The next step in the Extreme Couponing course is to learn:
How to Stack Coupons
To “stack” a coupon means using one manufacturer coupon and one store coupon on the exact same item. That is not to be confused with “doubling” coupons which is something totally different.
Often times, stores will issue their own coupon- perhaps in a printable form on their website, via the weekly sales flyer, or in coupon booklets sent to your home or found in store.
Those types of coupons can often be stacked with a second manufacturer coupon for the same item to basically get double the savings.
And example of a store coupon is this one from Safeway:
- The first is the top where it tells you “Safeway coupon.”
- The second is the bottom of the coupon- you can see the standard remittance information is not listed. On a manufacturer coupon you will always see instructions to the store as to how they can send the coupon in for payment.
- Last, you can check the barcodes. In this case I am not posting barcodes because that leads to other issues but one look at the barcode instantly told me that this doesn’t look like all the other manufacturer coupons I have and so something is different here.
To determine if a store does allow you to stack coupons, you can go online to the store website (such as Target.com) and look for a coupon policy. You can also check out the compilation of Coupon Policies I have listed or you can simply go to customer service and ask for a copy.
Here are the things that seem to cause the most confusion for people:
Q. The fine print on the coupon says “can not be combined with other offers” so that means I can’t stack the coupon.
That actually means you can not use more than one manufacturer coupon per item you purchase. It does not mean you can’t stack a manufacturer coupon with a store coupon.
Q. The coupon says “limit one coupon per offer or transaction” so I can’t stack it.
That means you may only use one like coupon per item you purchase. If you buy 1 box of Cheerios you can use a store coupon and a manufacturer coupon. You can’t use (2) store coupons on the same box or (2) manufacturer coupons on the same box of cereal.
Q. I think this is a store coupon but it says manufacturer at the top?
There are a few stores that throw us curveballs and I hate it as much as you do. Walgreens and Rite Aid or the worst offenders and this can create a lot of confusion with consumers as well as with store staff.
This is an example of the type of store coupon that can create confusion. Now the best advice I have in this situation is to arm yourself with as much patience and information as you can. The coupon above is a Rite Aid coupon from their weekly sales flyer. Now the coupon says “manufacturer’s coupon” at the top but don’t be fooled. This is actually a store coupon- you can see there are no redemption instructions for a retailer, it says “good only at Rite Aid” and the bar code is clearly for Rite Aid stores.
So I can tell you already many cashiers will refuse to allow you to stack coupons because they will tell you that is a manufacturer coupon. What you can do is to go back to the Rite Aid coupon policy and look for this clause:
No more than one “48” Rite Aid Valuable coupon, one “49” Rite Aid Manufacturer coupon, and one “5” Manufacturer coupon can be used on a single item. Rite Aid may accept up to 4 identical coupons for the same number of qualifying items as long as there is sufficient stock to satisfy other customers within the store manager’s sole discretion
So you can see that they expressly allow for the stacking of a manufacturer coupon (that is the 5 coupon they mention- see the pizza coupon above the barcode starts with a 5, the Rite Aid coupon I have pictured says “RC49” at the beginning. So as you can see the policy does allow you to stack these coupons.
Finally, just a quick note about when the stars align and you can really get the most bang for your buck. Certain stores will frequently offer a total purchase coupon. CVS is the store we see these from most often and what that means is when you get a coupon for say $3 off a $10 purchase or $10 off a $50 purchase.
More often than not, you can also stack that coupon along with others you might have! The only trick you need to keep in mind is that the total purchase coupon should always be given first. This is one of those times that the order you hand your coupons to the cashier is extremely important. Take this example:
Huggies Diapers $10.00
Use $2 manufacturer coupon
Use $1 CVS coupon for Huggies diapers
Use $3 off a $10 purchase CVS coupon
If I hand over the manufacturer coupon first, well now my total bill is $8.00. If I try to give the cashier the $3 off a $10 purchase coupon it will likely be refused because my purchase is actually $8 not $10. So it is important to give that total purchase coupon first and then the other 2 coupons and now you pay just $4 for your diapers.
Here are guidelines for a few of the stores you might already shop at.
You can stack a store coupon and a manufacturer coupon. They frequently show this as an example in the weekly circulars. My suggestion is to save one of those circulars if you find one with a good example because many stores can be very difficult about stacking coupons. Find the Walgreens coupon policy here. One other small note is that the coupon policy says “applicable Walgreens coupon(s)” which indicates to me that if there happens to be more than one Walgreens coupon for the same item, you should be able to use all of them on that product. An example would be an in ad coupon and a coupon booklet coupon for the same item- you would just want to double check that the bar codes are different.
Rite Aid allows up to three coupons on a single item- a manufacturer coupon, a store coupon starting in “48” and a store coupon starting in “49”. The total combined coupon value can not exceed the purchase price of the item. Find the Rite Aid coupon policy here.
CVS does allow you to use a store coupon and a manufacturer coupon on one item. If you also have a total purchase coupon, you can use that as well. See the CVS coupon policy here.
Target allows you to use one store coupon and one manufacturer coupon per item. The store coupons do say limit of 1 and it is up to the individual stores as to whether they allow you to use multiple like coupons. For example, if I have a Target store coupon for Oatmeal and a manufacturer coupon that is no problem. If I have (2) of the same sets of coupons and I want to buy 2 oatmeal, you would need to check with your store and see if they enforce the limit of 1 per transaction. The majority of stores will not enforce the limit. See the Target coupon policy here.
You can find more Couponing 101 articles below:
- Extreme Couponing: Where to Begin
- Extreme Couponing: Understanding coupon matchups
- Extreme Couponing: Ready for Action
- Extreme Couponing: Determining a Realistic Savings Plan
- Extreme Couponing: Understanding Buy One Get One Free Coupons
- Extreme Couponing: Organizing Your Coupons
- Extreme Couponing: Free Item Coupons
- Extreme Couponing: Using the coupon database.