Important Facts You Should Know Before Using Coupons

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How to Use Coupons

How to Use Coupons

Knowing How to Use Coupons or, How Not to Use Coupons can be a game changer while shopping. It could become stressful at the at the checkout line when the cashiers or management question your use of the coupons. Using them is so much easier when you are empowered with the knowledge of how they work.   So, I wanted to take a moment to address some important facts.

1. Do Not Copy – This is a very big NO-NO.  You can not copy coupons.  This is actually against the law and is considered fraud.  In most cases, you can print 2 per computer.  If you need more, see if friends or family members can print for you as well.

2. Unique Codes: A lot of people email me telling me that their store would not accept their coupons because the UPC codes were the same on their like coupons.  If you are using more than one  “like” coupon, your UPC codes WILL all be the same.  They are coded to work for each product and dollar amount.  However, there are numbers on them that will change with each one printed.  This is how they insure that they are not getting ones that are copied..  Here is where you can find those numbers:

Printed from There is a small barcode located under the expiration date.  There is a different number for each one printed.
Printed from Smart Source: On the left side there is a pin number.  There is a different pin number for each one printed. Update: Some of the ones printed from  Smart Source  may have the pin number located around the perimeter.

3. Fraudulent Coupons: If you received a coupon from a friend in your email or spotted one online and you are not sure if it’s legitimate, you can head over to Cents-off. They have a list that have been reported as fraudulent.  If you have received one that is fraudulent, DO NOT use it.

4. Use It How It Is Intended: Be sure to only use the coupon how it was intended to be used.  If it is for $1/1 off Maxwell House International Delight Coffee, don’t try to use it on Maxwell House Regular Coffee.  If it states “any Maxwell House Coffee” then you are free to use it on any of the Maxwell House products.

Also, pay attention to the size restrictions listed.  If there are no size restrictions or it states “on any”, you can use it for any size in that product including trial or travel size.

5. One Per Purchase: A lot of consumers and cashiers think that this means you may only use 1 coupon per shopping trip.  What this actually means, is that you can use one per item purchased.  So, if you were buying 4 Cheerios, you can use 4 $1/1 Cheerios Coupons.

Occasionally you will see coupons that are 1 per transaction.  In that case, you will only be able to use 1  even if you purchased more then one of those items in your transaction.  There really are not too many of these coupons around.

Some, like P&G coupons, have a limit on the amount of “like” coupons you can use per transaction.

6. The Value of The Coupon:  Another thing to pay close attention to is the value listed.  If it states $1/1, you can use it to take $1.00 off 1 product.  If it states $1/2, you can use it to take $1 off 2 products.  So, for the $1/2 coupon you can only use one  for 2 products.

If you use your coupons exactly how they were intended to be used and if you have a better knowledge of them, it should make for a better shopping experience for you and the store.