Couponing 101: The Anatomy of a Coupon

by Tabitha @ Saving Toward A Better Life on July 20, 2013 · 0 comments

in Beginners,Coupon Classes,Coupons

Couponing 101 – Understanding a Coupon or “the Anatomy of a Coupon”

The first step to using coupons properly and to your advantage is to understand coupons.  There are different kinds of coupons:

  • Manufacturer coupons
  • Store coupons
  • Mobile or e-coupons (can be either store or manufacturer)

Manufacturer coupons are coupons that a distributed by a products manufacturer.  You find these in the newspaper, as printables or that can come in the mail or various other sources.

Manufacturer coupons will always have a barcode, an expiration date (or on the rare occurrence you may find one marked with “no expiration date” and an address for redemption.  You may only use one manufacturer coupon per item.

Store coupons are put out by the store.  They will always be branded by the store they are for, they will have an expiration date but may not have a barcode.

A store coupon can be “stacked” with a manufacturer coupon on a single item.

Mobile Coupons or e-coupons are a new, booming genre of coupons.  They can be “linked” or “loaded” to a store loyalty card or they can be presented on a smart phone screen via the web browser or an app.  An e-coupon can also be a cash back offer after purchase.  (like Ibotta –

Mobile coupons can be manufacturer OR store coupons.  Mobile coupons can be stacked with other savings in most cases.

Common Coupon Myth:

You are “stealing money”from a store by using coupons.

Nothing could be further from the truth!  Coupons are put out by manufacturers that want you to try their products and use them regularly.  When you use a coupon from a manufacturer the store turns that coupon in for redemption.  They receive the face value of the coupon back + $.08 handling fee.

As long as you use coupons correctly (not fraudulently) the stores get their money back + some!

Tips for using coupons:

  1. Read the coupon carefully.  Make sure you get the right brand, size, etc listed on the coupon.  If it says “10oz” you may only use it on the 10oz size of that product.  If it says “30ct or larger” you may use it on the 30 count of that product or any count size larger than 30, but not the 15 count product.
  2. Some coupons are $X off of a product.  Some are a $X off TWO products (or three or more).  Make sure you get the number specified.  You cannot use a $1/2 Shampoos when you have only purchased one.
  3. More “Do Not’s”:
    Do not use TWO manufacturer coupons on ONE item.
    Do not attempt to use a coupon on an item it was not intended to be used on.
    Do NOT PHOTOCOPY COUPONS.  (It IS illegal)
  4. Learn your store’s coupon policy.

So those are the very basics!  Stay tuned for more!

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