June 11, 2011

Deciphering Coupons

Yes, those little inserts in the newspaper and in magazines really can make a difference – if you understand how to use them. So, let’s discuss coupon lingo first. These days, it seems that the price of everything is on the rise. If you walk through your grocery store or drive down the street and look at the fuel prices, you will probably agree. So, how can you keep more of what you have earned, while still giving your family the things it needs? The answer is simple – Coupons. 

ONE COUPON PER TRANSACTION. This means that you can only use on coupon each time you make a purchase. So, if you have 3 cereal coupons, you would need to make 3 separate transactions in order to use all of them.

ONE COUPON PER PURCHASE. When a coupon contains this verbiage, it means that you can use one coupon for each item you purchase. So, if you have a 3 coupons for cereal, you can purchase 3 boxes and use all 3 coupons in one transaction.

ONE COUPON PER VISIT. If your coupon states this, then you can only use one coupon each time you walk into the establishment. Going back to our 3 cereal coupons as our example – you can only use one coupon every time you go to the store and would need to leave and re-enter the store to use more than one on the same day.

ONE PER CUSTOMER: Some coupons limit usage to one per customer. This is just as it is written. Each customer is limited to using the coupon once. You can leave and return and use another, just not within the same transaction or visit.

BUY ONE GET ONE FREE:  When you buy the specified item as listed on the coupon, you can get something for absolutely NOTHING, or discounted if that is how it reads.

The catch with these coupons is that the manufacturer normally puts a limit on your free item. For example, it may say “not to exceed $3.49”. If the shelf price of the item that should be free is $3.59, you will be responsible for the difference of $0.10.

BUY ONE GET ONE AT “X” DISCOUNT: Some coupons will allow you to purchase one item at full price and then your next item can be a set dollar value or percentage off. The most common is a 50% discount. This equates to getting each  item 25% off when you do the math.

When you look at the coupon, you should completely disregard the photo you see printed on it.  Why? The wording identifies what product(s) the coupon can be used on. Many manufacturers will put a photo of the most expensive item in the product line, in hopes you will use it only for that item. This is difficult for some cashiers to understand. Always remain calm and collected and work with your cashier to help him or her understand the coupon as well.

Now that you know how to read your coupon, you need to know how to USE your coupons to your advantage.

A huge thanks to Pennypinchinmom for this incredibly informative money saving article!

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