Daily Money Tip: Learn Some Basic Coupon Rules

Did you just start using coupons? Well, believe it or not there are some rules that apply to the usage of coupons. Make sure to read these carefully to make sure you use coupons the right way.

You can only use one manufacturer coupon per item. This means two things. First, if you are buying four items and only have one coupon, your coupon will only be scanned once and apply to one item. The coupon will not be scanned several times to apply to all the items in your order. Second, this also means that you can not use two manufacturer coupons per item. Say, you have a coupon for $2 off two items and one coupon for $1/1 one item. You can’t buy two items and use both coupons.  Manufacturer coupons can not be stacked.  You are only able to stack a store coupon with a manufacturer coupon.  More on that in a next installment.

Coupons can not be copied/scanned. Coupons that you print online or coupons that you get from the newspaper or a magazine can not be reproduced. It is very tempting to do so, but in every case the retailer will not be reimbursed for the copied coupon. This in return affects you in the long run as the retailer becomes less coupon friendly. Copying coupons is short term gain but long term loss. Want to get several of the same coupon? use a coupon clipping service or ask friends and family to print a coupon for you.

Pay close attention to the wording of the coupon and ignore the image on it.  Train yourself to always read in detail the wording of the coupon you are about to use.  This will make things much easier for you when you shop.  Manufacturers can’t include the image of all of the items a coupon may be valid on, so you need to read and ignore the graphic.  This can also become a tool for you at the register.  Many cashiers may tell you that your coupon is not good on what you are buying because it is not what’s pictured on the coupon.  Always point out the wording of the coupon to the cashier.

Don’t ignore expiration dates.  Coupons are programmed to beep after their expiration date, simply cutting out an expiration date on a coupon doesn’t bypass this control.

Did I miss any other rules guys?  Make sure to leave me a comment if you can think of something else I miss.  Or leave me a comment if you have any question about coupon rules.

Have a topic you would like address in the Daily Money Tip? Send me an email with your burning question. Read previous Money Tips here.

Thank you for reading the Daily Money Tip: Money Management for the Time Deprived.

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  • Great advice! One rule I always follow is to never buy anything with a coupon that I wouldn’t purchase otherwise. It’s tempting to take advantage of every great deal that comes along, but it’s also a huge money waster–especially if those items never get used.

    • Amber

      Unless the coupon helps you make money to buy other things and then you can donate the stuff you don’t need or use it. Even if you wouldn’t buy it without a coupon you might want to try it if it’s cheap enough. 🙂

  • Amber

    I think there are two important money savers that most people don’t realize–you can get two free items when you use a B1G1 coupon with a B1G1 sale AND you CAN use two coupons for two items when one is a B1G1 and the other is an amount off of the item you are PAYING for. OH, also, you can use TWO amount off coupons in a B1G1 sale! These three things have saved me LOTS of money! 🙂

  • Manda

    As you said, intentionally cutting off a coupon’s expiration date is a no-no, but also be careful not to *accidentally* do this while cutting out coupons. I’ve done that once or twice when I wasn’t paying close enough attention, and my primary supermarket won’t accept them, regardless of whether they’ll scan or not.

  • Jennifer

    I would also like to comment that the overseas military commissaries will take expired coupons so sending them to the folks serving over there is a big help, since they dont get coupons like we can.