Welcome to Couponing in California! This is a new series that is geared towards new couponers–or those that need a little refreshing. I realize that learning to coupon is about as easy as learning a new language– so I hope to help those that are trying to learn–hopefully in a understandable way
Here are the basics on where to find coupons, coupon terms (what DOES that fine print mean?) and a little bit on coupon ethics.
Internet Printable Coupons:
:: Print coupons from home
:: Download software
:: You can print 2 coupons per computer
:: Once you print the first, hit backscreen 3x to print a second
:: Or go back to the homepage
Best sources for Printable Coupons:
Coupons added to your shopper card.
Accepted at Ralphs, & Vons, Stater Brothers
Sites to load E-Coupons:
Other Places to get Coupons:
- Store booklets
- Company website
- E-bay or coupon clipping site
- Friends, family, co-workers, coupon train
Anatomy of a Coupon:
All coupons have an expiration date. (it is fairly rare that you will not find an expiration date)
If the coupon’s expiration date is 12/6/2011, you can use the coupon until 11:59 pm on 12/6/2011.
How much will be deducted from your purchase.
How you know what the coupon is for.
If the coupon says “save on ANY xyz product” then it truly can be used on any, not just what is pictured.
- The picture can be useful if you have never heard of the product, and can help you locate the item on the shelf.
- Advertising for the manufacturer.
- The picture is NOT what is important.
- The manufacturer’s generally put the newest or most expensive product in the picture, obviously hoping you will buy that product.
- As long as you follow what is in the wording of the coupon, you can usually get the lowest priced product which is generally the better deal
- Information for the retailers including the coupon redemption address.
- There are usually one or two lines that are intended for the consumer. Limit one coupon per purchase? Coupons typically have some version of that statement.
Limit one coupon per purchase:
- Each product in an overall transaction is considered one purchase.
- If the coupon is for $1 off 2 boxes of cereal and you buy 2 boxes, that is 1 purchase.
- If you bought 2 more, that is another purchase and you can use another $1/2 coupon. You can not use 2 coupons on 1 product.
Limit one coupon per transaction:
This indicates that only one like coupon may be used in a single transaction. Each transaction is concluded with a receipt.
Limit one coupon per day/visit:
You can only use one of those coupons per store visit.
Limit one coupon per person/customer/household:
You can only use one of these coupons.
Not valid on travel/trial size:
- This means the coupon cannot be redeemed on a trial size item.
- If it does not have this verbiage, and does not specify a size, then any size (even trial) is applicable.
Do not double:
- The do not double wording is the one exception to the terms.
- Coupons that specify “do not double” will still double if the first number is a 5.
- The store is offering the discount on the doubled portion.
- If the barcode starts with a 9, the coupon will not double automatically.
- Knowingly misusing coupons.
- You cannot photo copy coupons! This is a federal offense. It would be just like photocopying actual money.
- Coupon fraud is a very expensive cost to manufacturers who issue grocery coupons.
Use coupons ONLY as stated:
- Read the fine print.
- If it reads, “good for the products pictured above,” don’t use it on other products – even if it will scan at checkout.
- If the coupon states “limit one per household,” it’s just that. One per household.
Use coupons within store policies:
- Know your store’s coupon policy.
- Ask questions if you are unclear.
No obnoxious, overly aggressive coupon tactics:
While this is subjective, I think we can all agree asking a cashier to do 30 transactions back-to-back for you is obnoxious.
I think we can also agree buying all 50 of a store’s brand X shampoo is obnoxious (because now no one else can do the deal).
I’m all for stockpiling, but there are polite ways to go about doing it (such as contacting the store ahead of time to see if they can order extra stock).
Be considerate of others.
When to use your Coupons:
- Don’t use your Coupon Right Away:
- 3 – 4 weeks.
- Wait for rock bottom price.
- My favorite coupon secret!
- 1 Manufacturer Coupon and 1 Store Coupon on 1 Item!!
- Target, Albertson’s, Vons, Ralphs, Walgreens, and Rite Aid, CVS (to name a few) all have store coupons and allow them to be stacked with a manufacturer coupon!
- You can never use 2 manufacturer coupon on 1 item.
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