Before becoming a Krazy Coupon Lady, I never knew that there was such precision to couponing. I found out quickly that when you use a coupon correctly by knowing the details and strategically matching them with sales, they can really add up to great savings. Reading the fine print on your coupon will give you clues on how to use it. I know, big surprise…but really, how often do you read the fine print on anything? Most couponers (including myself) often ignore the fine print because we’re so distracted by the coupon value that’s cleverly printed in larger, bolder font. The fine print can help you realize where a product is located, what sizes are eligible for the savings, as well as the stores where you can redeem the coupon. Here are a few important facts about the fine print on your coupons, because knowing the differences can really impact your savings!

1. Product location

Who knew that taking a second to read the fine print could save you so much time. Sometimes, it’s hard to remember if a certain item is located in the refrigerated or the freezer section. Or is the item located in the bakery? Read the fine print and let the coupon tell you where to go!
  • Example: You have a manufacturer coupon for Tropicana Farmstand juice. You’ve never bought this juice before, so you’re not sure if it’s refrigerated or not, but the fine print states that item is located next to Tropicana Orange Juice, and you definitely know that’s refrigerated.

2. Picture vs. description

It’s so easy to glance at a picture on a coupon and think you have the correct item. However, reading the fine print can determine the variety of items available for a coupon, giving you more savings options.
  • Example: Recently, there was a coupon for $1.50 off any Snickers, Twix, M&M’s, Milky Way or Dove ice cream multi-packs (3-14 ct). The picture on the coupon featured the Snickers and Twix brand. By just relying on the photo, your choices are limited to two brands versus the five brands described in the fine print. Also, the picture doesn’t reflect the number of items in the box. The fine print states 3-14. Reading the actual details of the coupon gives you more variety and options.

3. Joint offers

These are probably my least favorite coupons because it requires closer attention, and it means you must purchase two items.
  • Example: You have a Venus razor coupon that’s good for a free razor when you buy two. If you look at the coupon, it may show two razors, but only when you read the fine print do you see the specification of the deal. You can’t use this coupon for just one razor—instead, you’ll get a loud, embarrassing beep at the register.

4. Redeemable at vs. available at

These basically mean the same thing; however, “available at” indicates which stores are featuring this item. “Redeemable at” typically has the store logo or name on it. Some cashiers mistake this for being a store-specific coupon. The key word to look for is “only.” If a coupon states “only redeemable at,” then it’s store specific.
  • Example: I find a lot of coupons with “redeemable at Walmart” on them. Sometimes it’s in fine print, other times “Walmart” is in big letters with its symbol. When you see a coupon with “redeemable at Walmart” or “redeemable at Walgreens,” check to see if it’s a store coupon or if it’s just suggesting that you shop at a particular store.

5. Store coupon vs. manufacturer coupon

A store coupon is specific to the store. A manufacturer coupon can be used anywhere that accepts coupons and stocks the product.
  • Example: Target is great for offering store coupons on their website, via mailer, and through text messages. The description of the type of coupon is featured at the top of the coupon beside the expiration date. For Target, the coupon states “Target coupon.” Knowing which coupon is a Target coupon and which is a manufacturer coupon alerts you to where it can be used.

6. Sizes described

A coupon’s fine print gives essential information for proper redemption. “Does not apply to trial size,” “do not double” (DND), and size specifications are key pieces of information you should look for before using a coupon.
  • Example: You have a Hormel Party Tray manufacturer coupon that states “Save $2.00 on the purchase of one (1) Hormel Party Tray 28 oz. or larger.” The fine print tells you in two ways that this is for one item, by using the number and spelling out the amount. Also, the coupon describes the size range for the use of the coupon. This means you can’t use the coupon on a 16-ounce party tray because the coupon specifically states the minimum size.