If you're a true Krazy Coupon Lady, you know that planning your shopping trip, including your individual transactions, is key to big savings.  Did you know that the order in which you redeem your coupons could affect your savings too? Generally speaking, unless the coupon specifically prohibits it, there is a "best" way to hand them over that will yield higher savings.

First:  You should redeem any coupons that require a minimum purchase size or amount. Examples of these are "$5 off a Purchase of $25 or More" or "Get 1 Free Item for Every $10 of Participating Items You Buy". These coupons usually have restrictions like, "discount will be applied after all other discounts and coupons have been applied," but if yours doesn't, definitely use this coupon first! If you're using other coupons, your total can quickly drop below the minimum purchase requirement, which would make this coupon no longer applicable.  That's savings you'd miss out on!

Second:  Redeem your Manufacturer coupons.  However, if your store doubles coupons, there may be a limit as to how many they will double.  Kmart, for example, will sometimes double your first 5 coupons. So, if you have more than 5 coupons, hand over the ones you want doubled first. Ideally, these will be the highest value coupons up to the limits set by the store. If your store only doubles coupons up to $1 in value, use those first (which will double to $2), then the coupons with values below $1 (which will also double) and lastly, any coupons above $1 in value (which will not double).

Third:  Use your store coupons. In some cases, if you use a $ off manufacturer coupon first, the store coupon will simply adjust the price of the item, and the discount already applied by the manufacturer coupon will stay applied to the total in whole. In cases where store and manufacturer coupons are stacked to make items free, using store coupons after manufacturer coupons could even get you an overage.

Here is an actual example. ***Note: do not try this deal; this is just being used as an example. Notice the difference in price of the two transactions below, which show the items purchased and the order in which the coupons were redeemed. An important thing to note is that Target's Coupon Policy actually states that manufacturer coupons can only be redeemed up to the price of the item. However, the 2nd scenario clearly shows that an overage was applied. This was likely accepted by the computer because other items were purchased in the same transaction.

Transaction 1 –– Store coupons BEFORE manufacturer coupons:

Bought 1 Mentos Up2U gum single pack $1.29
Bought 1 Up & Up contact solution $3.00
Used $0.55/1 Mentos Up2U single pack gum Target store coupon, which adjusted the gum price down to $0.74.
Then used $1.00/1 Mentos Up2U manufacturer coupon, which took $0.74 off the total because Target's Coupon Policy only allows manufacturer coupons to be redeemed up to the price of the item.
Final Price: $3.00, which was just the cost of the contact solution, so the gum was free! A good deal!

Transaction 2 – Store coupons AFTER manufacturer coupons:

Bought 1 Mentos Up2U gum single pack $1.29
Bought 1 Up & Up contact solution $3.00
Used $1.00/1 Mentos Up2U manufacturer coupon, which took $1.00 off the total.
Then used $0.55/1 Mentos Up2U single pack gum Target store coupon, which adjusted the gum price down to $0.74
Final Price: $2.74, which was just the cost of the contact solution minus a $0.26 overage! A Krazy deal!

Remember, your experience might be different. If the register adjusts one of your coupons down, don't fret–you still got it for free!

Lastly:  Any Catalinas for $ off your next order or coupons that aren't specific to any products, transaction size, or amount should be redeemed last. These can essentially be considered "cash."

The next time you head to the store, remember you save more money by using coupons in this order:

  1. Minimum purchase required
  2. Manufacturer coupons
  3. Store coupons
  4. Catalinas for $ off

Always follow all guidelines/restrictions on your coupons. If your coupon says it can only be redeemed after all other discounts and coupons, it must be given last.

This has been a guest post by Elizarae from Beaumont, CA
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