Saturday, September 12, 2009

Combining Coupons...

I had a blog reader e-mail me with a VERY good question, so I wanted to share my answer to it here in case anyone had a similiar question.

"I am new to couponing and have a question. Can I combine target coupons? There is $1/1 for GM cereals that expires tomorrow but then is another one that is $1/2 that expires later for GM cereals. Can I use them both and a manufacturers coupon if I buy two cereals or only a target coupon and a manufacturers coupon?

I hope this makes sense. Thanks for getting back to me. I am going to try couponing tomorrow.

Kim"


This is a good question and unfortunately the answer is no, you can't combine Target coupons like that. Target's official coupon policy (and every other store that I know of...at least up here) doesn't combine their own coupons. They will take one store/Target coupon and one manufacturer coupon per item.

Down in the lower 48 they have something called "double coupons", which we don't get up here. Why, I don't know. Double coupons are something you'll run into on other deal blogs though, so let me explain that for a moment. Double coupons are when a store voluntarily doubles up a manufacturer coupon of less than 1.00 on an item. So if you had a .50/1 coupon the computer would just automatically double it up to 1.00 when you checked out. It's a very great sounding service and I pray that one of these days our stores up here might do that. Can you imagine how much of a killing, we who run the deal blogs, could set you up with if we had double coupons *wistfull look*.

Unfortunately though...we're stuck in the rut we are and so we're on the "1 and 1 coupon" match-up and that's it. Although it's still not a bad thing :-).

Let me break down a couple of things for you all when it comes to "stacking" manufacturer and store coupons.

1) 1.00/1 combined with 1.00/2 types of coupons.

You can use a 1.00/2 store coupon with 2 1.00/1 Manufacturer coupons, OR vice versa, but you couldn't, if you bought two items, use a 1.00/1 store coupon AND a 1.00/2 store coupon on the same two items. This is considered using two "like" coupons on an item and isn't allowed. So long as you keep track and figure out how many times a coupon "hits" an item and make sure you only have one "hit" per item with your store and manufacturer coupons you should be fine (like I used a 1.00/3 Target coupon for tuna fish this last trip and then used 3 .50/1 manufacturer coupons on the same item. The 1.00/3 Target coupon "hit" those three items once a piece and so did the manufacturer coupons, so this was a legal use of coupons).

2) B1G1 coupons.

These are great because you can use a B1G1 and do what I like to call "triple stacking". That's because the B1G1 coupon is just saying that if you buy 1 item you get one free. So, you can still use a manufacturer AND a store coupon on the item you are buying. Let me give you an example...

Head and Shoulders shampoo on sale 3.99 with in-ad coupon
Buy 2 and
Use B1G1 coupon from a P&G insert
Stack with 1.00/1 coupon from the same P&G insert
Final Price: 2 bottles of shampoo for 2.99

So, you'll have three coupons for the same transaction, but it's all legal to do because you are still allowed your two coupon allottment (one manufacturer and one store coupon) on the item you are actually buying. The BEST and most awesome way to use the B1G1 coupons is when you can stack a B1G1 coupon with either a store promotion for a B1G1 sale OR use a B1G1 store coupon with your B1G1 manufacturer coupon. You can also use a B1G1 coupon in conjunction with a "Free" coupon to get two items for free even if they are both manufacturer coupons because you are using your "free" coupon on the item you are buying.

Here's some examples for you...

Dog food on sale B1G1
Use the B1G1 from some Redplum insert
Final Price: 2 free cans of dogfood

Dog food on sale 1.99
Use B1G1 coupon from the SS inserts
Use B1G1 Target Printable
Final Price: Free after coupons

Dog food on sale B1G1
Use "free" dogfood coupon from some SS insert
Final price: 2 free cans dogfood

Dog food on sale 1.99
Use B1G1 coupon from the SS inserts
Use "Free" coupon from the SS inserts
Final Price: 2 cans dogfood free

See what I mean? There are definitely various ways to stack coupons to make them work the best for you, but it can be a lot of work honestly. My thoughts on the matter? Get your feet wet doing the basics of one manufacturer coupon and one store coupon. Then hit your local deals blogs (like this one) for coupon match-ups every week and let us do the hard work for you. For instance I spend probably 12 hours every Sunday doing coupon match-ups and getting eyestrain, but you don't have to. I mean for literally an hour or two a week (which is mainly reading your coupon match-ups and clipping lots of paper) you can plan a successfull shopping trip and let us do the hard work for you :-).

Also, in the case of Target printables, remember this. You can print more than one of those coupons (actually you can print as many of a coupon as you want), so don't worry about trying to use a coupon "only once". Just remember this important fact. A lot of the Target coupons say "one per transaction" which some cashiers will take to heart and want you to separate things out into different transactions. This can sometimes wreck a deal you are trying to do, but my advice is to just say "never mind then" if you can't get the coupons to work one per transaction and get the results you want and then try again later with another cashier. I've had a LOT more good cashiers than bad ones (and trust me you will quickly learn to avoid the bad ones)...you just have to take the bad with the good I'm afraid.

Just do NOT argue with the cashier. If you know you are right on an item (like adjusting down the price of a coupon to get it for free and they don't want to take it) go to the store armed with the corporate policy, stick to your guns and ask to speak to a manager. Be nice and polite the entire time. If the manager doesn't want to do anything about it, tell them that you know you are right and ask them to phone corporate. This has ALWAYS in the rare instance where I have had a problem, immediately fixes things.

Remember...coupons have been around for a while, but for the first time in a long time coupons are really starting to take hold again due to the hard economy. A LOT of cashier's are still in the "learning curve" as I like to call it where they don't know any more about coupons than a beginning coupon person does and coupons scare them. So, try to be patient with cashiers (I've been ready to throttle a few myself, so I know how hard it can be at times) and figure that even if you miss out on THIS good deal there will be many more coming down the pike.

I hope this blurb helped some people. Go and coupon and enjoy all!

3 comments:

senovia said...

Hi. I'm new here, and I was wondering what a SS insert is, and what a P&G and Redplum inserts are. Thanks. :)

senovia said...

Nevermind, I clicked on "coupon basics" under the post and figured it out! Thanks!

Alaskan Bargain Hunter said...

I just want to make sure you got it straight (I don't mean to come across as thinking you're dumb or anything...I just want to help =). The SS (Smart Source) insert, the Red Plum insert and the P&G insert (Proctor and Gamble insert) are the inserts that are found in Sunday's paper. The names Smart Source, Red Plum and Proctor and Gamble for the inserts just comes from the name of the company that puts them out. They're basic staples in coupon-land. Sorry about that. I'm so used to doing "coupon jargon" that I forgot to use the "long version" of the names instead I used the "coupon short hand" (I like to call it) and probably confused more than just you. So I wanted to straighten that out for people :-).