Advanced Budgeting Tips for Coupon Clippers

You already know all about basic budgeting techniques, like making shopping lists and sticking to them. You’ve already got the knack of hunting down coupons online for the things you like to buy. You already have a sorting system so that you’ll use coupons before their expiry dates. You’re using the store’s loyalty program whenever possible, and you’re double-dipping by using a loyalty program credit card as well. You’re a dedicated coupon clipper, and you’re ready for the budgeting big leagues.

Use coupons when buying on sale

You already know to look for sale prices whenever possible, but did you know that you can apply manufacturer’s coupons on top of store sale prices? That gives you a double discount. If you find the item for sale at close to the same price as the manufacturer coupon discount, it’s like getting it for free!

There’s two hiccups to stacking multiple coupons with sale items, so it’s really important to read the fine print. First, you might have to pay the sales tax on the cost of the item before the discount is applied. However, in most cases, you shouldn’t have to.

Second, you’ve got to watch out for the phrases “one per purchase” or “one per customer.” Sometimes there’s ways around that, but usually there aren’t. If you really want more than one of the sale item and you want to apply a coupon to each one, one trick that always works is to send your spouse through the grocery line separately with another of the sale item and a coupon for it.

Coupon stacking

In general, you’re allowed to use one store coupon and one manufacturer’s coupon per item. A few stores even allow you to use more than one manufacturer’s coupon, if each coupon has a different UPC. If the item’s also on sale, so much the better!

Once again, read the coupon fine print very carefully. Any hint of “cannot be combined with any other offer or coupon” may make that coupon void for your purposes. A product coupon which is only valid in some stores is considered a store coupon, even when it involves a manufacturer partnership.

However, products which are reaching their expiry date may have an attached store manager’s coupon. You can always use these on top of any other coupons. Don’t let the cashier tell you otherwise!

Minimum purchases

During special promotions, some stores throw in free turkeys, or we-pay-the-tax, or even a store credit towards the next purchase if you buy a minimum dollar amount, usually at least $75. There’s nothing saying that you can’t reach that total by buying only stuff that’s on sale.

For coupon clippers, the important thing to remember here is that it’s a net total, not a gross total. That means it has to be a pretax total after all store coupons are applied.

In some stores, you may also be able to use manufacturer’s coupons to reduce the required total. Stores are reimbursed for manufacturer coupons, so they should be rung in differently from store coupons. However, not all stores have the same store policy, so some stores will let you use manufacturer’s coupons to reduce the required amount, and some won’t. You’ll really have to read the fine print here.

Cashier coupon codes

Most chain stores have at least three different coupon codes, one each for manufacturer’s coupons, chain coupons, and in-store coupons. The tax rules and how the discount is applied is different for each! It’s a good idea to learn the coupon codes for stores where you shop regularly and make sure the cashier rings them in correctly.