Coupons are everywhere. If you're not into couponing, you can easily become immune to them & not even notice. However, when you become a savvy couponer, you can spot a coupon from a mile away! So where do they come from?
Most coupons come from your Sunday newspaper. Each week, there is a combination of the following 4 inserts:
Smart Source (abbreviated as SS)
Red Plum (abbreviated as RP)
P & G (Proctor & Gamble) abbreviated as P&G pr PG)
General Mills (abbreviated as GM)
(The abbreviations will make more sense a little further into our coupon lessons.)
Most of the coupons that come in the newspaper inserts are called "manufacturer coupons." Occasionally, you will see what are called "store coupons," that are from a specific store, (think Target.)
"Where else can I find coupons?"
You can find printable coupons online which are called "Internet printable coupons." These can come from coupon printing websites, such as Coupons.com, or from official product websites, as well as store websites & product Facebook pages. You can print these coupons right from your home computer. There is usually a 2-print limit per coupon, per computer. You are not allowed to copy any printable coupons. It MUST be an original print out. These are also manufacturer coupons unless you are printing specific store coupons, such as Target coupons from their website. Most stores accept printable coupons.
Another type of coupon is called a "blinkie." You may have seen those tiny little blinking machines on store shelves that have coupons that automatically come out and are usually for the product on that shelf. You are allowed to take a few of these, even if you're not planning on using them during that shopping trip, but please don't empty the whole machine!
There are also "peelie" coupons. These are the coupons which are stuck to the front of certain products. It is not okay to remove these coupons unless you are buying that product. You don't necessarily have to use it during that shopping trip.
Then there are "tearpad" coupons. These are similar to the blinkies, only they are just on a tearpad near the products. Sometimes, these coupons are for products other than the ones near it and sometimes they are for things like milk, meat or produce. You are allowed to take a few of these.
Another type of coupon that you may have never heard of is a "Catalina" coupon. This is a coupon which prints out of a machine located near the register, as your receipt is being printed. Typically, it is $$ of your next purchase in that store.
The machine also prints "store" coupons which can only be used in that store.
You will also find coupons tucked inside of products that you buy & coupons in your mailbox.
When using coupons, you are allowed to use ONE manufacturer coupon, and ONE store coupon on the same item. This is called "stacking." You can never use 2 mfr. on the same item. There ARE times when you can use 2 STORE coupons on the same item. (think Walgreens) You can read about that HERE.
When reading a coupon, don't focus so much on the picture, but the words printed underneath it. Manufacturers will sometimes put a higher priced item in the picture, even though the coupon might allow you to get different products in the line than the one pictured.
Watch your coupons as they're being scanned, making sure none accidentally get skipped.
Never photo copy a coupon, even the printable ones. It is illegal.
Get to know your stores' coupon policies. These are easily obtainable online on each company's website. Print a copy to keep with you. Also keep in mind that you will probably know more about a store's coupon policy than a cashier will. Be patient. Be kind.
Don't start using coupons right away if you're not matching them to store deals! If you're using a 50 cent coupon on a higher priced item, you are not getting much savings. But if you WAIT until that item goes on sale for a low, low price AND combine that with your coupon, you are saving LOTS of cash!
Now that you've learned about all the types of coupons and where to find them, let's talk about how to organize them!
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