Please read this post and take notes, memorize it, tattoo it on your arm, whatever you have to do to understand and remember it.
One of the most important things to know when couponing is how to tell the difference between a store coupon and a manufacturer’s coupon. In my workshops, I stress this over and over again, but I can still tell that many shrug it off as useless information.
Why is it so important to tell the difference? At almost every store (excluding K-Mart), you can ‘stack’ a manufacturer coupon and a store coupon on one individual item. You may NOT use two store coupons on one item or two manufacturer coupons on one item.
When you redeem a coupon, the retailer must submit it to a ‘coupon clearinghouse’. This clearinghouse sorts the coupons, scans them, tracks the value, and requests payment from the actual manufacturer. Once the payment is received, the clearinghouse disperses the payments to retailers. If a coupon is fraudulent or if the total number of coupons redeemed exceeds the products sold, the manufacturer will not reimburse the store (if a store sold 20 packages of Kraft cheese but sent in 30 coupons). When you break it down, it is the same as stealing. You’ve went into a store and knowingly paid with an invalid form of payment. It’s the same to the store as paying with counterfeit money.. They will take the same loss as if you had stuck that item in your purse and walked out the door. Not many of you would do that, but I’ve heard from several that assume it’s okay as long as you used the coupon.
HOW TO TELL THE DIFFERENCE
- It’s super easy to tell the difference, don’t worry! If a coupon has an address for the store to submit the coupon to for reimbursement, it’s a manufacturers coupon. That address is where the coupons will be tracked for payment.
- A store coupon is treated like a discount from the store. Because there is no reimbursement for the value, the store does not submit the coupon for payment.
- Many coupons will make it even easier for you and plainly state ‘MANUFACTURER COUPON’, ‘MANU COUPON’, or ‘STORE COUPON’ at the top. Pretty simple, huh?
THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR
- Just because a coupon is found in the store ad or on store shelves DOES NOT mean that it’s a store coupon. The coupon pictured above can be found in one of my local ads this week. It plainly says IN-AD coupon, not in-store coupon. It has a remit to address that requires the retailer to submit the coupon to Kraft foods for reimbursement. Kraft foods paid to have the coupons placed in the store’s ad.
- Don’t be confused by the ‘Redeemable at Price Cutter, Ramey, or Smitty’s’ wording. The remit to address trumps any questionable wording. They are just saying that this coupon needs to be redeemed at one of these stores.
- On the flip side, just because a coupon is found in the inserts or on a printable coupon site does not mean it’s a manufacturer’s coupon. There are often Target coupons in the weekly inserts or magazines, and there are even some store coupons on coupons.com right now.
The current $5/5 Kraft products coupon CANNOT be combined with any other manufacturer coupon.
HOW THIS AFFECTS OTHER COUPONERS
When coupons are used correctly, stores stand to make a profit off of their redemption. If a retailer is taking a loss on coupons because of incorrect or immoral redemption, they may change their coupon policy and their attitude towards couponers. I’ve been in stores that treat couponers like dirt because they believe that they are stealing from them. Did you ever stop to wonder why this happens? It’s because of people that constantly abuse the system.
A few months from now, when your store is no longer accepting multiple coupons, printables, or possibly no coupons at all, it’s not just going to hurt legitimate couponers, but you may regret not paying that extra $1 for your shredded cheese when you are no longer saving on your grocery bill.