Did you know you can save up to 70% on grocery, household and retail items when you know just two things about couponing?

It’s true — you don’t have to be an expert or an extreme couponer in order to save big.

First, you need to know the difference between the many types of coupons. And then you have to know which coupons you can combine together to get the biggest savings (we call it “stacking” — get more in-depth info on that here).

Let’s get started!


1. Newspaper manufacturer coupons

Manufacturer coupons are issued directly from — you guessed it — the product’s manufacturer.

Manufacturers reimburse stores for each coupon discount, so stores don’t lose money. In fact, you can learn all about the start-to-finish process of where coupons go to die.

Use one manufacturer coupon per item or product you’re buying — usually up to four in one transaction — although some coupons limit it to two items and coupons per transaction.

Here’s where it gets tricky, though: there are a few different methods or types of manufacturer coupons, and you cannot stack those together on a single item.

For example, if you have a printable manufacturer coupon from Coupons.com for $3.00/1 Olay body wash and a $3.00/1 Olay body wash newspaper manufacturer coupon, you can’t stack them together for $6.00 off one Olay body wash. Why? Because they are actually the same coupon, just in a different form. Same goes for digital manufacturer coupons inside store apps like the Walgreens app.

For this example, you’d need to grab two Olay body washes and apply one coupon to each. It’s OK if you have one newspaper coupon and one printable — as long as you have two items!

What stacks with newspaper manufacturer coupons?

  • Store coupons
  • Catalinas
  • Loyalty program discounts
  • Rebate app offers like Ibotta and Checkout51

What doesn’t stack with newspaper manufacturer coupons?

  • Printable manufacturer coupons
  • Digital manufacturer coupons — Load2Card or eCoupons


RELATED: 11 Ways to Get Free Newspaper Coupons


2. Printable manufacturer coupons

Anything you use your printer for is considered a “printable coupon.” They can be manufacturer or store coupons. Just look at the top of the coupon and you’ll see “Manufacturer’s Coupon” or “Store Coupon.”

The best place to find printable coupons is Coupons.com. When you download the KCL app, we’ll do the legwork of finding coupons that match up with stores sales so all you have to do is print coupons and head to the store.

Be sure to sign your spouse up for a Coupons.com account too so you can print four coupons instead of two for each item. This makes buying a lot of items when there’s a great deal easier! Learn more about stockpiling a 3-6 month supply.

What stacks with printable manufacturer coupons?

  • Store coupons
  • Catalinas
  • Loyalty program discounts
  • Rebate app offers like Ibotta and Checkout51

What doesn’t stack with printable manufacturer coupons?

  • Newspaper manufacturer coupons
  • Digital manufacturer coupons — Load2Card or eCoupons

TIP: Sometimes printable manufacturer coupons say “Redeem at Target” or “Redeem at Walmart” across the top. For the most part, you can ignore this since it’s just a suggestion about where to use the coupon. Except if it’s a store coupon and not a manufacturer coupon — you have to use it at the store listed.


3. Digital manufacturer coupons

This is the third form of manufacturer coupons, and it comes in a few forms itself. It might be a manufacturer coupon inside a store app — like a Target Cartwheel dollar-off discount that’s actually a manufacturer coupon inside the Target app. Or it could be a Load2Card coupon inside the Walgreens app.

Rule of thumb: if it’s a dollar-off discount (not a percent-off), it’s generally a manufacturer coupon, but always read the fine print!

Most store apps house both store coupons and manufacturer coupons, so pay close attention and read the fine print when you’re accessing digital coupons at stores like Walgreens, Target, CVS, Kroger and more.

Remember, since they’re actually manufacturer coupons, you can only use one per item.

What stacks with digital manufacturer coupons?

  • Store coupons
  • Catalinas
  • Loyalty program discounts
  • Rebate app offers like Ibotta and Checkout51

What doesn’t stack with digital manufacturer coupons?

  • Newspaper manufacturer coupons
  • Printable coupons

Learn how to coupon at Target and how to coupon at Walgreens.


RELATED: 20 Ways Couponing Has Changed in the Last 10 Years



4. Store coupons

Plan to use one store coupon per item, just like with a manufacturer coupon. Look for store coupons in printable or digital form (from a store website or app) or in paper form through their weekly flyers.

Some store coupons are straightforward dollar-off just like a manufacturer coupon ($1.00 off Venus Shave Gel), but some are a percentage-off like a Target Cartwheel discount (20% off your bed and bath purchase).

Here are a few stores that offer store coupons:

What stacks with store coupons?

  • Loyalty program discounts
  • Manufacturer coupon Catalinas
  • Rebate app offers like Ibotta and Checkout51
  • Newspaper manufacturer coupons or printable coupons or digital manufacturer coupons (only one per item)

What doesn’t stack with store coupons?

  • Exact same store coupons
  • Store coupon Catalinas


5. Catalinas

Have you ever seen the long and narrow receipt-like coupons that spit out after you complete your purchase?

Those are called Catalinas. Sometimes they are store coupons, including dollar-off-your-total-purchase-amount, and sometimes they’re manufacturer coupons for specific products.

Regular coupon rules apply to manufacturer coupon Catalinas — you can only use one per item. But if it’s a store Catalina or a dollar-off-your-total-purchase Catalina, you can stack it with a manufacturer coupon at most stores.

What stacks with Catalinas?

  • Opposite types of coupons — Store coupon Catalinas stack with manufacturer coupons and vice versa.
  • Loyalty program discounts
  • Rebate app offers like Ibotta and Checkout51

What doesn’t stack with Catalinas?

  • Same-type coupons don’t stack — Manufacturer coupon Catalinas don’t stack with newspaper coupons, and store coupon Catalinas don’t stack with other store coupons.

Get more details about how Catalinas work.


6. Loyalty program promotions

Most stores offer a loyalty program where you can earn points, or “store cash” to redeem on future purchases. First order of business once you decide to be a smart shopper is to join loyalty programs at all the stores you currently shop.

Drugstores like Walgreens, CVS and Rite Aid are must-joins in order to save money couponing. Also join retail store programs at stores like Kohl’s where you can earn “store cash” to spend on future purchases.

Target doesn’t have a traditional loyalty program, but I recommend you get the Target REDcard for an extra 5% savings on every purchase. It’s not a credit card — it’s linked to your checking account.

Drugstore rewards promotions:

For all of these you can earn points that add up to future savings. Promotions are similar in nature and look like “Buy 2, get $5 in Register Rewards/ExtraBucks/Bonus Cash.” Or look for promotions like “Spend $20, get $10 in RR/EB/BC.”

Also there are product-specific rewards that are basically manufacturer coupons. These look like “$0.50 off Charmin bath tissue.”

TIP: Create your own freebies by using your store cash and store rewards to buy same-priced items. I’ve scored free peanut butter, free hair accessories and more this way because I might have $5.00 in ExtraBucks that I can spend on a jar of peanut butter and some barrettes on sale at CVS.

What stacks with store loyalty promotions?

  • Manufacturer coupons — Only for rewards that are not item-specific. For example, you can stack a manufacturer coupon with a “$5 off your next purchase” reward.
  • Store coupons or promo codes — If they’re different types. For example, ExtraBucks would stack with a CVS store coupon. They would also stack with a manufacturer coupon for deeper savings.
  • Rebate apps like Ibotta and Checkout51
  • Kohl’s Cash stacks with other Kohl’s Cash — You can use multiple coupons in one transaction.

What doesn’t stack with store loyalty promotions?

  • Store cash that states “manufacturer coupon” — These would be product-specific like “$0.50 off Charmin.” You can’t stack these with another Charmin coupon.
  • Exact promotions at drugstores — You can’t use two ExtraBucks coupons together in one transaction, for example.

Use these savings hacks to never pay full price at Kohl’s again.



7. Rebate app offers

We call Ibotta, Checkout51 and Fetch Rewards “rebate apps,” and since you don’t take any action until after you’ve checked out at the store, they stack with everything.

Meaning — if you can find a rebate that both Ibotta and Checkout51 offer at the same time, you can redeem them both and also redeem your receipt through Fetch Rewards.

For Ibotta and Checkout51, you’ll unlock or select the product you want to buy and redeem an offer for — like “$0.50 cash back when you buy Yoplait yogurt.” Then, depending on which store you’re shopping, you’ll either take a picture of your receipt to submit it, or scan the receipt QR code at the bottom. Finally, cash out via PayPal.

For Fetch Rewards just take a picture of any receipt to earn points that translate into gift cards to stores like Amazon and Target.

What stacks with rebate app offers?

  • Everything

What doesn’t stack with rebate app offers?

  • Nothing — everything stacks!

Learn how to make the most of rebate app offers with our Ultimate Guide to Rebate Apps.


8. Discounted gift cards

While I might not call this a “coupon,” it’s worth mentioning because it’s an additional way to save money on items you’re using your coupons to buy.

People sell unwanted gift cards to third party sites like Raise and Gift Card Granny. These third-party sites turn around and sell them at a discounted price to smarty-pants shoppers like you.

So you end up getting a discount on the face value of the card. For example, you might be able to find a $50.00 Target gift card for $45.50. That’s 9% savings right away.

Plus, you can often find e-gift cards, which means you can manage it all from your mobile phone. Note that it can take up to 24 hours for these to arrive in your inbox and plan accordingly. Learn more gift card hacks like this.

Look for gift cards to coupon-friendly stores like these:

What stacks with discounted gift cards?

  • Everything

What doesn’t stack with discounted gift cards?

  • Nothing — everything stacks!


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