Limit one per purchase. Do not double. Cannot be combined with any other offer. Are you confused with how many “like” coupons you can use? Coupons have a lot of information packed onto a small slip of paper, and if you haven’t spent a lot of time reading coupons, the fine print might not make a lot of sense.

Reading a coupon correctly is essential to success. If you misinterpret the offer, you may run into trouble redeeming the coupon. Even one small mistake interrupts your checkout; and checking out with coupons already takes long enough. Make sure you understand exactly what your coupon means by using this guide.

Limit Per Purchase: The number of coupons you can use per item listed on the coupon. If the coupon is for cents off one item, you can use one coupon for every one item. If the coupon is for cents off two items, you can use one coupon for every two items.

Limit Per Transaction: Every time you make an exchange with the cashier and get a receipt, you are completing a transaction. The limit of coupons you can use per transaction refers to the number of coupons you can use on one receipt.

Limit Per Shopping Trip: This piece of fine print means that you are only allowed to use one coupon every time you enter the store. If you wanted to redeem more than one coupon like this, you’d have to return to the store later and make a second “shopping trip” to redeem it.

Limit Per Customer: This technically means that you may only use one coupon to get one deal. In practice, this is rarely enforced because if you come back the next day for the same deal, there’s not much chance anyone will notice. Ignoring this rule probably won’t interrupt your order at all, but it is a questionable ethics practice because using coupons they way they were intended to be used is important.

Limit of “Like” Coupons: This refers to the number of identical coupons you can use in one transaction. Generally, you can use the same amount on another transaction on the same day. This is a popular bit of fine print for Proctor and Gamble coupons.

Limit of Like Products in one Shopping Trip: This means that you can only purchase a certain number of the items on the coupon in one trip. So even if you use coupons that are not identical but refer to the same item, you can only purchase a certain number.

Do Not Double: This is another tricky coupon area. Many coupons say “Do Not Double” but are still automatically doubled at the cash register. Any coupon that says “Do Not Double” should be assumed as a non-doubling coupon.

This has been a guest post by Kate from Midland, MI
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17 thoughts on “Coupon Lingo: Learn what the Fine Print Means”

  1. Anonymous says:

    After reading all of the comments, I sometimes want to just throw up my hands and give up.  Couponing has become a real challenge!  Obviously the retailers do not want them so they give the customer a hard time.  No one store or even employees and/or managers have the same interpretation of coupons and their corporate policy…they just make it up on the fly. The manufacturer has now decided to restrict their coupons by  reducing the dollar amounts and using wording no one can understand. So they are now subject to interpretation by any employee or manager who wants to refuse them. I have been couponing since the 70′s and have “NEVER” had problems until about 3 years ago. Many times they act as if you are a criminal or that the coupon dollars are coming out of their paycheck.

    If you believe that you are being honest in using your coupons and suddenly a cashier/manager decides to make up their own policy or interpretation why not just pleasantly ask them to credit back the item(s) and you just don’t need to buy it right now.  You will still have your coupon and can try again at another store or perhaps with a different cashier.  I believe that if you refuse to buy the item (unless you really need it) then the stores and manufacturers will get the idea that we can actually do without their products (perhaps buying a cheaper generic brand). Having to spend time crediting back the item and returning it to the shelf is not very cost or time efficient.  If this happens many times per day someone may get the message that this needs to be easier for all of “us”. when they want to offer discounts on their products to entice us.

    Please do not be bullied any longer. As the consumer makes it clear that this wording and interpretation issues are not working changes can be made. Remember all of the problems Target had with coupons…that became a national issue and eventually they made changes to the way they processed coupons.   

  2. Anonymous says:

    I would like to know what “cannot be combined with any other offer” means because the Target by my house always give me trouble for using coupons? Many people were able to buy items that I couldn’t because Target says that I cannot use this type of coupon with their sales price. Please clarify for me! Thank you!

  3. Noelle & Andrew Cox says:

    Quick question..

    At Walgreen’s today, I purchased 2 of the Clean and Clear body washes, and used 2 of the $1.50/1 coupons. The cashier said I could not use 2..because the coupon did state limit one coupon per person, but it also stated limit 4 of the same in the same transaction. What do I need to do in the future? She ended up letting me use the 2nd coupon, but I don’t want to do that in the future if that is not the correct way to use coupons that have that wording.

  4. What do you mean when you say online price? do we have to buy that one item online only?

  5. Anonymous says:

    It was my understanding that Limit one per customer just meant within that shopping trip. It doesn’t seem fitting to think that literally means 1 person can only use 1 ever. Otherwise, wouldn’t it say “One Per Household”?

  6. Anonymous says:

    To be quite frank, Pizzaz is more knowledgeable about coupon lingo than the cashiers.
    However, this post is an excellent tool for educating cashiers, their supervisors and their supervisors supervisor and their supervisors supervisors supervisor. (I could keep going, but I don’t want to get ridiculous.)
    Pizzaz thinks that it would be an outstanding idea to make many copies of this post and keep them in one’s coupon binder.  Instead of getting into confrontations with the ‘Coupon Challenged’, how much better it would be to give them a copy and say something like- “I’m sure you will find this information helpful”, and then see what happens the next time you visit the store! :)

  7. Thanks for the refresher KCL. I think although I have been doing this for a while now I still have moments of brain farts. lol  I read a new one on my peelies the other day. It said “void unless removed by the Cashier at checkout” Now I am not one to remove a peelie unless I have purchased the product. But this was for $3.00 off a gallon of milk when you purchased 3 of the Kellogg’s cereals I think it was on the Crunchy honey nut oH’s???? Anyways I grabbed 3 boxes for my deal and headed to the register. I saw this verbiage on the 2 from the other boxes I actually purchased. I think I should be able to use them later if I so choose, but according to the verbiage I can’t, I am not gonna drag the cereal back to the store with me for them to peel it off. I just think this was silly. 

    • Anonymous says:

      These are SO common at my Publix. Most peelies I find at Publix will say cashier must remove so I put up last so the cashier nows. I think it’s clever but sometimes rather annoying because the other coupons are deemed useless. Even though Publix is the most coupon friendly store, they won’t accept them if you peel off and bring back at a later visit.(in my experience).

      • Wow! Well I think I am gonna try to use them anyhow. $3.00 is too high a value not to try.Especially on milk. (and I know I will probably get some haters for that comment,) I know I will be purchasing more Kellogg’s cereal in the future. I used to shop at publix….. longgggggg time ago before I got smart and started using coupons.

  8. Anonymous says:

    How about when a coupon says “cannot be used with any other offer/coupon”…does that mean you cannot stack it with a store coupon?

  9. Anonymous says:

    How about when one says “cannot be combined with other offers/coupons”? Does that mean you are unable to stack with store coupons?

  10. Anonymous says:

    I have a question I’ve been asking for a while and no one seems to answer, lol.

    About a month ago when p&g put out their buy 1 Olay cleanser get a bodywash free we also had a  $3/2 cleanser coupon. Like all p&g b1g1f coupons (even looking at the pantene b1g1f ) it CLEARLY states LIMIT ONE COUPON PER PURCHASE OF PRODUCTS AND QUANTITIES STATED.

    To me this means that using a dollar off coupon is NOT allowed when using the b1g1f coupon. Most coupon blogs I follow have used both in their scenarios and it’s always bothered me. If I’m misunderstanding it and can get some clarification on this it would be a huge help!

    • Football mom says:

      Whenever I buy something like this I get 4 of them. that way I am actually buying 2 and getting 2 free, so you still can use the $3/2 coupon as well.

      • Anonymous says:

         But you’d still be using the b1g1f coupon, thats what I’m talking about. If the coupon states limite one coupon on items purchased, it ties to both items. Even if you buy 4, 6, or even 8, the b1g1f coupon ties to both when worded like this correct? That’s what I’ve been trying to get an answer to for a long time and still with a coupon language topic no one can explain! lol