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Couponing for Newbies – How do I read a coupon?

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I am on vacation for a few days to bring Skylar home to Memphis.  I am repeating my “Couponing for Newbies” series for any newbies who have joined our group over the past couple of weeks. I have the posts scheduled to pop up while I’m gone, so if you have not read this series yet, please keep checking back!


How do I read a coupon?

When you look at a coupon, there are several things you need to check…

Is it a manufacturer coupon or a store coupon? It will say somewhere on the coupon, usually at the top.

When does the coupon expire? There will be an expiration date somewhere on the coupon. You can use the coupon up to and including the day it expires.

What exactly do I buy? Look at the wording, NOT the image. The wording will tell you what the coupon is to be used on.

Does the coupon have a size or variety restriction? If a coupon states a certain size or variety, then you need to stick to that. Again, go by the wording, not the image. If there is no restriction, then use the coupon on the smallest size you can get to maximize your savings. Sometimes buying small, such as in the travel or trial size section, will get you the item for free.

Will my coupon double? If the coupon says do not double or not subject to doubling, then it should not be doubled. However, if the barcode starts with a 5, it will most likely automatically double and some stores will just let it scan and leave it as is. The cashier may undouble it. If the barcode starts with a 9, it will not double. New barcodes do not have numbers, and may or may not double.

What does one per purchase mean? One per purchase is the same as one per item. If you are purchasing 5 items in one transaction, you can use 5 coupons in that one transaction, unless there is a store restriction. Some coupons will also state a limit, such as 2 per transaction, so read the fine print.

What does one per transaction mean? That means you can only use one coupon in that transaction. If you need more than one of that item, you will have to do a separate transaction.

What does redeemable at or available at mean? Some coupons will state redeemable at Walmart or available at CVS or whatever. That is just a suggestion as to where you can pick up the item. This does not mean you have to shop at those stores. However, some stores might have a specific policy about not accepting coupons with another store name or image on it.

What does redeem only at mean? If your coupon states redeem only at a certain store, then you need to shop at that store. However, some stores will take a competitor’s coupon.

What does stacking mean? Stacking is when you use a manufacture coupon along with a store coupon on one item. It’s important to read your coupon to know if it is a manufacture coupon or a store coupon. You are not allowed to use two manufacturer coupons on one item.

That’s about all I can think of for now. It sounds like a lot to read, but most coupons are clear cut and you will quickly learn what to look for.

Next: How much time will I have to invest in couponing to save money?


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