Wednesday, April 20, 2011

STEP 5: Types of Coupons, Use, and Terms

Generally, even if stores differ, one thing that remains MOSTLY common is you can use one store coupon with one manufacturer coupon per item. Yes there is a difference!

Manufacturer coupons are usually what you find in your inserts, on products, and in product packaging. The Manufacturer has issued these coupons and pays usually $.08 on top of the coupon value back to the store. Quite the opposite of those who think we're ripping them off. If you look at your coupon, you'll see on there in the fine print the amount they will pay the store for accepting the coupon. Most say $.08 which means if you use 50 coupons in your transaction, you've made the store an additional $4.00. Also, keep in mind that it takes the store approximately 120-150 days to see the revenue of these coupons. If you're planning on a large haul, do so at the bigger chain stores and additionally, place a special order. The smaller stores will not be able to do this in most cases.

The type of coupon is listed usually in the top section next to the Expiration date. There are also manufacturer coupons with store logos on them. If these store marked coupons say "Manufacturer Coupon" on them, you can usually use them anywhere.

That brings us to Store coupons. These are coupons issued by a store chain completely independent of the manufacturer. These can be a little tricky but here are a couple of examples:

Publix coupons do not have barcodes. They have LU#'s (lower right corner).

Target coupons do have barcodes and list in the upper left corner that it's a Target Coupon.

In most cases, if it says anything other than "Manufacturer Coupon", it's a store coupon.

Now for the fun part, if your store allows, you can stack your coupons. This means you can use one Manufacturer Coupons (MQ) and one Store Coupon (SQ). Now you can also use that stack on a good sale which allows you to save the most.

When the sales and the coupons are REALLY good, you can have what's called overage. Overage is when the sale and the coupons exceed the cost of the item itself. So if you have a BOGO sale on pasta for $1.25 and you have a $1 off 1 coupon. You can use two coupons (one for each item) and have $.75 overage for each pair you buy. This is why so many couponers have a huge stock of pasta! :) This is an ample time to use that overage towards meats and produce as we don't get many coupons for those items and store will obviously not pay you money for shopping there. You will have to buy more stuff to bring the balance up.

If you shop at stores like CVS where you can get store dollars back, you can score what we call Money Maker deals. Money Makers are where you use the right coupons in conjunction with the sale that you pay less for the item than the number of store dollars you get back. That's what we call a Money Maker. You're making money but it's money that has to be used at that store. Some times Target will have a deal on receiving a Gift Card back if you buy so many of something. If you have the right coupons, those can also turn into Money Makers.

So there's a bit of coupon glossary terms for you. Let's sum it up:

Manufacturer Coupons - coupons issued by the manufacturer of the product
Store Coupons - coupons issued by the store independently of the manufacturer
Stacking - using a MQ and a SQ on one item
Overage - 'extra' money earned when the value of your coupons exceed the cost of the item
Money Maker - store dollars or credit that is earned when the value of your coupons exceed the cost