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Reading the fine print on anything is annoying, especially if you're like me and have to break out a pair of glasses to do it, but that tiny little print on the coupon is really important and understanding what it means can empower and give you the confidence to know you are using them correctly. Not to mention avoid frustration and confrontation at checkout. Understanding what the coupon fine print means is a necessity in the coupon world, so here's a guide to help you out.
Limit One Coupon Per Purchase:
Purchase means you can use one type of coupon for each individual item purchased. So, if you purchase 1, 3, or 5 items, for example, you can use the same number of coupons. Keep in mind if the coupon is for 2 or more products ($1.00 off 2) you need to purchase 2 products for each coupon you use. Limiting the coupon product purchase is meant to keep you from using the same coupon twice on one product.
Limit 1-4 coupon per transaction:
When you see this phrase in the fine print, you can only use the specified number of coupons per item, and per shopping trip. For example, if your coupon states limit 2 coupons per shopping trip, you can only use two coupons for that shopping trip, and will have to come back another time to use any additional coupons for that product you may have.
NOTE: Many of the manufacturers we work with have expressed to us that this is the number one misuse of coupons. Even if your store allows you to use more, it is not what the manufacturer has intended. Abusing the coupon terms has and will result in the manufacturer issuing fewer coupons and smaller values. Also, the store often doesn't get reimbursed for the coupons, causing the store to become less coupon friendly. We never recommend you use more coupons than what's allowed in the fine print.
Store Coupon VS. Manufacturer Coupon:
While they are rare, Smith's does on occasion have store coupons for products other than Kroger brand. Look for them in your Smith's mailers and on displays near the products. You can combine a store and manufacturer coupon to get a bigger discount on the purchase of a single product in the same transaction. Even if both coupons say “Limit one coupon per transaction,” Smith's coupon policy does allow for both coupons to be used together. Shoppers are allowed to combine Catalina coupons and Money Off Smith's store coupons with all other manufacturers coupons.
Available/Redeemable at Walmart, Target, Walgreens or Other Store:
Many of the printable coupons from Coupons.com have a store suggestion on them. Keep in mind, this is only a suggestion. Some retailers like Walmart pay to have their names printed on manufacturer coupons, but this doesn’t mean you can’t use them at other stores. Unless the coupon specifically states ONLY valid at that particular store you can use it anywhere that accepts coupons, including Smith's. Read more about this on Coupons.com here.
Can Not Be Combined With Any Other Coupon:
Sometimes this lingo confuses people. When you see a manufacturer coupon with “Cannot be combined with any other coupon,” it doesn’t mean you can’t use a store coupon on top of the manufacturer coupon. Since the store coupon is basically a one time sale offer from the store and the manufacturer coupon is an offer from that product. If the store's policy is to accept both you can use them together. What the coupon means is you can not use (or combine) two manufacturer coupons for the same item.
Limit 1-4 Coupon(s) Per Visit:
“One per visit” means you can only use one identical coupon per shopping trip. If you have multiple identical coupons that have this verbiage, you’ll have to return to the store another day to use them. While we do hear extreme couponers stating that they simply walk out and then walk back in and that means "visit". We think that’s not within the spirit of the fine print and abuses valid use.
Limit One Coupon(s) Per Customer or Household:
This is new lingo we're seeing pop up occasionally on coupons. Even if you have four of the same coupon with the phrase “One per customer” or “One per person” you can’t use more than one total.
A lot of couponers assume that the product(s) shown on a coupon are the only items eligible for the discount. This is often not the case. Make sure to read the listed products and sizes. Most often you'll have more than what's shown as an optional purchase.
Void if reproduced, transferred, or used to purchase products for resale.
There are some groups of people out there that have chosen to sell or transfer coupons, or buy hoards of the same product using coupons to re-sell for a large profit. Both stores and manufacturers have expressed that this has become a huge problem for them. While it may be tempting to participate in these kinds of Social Media communities, doing so goes against the gift the manufacturer is giving you by discounting their product and is already resulting in negative results, not to mention in many cases it's illegal. We don't endorse the purchase or transfer of any coupon for any reason.
Manufacturers put out coupons because they want you to try their products and they hope you'll become brand loyal in the process. Most of these same manufacturers donate millions to charitable organizations. Using the coupon correctly ensures that they will continue to do so and that we will continue to see great coupons from them.
Hopefully this will help you feel more confident that you're using your coupons correctly. We'll be posting more of these Coupon Class tips in the next few weeks.