Tip #10: Learn How to Use Store Coupons and Manufacturer Coupons Together for BIG savings!
How many of you guys have ever been treated like a criminal in the store when you tried to use your coupons?
I get letters all the time from those who have been treated terribly at their local stores when trying to coupon, and sadly, it’s one of the reasons why many have given up on couponing altogether.
So how do we fight this?
With knowledge. Let’s talk about the coupon process, store coupons, and manufacturer coupons and how it all works.
Hopefully we can be armed with the knowledge that will help us to be confident in our coupon usage!
What are manufacturer coupons?
Customarily, [manufacturer] coupons are issued by manufacturers of consumer packaged goods or by retailers, to be used in retail stores as a part of sales promotions. They are often widely distributed through mail, magazines, newspapers, the Internet, directly from the retailer, and mobile devices such as cell phones. – Wikipedia
So, the product manufacturer (like P&G or ConAgra) wants to promote a specific product of theirs (like Tide or Hormel). They pay a company to design the coupon layout and then they pay again for it to be distributed either in traditional print venues (magazines, newspapers, etc.) or online (through printable coupons).
You buy the magazine or newspapers and can take these coupons to the store and use them just like cash… because they ARE cash to the store. The store treats those coupons as carefully as they would cash because they will get reimbursed for those coupons from the manufacturers who created them.
How does a store get reimbursed for manufacturer coupons?
The store then takes all of the coupons that they received (typically for that week) and sends them to their corporate headquarters. An employee at corporate then takes those coupons and sends them to a clearinghouse. The clearinghouse has to separate the coupons into ones that can be scanned and ones that are damaged (and many times they send this work to another country like Mexico).
The coupons are then scanned en masse on a conveyor belt and a computer adds up the amount for each manufacturer coupon that a particular store submitted. WHEW! That’s a lot, huh? We’re not done.
Then the clearinghouse will send the coupons back to the manufacturer along with an invoice for the value of the coupons (plus their processing fee). The manufacturer can then pay the clearinghouse for the invoice and the clearinghouse pay the stores for their coupons, OR the manufacturer can reimburse the stores directly, and then pay the clearinghouse their fee. (source: How Stuff Works)
Sure seems like a lot of work, doesn’t it? Just for that 30¢ off!
I think the thing to take from this is that when you use a lot of coupons at the store, the store WILL get reimbursed! Even if you got the items for FREE! So don’t feel bad the next time you pair a Buy 1 Get 1 Free coupon with a B1G1 Free sale… the store is getting their money back on that!
What are store coupons?
Store coupons are coupons that are to be used ONLY at that store (except for the rare exceptions like Publix that will take competitor’s store coupons). These coupons put out directly by the store and, the majority of the time, they are not sent to a separate clearinghouse.
Does this come out of the store’s pocket?
For the most part “store coupons” are really just the store’s way of passing a discount of theirs onto us! Let’s say (completely hypothetically!) that Target has Tide regularly priced at $13.95, but they were able to cut a great deal with P&G one month and get it for much lower. So, they put out a $2 off Target coupon so that they can pass their great deal onto some of their customers, who will be able to get it for $11.95 with the coupon. They still have PLENTY of customers who will pay the full price, but they also are able to attract more people into the store with the extra $2 off coupon (and they are hoping that you will be spending even more money when you get there.)
How can I tell the difference between a store coupon and a manufacturer coupon?
Manufacturer coupons typically begin with either a 5 or a 9, so that’s the quickest way to spot if your coupon is a coupon directly from the manufacturer or if it is a store coupon.
Also, most store coupons will have the store’s logo on them, and many times will be found IN the store, or on the particular store’s website.
Keep in mind that sometimes the store will actually pay the manufacturer to have their store logo on the manufacturer coupon. (Like those coupons that say, “Available At Walmart”). You can still use these coupons anywhere since they are from the manufacturer and not from the store!
How many coupons can I use on one product?
Ahh, now we get to the big question!
Can you use these two types of coupons TOGETHER?
You can use ONE manufacturer’s coupon AND one store coupon per item.
You see how this could add up to big savings, right? If something is on sale for $2.50, and there was a $1 off coupon in the newspaper AND a $1 off store coupon in their weekly flyer… that means you get that item for only 50¢!
When you see the term “stacking coupons” it is usually referring to using a manufacturer’s coupon and a store coupon. Please keep in mind that you can never ever ever use more than one manufacturer coupons on the same item.
Hmm, how can I reiterate this?
Buy Tide Laundry Detergent – $13.95
Use $3/1 Tide manufacturer’s coupon
AND use $2/1 store coupon for Tide
Pay $8.95 each after coupons
Can NOT do:
Buy Tide Laundry Detergent – $13.95
Use $3/1 Tide manufacturer’s coupon from the paper
and use $4/1 Tide manufacturer’s printable coupon
and use $2/1 Tide manufacturer’s coupon that you received in the mail
Pay $4.95 each after coupons
And, just one more time… just to make sure we all get it. 🙂
- Store coupon + manufacturer coupon on the same product = GOOD
- Manufacturer coupon + manufacturer coupon on the same product = BAD
- Store coupon + store coupon on the same product = BAD
Hopefully that helps to clear up some of the confusion on how to “stack coupons” without getting into trouble.
Stacking manufacturer coupons with store coupons is one of the biggest ways to save a TON at both the grocery and drug stores!
|<< Tip #9: Keep Your Coupons Organized||Tip #11: Learn The Couponing Lingo >>|