If you’re new to the Savings 101 Series then make sure you check out Last Week’s Post on How to Get Started Saving Money. You can also register for my Free Online Coupon Class and walk through all of the online lessons to get started quickly.

This week I want to cover Understanding the Different Types of Coupons. This should help clear up some of the confusion between terms that I use on this site on a daily basis. If you still don’t understand something after reading this lesson let me know and I’ll do my best to help you out.

There are 2 Main Types of Coupons:

Manufacturer Coupons are issued by the Manufacturer to help increase the sales of specific products. When you use a Manufacturer Coupon at your local store you get the Face Value of the Coupon deducted from your total at checkout. The store then sends in these coupons to the Manufacturer and “Redeems” them for the Face Value of the Coupon plus a small handling fee.

Store Coupons are specific to one retailer. The most common Store Coupons that I mention are for Walgreens and Target. You will also find Store Coupons for CVS, Publix and other retailers in your area.

  • Store Coupons can Typically be stacked with manufacturer coupons. Stores like Target and Walgreens allow you to use 1 Manufacturer Coupon and 1 Target Coupon per item.
  • Store Coupons are basically like a Sale Price at the store and can only be used at one specific retailer.
  • Store Coupons typically have their own bar code system and do not look like a normal manufacturer bar-code.

Where to Find Coupons:

There is an endless list of places where you can find coupons. Here is a list of my favorite and some of the most common places to look:

  • Newspaper Inserts
  • Online Coupon Sites – Coupons.com – RedPlum.com – Smartsource.com or Coolsavings
  • On the Products, Store Shelves or on Product Displays
  • Company Websites
  • All You Magazine & Other Family Focused Magazines
  • Facebook – Company Pages typically release coupons, so “Like” your favorite brands.
  • Cellfire
  • Home Mailers & Email Newsletters
  • Passion For Savings Coupon Tab! You should have known I couldn’t make a list without a shameless plug, but the easiest way to keep up with all the best online coupons is by clicking on the Printable Coupons Tab at the top of the site. This will always show you the most up to date coupons that I’ve Posted.

Coupon Values:

Single Item Coupons are good off 1 Item. These are typically listed on my site as $1 off 1 or $1/1. That means that you will save $1 when you purchase one of the items listed on the coupon.

Multiple Product Discounts are listed as $1/2 or $2 off 3, and so on. These require you to purchase multiple items in order to use your coupon. So if a coupon says $2 off the purchase of 3 then you need to buy 3 before you can use the coupon. You cannot get partial value for these coupons.

Buy 1 Get 1 Free Coupons are sometimes noted as B1G1 or BOGO (Buy One Get One). These require you to purchase one item and the second one is free. These are perfect for combining with Buy 1 Get 1 Free Sales in your local grocery stores.

Free Product Coupons are typically issued directly from the manufacturer and typically do not require any other purchase. You will find that you can sign up for Free Product Coupons on Facebook, Company Websites, and often through Direct links posted here on Passion For Savings. These are great for combing with store promotions and sales to help you save even more.

When to use your Coupons:

One of the first things you start to realize when using coupons is that one of the most important aspects of saving money with coupons is WHEN you use your coupons. As Kenny Rogers liked to say, “You’ve got to know when to hold them and know when to fold them”. Using coupons is all about when and where you use your coupons as much as it is about the value of the actual coupons. Here are a few factors to keep in mind:

  • Timing - Saving with Coupons is all about knowing when to use your coupons. Watch for Store Promotions, Store Coupons, or Loss Leader Sales. These tend to be great times to spend those coupons. Think of it as doubling your savings if you can use a coupon at the same time as you find an item on sale.
  • Location - Some coupons are better spent at one store over another. Double coupons are a great example. A $0.50 coupon that doubles may be worth more at one store than at a store that doesn’t double coupons.
  • Value - Start paying attention to prices. Just because you have a coupon doesn’t mean an items going to be a great deal. Also companies release different value coupons for the same items so a $0.50 coupon might not be that great if you know that a company typically releases $1 coupons for the same product.

All three of these factors will contribute to your overall couponing success. I’m going to be covering Couponing Myths and Understanding the Coupon Lingo in the next few lessons, but you can also Register for Savings 101 and take the Free Online Coupon Class if you want to cover these topics now.