Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Anatomy of a Manufacturer's Coupon

Coupons can be confusing. But, they don't have to be.

A smart, savvy saver needs to know the anatomy of a coupon to be sure that they are using the coupon correctly.

Read on to learn about the anatomy of a coupon:

It is important, first, to know what type of coupon you will be using.

This is a manufacturer's coupon:

We know this because it has the verbiage: Manufacturer's Coupon.

Next to that, notice the expiration date. Yes, this example is of an expired coupon. Unless your store accepts expired coupons, you would not be able to use this coupon to save money on your purchase.

The next thing you notice is the amount that can be redeemed for this coupon. This particular coupon is worth $1 when you purchase 2 products. (Your store may or may not double a coupon of this value, and the decision to double the coupon lies with your store. So, you would want to check with them on their coupon policy to see what would apply in your scenario.)

Beneath that is a picture of a product. The picture on the coupon may or may not represent the actual product for which the coupon applies. In this case, you would not be required to purchase Colgate Cavity Protection because of the verbiage that follows.

This coupon specifically says: Save $1 on ANY two Colgate Toothpaste, excludes trial size. This means that you can NOT purchase 2 trial size Colgate toothpastes and use this coupon. You can, however, purchase ANY 2 Colgate Toothpastes, other than trial sizes, and use the coupon.

One thing that you should pay attention to is the fine print of the coupon. This particular coupon states: Consumer:  Do not send this coupon to the Colgate-Palmolive Company. This means that you use it at the store for your savings, it is not a rebate. Limit one coupon per purchase of products indicated. This means, in this coupon's case, that you must have two Colgate Toothpastes per one coupon, in order to use this coupon. You must pay sales tax. This means that the savings applies to the retail or sales price of the product, not to the tax that the store must collect.

Additionally, there will be verbiage that applies to the store, which does not require our attention. It is there for the store to be able to follow their required protocol to redeem the used coupon.

Reading the fine print will help you to correctly and ethically use the coupon during your shopping trip.
It is always best to ask your store, if you are not sure, if the coupon you are using can be applied to your purchase.

Finally, at the bottom of this coupon, you see the bar code that corresponds with this particular coupon. This is for scanning purposes and in it is encoded information that allows your store to deduct the amount of the coupon from your purchase.

So, there you have it, a basic break down of the anatomy of a coupon.

A couple things to keep in mind:

  • Coupons have their own verbiage. 
  • They may allow the purchase of any size item, or specific size items.
  • They may require that you purchase more than one item to use the coupon.
  • They may specify an expiration date, or not.
Review your coupons, and ask questions before getting in line at the store to ensure that you are following the rules of the particular coupon you will be using. Doing so can eliminate any frustration that derives from using a coupon incorrectly when checking out at the store. 


Mandy said...

Great job! This stuff can get very confusing.

Bailey said...

Knowing the requirements of the coupon are so important. That knowledge can also prevent you from losing the value when someone argues it is not valid. I have won a few arguments with store coupons when the cashier said no, I knew the details, and a supervisor said yes.