How to Coupon – Understanding Coupon “Fine Print”
Here’s the situation: The grocery store gives customers a generous $2 off Bread coupon. Sounds easy enough, right? Then the Green Sign next to the bread says 2 for $5 sale…does that mean you have to buy 2 items to get the sale price? Are you going to have to pay separately for 2 loaves? Can you even purchase the sale item and use the coupon? Before you can get your freebies and cheapies you have to translate that manufacturer lingo and really learn how to coupon!
So let’s take a quick lesson in coupon interpretation so you can understand that “coupon fine print” and gain knowledge to maximize your Savings. Are you ready to become a “Know-It-All”? I sure hope so!
- The Sale is Separate from the Coupon: In our example, the sale is 2 for $5. Any sale that is “for” something means you are still able to purchase only ONE for the breakdown price (unless it states otherwise). So another common one is 10 for $10. Yes, you can purchase only one.
- “One Coupon Per Purchase” Verbiage: This is the next most confusing phrase. It is on every single coupon and it means that you can only use ONE coupon on your item. Each single item is a “purchase”. Even if you buy two. We tend to think that our entire shopping trip is our “purchase”, but legally, each individual item is a purchase and a coupon can be used on each of them. So to continue with our example, that means you could buy 2 loaves of bread, and use a coupon on each one.
- “One Per Customer” Verbiage: Now, in order to be a good couponer…you want to be sure that you follow the proper rules, and if that coupon says one per CUSTOMER, then you must stick to one coupon period. No matter how many items you purchase.
- Watch for Limitations – In January 2014, coupons started regularly printing limitations on coupons. The limits are typically “Limit of 4 Identical Coupons Per Shopping Trip”. That means you cannot use 5 or more coupons when you are buying that item. You will need to go out to your car, regroup, and shop on another day if you want to use more than four coupons. Sometimes it will state Limit 2 Coupons per Shopping Trip, that means you can only use 2 coupons! You can buy more items, but you cannot use more than 2 coupons, so you would be paying full price for those items.
- What’s that Cash Value? Those funny words “worth 1/20th of a penny” catch thorough readers. NO, you cannot gather 100 coupons and get actual cash instead. It is some legal wording that was added to the coupon during the Depression Era. It standardized the coupons across different manufacturing companies.
- Not Just A Pretty Picture: So many times the consumer will look at the picture and use the coupon on that product. The legal use of the coupon is the wording, not the photo. The photo is actually a Potential Consumer Distraction…watch your savings, not the photo.
- Beware Of The Expired Zone: It is against the rules to use a coupon after it has expired (we are careful to note if a coupon is going to expire before the sale is over…so you won’t get stuck when you use our list). But an important fact that consumers don’t realize: There IS an exception to this rule. The Raincheck! If your coupon is going to expire before the 30 day window of using your raincheck, you can still use your expired coupon and the store will still get reimbursed! It’s a grace period we all possibly need to utilize every once in a while.
Coupons can be intimidating, but once you learn How to Coupon and to translate all the fine print you will be able to properly use a coupon and get the biggest savings!
~Happy Educated Couponing!
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