Couponing Basics to Extreme and Everything in Between Part 2: Coupon 101
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This is Part 2 in a series on Couponing Basics to Extreme and Everything in Between that even a very beginner can master this month. Today’s topic is Coupon 101.
Whether or not you are trying to eat healthier, feed your family more nutritious meals, or just get that paycheck to stretch until the next paycheck we could all save a little money using coupons. My hope is that after you have learned and implemented my tips and resources you will be able to strategically use coupons as a tool in your mom toolbox to save your family money.
In case this is the first time you have came to my blog my name is Shannah Holt and I’m a mom of 8 kids (and 8 furbabies). I’m also a SAHM that has homeschooled for about 15 years now, so living on one income and sometimes less than that with a large family I’ve had to learn the hard way how to stretch that paycheck to survive. I just want to share my tips so you don’t have to go through as much struggle as I have.
Here is a video from a live presentation I did on my Facebook page. I do post tips each day if you would like to check them out here is my page: Fit Frugal Life Facebook Page
One of the first things when you are learning about Coupons is knowing the terminology. There are things like just the letter Q stands for a Coupon, and B1G1 stands for Buy 1 Get 1 Free, but without knowing what these stand for it all looks like a foreign language, right?
So I created a free Cheat Sheet for you to download, print, and take with you to the store when you shop. It will have the abbreviations and lingo used with coupons and some bonus explanations on things as well. Just scroll down to the bottom to get that now!
Reading the fine print on anything is annoying, especially if you’re like me and have to break out a pair of glasses to do it, but that tiny little print on the coupon is really important and understanding what it means can empower and give you the confidence to know you are using them correctly. Not to mention avoid frustration and confrontation at checkout. Understanding what the coupon fine print means is a necessity in the coupon world, so I will go over a few of these with you today.
Limit One Coupon Per Purchase:
Purchase means you can use one type of coupon for each individual item purchased. So, if you purchase 1, 3, or 5 items, for example, you can use the same number of coupons. Keep in mind if the coupon is for 2 or more products ($1.00 off 2) you need to purchase 2 products for each coupon you use. Limiting the coupon product purchase is meant to keep you from using the same coupon twice on one product.
Limit 1-4 coupon per transaction:
When you see this phrase in the fine print, you can only use the specified number of coupons per item, and per shopping trip. For example, if your coupon states limit 2 coupons per shopping trip, you can only use two coupons for that shopping trip, and will have to come back another time to use any additional coupons for that product you may have.
Store Coupon VS. Manufacturer Coupon:
You can combine a store and manufacturer coupon to get a bigger discount on the purchase of a single product in the same transaction. Even if both coupons say “Limit one coupon per transaction,” most stores do allow for both coupons to be used together. Shoppers are allowed to combine Store Catalina coupons and Money Off store coupons with all other manufacturers coupons. Just double check that store’s policy.
Available/Redeemable at Walmart, Target, Walgreens or Other Store:
Many of the printable coupons from Coupons.com have a store suggestion on them. Keep in mind, this is only a suggestion. Some retailers like Walmart pay to have their names printed on manufacturer coupons, but this doesn’t mean you can’t use them at other stores. Unless the coupon specifically states ONLY valid at that particular store you can use it anywhere that accepts coupons.
Can Not Be Combined With Any Other Coupon:
When you see a manufacturer coupon with “Cannot be combined with any other coupon,” it doesn’t mean you can’t use a store coupon on top of the manufacturer coupon. Since the store coupon is basically a one time sale offer from the store and the manufacturer coupon is an offer from that product. If the store’s policy is to accept both you can use them together. What the coupon means is you can not use (or combine) two manufacturer coupons for the same item.
Limit 1-4 Coupon(s) Per Visit:
“One per visit” means you can only use one identical coupon per shopping trip. If you have multiple identical coupons that have this verbiage, you’ll have to return to the store another day to use them. Many extreme couponers simply walk out and then walk back in and that means “visit”, but that is your call.
Limit One Coupon(s) Per Customer or Household:
Even if you have four of the same coupon with the phrase “One per customer” or “One per person” you can’t use more than one total.
A lot of couponers assume that the product(s) shown on a coupon are the only items eligible for the discount. This is often not the case. Make sure to read the listed products and sizes. Most often you’ll have more than what’s shown as an optional purchase. Cashier’s may not know this either and you will have to kindly explain. I’ve personally had to explain it to a CSM at Walmart. It is just like in child rearing pick your battles.
Are you brand loyal? What I mean is do you buy specific brands on certain items? Will you only buy Ragu spaghetti sauce, Scott toilet paper, or Crest toothpaste? If you will only use these brands it won’t do you any good to stock up on Quilted Northern toilet paper or Prego spaghetti sauce. Sure you can find coupons on those brands, but you will find that you can save more if you open yourself up to try other brands.
Just because it is a good deal doesn’t mean you should buy it. Will someone in your family use it? For example getting Almay cosmetics for $1 is a steal, but if you don’t wear make up but once every 6 months you shouldn’t buy it.
Only stock up on the amount your family will use before it expires. I personally purchased a 20-30 bottles of vitamins for pennies, but unfortunately allowed many of them to sit on the shelf and expire.
Finally what would you buy if money was not an issue? You may be used to buying generic or a cheaper brand than you would like. What if you can get that one you WANT for the same price or even costs less? So coupons will be able to help you with that.
There isn’t and won’t be a coupon on EVERYTHING you need to buy, but what happens when you start using coupons on things you can you will have money leftover for those other things that don’t have coupons. You will even some coupons that will cover more than the cost of an item and the excess will be put towards your total cost of everything you are purchasing. We will cover more about this later and does depend on the store and coupon you are using.
If you have any questions just comment below and I would be happy to answer those for you and if you know anyone looking to get started with coupons please share this with them.