Types of Coupons and Proper Usage

Welcome back to my series on using coupons! If you missed the first post you can check it out here.

Okay, so now you know what couponing is about, so let’s take a look at the actual coupons and the proper ways to use them.

There are two types of coupons.

  • Manufacturer’s Coupons
  • Store Coupons

Manufacturer Coupons


Manufacturer’s coupons are provided by the manufacturer of the product. (Examples include: General Mills and Procter & Gamble) These coupons will say “Manufacturer Coupon” somewhere on them and will include a remit address for the store to redeem them for reimbursement.

When you see a manufacturer’s coupon, it means the manufacturer of the products is telling you that if you buy their product, they will give you a discount when using their coupon.

Store Coupons


Store coupons are provided by specific stores. (Examples include: Publix and Target) These coupons may or may not say “store coupon,” but they will have the name of the store on them somewhere. They will also have a different type bar-code and/or number than you will see on manufacturer coupons.

When you see a store coupon, it means the store is telling you that if you will buy a certain product at their store, they will give you a discount when using their coupon.

Stacking Coupons

Now I’ll tell you the wonderful thing about these two types of coupons. You can combine them, also known as stacking coupons. In other words, if you have a manufacturer coupon and a store coupon for the same item, you can use both at the same time for that one item.

Here is why this works. The store doesn’t care if you use a manufacturer coupon because they will get reimbursed after you buy the product. The manufacturer doesn’t care if you use a store coupon because they are only interested in the fact that you purchased their product. Everyone wins!

Proper Coupon Usage

There are five main things to remember when using coupons.

  1. Always go by the wording on the coupon, not the picture, and read the fine print to see if there are exclusions or inclusions. The most common will be sizes exclusions, like “excludes trial sizes,” or inclusions, like “only good for 20 oz or larger.” If the coupon does not exclude, or only include, certain sizes, it can be used for any size, even a trial sized product. Also if the coupon states that is is good for $1 off 2, that means you must buy 2 of the product to use the coupon.
  2. You can only use one manufacturer coupon and one store coupon per item. If you buy two of a particular item, you can use up to two manufacturer coupons and two store coupons, unless the store coupon prohibits usage of more than one store coupon per transaction, per customer, or per day.
  3. Use two coupons on a Buy One, Get One sale. It is a common misconception that if a product is on Buy One, Get One sale, you can only use one coupon, however, you are still purchasing two items. This is the case whether it rings up as half off each item or whether it rings up with the first product at regular price and the second as free. The store will still get reimbursed from the manufacturer for both items because they still sold you both items. In rare cases a store may deny the use of the coupon for the free product in a buy one, get one sale, but generally they don’t mind. (The exception to this would be if,  for instance,  you had a coupon for $1 off 2 items. Then you could only use one coupon because the coupon requires the purchase of two products.)
  4. Know the store policy regarding coupons. Obviously different stores will have different coupon policies. Some are set by corporate, such as Walmart and Target, and others are determined locally. It is up to you to find out the policy at your store(s). Some things you want to know are:
    • Do they double or triple coupons? If so, everyday or just specific days?
    • Do they accept internet printable coupons? If so, are there limits to how many or the dollar amount accepted?
    • Do they accept competitors coupons? If so, who do they consider a competitor?
  5. NEVER copy coupons!! I have to add this one because some people do not realize that you cannot copy a printed coupon. Just because they look like a copy when you print them on a black and white printer does not mean you can copy them. The manufacturer only allows a certain amount of coupons to be printed and then the coupons are no longer available unless they reset the print limit. Most of the coupons have specific pin numbers on each one. Therefore, once the manufacturer reimburses for a coupon with a specific pin number they will not pay anything for another coupon with the same pin. If you use an original and a copied coupon, the store will not get reimbursed for one of them.

Well, I think that pretty much sums up coupons and how to use them. Now I’m sure you want to know where to find all those coupons, so come back tomorrow for Where to Find Coupons.

If something didn’t make sense or if you have any questions, please let me know in the comments sections and I’ll do my best answer your questions.

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Posted on March 24th, 2010 in Money Matters | One Comment

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