Coupon 101

Finding Coupons:

Coupons can be found just about anywhere, but here are a few of the most common places to find them:

  • The Sunday Newspaper: Every Sunday (with the exception of major holidays), there will be anywhere between one and four coupon inserts included with the sale ads. The three main inserts are Red Plum (RP), SmartSource (SS), and Procter & Gamble (P&G).
  • Printable Coupons: Online sources, such as, provide printable manufacturer’s coupons for various products. Typically, the limit for printable coupons is two per device (computer, cell phone, tablet, etc.). Coupons are often available on the brand’s website and/or Facebook page, as well.
  • Tear Pads: Sometimes there will be a display in front of an item, with a pad of coupons attached, that says “TAKE ONE.” Tear pads look like mini notepads attached to a cardboard display sign.
  • Blinkies: Much like a tear pad, blinkies are the boxes that appear in front of an item on display. The boxes are usually red electronic boxes that say “TAKE ONE,” with a red blinking light on the end. These are usually found in grocery stores.
  • Peelies: These coupon stickers are attached to an item, and are usually peeled off by the consumer before they checkout.
  • Mailed from the Manufacturer: Manufacturers like to receive feedback for their products. Often, as a way to say “Thank you” for your feedback, manufacturers will send you paper coupons in the mail.
  • Load to Card: Some stores with reward cards, like Safeway, allow you to digitally “clip” coupons to your card.

Basic Coupon Lingo:

In some deal scenarios that I’ll post, there may be some acronyms that you aren’t familiar with yet. These are the most common:

BOGO/B1G1: Buy One, Get One (free or 50% – this can vary)
B2G1: Buy 2, Get One
ECB: Extra Care Bucks (at CVS)
Exp: Expires
GC: Gift Card
IP: Internet Printable
MFR: Manufacturer
OOP: Out Of Pocket
Rolling: Paying for a transaction with a GC or ECBs and receiving a new GC/ECB back
Stacking: Using a MFR coupon and a store coupon on the same item
TQ: Target Coupon
WYB: When You Buy
YMMV: Your Mileage May Vary – this deal may or may not be available in your area

Store Coupon Policies:

Every store has its own unique set of policies for accepting coupons. Knowing each store’s coupon policy will benefit you in the long run. I used to keep a printed copy of each store’s policy on-hand, but I keep them bookmarked on my cell phone now. Here are a few: