Couponing 101 – How to Coupon Stack

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1. How to Coupon: Overview

First, a quick overview of how “couponing” works.

The basic gist of couponing is buying items at the right time such that you can get the item, at low, or rock bottom prices (lowest price possible).

What we do is wait until an item goes on sale, pair that sale with an existing coupon, such that it will be the lowest or close to lowest price on the item. We then buy multiple units of the item, so that we have enough until the next sale cycle. In this way, for some common household items, we never have to pay full price.

Every item in stores has a sale cycle. For grocery stores and consumable products, the sale cycle happens every 6-8 weeks, where you will see rock bottom prices. For other seasonal items, the cycle may be longer. And for things like toothpaste, sale cycles happen much faster.

The couponing game isn’t about getting everything for free – even though that is always nice. The game of couponing is about paying near rock bottom prices on items we can stock up on for the future. Our families can often enjoy name brand products at below generic brand prices.

Here are the basic steps to couponing (we’ll cover each of them in detail later):

  • Collecting Coupons
  • Watch for Sales
  • Stack Coupons with Sales

Couponing 101: What is Coupon Stacking?

There are two major categories for coupons: “Manufacturer Coupon” and “Store Coupon”.

A “manufacturer coupon” is a coupon issued by the company that makes the product. For example, P&G issues the coupon for Pampers. So when we use a manufacturer coupon for Pampers diapers at a store, P&G will then pays that store for the value of that coupon. These coupons will say “Manufacturer Coupon” on the actual coupon.

A “Store Coupon” is a coupon issued by the specific store. For example, the coupon will say “Target Coupon” or “CVS coupon” on the actual coupon. The specific store is not being reimbursed for these coupons by another company. The companies themselves (ie. Target) absorb the cost of these coupons as a way to attract people to visit their stores.

Generally speaking, stores typically will allow one Manufacturer Coupon and one Store Coupon to be used on one item. We call this “Stacking Coupons” or “Stack Coupons”. Because we are using multiple coupons on the same item. However, you cannot use two Manufacturer Coupons on the same item.

How to stack coupons example

In the picture above, I had stacked a $1 off Manufacturer Coupon with a $2 off CVS Store coupon, and used it on a bottle of Tide that was on sale for $2.94. Thus making it Free.

Stacking Coupons is not the same as “Doubling Coupons”. Doubling coupons is a concept not available to every region. Some grocery stores and regions allow double coupons, which is simply a store promotion where the value of a manufacturer coupon is doubled (Up to a certain amount. Usually the amount is under $1). For example, you have a coupon for $0.50 and your store allows doubling of coupons up to $0.50, then your $0.50 coupon will take off $1.00.

Every store will have their own coupon policy and some stores may not allow stacking of coupons.

Example of Stacking:

  • Target has Dial hand soap on sale this week for $2 per bottle.
  • There’s a $1.00 off one Manufacturer coupon and a $0.75 off one Target Coupon.
  • You can use both coupons on the sale price of the soap. Thus taking $1.75 off $2.00 and you can get the bottle of soap for $0.25.
NEXT: Couponing 101: Where to Get Coupons?

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