Here are some basic coupon rules and other helpful tips to help understand coupons better:
1) Think about what the coupon attaches to. You can only use one manufacturer coupon per item. Remember, STORE coupons are different than MANUFACTURER coupons. You CAN combine a store coupon with a manufacturer coupon on the same item at many stores, but you CANNOT use more than one manufacturer coupon per item.
What does this mean for you? If you are purchasing two items and have one manufacturer coupon for $2.00 off two items, you will not be able to use another coupon (such as $1.00 off of one) on those items. The one $2.00 off two coupon will attach to BOTH items. If, however, you have two manufacturer coupons that are $1.00 off of one, you will be able to use both coupons when purchasing those two items. I like to think in terms of what the coupon will ATTACH itself to.
If you find a store coupon for an item that you also have a manufacturer coupon for, you will most likely (check store policy) be able to use BOTH coupons on that same item. For example, if you have a coupon that says “Target Coupon” on top and you also have a coupon that says “Manufacturer Coupon” on top for the same item, you WILL be able to use both coupons! Combine that with a sale and you have officially become So Dough Savvy!
2) Buy One Get One Free. At some stores, depending on the coupon policy, they will allow you to use a Buy One Get One Free coupon with another dollar off coupon on two items. This is because the Buy One Get One Free coupon ATTACHES to the free item, and you can then use another coupon on the OTHER item you are purchasing. This second coupon would have to be for only one item though. A $/2 (such as $1.00 off when you buy two) coupon would not work because the Buy One Get One Free coupon is already attached to one of your items (the free one) and both coupons would be trying to attach themselves to that same free item. However, if you had a $/1 (such as $1.00 off when you buy one) coupon, you could use this along with the Buy One Get One Free coupon because each coupon would be attached to only one item. The Buy One Get One Free coupon would attach to the free item, and the $1/1 coupon would attach to the other item.
Some stores also allow you to use a Buy One Get One Free coupon with a Buy One Get One Free sale – essentially allowing you to get two items for free!
Again, you need to know your store policy in order to understand how to maximize your savings. If your store allows you to do this, it is a super dough savvy thing to take advantage of!
3) Know the difference between store coupons and manufacturer coupons. Again, many stores allow you to “stack” a store coupon with a manufacturer coupon, which means you can use one of each kind of coupon on the same item, but you need to know the difference between the two different types of coupons.
A coupon will say on top whether it’s from a store or whether it’s a manufacturer coupon. Many store websites, for example www.target.com, www.meijer.com and www.cvs.com will have store coupons that you can print out and stack with manufacturer coupons. Some stores also have electronic coupons (which are also usually store coupons) that attach to your cell phone or store card and can in most cases combine with paper manufacturer coupons.
4) It pays to read the coupon well. Coupons also contain information such as quantity requirements, size restrictions, exclusions and expiration dates that are printed right on the front of the coupon. Make sure to read your coupons well to ensure that you are using them on the correct product and before the expiration date.
Pay close attention to what the coupon says rather than the photo or picture on the coupon. It is impossible for a manufacturer to include a picture of all of the items a coupon can be used on, so you need to read your coupons carefully and basically pay no attention to the picture. This can also become useful for you as you check out. Sometimes cashiers will look at the picture and tell you that your coupon cannot be used on what you are buying. Kindly point out the wording of the coupon to the cashier if necessary.
Some coupons have clear size restrictions on the item it is to be used for. Others have no size restrictions, and in that case may be used even on travel size products. This enables savvy couponers who read their coupons well to get travel size items for next to nothing or often free!
5) Coupons must never be copied or scanned. Coupons that you print online or coupons that you get from the newspaper or a magazine cannot be reproduced. The retailer will not be reimbursed for a photocopied or scanned coupon. Each computer you use will normally let you print out two of each coupon you find online. Hit your back button a few times and it will allow you to print again (legally). Occasionally a coupon will be in the form of a PDF and will allow you to print out as many as you like, but 99.9% of the time this is not the case and you will only be allowed to print only two of each coupon per computer.
You can use the same printer with different computers to print out more coupons.
Want to get several of the same coupon? Use a coupon clipping service or ask friends and family to print extra coupons for you. You can also trade coupons with friends and family or even online to get even more coupons!