Learning The Rules

Key# 5: Learning The Couponing RulesNow that you understand the concept of organizing your coupons, the next step is to learn how the stores in your area handle coupons. Since there are hundreds of stores across the US and each one has a different coupon policy you will need to do your homework!

Begin with making a list of all the stores that you have in your area, this list may be bigger than you think because once you learn how to coupon effectively you will probably find yourself shopping at stores that you previously thought were “too expensive” because they have better deals after coupon and sales in the long run.

Familiarize yourself with the coupon policy for each store. Ask at the customer service desk or check out our Store Coupon Policy page. Policies can vary by store, chain and area of the country. In order to play by the rules and make sure that you are couponing ethically and honestly it is your job to stay up to date on the coupon policies for

Double Coupons

Most stores nationwide accept manufacturer’s coupons at face value (meaning a 50¢ coupon will take 50¢ off the specified product), but in certain markets some stores offer special promotions called double coupons where the store will double the face value of a coupon up to a certain amount. For example you may find a store that doubles coupons up to 50¢ so a coupon for 50¢ will now be worth $1.00. Each store has their own rules though, so find out what they are. Some stores offer double coupons everyday while others only run double coupon events periodically. Some stores even triple coupons, although this is rare.

You do NOT need to have a store that offers double coupons in order to save money. Only about 25% of stores nationwide offer double coupons and there are still plenty of deals to be had at stores that do not offer these types of promotions. Some stores that offer double coupons will hike up the prices to compensate. The grass is not always greener on the other side so do not be discouraged if you do not have a store that offers double coupons in order to save the big bucks!

Store Coupons

Some stores issue their own store only coupons. These coupons are different than manufacturer’s coupons in that the store is the one that covers the cost of these store coupon promotions. Many stores (but not all) will allow you to stack their store coupons with a manufacturer’s coupon.

Example:

  • (Store Coupon) $1.00 off 1 Tide Laundry Detergent
  • (Manufacturer’s Coupon) $1.00 off 1 Tide Laundry Detergent
  • Stack the two coupons and you save $2.00 off 1 Tide Laundry Detergent!

Stacking store coupons and manufacturer’s coupons is a great way to find awesome deals!

Competitors Coupons

In order to be competitive in the grocery or drug store market, some stores will accept competitor store coupons. These can be store only coupons found in the sale ad flyer, coupons for free gift cards when you transfer a prescription and even Catalina coupons. These stores want your business, give it to them!

Loyalty Cards

Many grocery & drug stores offer a store loyalty card, make sure you sign up for one. Not only do some stores require it to get the sale prices, having the cards can reward you with some great perks as well. Some stores have baby & pet clubs that allow you to accumulate points whenever you purchase baby or pet items, those points add up for coupons or additional savings. Also many stores offer eCoupons that can be loaded to your loyalty card and there may be other bonus perks like gas savings, prescriptions savings etc.

Types of Coupons Accepted

Most grocery, drug and mass retailers accept coupons, although not all of them do. For the stores that take coupons you will want to find out the rules for that store on what types of coupons they accept. In particular some stores have decided not to accept printable coupons due to the amount of coupon fraud that has come about because of unscrupulous people who have abused them or created counterfeit printable coupons. Additionally you will want to find out if your stores offer eCoupons or if they have restrictions on any other type of coupon.

Expired Coupons

A very small handful of stores (mostly located in the Midwest) accept expired coupons. These select stores will accept expired coupons for up to 3 to 6 months past their expiration date. However, we want to emphasis that these stores are very rare and most stores do not accept expired coupons. On the other hand our military families that are stationed overseas can use expired coupons for up to 6 months past their expiration date!

Once you do your homework and learn the particulars about how coupons work at your stores you are ready to go shopping and save money! Let’s put it all together and save in the final step – Key #6: Let’s Go Shopping!