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New to couponing and are confused by all the lingo? Don’t worry — we’ve got your back. Learning how to coupon doesn’t have to be scary. Even the most veteran couponers need a refresher from time to time on couponing definitions. Be sure to bookmark this page so anytime you’re confused, you’ll have a trusty list.
Don’t forget to check out 10 Things You Should Know About Coupon Fine Print too.
Here are the most confusing (and important) couponing definitions and terms every smart shopper should know:
Types of Coupons
You may have seen us referring to these coupon definitions and abbreviations in the deals we post. (No, we’re not speaking in code!) These letters stand for the coupon inserts that come in the Sunday paper:
SS = SmartSource Coupons
You’ll see SmartSource coupons almost every week in the Sunday newspaper. Occasionally, there could be two coupon inserts in one week. SmartSource includes brands like Covergirl, Air Wick, Alka-Seltzer, and more.
PG = Procter & Gamble Coupons
USS = Unilever Super Saver Coupons
Unilever Super Saver coupon inserts come out about once a month in the Sunday newspaper. They aren’t on a regular schedule like the other inserts, but when they do come out, you’ll find brands like Dove and TRESemme here. In 2021, it wasn’t distributed in January, July, November, and December.
Save = Save (formerly RetailMeNot Everyday and Red Plum)
The Save coupon insert is distributed almost every week. If P&G is in the Sunday paper, normally Save won’t be. This flyer used to be called Red Plum then RetailMeNot Everyday. You’ll find brands like L’Oreal, Maybelline, and Purex here.
At KCL we abbreviate coupon inserts in our deal posts like this:
Coupons dispensed in stores from plastic boxes with a blinking red light hanging on the shelf.
A pad of manufacturer coupons found near a product on shelves. Tear pad manufacturer coupons may be used at another store, not just the one where you found the coupon.
Adhesive manufacturer coupons found on products in the store. They are stuck onto products to encourage impulse buys and can be put on at the manufacturing plant.
Coupons from the newspaper, blinkie machines, tear pads, and peelies are regional and vary by state, city, and store.
Manufacturer coupons that you print from your computer, smartphone, or tablet. You can print them right on The Krazy Coupon Lady! All you have to do is search by product (diapers) or brand (Pampers).
You can use KCL’s free coupon database to search for top brands like:
Here’s how to print exactly what you’re looking for:
- Search for the item or brand you’re looking for on KCL (“detergent,” “Tide,” etc.).
- Put a check mark on “Printable” to see those coupons.
- Choose the coupon you’d like. The link will then take you to the website or manufacturer offering the coupon to print. Depending on the site, you may need to sign up to access the coupon.
Catalinas are registered coupons that print out of the little Catalina machine at participating store checkouts (like at Kroger and Safeway). These coupons are sometimes advertised or are generated based on a shopper’s behavior.
There are four types of Catalina coupons:
- A store coupon for a dollar amount off your next purchase
- A manufacturer coupon for a specific product
- An ad for a store promotion or product
- A discount for a local business
TIP: Many shoppers throw their Catalina coupons away, thinking they’re just ads or an extra receipt. Look for these discarded coupons near self-checkout registers and grab them!
Stands for Buy One Get One free. This can be in reference to a sale or a physical coupon.
Rebate & Cash-Back App Terms
You may see couponers often refer to getting “cash back.” While you won’t get cold hard cash in your hand, you’ll still get reimbursed.
Rebate apps, also known as cash-back apps, get you cash back or other reimbursements for receipts showing proof of purchase for an item or items. Instead of getting money taken off your total before you cash out, like with a coupon, you pay and then get some sort of a rebate once you’ve reached each app’s minimum amount.
To become a master of the rebate apps, we have the Ultimate Guide to Rebate Apps.
MIR = Mail-In Rebate
Refers to rebates which must be submitted by mail. These are the traditional rebates that require mailing the receipt and proof of purchase in the form of UPC barcodes.
Coupon Stacking Terms
Coupon and Deal Matchup
A coupon and deal matchup is when we take coupons from the newspaper, printable coupons, or rebate offers and match them up with store sales. Pairing these together gives you a great deal. Plus, we do all the work for you!
Think of coupon stacking like piling on layers of savings.
Stacking a coupon on top of a sale price is your most basic stack, but you can get sweeter savings when you stack a rebate-app offer (like one from Ibotta) with a coupon, a store rewards promotion (like one from CVS, Walgreens, or Rite Aid), and a sale price.
TIP: You can even stack coupon codes online. For instance, at Kohl’s, combine a sitewide coupon (like $10 off a $50 purchase or 15% off an entire order), category-specific coupons (like 30% off Home or 20% off Appliances), and a free shipping coupon simultaneously. These Retailers Allow Coupon Stacking Online.
200 Level Couponing Definitions
The best kind of moneymaker is one where you get actual cash back for buying a certain product with coupons. For example, if a tube of Crest toothpaste is $2 and you have a manufacturer coupon for $2.50, the store will give you $0.50 back in cash or apply the credit toward your transaction.
The only big-box store that gives you physical cash back is Walmart. Most stores just apply the credit to your total or will decrease the coupon’s value to match the selling price of an item.
However, “moneymakers” still exist in one form or another; they just involve a few more steps. And instead of getting physical cash back, you get credit that exceeds what you paid at the register in the form of gift cards, rebates, and rewards points.
Overage is just like moneymaker except you’re getting your total in the negative at the register. This can create a bit of an awkward couponing situation. By knowing your policies, you’ll be able to handle it.
Occasionally, the final price of an item after coupons will be so low that we’ll recommend stocking up on enough product to last you three to six months. Do this and you’ll never have to pay full price on the products you need again, because you’ll have enough to last you until the next stock-up price comes along. Don’t worry, the KCL Stock-Up Price List can help you determine what deals to grab.
Wanna build a stockpile? Here’s How to Build a Stockpile for Less than $10 a Week.
Drugstore Couponing Definitions
Each drugstore calls their in-store credits something different, but they essentially all work the same. As long as you sign up for each store’s loyalty program, you can start earning these in-store credits and using them with coupons for bigger savings:
CVS currency you earn through transactions and sales.
Learn How to Coupon at CVS.
Walgreens currency you earn through transactions and sales.
Learn How to Coupon at Walgreens.
Walgreens’ Catalina-style rewards you earn through transactions and sales. Register Rewards print at the register and are receipt-like coupons.
Rite Aid BonusCash Rewards
Rite Aid currency you earn through transactions and sales.
Learn How to Coupon at Rite Aid.
TIP: Find rewards promotions in each store’s weekly Sunday ad. Or, walk into any of the three major drugstores and find brightly colored tags hanging from the shelves. Typically these tags will say something like “Buy X product, receive $X [or points] in rewards.” When you buy the product in the right quantity, you’ll receive rewards at the register that can be used on a future purchase.
Rolling is when you use your drugstore rewards credits to pay for your transaction and earn more drugstore currency. Note that not every store allows rolling. Walgreens will not let you roll your Register Rewards.
When you earn ExtraBucks from a transaction, you can use it right away to earn more! This takes some time and concentration. To roll your ExtraBucks, you’ll end up doing multiple transactions using your ExtraBucks from the first transaction to pay for the next and so on. Check out this example to fully understand.
KCL factors in drugstore rewards credits when calculating the final price of a deal. Here’s what a CVS Extrabucks deal looks like on The Krazy Coupon Lady: