Couponing 101

Anatomy of a coupon

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Not all coupons are created the same and you need to learn how to read one to understand the difference. First we will go through on how to read the text of the coupons and understanding each part of the coupon. In another post, we will go through on how to read the codes at the bottom of the coupon.
Coupon Type: There are store coupons and manufacturer coupons. Typically the type will be listed at the top of the coupon.Expiration Date:  All coupons will have an expiration date printed somewhere on the coupon.  The coupon shown in the example expires on August 31, 2011.
  • You may run across a coupon that states “No Expiration Date.”  Most stores will not accept coupons that do not have an expiration date. These are very RARE!
  • If your coupon has expired, don’t toss it! Collect them and send to our military overseas – they can use at the commissary for 6 months after they expire- I post info on this from time to time around the end of the month!
Value:  The value of the coupon will be clearly printed on the coupon and you should become familiar with “TERMS” to know what must be purchased to receive the value and avoid delays at checkout.
Terms:  There are conditions regarding the use of coupon such as the quantity needed, specific product, size, etc. in order to receive the value off your transaction. Sometimes the terms will have “ANY” and this means you can use the coupon on any size or item offered by the manufacturer.
Suggested Product: I am calling this part the “suggested product” because sometimes, it’s just that. If the “terms” state “any” then you can use it on any item. Typically, the manufacturer will print newer / more expensive items (subliminal marketing).
Fine Print:  The fine print is typically the directions for the retailers on how to redeem it to be refunded. Some of the newer coupons (i.e., Proctor & Gamble) have instructions that other coupons do not have. Normally, they will have the directions to the “consumer” and “retailer”- see above as an example. Some language may be below:
  • May not be reproduced, purchased, traded or sold. DO NOT COPY coupons. The retailers know better and you are wasting your time and ink to do this.
  • Limit one coupon per purchase of products and quantities stated. This means one (1) coupon per item. Some retailers misunderstand this term and think it’s one coupon per transaction. Nope, 1 coupon= 1 item.
  • Limit of 4 like coupons in the same shopping trip. This one is new and printed on P&G coupons.


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