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Monday, October 18, 2010

Getting Started: Coupon Basics

So you have never used a coupon before and don't know where to start. Well I am here for you so let's start at the beginning with a basic overview of what a coupon is and isn't and how exactly they work.

What is a Manufacturer Coupon?
A manufacturer’s coupon is usually a slip of paper with a discount for a specified product printed on it.  Click Here to find out where to find coupons.These coupons can be used at most stores that sell the product specified.

How do I use a Coupon?
 To use your coupon you must first, bring your item to the register and have it scanned. Once the item is scanned you will give your cashier your coupon which she will also scan (the cashier will keep your coupon). This will take the amount of the coupon off of your total balance. You will then pay for the remaining balance.

Does the store lose money when I use coupons? 
NO! Some misinformed cashiers may think otherwise, but this is just not true. When I give a cashier a coupon for $1 off a product, they keep the coupon and turn it in to the cash office. The cash office turns it over to corporate and corporate gives it to their clearing house. Eventually the store will turn this coupon in to the manufacturer who will then give them back the $1 you saved plus an $.08 handling fee. The store does get reimbursed!

You Can NOT use two manufacturer coupons on one item
For example: If you have a coupon for $2 off diapers and a coupon for $3 off diapers, you can not use both coupons to save $5. You can only use one manufacturer coupon per item purchased. Which is exactly what "one coupon per purchase" means as written on most coupons.

You CAN use multiples of the same coupon in a single transaction
Unless the coupon states otherwise. Be sure to read the fine print. One coupon per purchase means you may use multiples as long as you have an equal number of specified items as coupons. Some coupons will say "one coupon per transaction" or "per customer" etc.

You DON'T have to buy the exact item pictured on the coupon!
Newsflash! Read the fine print, that's what counts. If a coupon for Laundry detergent says "good on any size" and shows the largest bottle available, you don't have to buy the item pictured. It is usually a better savings to buy many smaller items with many coupons then to buy 1 big item using a single coupon.

You CAN use coupons on sale and clearance items.
Some cashiers aren't aware of how coupons work, so rarely a cashier may tell you otherwise, but this is definitely a legal use of coupons and a a great way to save!

You CAN use a store coupon and a manufacturer coupon on a single item.
This is true of every place I shop. If Target has a Target Coupon for $1 off paper plates and there is also a manufacturer coupon for $1 off paper plates than you can save $2!

You can NOT photo copy coupons. 
This is illegal. Some people (doing it in major scale) have been prosecuted. Stores will not get reimbursed.  I know it is easy to think "Well what's the harm?" So let me tell you.
First: It is dishonest, and there are plenty of honest ways to get multiple coupons.
Second: The store loses money when the manufacturer will not reimburse for copied coupons.
Third: You lose your ability to use coupons when you become known as a person who uses copied coupons, stores will not trust you.
Don't worry if you wanted more coupons a deal will come around again.

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