Friday, February 10, 2012

29 Days Of Couponing Tips Day 10: Coupon Rules & Tips Every Couponer Needs To Know!

Day 1: Coupon Inserts 101
Day 2: Printable Coupons
Day 3: eCoupons
Day 4: Coupon Clipping Services
Day 5: More Ways to Find Coupons
Day 6: How to Organize Your Coupons
Day 7: How to Quickly and Easily Clip Your Coupons
Day 8: How to Purge Expired Coupons
Day 9: Know Your Coupons {What does the fine print mean?}
Day 10: Coupon Rules & Tips Every Couponer Needs To Know

Whether you are just starting out with Couponing, or if you are a Seasoned Couponer, we all need to know the ethical and legitimate way of using coupons correctly. Here are some general coupon tips, rules, and coupon etiquette.

General Coupon Rules & Tips

Coupons may only be used once - You can't buy 2 items & use the same coupon two times!

You can not use 2 coupons for 1 item. You can however use 1 store coupon & 1 manufacturer coupon if the store allows it. We'll discuss this later on in the series.

Now let's use an example here...

Let's say that you are buying 4 boxes of General Mills Cereals. You have (4) different coupons in your coupon stash for GM cereals. Two coupons are for $1/1, One coupon is $1/3, and One coupon is for $1/2 GM cereals.

If you are buying four boxes, you can use (2) $1/1 Coupons, and the $1/2 Coupon, and that's all. If you use the $1/3 coupon, then you can also use just (1) $1/1 coupons. Only One coupon per item purchased!

Coupons can not be copied! It is Illegal to copy/photo copy coupons- even printable coupons! Don't do it!

Do not try to use a coupon for an item that you are NOT buying! And make sure to do as the coupon says. Basically, if a coupon is for $1 off 2, then you must buy 2 to use the coupon. If you do not follow the rules to a "T", then that is stealing!

You can use coupons on sale and clearance items too! If you have a coupon for an item that is on clearance or on sale, then you can still use a coupon for it, possibly making the item Free or Almost Free!

Number of items/coupons - Some stores will limit the amount of an item that you are purchasing, some do not. For example, if Ritz crackers are on sale for $1 ea., limit 4 per transaction, then you can only purchase four!

You Can Use Multiple Coupons On One Shopping Transaction - If you are purchasing four tubes of Crest Toothpaste, and four bottle of dawn dish soap and you have four Save $1/1 Crest Coupons, and four Save $1/1 Dawn soap coupons, then you can use all of them in one transaction. Please note though, to always read the fine print on coupons for limits, and know your store's coupon policy for any coupon limits. We'll talk about this more later.

If you have a manufacturer coupon for B1G1 Free, and the store has that item on sale for B1G1 free, then you'll get 2 Free! The store provides 1 free, and the Manufacturer provides one Free. Please note that this rule sometimes can vary by the store's coupon policy. But typically, this rule applies.

If you have a FREE product coupon & it is on sale for B1G1 free, then you'll get 2 Free! The same concept as above.

If you have a coupon for Save $1/2, then you can use it if the item is on sale for B1G1 free and you buy 2. Even though one of the products is Free, you are still purchasing two.

10 for $10 or 2/$5 ect. - When there is a sale for 10 for $10 you don't have to buy 10 of the same item! The items are just $1 ea. Same goes for 2/$5 -they are just $2.50 ea. You get the idea. But always read the fine print just in case!

Don't Rush To The Store With Your Coupon - If you have a coupon for $.25 off toilet paper, then save it for when the toilet paper goes on sale to get the most bang for your buck. Also, if you use the $.25 off coupon at a store that doubles your coupon, then you'll also save more money. By combining your coupons with sales, rebates, or other promotions, you will pay the best price for the item that you are purchasing.

Shelf Clearing Is Not Right - It's just not right to go to a store, purchase 20 of the same items and leave nothing for the others! Please be courteous of the amount you purchase at one time! Some stores will allow you to place a special order, if you need a lot of a certain item. This is something that you would have to discuss with the store manager.

Don't Be A Peelie Thief- A peelie coupon is a coupon that is attached to a product. It is a manufacturer coupon. It is intended to be used when you are buying that product. You can not, or should not take the peelie coupon off of the product if you are not buying that product. It just isn't right. If you buy the product, and don't use the coupon, then it is okay to peel it off at home to use it another time though.

Limit Yourself To The Amount Of Coupons that you take from a tear pad or blinkie machine. Typically I would say that it is okay to take more than one coupon. If their are a lot of coupons, then I'd limit myself to taking 3 or 4. If there are not a lot of coupons left, then only take 1 or 2.

Don't Steal Coupons, Coupon Inserts, or Newspapers! It is stealing, no matter what the value is, and it is illegal to steal. This includes only paying for one, and taking multiple newspapers at a self serve vending machine, taking only the inserts out a paper, and not buying the paper, cutting a coupon out of an insert or magazine, and not purchasing the paper or magazine, and driving by houses and taking their newspapers from their driveway without permission. All of these methods of getting coupons is stealing! Do not do it!

I know that some of these rules are common sense to most of you, but to a beginner couponer, and because of  the misconceptions from the TV show, "Extreme Couponing", I thought that I should highlight these rules.

No Questions Are Stupid! Please Feel Free to ask if you have any questions! I also love to hear if you have any tips to share or if I missed anything!
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