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Beginner Tip: How to Use a Coupon


Today I want to go over the very basic lesson of how to use a coupon.  Most people understand how to redeem a coupon such as Save $0.50 on 1 can of Dole Pineapple.  But when using coupons that say, for example, Save $1.00 on any 3 Cans of Dole Pineapple, it can become a bit confusing.  We get comments asking if someone can buy 3 cans of pineapple and use three copies of the $1.00 off 3 coupon.  Or questions such as “May I buy 3 cans of pineapple and use one $1.00 off 3 coupon AND 2 of even 3 $0.50 off 1 coupons?”  So, here it is!  I’ll address BOGO coupons in another post, as they’re a whole other animal.

As pictured above, when you use $1.00 off 3 manufacturer coupon, you must buy 3 products in order to redeem it.  If you buy 4 cans of pineapple, you can only use one $1.00 off 3 coupon.  In order to use two coupons, you would need to buy 6 cans of pineapple, as pictured below.



Now, let’s bring two different manufacturer coupons into the equation.  We’ll say that there are two available coupons from two different Sunday coupon inserts:


$0.50/2  Dole Pineapple or Tropical Fruit cans
$1.00/3 Dole Pineapple or Tropical Fruit cans

If you want to use both the $0.50 off 2 coupon and the $1.00 off 3 coupon, you will need to buy a total of 5 cans of pineapple.  If you have multiple copies of the $1.00 off 3 coupon, you’d be better off buying the 6th can using two of them, since the savings on the $1.00 off 3 coupon is $0.33 per item, and the savings on the $0.50 off 2 coupon is $0.25 per item.

Since these are both manufacturer coupons, you cannot stack them.  You cannot buy 3 cans of pineapple and use a $1.00 off 3 coupon in addition to a $0.50 off 2 coupon.  The confusion arises when someone says, “I thought I could use one manufacturer coupon per item!”  That statement holds true only when we’re talking about coupons that are worth a certain value savings on ONE item.  If we had three $0.50 off 1 coupons, we would use three of them on 3 cans of pineapple.  When we’re using a $1.00 off 3 coupon, we are limited to one manufacturer coupon per every three cans purchased.  If you were to attempt to use three $1.00 off 3 coupons on three cans of pineapple, the 2nd and 3rd coupons would not be accepted by the register.  The bar code is created in such a way that the register recognizes that it is meant for 3 items.  If you only buy 2 cans of pineapple and attempt to use a $1.00 off 3 coupon, the register should reject your coupon.

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