Did you know that there are many coupon rules and regulations? Not all coupons can be used in the same way.
Whether you are new to couponing or a coupon veteran, knowing their limitations can help you use them properly and effectively.
But what are the common coupon policies? Why should you learn about coupon rules, and how can you put that knowledge to good use?
Here’s everything you need to know about coupon rules and regulations!
What are the Benefits of Knowing Coupon Policies?
It’s always wise to read the fine print, and that applies to coupon policies.
Don’t Get Rejected at the Register
There’s nothing more frustrating than being told at the register, “Sorry, you can’t use that coupon here!”
Not only is this a disappointing moment, but it can also be very embarrassing.
Avoid Paying Full Price
In addition to the social snafu, knowing your coupons’ limitations can help you avoid having to pay full price at the register.
Of course, you could always back out of the line and return the items you planned on using coupons for. Or, you might feel pressured into buying those items at their full prices – which could really hurt your budget!
Avoid Accidental Coupon Fraud
When you understand coupon rules and regulations, you can use coupons with confidence. Some coupons have limitations of a legal nature; for example, certain ones can’t be used in any state, and no coupons may ever be physically copied.
If you’re not aware of these limitations, you could accidentally commit coupon fraud – which is illegal. While it’s doubtful that you’ll be held seriously accountable for a one-time couponing mishap, it’s better safe than sorry.
Get the Right Deals at the Right Times
The number of rules might seem intimidating at first. But being aware of their restrictions can help you use special offers to your advantage! Reading the fine print will let you know if coupons can be stacked, used multiple times, or used in different states.
A close eye can ensure you get better deals at the right times!
What are the Common Coupon Rules and Regulations?
So, with these reasons in mind, what are common coupon rules and regulations to watch for?
Coupons Must Be Original
Stores that accept coupons require that any coupon be the original version – not a copy.
Whether you got it from a coupon insert packet, or you downloaded the coupon online and printed it at home, it can’t be a duplicate.
You can give this coupon to someone else, but you cannot give them a photocopy of the coupon to redeem.
Coupons Must Be Legible
Be careful not to spill any water on your coupons! Stores require that coupons be easy to read and scan. Don’t try to use a blurry coupon!
Manufacturer Coupon Rules
Manufacturer coupons come from a specific brand or company, rather than from the local store. You can often find these coupons in newspapers or on brands’ social media pages. Only one manufacturer coupon can be used for a single item.
For example, let’s say you have two manufacturer coupons for $0.75-off 1 Kleenex. You can only use one of those coupons for one box of Kleenex. If you want to use both coupons in a transaction, then you must purchase two boxes of Kleenex.
“Buy One Get One” Coupon Rules
If you’ve been using coupons for a while, then you’ve probably seen “buy one get one” (or BOGO) offers. For example, a coupon will allow you to buy one Hershey’s chocolate bar and get another Hershey's bar free.
BOGO coupons cannot generally be used along with other coupons for the same item - unless you're pairing the BOGO manufacturer's coupon with a store coupon.
How to Take Advantage of Coupon Rules and Regulations?
How can you leverage these restrictions to your advantage? Doing so correctly can save you a great deal of money!
Check for Individual Store Coupon Acceptance Policies
So far, we’ve discussed common coupon policies. Keep in mind that individual stores can have different policies for accepting coupons! It pays to take a moment to check your local stores’ coupon policies.
Here are some questions to check into:
- Does this store have a limit to how many coupons you can use in a transaction?
- Is there a limit at this store as to how many “like” items you can buy using coupons in a single day? Do “like” items include all flavors?
- Does the store allow unlimited use of store-issued coupons, but only one or two digital coupons in a single transaction?
- Is there a dollar limit on the coupons that the store is willing to accept? For example, will the store not accept printed coupons with a value of more than $5.00?
Pro-Tip: Bring a copy of the store’s coupon policies with you while you shop! Not only will this paper serve as a reference for you, but it will also help clear up any misunderstandings between you and the cashier. You can usually find the store's coupon policy on their website or at the customer service counter.
Not all store employees know the difference between a manufacturer coupon and a store coupon, and you can save time by having the store coupon policy on hand.
Remember to always be polite to store employees. They will be more willing to help out a friendly customer!
Stack Coupons as Much as Possible
BOGO coupons aren’t the only ones that can be combined with other coupons! Once you understand coupon policies, you can find many stackable options.
For instance, while only one manufacturers’ coupon can be used on an item, you can stack a store coupon on top of that manufacturer coupon, increasing your savings!
Let’s talk about that BOGO Hershey’s bar deal again. The original Hershey’s bar costs $1.00. With the BOGO coupon, you get two candy bars for $1.00. But, if you stack 2 store coupons for $0.50-off 1 on top of that, you end up getting two Hershey’s bars for free! Here's the breakdown:
Buy 2 Hershey's Bar for $1.00 each
Use 1 Hershey's Bar BOGO manufacturer's coupon
= 2 Hershey's Bars $1.00
Use 2 Hershey's Bar 50¢/1 store coupons
Grand Total = FREE
Print in Black and White Whenever You Can
Printing coupons in full color can get expensive quickly. However, most stores will accept coupons printed in black ink instead of color!
Just make sure that all other coupon acceptance policies are met – for example, that the coupon is still legible even in black and white.
Why Sunday Coupon Inserts?
Once you understand coupon rules and regulations, you can avoid hassle and save more money! So, how can you begin collecting the best coupons?
A coupon clipping service like Sunday Coupon Inserts is a great choice.
With their Weekly Subscriptions program, Sunday Coupon Inserts will send your choice of coupon packets every week. Best of all, you’re always in control of your subscription. There are no cancellation fees!