Ever watch an episode of “Extreme Couponing” and wonder how they total up such great savings? Well, apart from their mostly fabricated scenarios (we all know much of that is fake, made-for-tv drama, right?) the main take-away from that show is, learn how to stack!
“Stack?” you might ask, “what the heck is that?” Stacking coupons, the easiest and fastest ways to double the savings.
As the term suggests, “stacking coupons” means using more than one coupon toward the purchase of the same item or items. In order to understand how to stack coupons, you will first need to know the difference between manufacturer coupons and store coupons.
MANUFACTURER COUPONS A manufacturer coupon is a coupon which originates from the item’s manufacturer, usually coming in the Sunday paper, from coupon websites like printgreatcoupons.com and couponaholic.net, “blinkie” machines, tearpads, booklets, etc. These will always read “manufacturer” at the top, near the expiration date.
These can be used at ANY store that accepts manufacturer’s coupons. Manufacturer coupons limit you to one coupon per item purchased. Therefore, the only “stacking” you can correctly do is using a manufacturer coupon with a store coupon and NOT another manufacturer coupon.
STORE COUPONS These are issued by the specific store and can generally only be redeemed at that particular store. They can be found in weekly ads, mailers, in store and occasionally, Sunday inserts or online.
SOME EXAMPLES OF STORE COUPONS
• CVS – Scan your Extra Care Card at the CVS Red Coupon Machine as soon as you enter the store.
• Walgreens – Each month Walgreens produces a free booklet named the monthly “Savings Book.” In it you will find store coupons for a large variety of health, beauty and grocery items. You can also find many store coupons in their weekly ads.
• Rite Aid – Along with the many store coupons you can find in their weekly ads, you can also go to RiteAid.com to create an account for their Video Values program. Receive a store coupons after viewing 20-30 second videos. Rite Aid is the only store that has their store coupons labeled as manufacturer coupons in their weekly ads.
• Target – Go to Target.com and scroll all the way down to the bottom on their home page. Click on the “Coupon” link to find many store coupons available for beauty, health and grocery items.
• Meijer – Register online at Meijer.com for an Mperk account. “Clip” online coupons and enter your code at the store register to receive your savings. Look carefully at the bottom of every clippable coupon, 50% of these coupons are labeled manufacturer and will not be able to be stacked. Meijer is the only store that also accepts competitor’s store coupons so feel free to use your Target and Walgreens coupons there as well! However, it is a good idea to print a copy of their coupon policy and highlight the bullet point that states this.
ADDITIONAL COUPON STACKING TIPS
• Stack your coupons with a store sale or a rebate to save even more.
• Combine a buy-one-get-one free coupon with a buy-one-get-one free sale, and you could get both items for free.
• Sometimes store associates aren’t as familiar with their store’s coupon policies as they should be. Print out a copy of each store’s policy, and bring it with you to clear up any problems that may come up.
YES, WE HAVE AN APP FOR THAT!
Recently, I have discovered two new apps that pay me to buy specific items … Ibotta and SavingsStar. They are surprisingly easy to use once you download for free on your smart phone.
Ibotta is an app for smartphones (Android and iPhone) that contains many different money saving offers for popular products. You can learn facts, watch videos and take one question surveys before purchasing a product to earn cash. Once you have purchased the product, you simply take a picture of your receipt showing your purchase of the item.
Once you’ve redeemed offers totaling $5 or more, Ibotta lets you transfer your earnings directly to your PayPal account. Ibotta recently added a bunch of new partners and they are adding more all of the time. Sign up with Ibotta here!
SavingStar is like a coupon bank account. Sign-up here and link your various rewards cards to your account. You will then go into your account and select offers you would like to take advantage of. When you buy that item at that store and use your rewards card, the amount of money listed on the SavingStar coupon will be deposited into your SavingStar account. Once you reach $5 you can cash it in for an Amazon Gift Card or deposit it into a PayPal account.