Money Saving Tips

Important Facts About Coupons

Important Facts About Coupons
Written by Oana Schneider

No shopper in his or her right mind would say no to the prospect of saving money when shopping. But in today’s extremely commercialized world, how exactly can this be done? Is there actually a way for you to save money or even get small percentages as discounts for your purchases? Definitely! With the help of coupons – online or actual coupons – you can get discounts, price slash-offs and other perks when doing your shopping. Read on to find out which these facts about coupons are!

Important Facts About Coupons

First, let’s take a quick look at how coupons work. As you may already know, these are actual or online coupons that you can use when buying items from a store that entitles you to discounts or freebies.

There are actually two kinds of coupons that you can use: store or manufacturer’s coupons. As the name indicates, a store coupon is issues by a store and can only be used at a specific store – or any of its branches. If you received a $2 coupon for a pack of chocolates and the coupon says that it is “Good at Walgreen’s”, it means that you can only use the coupon at that store.

A manufacturer’s coupon, on the other hand, is issued by a general manufacturer. This coupon has a wider scope than a store coupon because it can be used at any store that accepts them. Using the previous example, if the $2 was issued by Hershey’s which manufacturers chocolate products, you can use the coupon at any store which sells Hershey’s products. The company therefore agrees to reimburse the store for giving you the $2 discount.

Coupons are often found at the Sunday paper, magazines and other printed material. There are online coupons that buyers can also use, which are available at coupon websites or at the official store websites. Now, in order for you to maximize the use of coupons, it is highly recommended that you only use them for products which you do buy in the first place.

Even if it says on the coupon that you will save $10 by purchasing Item A, you will end up wasting that amount of money if you find out that you don’t like it in the end. As such, it is very important to know which coupons to use and which ones to leave for others to use.

Important Facts About Coupons

Use coupons to cut down expenses!

Another facts about coupons is that you need to read the fine print. Check on the dates that the coupons are active which are called the ‘good through dates’. If the date has passed and you have not used the coupon yet, it will be considered expired.

There are some coupons which allow you to buy more than one item, although some have limited. You also cannot interchange store coupons with manufacturer coupons, and vice-versa. In most cases, they can be used as a cash substitute upon online checkout or while proceeding to the cash register to pay your bill.

Lastly, remember that manufacturers and store owners put out coupons to entice you to buy – so use them wisely and not haphazardly.

Ways to Save Money Through Coupons & Other Shopping Tips

 Next, what are the individual ways that you can save money when using coupons, and when doing your shopping in general? Take a look at the following list of facts about coupons:

Familiarize yourself with coupons – be it in-store or online

Above, we briefly touched on how coupons work. Those who are already familiar with the process of using coupons would know that they are usually handed over to the cashier upon reaching the check-out counter. Once the coupon is scanned, it is virtually considered as cash and placed into the cash drawer. The next steps depend on the store but typically, the coupons are sent by the store to the corporate headquarters of the store or the manufacturer.

They are typically sent on a weekly basis, then a month-long process of sorting the coupons occurs before a clearing house sorting the coupon, or the store gets paid by the manufacturer. This benefits consumers in the end because they qualify for discounts which would not have been available otherwise, but a lot of work goes on behind the scenes for just one little coupon offering a few cents or a few dollars’ worth of discounts. Get your facts about coupons straight! 

Learn about the different levels of couponing

Next, what are the different levels of couponing? They can be typically divided into four categories: the casual coupon users, the generic brand store couponers, the coupon deal shoppers and the extreme couponers.

With the average American family spending anywhere between $500 to more than $1,000 on groceries per month, using these tiny bits of paper or online coupon codes will definitely help slash that amount off. Depending on how dedicated you can be towards couponing, each level increases your chances of enjoying bigger savings.

If you’re a casual couponer, you can save a few dollars for a trip to the grocery that involves buying snacks for a movie night.

If you’re a generic brand store couponer or a coupon deal shopper, you can save a good amount of money when doing your monthly groceries – especially if you only purchase items which are on sale.

If you’re an extreme couponer, you can save $5 off a purchase totaling $20 – which adds up to a lot if you are buying weekly supplies.

For the last category, it does take a tremendous amount of time and organization to pay a small amount out of a grocery cart that adds up to a few hundred dollars, so make sure that you have the time and patience for it. For more facts about coupons, keep reading!

Know about the process of gathering coupons

Whether you end up being a casual or an extreme couponer, it is extremely important to familiarize yourself with the process of gathering coupons. Expert couponers recommend getting multiple copies of the same coupon so that you can maximize your savings if you stumble upon deals for products that you really patronize.

Some of the best sources of coupons are magazines, the Sunday newspaper, grocery stores, that area near the entrance of local markets and even your friendly neighbors. Online, you can sign up for the official newsletters of retailers, visit couponing websites or e-mail manufacturers to ask them to send you coupons or free product samples.

Organizing and piling up your coupons

You need some facts about coupons, don’t you? You cannot graduate from being a casual couponer to an extreme couponer just to enjoy big savings – because it takes some familiarity with the process, as well as a lot of patience.

Again, you need to read the fine print to make sure that you are using the coupons right. You also need to determine what your couponing goals are. Do you simply want to have an endless stash of detergent soap which are bought at very cheap price using coupons? Or do you really need to slash your budget because you are saving up for something more important?

With these goals in mind, you can create a system by which you can gather, organize and pile up those coupons – without the task taking up too much of your time. You’re bound to make mistakes along the way but as long as you are having fun and enjoying the process, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that!

Important Facts About Coupons

Look for discounts!

Fortunately, we have a list of 15 most popular couponing websites that will help you out:

  1. Groupon
  2. DontPayFull
  3. Zulily
  4. Coupons
  5. ShopAtHome
  6. SlickDeals
  7. LivingSocial
  8. Woot
  9. eBates
  10. FatWallet
  11. Gilt
  12. DealsPlus
  13. BradsDeals
  14. Savings
  15. DealCatcher

The number of unique monthly visitors for these sites range from 3.5 to 30 million, which goes to show how popular couponing is.

Additional Ways to Save Money When Shopping

What other ways are there for you to save money when shopping? Whether you are buying the items that you need from online or brick-and-mortar shops, it’s a good idea to make a list of the things that you actually need. Do not feel the need to fill your shopping cart to the brim – they are made large by supermarket owners for a reason.

Once you stick to your list, you can stay on track with your budget. When buying meat or a loaf of bread, don’t be afraid to ask for complimentary add-ons like tenderizing the meat or slicing the bread for free.  Aren’t these facts about coupons interesting?

Instead of buying cheese from the deli counter, choose boxed ones from the dairy case so that you can enjoy lower rates. Don’t be afraid to change your mind about buying an item even if you are already at the check-out counter and before buying in bulk, check if you will really save by calculating for the unit price.

Be wary about buy one – get one deals and always go comparison shopping. There are plenty of other things that you can do to save money when shopping. With the help of coupons and by sticking with the list that you have, you can cross out items from your grocery list without having to spend too much. Did you know all these facts about coupons before? 

About the author

Oana Schneider

Oana Schneider is a published author located in Chicago, Illinois, who currently works for DontPayFull.com as a communication specialist and blog editor. She writes about lifestyle, family budget, has a degree in Communications and advocates for women’s rights. Her future plans include getting a Labrador and losing a few pounds.

15 Comments

  • In some states I find it almost pointless to coupon. In others it can be very worthwhile. I currently live in an area where the cost of living is very high and stores do not offer great deals, let alone make it easy for you to coupon. If high value coupons come out I have a very hard time even finding the product. I can’t be certain but I feel they pull it from the shelves, because I can’t believe how many time I have gone out with coupons and not even be able to find the products.

    • Often times coupons are available for the more expensive products anyways, despite a cheaper non-coupon option being available. Coupons aren’t always the answer, and certain stores or areas are more accommodating to saving money than others. You can coupon anywhere and everywhere, but you’ll be most effective in certain locations and not others.

  • Being in Canada I don’t seem to have access to a huge range of coupons. I have some websites I use and clip them from the mail when I can but its not always great deals. My province has the highest tax on things as well so its not easy when the cost of living is high. Maybe couponing is more a US thing?

    • I’m pretty sure you’re right. Since America is literally the most consumerism-based society in the world, coupons are largely something that manufacturers do here more than anywhere else. It wouldn’t surprise me if our manufacturers offer 100X the amount of coupons compared to the same companies in other countries. Coupons actually benefit the manufacturers and stores most in a twisted way, although consumers still benefit themselves.

  • I would say that everyone should be more educated about coupons, because you can definitely save a large amount of money if you choose to take just a few minutes before you go shopping having a look online to see which types of coupons are available. I have seen stories of “extreme couponers” who can actually get a lot of shopping for next to nothing, and that is something that I would very much like to do myself at some point. I am very inspired by people who manage to save so much, it is very impressive indeed.

    • On the other hand, you can waste a lot of time looking for coupons for more than a few minutes per day. Too many people approach this task the wrong way and wind up wasting more time than they should to save a low amount of money. Couponing works both ways, being a great solution for some and a wasted experience for others.

    • I completely agree with you as I believe coupons will save the user a great deal of money over a long period of time. All it takes is a few minutes a day and a few savings every shopping. Over the course of a couple years, you can look back and see the large amounts of money you saved overall with a those small pieces of papers.

  • I am surprised extreme couponing is identified as saving $5 on a $20 purchase. When I accomplish that much I feel slight dissatisfied. Even at $10 off I’m not impressed. I thought that would be moderate. Five dollars and less I consider light. Then again, if I have an $80 total and get $20 off I’m content. That breaks down to $5 off per $20. When I look at it that way I note a difference.

    Until the past couple years I did not really watch for manufacturer coupons in combination with sale coupons. However, Meijer highlighted the difference for me with mperks. After seeing the coupons said what kind they are I began searching online for more manufacturer ones. It has helped me quite a bit.

    • You’re not impressed with $5 off $20? You understand that’s a 25% discount, right? Companies don’t even offer their employees a discount that high for working there. If you’re going to pass on savings like that, then you’re probably doing something wrong here.

  • I don’t use coupons too much, but this one time I was finding a site for my region (Quebec) and finding links to get free samples and coupons! I felt like I was winning the lottery hahaah. It took a while to be posted to me, but I did get 5$ on any Chapman product, which actually covers the cost of a huge box of ice cream!

    I lost the site though and my mom asked me about it. Oh well. Too bad that those sites listed are not for my region. 🙁

    • Yeah, Canadian companies don’t offer many coupons within Canada for whatever reason. You can still find deals and plenty of ways to save, though. Getting $5 off of something is always a nice discount, and those deals are available more often than you’d probably think, no matter the location.

  • Using coupons are definitely something I believe everyone should try out. Although it takes a small bit of knowledge as mentioned in the article, it is very rewarding. As the article mentioned, as long as you stick to buying only what you planned on buying, and spend the necessary amount of time using the correct coupons, you can save plenty.

  • What’s not to love about coupons, really? I see a lot of people being skeptical about coupons in general and I can’t help but feel disappointed. Here’s a quick and easy way to save a lot of money on your purchases and only a few people are taking advantage. Well, you can’t convince everybody, I guess.

  • Always check what the unit price will be after you use the coupon. Sometimes you get a coupon that looks like it will be a great deal, but the store brand right next to it is STILL a few cents cheaper per oz/lb ect. than the name brand even with the coupon.

  • Nice info, thanks for sharing this wonderful information. These are really important facts about coupons.

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