Coupon 101 - Understand & Define Coupons

Friday, March 05, 2010

Obviously a coupon is a piece of paper or something electronic that is used to save money. Wooowho! What more is there to know about coupons? Well, not too much but to help with knowing how to use coupons better there's just a few things to know... and you may already know this stuff. So no biggie! :)

1. Where do coupons come from?
Coupons come from Manufactures who make products and from Stores who sell products. (Mind blowing right? I am easing some of you into the world of coupons here. Hehe...) Manufacturers put out coupons to entice buyers to buy their stuff. Stores put out coupons to entice buyers to come to their stores to buy stuff. Yay!

2. Are stores getting ripped off with coupons?!
Nope. Manufacturer coupons are reimbursed to stores for face value plus .08 for handling. This makes coupons a moneymaker for most stores to take in the first place!

Now Store Coupons are a different story. The stores are using those coupons in hopes to draw people in for a few items but really want you to buy a lot of other things NOT on sale. That's how the store makes money.

3. Something to keep in mind with coupons:
One manufacturer coupon is permitted per product purchased.
This just means if you have a coupon that says $.50 off 1 box of cereal you can get 1 box of cereal and use that 1 coupon. You cannot get that box of cereal and use 2 coupons on it. Just keep that in mind... it'll be covered again later.

There are LOTS of different kinds of coupons out there and if you intend to find them you should know more about them. Some coupons are easily overlooked because people don't know to look for coupons there.

1. Manufacturer Coupons
The biggest "form" of coupons. These can be found in newspapers and on the internet. When you are looking at online deal blogs, forums, etc to find a good deal there's some terms to keep in mind for your coupons so that you know where to find them in your stash.
  • IP = Internet Printed (can also be a store coupon)
    Printed from the internet. Generally you can get 2 prints per computer depending on the source of the coupons. There are bricks, smartsource,, pdf files and more styles of IP coupons to print.
  • 1/3/10 RP or 1/10/10 SS = From a newspaper
    These are Newspaper Insert coupons. When you see this crazy information it's telling you the date that the coupon came out and what insert they are inside.

    So the 1/3/10 would be the date of the Sunday Newspaper the coupon came in and the RP would be Red Plum.

    There are several different kinds of inserts the coupon could be inside. Here's a list of them and their abbreviations:
    • RP = Red Plum insert
    • SS = Smart Source insert
    • PG = P&G insert (usually only comes out once a month)
    • There are other specialty inserts from time to time too.
  • Tear pads
    These coupons are found in a store (hanging on shelves) and resemble a pad of paper. You tear coupons off the pad.
  • Blinkie Coupons
    There are these crazy machines in stores that BLINK little red lights at you. It's not to annoy you or cause a seizure... it's trying to tell you to come and check out the cool coupon it has inside!

    My kiddos are trained to ransack these little machines. They stalk them in the store and generally get two coupons really quick but have to wait longer for the next one.

    I've been known to stand in front of a machine (especially if there's an awesome $1/1 box of cereal coupon inside) and look at it like I've never seen anything like it before until the next one comes out. Or I will randomly shuffle through my cart/coupon box pretending to be busy and than inconspicuously snatch the coupon that comes out. I mean, standing there just pulling coupons makes me crazy right? (Don't answer that... :) OH and no, I do not empty the machine. I usually only grab 6 of them.)
  • Catalina Coupons
    These handy coupons come out of a "printing box" next to the cash register. Be sure to get these with your receipt when you are checking out. (Some cashiers forget or aren't patient enough for them to print.)

    Walgreen's fabulous Register Rewards coupons print this way.
  • Off Your Next Order Coupons (ONYO)
    These are Catalina Coupons. When you are in a store sometimes there deals that if you purchase so much of product X you will receive $x.xx Off Your Next Shopping Order. Look for signs around the stores or in the sales fliers indicating these specials. Once you accomplish the necessary purchase your coupon will print from the Catalina machine.

    Meijer and Kroger run these specials a lot.
  • Wine Tags
    These awesome coupons are hanging on bottles of wine! They are usually rebates, but sometimes they are coupons. They are more general in products purchased than other coupons. For example, the coupon might be for $1.50 off any purchase of 2lbs of cheese! Love wine tags! I have found some for salty snacks (chips), cheese, produce, meats, frozen desserts and more.

    These coupons can be regionally restricted (especially the rebates) which only makes them eligible in certain states (read the back of wine tag carefully). Most of them will state that you do not have to make a wine purchase to use the coupon.
  • Cash Register Tape Coupons (CRT)
    Coupons printed at the bottom of a receipt are referred to in this way.

    CVS's awesome Extra Care Bucks print this way.

So did you learn anything  here? Do you feel that I've left something out? Or maybe you are just overwhelmed already? More coupon information from my class will be coming soon! :) I hope this helps someone out there at least a little bit.

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