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So you have decided you want to start using coupons to lower your grocery bill but aren’t sure where to get started? You have come to the right place. We will be posting a series of lessons telling you exactly what steps to take to be on your way to saving like a pro.
Now that you know how to get your hands on all of these magical coupons (detailed in lesson one here) it’s time to understand how exactly you can use them and what all of that fine print means.
How do I read coupons?
The picture above is an actual coupon from a Sunday Insert. Below is a breakdown of what each section of the coupons means.
- Manufacturer Coupon- A coupon released by the manufacturer of the product. The manufacturer will reimburse the retailer where the coupon is redeemed the amount stated.
- Expiration Date- The coupon is only good until the dated stated as expiration. Most stores will not accept expired coupons but there are some very rare exceptions which we will cover later.
- Coupon Limits- Many coupons state exactly how many like coupons can be used per person per day. The wording on this exact coupon reads that you can only use one coupon for every item you purchase and you can only use four of these coupons per day. This means you could buy four shave gels and use four coupons to save $1 on each of them.
- Purchase Requirements- This part of the coupon tells you exactly what you can and can not purchase using this coupon. All name brand, type and size requirements must be met exactly to stay within the terms of the coupon and ensure the retailer will be reimbursed. The picture should not indicate what you can and can not use the coupon on. Always follow the wording.
Printed coupons typically read the same as insert coupons. They will have the manufacturer coupon label, barcode to be scanned, purchase requirements and coupon limits.
You may see a few extra items on your printed coupons as well. They will each print a unique set of numbers above the barcode. This is to ensure that coupons can not be copied.
You may also find store advertisements on many printed coupons. This could include a store logo or wording such as “redeemable at Walmart” like pictured above. This is simply advertising paid for by the store to try to entice you to use the coupon at their store. This is still a manufacturer coupon and can be used at any store unless they have a policy that prohibits it.
All of the coupons picture above are “Store Coupons”. These specific coupons are offered by the store listed and are only good at the store indicated. They do not mention manufacturer coupon anywhere on them. You can usually use one manufacturer and one store coupon on each item you purchase as long as it stays within the store’s policy and the coupon terms. We will get more in depth about how to “stack” these coupons later.
Hopefully you now have a solid foundations on how to find and read coupons. The next lessons will cover how to use them to save the most money.
Missed any lessons?