Evelyn Romans | 

7 Golden Rules for Smart Couponing

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1. Know the store policy.

Know the store policy.

The easiest way to avoid issues at the register is to know your store’s coupon policy. And I’m not just talking about reading the policy once and being done with it. Store policies change — sometimes without notice. KCL will always update readers on any changes, but it’s wise to bookmark your store’s policy on your mobile just in case an issue does come up and you need to reference the rules in-store.

Find your store’s coupon policy now and print or bookmark it!

To find your regional store’s policy, check under “Stores” on KCL.


2. Collect newspaper and printable coupons.

 Collect newspaper and printable coupons.

In order to stock up on a product when it’s at a rock-bottom price, you’ll usually need more than two of the same coupon. And since most coupon sites only allow you to print a coupon twice per phone number, we recommend buying copies of the Sunday newspaper to supplement your free Internet coupon collection.

KCL will give you a preview of coupons coming up in the Sunday newspaper every Saturday. And we’ll show you which coupon inserts contain the coupons you’ll need for a deal using the codes: SS (Smart Source), RMN (RetailMeNot Everyday, formerly Red Plum), and PG (Procter & Gamble) followed by the date of the insert so you don’t have to clip newspaper coupons until you actually need them.

You can find free Internet coupons right on KCL by browsing through deals or by searching in the coupon database by product or brand.


3. Know that “One per purchase” means one type of coupon per item — not per transaction.

Know that "One per purchase" means one type of coupon per item — not per transaction.

Words like “purchase” or “purchase of item” mean you can use one type of coupon for every individual item purchased. Purchase 20 items, use 20 coupons. “Limit one coupon per purchase” is meant to enforce the point that you can’t use two of the exact same coupons for one item.

Here’s an example:

If someone is buying three tubs of frosting and they have three $0.50/1 Betty Crocker frosting coupons, they can use one coupon for each frosting. On the other hand, if the coupon is $1/3 Betty Crocker frostings, the shopper can only use one coupon per three frostings purchased.



4. Use rebate apps.

Use rebate apps.

Every couponer needs to have Ibotta, Checkout 51, and MobiSave in their arsenal. These three rebate apps have offers every week for the things you already buy — plus, you don’t have to clip a single coupon to get savings. Instead, browse through offers in each app and add the qualifying products to your shopping list. After you’ve made the purchase (stacking coupons when you can), snap a photo of your receipt, and in about 24 hours your account will be credited.

Here’s the Ultimate Comprehensive Guide to Rebate Apps. Read it to learn about all the rebate apps and how to maximize your savings.


RELATED: 3 Things You Need to Actually Make Couponing Work in 2017


5. Stack coupons with sales.

Stack coupons with sales.

Clearance prices are the best foundations for a stack, but anytime you see a good sale price, try to use a manufacturer coupon, store coupon, and rebate offer on top of an item’s already discounted price.

Only one manufacturer coupon — printed from the Internet or newspaper — can be used per item. And at stores that also offer store coupons (like Target, Walgreens, CVS, and Kroger stores), you can also use a store coupon for a total of two coupons per product.

TIP: Stack coupons and savings at retail stores too — especially at Kohl’s. Check out 29 Genius (and Accurate!) Kohl’s Shopping Hacks, and you’ll never shop retail the same way again.


6. Know when to stock up.

Know when to stock-up.

Yes, stocking up on certain products will lead to having a stockpile. No, we’re not encouraging you to be a hoarder. Only buy what you need, people.

When the price of an item is super low with coupons, don’t just purchase enough to last you a week. Buy enough to last you several months so you won’t have to pay full price when you run out of product. Creating a stockpile of household essentials will save you big time in the long run.

Get KCL’s free stock-up price list now.


7. Don’t used expired or photocopied coupons.

Don't used expired or photocopied coupons.

This may be obvious to the seasoned couponer, but for newbies who’ve just started couponing, photocopying coupons is a big no-no. For one thing, registers won’t accept photocopied or expired coupons and will beep should you attempt it.

Every coupon (with the exception of PDF coupons) has a unique bar code. So if you want two $2/1 coupons for the same product from Coupons.com, clip the coupon once, hit print, then use the back button in your browser to clip it again. Coupons.com allows two prints of the same coupon per device used. If you want a total of four coupons, use your smartphone or a different computer to print two more copies. Want more of the same newspaper coupons? You’ll have to buy multiple newspapers for their coupon inserts (or just ask your friends for their inserts).

As for any and all expired coupons, send them to military families overseas, where manufacturer coupons can be used up to six months after their expiration date. Mail your expired coupons to:

Support Our Troops
P.O. Box 70
Daytona Beach, FL 32115-0070


UP NEXT: 36 Couponing Challenges for the New Year



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