Thursday, July 21, 2011

Couponing 101: How to Read Coupon Matchups

If you are like me, when you first looked up a coupon matchup site or forum, you encountered what seemed like a mess of acronyms and coupon shorthand. The final prices were low, but there was no clear explanation on how the couponer got from the price listed in the store’s circular to the low final price.

So here’s a quick lesson on how to read a coupon matching post. Let’s use a basic coupon matching listing like this one:

Sunny D 64 oz $1 w/in ad coupon (limit 4)
--$.55/1 Sunny D Printable Coupon
--$.25/1 Sunny D SS 5/15
Final Price as low as $.45
The first line states the name of the product and its price from a store’s circular. If there are any special requirements for getting the sale price (like buying in increments of 2 or a limit on how many you can buy in a single transaction) it will say so on the same line (or directly under in some blogs).

This listing is for a 64oz bottle of Sunny D which is on sale for $1 when you use an in ad coupon. There is a limit of 4 Sunny Ds that you can buy at this price with this coupon. But if you want, you can only buy one or two Sunny D’s—you don’t have to buy 4 unless the coupon specifically states “must buy 4.”

In this listing, the second and third lines state available coupons that you can use in conjunction with this special. If you have each coupon in your hand you will see on the top that both are manufacturer coupons. You can only use one manufacturer coupon on a single item. So if you want 4 Sunny D’s, you will need to round up 4 coupons. All available coupons are listed to let you know your available options.

The first coupon offers a better savings. It is a printable coupon is for $.55 off of one Sunny D. Most internet sites allow you to print two coupons per computer. So if you want two Sunny D’s, print two coupons. You will have to download a safe application the first time so your printer can print bar codes.

If your family goes through a lot of Sunny D, or you don’t have a printer, and you get the Sunday paper, you will want to use the second coupon listed which is a newspaper coupon for $.25 off of one Sunny D. The SS means that this coupon is from the Smart Source insert from the 5/15 Sunday Paper. You will also see the following insert abbreviations RP which stands for Red Plum or PG (P&G) which stands for Proctor and Gamble.

You can combine any of the coupons listed in the second or third item with the original in ad coupon. The in ad coupon is considered a Store Coupon. Store coupons can be combined with manufacturers coupons: one store coupon per item and one manufacturer’s coupon per item.

The final line of the listing shows the price you can get when you combine the coupons with the advertised price. In this case the lowest price is $.45. The price will be a little higher, $.75, if you use the newspaper coupon (which is still a good price).

To learn about some of the more complex abbreviations you will see in couponing posts see: How to Read Coupon Lingo!

More how-to couponing posts to get you started on your couponing adventures:

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