Thursday, February 9, 2012

29 Days of Couponing Tips Day 9: Know Your Coupons { What Does The Fine Print Mean?}

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

In order to save big with coupons, you Need To Know Your Coupons and How To Read Them! To avoid problems at the checkout lane, we need to know what the fine print means, and the rules that pertain to them.

Types Of Coupons:

There are two types of Coupons, Manufacturer Coupons and Store Coupons. To find out what kind of coupon it is, just look in the box next to the expiration date.

Expiration Date:

The coupon is valid only until the expiration date. For example, the coupon pictured here can only be used until February 28th 2011. You can not use a coupon past the expiration date. Make sure to always pay close attention to the expiration date on all of your coupons.

A Manufacturer coupon is a coupon that can be used at any store that accepts coupons, unless it states Only use at "__________ store." A manufacturer coupon is provided by the manufacturer of the product that the coupon is for. When you use a coupon, the manufacturer will reimburse the store for the face value of the coupon plus a certain amount of money. In the fine print on the coupon it usually states what the amount is, for example, if you used a coupon for $1 off Glade at Wal-mart, then Glade will reimburse Wal-mart for the amount you saved, $1 plus 8 cents. Wal-mart is not losing out on the amount, the Manufacturer is. Wal-mart is actually making 8 cents from you using that coupon.

If a Manufacturer Coupon says, Available at "Wal-mart" (or whichever store, Wal-mart is only an example) on it, you can still use it at any retailer that accepts coupons. It just means that Wal-mart paid the manufacturer to include that verbage on the coupon. However, if you use that coupon that says "available at Wal-mart" at Kroger, then the Manufacturer will still reimburse Kroger for the face value of the coupon.  It is just a marketing ploy.

Value or Face Value: This tells you how much will be deducted from your purchase. If a coupon says $1 off Glade, then $1 will be deducted from your purchase.

A Store Coupon is a coupon that is provided by the store. You can only use a store coupon at that particular store. For example, the image above is a Target Coupon. You can only use a Target Coupon at Target. You can use a store coupon along with a manufacturer coupon to save more money (more on this later). Store coupons are funded by the particular store. Therefore, when you use a store coupon, the store takes the loss, not the manufacturer.

In the image above you can see a picture of an example of a basic coupon bar code. Most bar codes have five parts and a total of twelve digits.

Bar code: A Number System Character (NCS) of "5" identifies that a coupon is a coupon. "99" is another prefix. The "99" is used for non-doubling coupons.

 If the first number of a coupon bar code starts with a "5" then it will automatically double (if the store doubles coupons) even if there are words that say, "Do Not Double." If the first number on a coupon bar code is a "9" or "99" then it will not double no matter what.

Wording: This is the most important part of a coupon. You Must read and pay close attention to the fine print and wording on a coupon! It is how you know what the coupon is for, and if there are any special rules for the coupon. If a coupon says, Save $.55 cents of any, then it truly can be used on any, not just what is pictured!

Picture: The picture on the coupon can be useful if you have never heard of the product, and it will help you to locate it on the shelf. The picture is a great form of advertising for the manufacturer. However, the picture is NOT important at all! The manufacturer will typically add a picture of their newest or most expensive product. As long as you follow the wording on a coupon, you can usually get the lowest priced product which most often is a better deal. If a coupon says, save $.55 off any, and does not state any restrictions such as no trial size, then you can use the coupon on the trial size version and most likely get it Free.

Fine Print: The fine print is usually the information for the retailers including the coupon redemption address. There usually is one or two lines intended for the consumer though. Limit one coupon per purchase? Coupons usually have some version of that statement, and I would like to explain these to you.

 Limit One Coupon Per Purchase : This means one coupon per item that you purchase. If you buy 10 bottles of shampoo & have 10 coupons for them it's okay!  Not one coupon per transaction. Unless stated on the coupon. Basically, each qualifying item is a purchase. If the coupon is for $1 off 2  boxes of cereal, and you buy 2 boxes of cereal, then that is a purchase. If you buy 4 boxes of cereal, than you can use (2) $1/2 coupons.

One Coupon Per transaction :This means that if you have a coupon for $1/1 Coke 12 pack, then you can only use one of those coupons per transaction. You can still use coupons for other products that you have purchased. If you have two of the $1/1 Coke 12 pack coupons, then you can use it on your next shopping trip, or you can do another transaction.

One Coupon Per Day/Visit: You can only use one of these coupons per store visit or shopping trip.

One Coupon per Person, Family, Household, Customer: This means you can only use 1 of these coupons.

Next up....Tomorrow we will talk about some Common Coupon Rules!

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