coupons.

Watch out! Just because a coupon has a store’s logo on it, does not make it a store coupon. Read the coupon to see if it says “store” or “manufacturer”. For example, CRT or Catalina coupons that print with your receipt, often have a store logo on them. If they say “manufacturer” then they can be used at any store that takes manufacturer coupon. If you have problems using a manufacturer coupon with a store logo on it at a different store, simply cut the logo off, if you can without damaging the coupon.

Stores cover the cost/value of the coupon. They want you to bring in store coupons and buy the product, then shop around and buy even more.

Store coupons can be stacked with manufacturer and/or money-off-money coupons. You may not use two store coupons on one product, but you may use one per product purchased.

Manufacturer Coupons
Manufacturer coupons are issued by the product’s manufacturer and are good at any store that accepts coupons and sells that particular product. Manufacturers reimburse the store face value of the coupon plus a small amount of shipping & handling. They can be stacked with store and/or money-off-money coupons. You may not use two manufacturer coupons on one product, but you may use one per product purchased. Keep in mind, coupons that say $1 off 2 or B1G1 do count for two products.

Money-Off-Money Coupons
Money-off-money coupons or $/$$ coupons are store coupons or manufacter coupons that take money off of your entire purchase. They may be for particular product or for your entire purchase. For example, CVS often offers $4 off of a $20 purchase coupons. Always give these coupons to the cashier first, because you’ll want the money taken off your total before coupons and ECB. They can be stacked with store and/or manufacturer coupons. If your total is $40, some stores will let you use 2 $4/$20 coupons in one transaction. If a store will not, buy your purchases in two transactions.

Stores like Meijer offer coupons that state $1 off your $7 meat purchase or $1 off your $5 purchase of produce. Use these immediately after your $/$$ coupons for your entire total.

Doubling or Tripling Coupons
Some stores double coupons every day, while some stores offer sale days in which they double or even triple coupons up to a certain amount. In Indiana, Meijer, Marsh, and Kroger double coupons up to $0.50 every day, making a $0.50 coupon actually worth $1.00.

Now how do you stack them to get the best deal? Here is how…
Always read your coupons, because the small print actually matters. However, generally coupons work in the following manner:

  • 1 store coupon may be used per product purchased at that store
  • 1 manufacturer coupon may be used per product purchased
  • 1 $/$$ entire purchase coupon may be used per maximum amount (i.e. you can use 1 $5/$50 coupon for every $50 worth of products. To use two, you must spend $100)
  • 1 $/$$ specific product coupons may be used per maxium amount (i.e. you can use 1 $1/$7 worth of produce for every $7 you spend on produce. To use two, you must buy $14 worth of produce)

Please keep in mind that if your coupon says “$1 off 2″, B1G1, or something similar, that coupon counts for both of those products and to use two of those coupons, you must buy 4 products.

Now for an example. Lets say CVS issues a $3 off any skin care item and you get a $0.50 off Dove Beauty Bars coupon in the paper. Dove Beauty Bars are $4.98 for a two pack at CVS, so if you use both of these coupons (a store and manufacturer coupon) together, you get the Dove Beauty Bars for $1.48. However, if you wait until the Dove Beauty Bars are on sale for $3.98, you’ll be able to buy them for only $0.48. On top of that, if you have more purchases to make, you can use a $/$$ coupon to get your price down even more.

The key is to stack store coupons, manufacturer coupons, and $/$$ coupons on items that are on sale to get your price down as low as it can possibly go. If your store doubles or triples coupons, even better!

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