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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Frugal 101: Store vs. Manufacturer Coupons

There are many places to find coupons but did you know that there are different "types" of coupons? Today we are going to discuss the difference between store coupons and manufacturer's coupons.
  • Store coupons - These can only be used a specific retailer. They are typically found in the store, via the store's website, e-mail newsletter or home mailers.
  • Manufacturer's coupons - These can be used at any retailer. These can be found in the newspaper, online, electronically, or in the store.
Often times these coupons look very similar but it is important to know the difference. Here are two quick ways to tell them apart
  1. Look at the top of the coupon. This is usually the easiest way to tell. Tere is usually a small outlined box on the left of the coupon, which will state STORE COUPON or MANUFACTURER'S COUPON.
  2. Check the barcode. Manufacturer's coupons will start with a 5 or a 9. Store coupons typically start with a 1 or 0, but this can vary depending on which store it is for. There are some stores who don't even put a barcode on their store coupons. For example, Publix coupons contain a PLU# (product lookup number) that the cashier will enter manually.
Below is an example of two coupons for the same brand but they are different types.

{STORE coupon}
{See the difference?}

Knowing the difference is so important because many retailers will allow you to "stack" them. Basically, they allow you to use 1 store coupon AND 1 manufacturer coupon per item. This certainly makes a deal even better by making your cost even lower.

In my area, I am allowed to "stack" coupons at Kroger, Publix, Target, Walgreens & CVS. You can check with customer service at the stores you shop to see if they allow stacking or check to see if they have their coupon policy online.

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