If you’re like me, you grew up seeing members of your family clip a few coupons. Both my grandmas did it, my aunt did it, and my mom did it occasionally, too. It’s something that I distinctly remember from my childhood. Back in those days, it was simply clipping the coupons that came in the Sunday paper. Maybe you’d get a bonus coupon inside a box of cereal, but generally, the Sunday paper was where all the good ones would be.
Nowadays, coupons are obtainable in many more places. In fact, it’s a little overwhelming – especially if you’re a beginner. I used to think the best ones were either in the Sunday paper or printable online. Not so anymore. Yes, those two places are still excellent sources, but now, we also have all of these, too:
- Blinkies & tear offs
- Store coupons
- Rebate apps
For today, I’ll explain the 8 types of coupons that are available and also how you can use multiple coupons to save even more!
Sunday paper coupons
These are the most common coupons, and in my opinion, what everyone associates with “couponing.” Each Sunday, your newspaper will have a selection of coupon inserts from SmartSource, RedPlum, or Proctor & Gamble (1 per month). The types of coupons that are included are different by region, so what someone gets in Oregon may be different than what’s provided in Tennessee.
The coupon inserts in the Sunday paper are generally going to be traditional manufacturer’s coupons. Some stores will allow you to double the coupon value up to a certain amount, but this is becoming less common. You cannot use more than one manufacturer’s coupon on a single item. However, you can use them with other store coupons/programs and rebate apps…more on that later.
Internet printable coupons
For the most part, internet coupons are also going to be manufacturer’s coupons. You can find them in a variety of places – Coupons.com has the largest database (see below), but Smartsource.com and Redplum.com have a different, but smaller, selection. Generally, you’re allowed to print a coupon up to two times. There are caps in place on most websites, meaning that once the allotted amount has been printed, they’re no longer available for new prints.
eCoupons (aka digital coupons)
For people that hate to clip or print coupons, eCoupons make couponing easy! Multiple stores now have shopper’s cards that you can load eCoupons to – Kroger, Target, Walgreens, and CVS are the ones I use on a regular basis. In order to clip the coupons you want, you’ll need to log in to your store account, and view the available coupons. “Clip” the ones you’d like to use onto your shopper’s card and when you check out at the store, they’ll instantly be applied to your purchase. No paper, no fuss!
Target’s program is the only one that I know of that’s a little different from the other ones I mentioned. Their app, Cartwheel by Target, has 2 types of coupons – eCoupons as well as general % discount savings (anywhere from 5% to 50% off). Simply log in to the app on your smartphone, and load the offers you want to use. When you’re ready to check out, have the cashier scan your Cartwheel barcode after they’ve scanned your paper coupons.
To give you a great example of how you can make Cartwheel work for you, this week they had a 20% discount on Cottonelle toilet paper. I was able to load that discount onto my Cartwheel app and also pair it with a manufacturer’s coupon…bonus savings!! Cartwheel discounts are not posted by the items in the store, so it’s also helpful to use the barcode scanner within the app to see if any discount offers are available. Target’s Up & Up brand frequently gives 5% off on numerous products. Never pay full price again – even when you’re buying generics!
These are the coupons that you occasionally receive with your receipt after you’ve checked out at the store, and the ones you receive depend on the items you just bought. For example, I’ve gotten Gerber coupons on a regular basis because I’ve bought the Gerber meals and pouches for my toddler. I’ll frequently get a coupon that gives me $1 off a future purchase. When you redeem Catalinas, you will need to return to the store that they were printed at. Using a Kroger Catalina at Walmart will not work.
These are just like they sound. They’re the coupons that you “peel” off an item at the store. I don’t rely on these too much because usually, they either ask you to buy 2 items or I’ve got some other coupon on hand that’s better. Don’t count them out, though – they can be helpful.
Blinkies and tear offs
Ever notice those boxes that are attached to the store shelf, and they’re blinking to get your attention? It’s because there’s a coupon there! 🙂 Tear offs are the coupons on pads that are attached to the shelf. Much like peelies, the blinkies/tear offs are bonus savings that you can use instantly.
This is where it starts to get fun. 🙂 Remember when I said earlier that you could use multiple types of coupons to save big? Store coupons are just one of the ways you can do it! For this section, I’ll use Target because they frequently have store coupons available. You can find them either in their weekly ad, in a newspaper coupon insert, or through the Cartwheel app. When you look at the top of the coupon, it will say “Target coupon” instead of “manufacturer’s coupon.” All stores that have store coupons allow you to “stack” their coupons with manufacturer’s coupons which will multiply your savings!
You remember the Cottonelle example I used earlier? Well, in that same transaction, not only did I have the 20% Cartwheel discount and a .50 manufacturer’s coupon, I also had a Target coupon that was $5 off my $25 transaction of select paper products. To make it even BETTER, I also had an Ibotta rebate (more on that next). That’s 4 different types of coupons, and they can all be used together!
I covered all of the good ones in a post here (along with some other apps that are great to have if you want to save serious $$). To give you an overview, the #1 app that is a must download is Ibotta (they give you a $10 bonus when you redeem your first branded rebate!) followed by Checkout 51, MobiSave, and SavingStar. To me, rebates are the cherry on top of an already delicious sundae. If you’ve been fortunate enough to get an already great deal with coupons, take advantage of these rebate apps and put money back in your pocket. It’s a total win-win. 🙂
Is your head spinning now? Did you have any idea that there were so many types of coupons?! It’s actually pretty exciting because they work just like cash. If you’re like me, I’d rather hand someone a coupon than cash out of my own pocket whenever possible.
Now, just because there are so many different types of coupons doesn’t mean that you should use them the first chance you get. Once you start to use them with regularity, you’ll start to notice when and where you can get the most bang for your buck. It just takes a little strategy and planning, but it can be done. You’ll love the rewards.
Tell me about you – are you already a couponing mastermind? How have you been able to use coupons to save on your grocery/household budget?