Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Some coupon usage guidelines

 I’d like to focus this post on some guidelines for coupon use. These are just some basic guidelines to follow when using coupons.
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.  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.
 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.
5) Don’t use a coupon past it’s expiration date.
6) I am pretty wary of PDF coupons.
7) If a coupon says it can’t be used with any other coupons, it can’t be stacked. Stacking is using a store coupon in addition to a manufacturer coupon for additional savings. Some other phrasing to look out for is not valid with any other offers,  and only one coupon is valid for the items.For a little more details about this please check out my earlier post Exceptions to Stacking Coupons
8 ) On the coupon websites ( etc) some coupons are regional, based on  your zip,  I do not use zips that I am not located at.
 These final two are quite the hot topic right now.  :)
9) I personally do not use or endorse any coupon clipping services. For a while I did use  them, but as I did more research I realized that the 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 link .
10) 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.

I hope this list isn’t too overwhelming for you. This is another reason why I believe it’s important to start your couponing  journey slowly. I’d love to hear what you think, also please let me know if you have any questions or need any clarification. Next week I'll be giving you some tips on how Buy one Get one Free coupons can be used.

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