Personal Finance

Coupon Policies for the New Couponer

As a new couponer, it can be really confusing to know what is allowed and what is prohibited. This is where a store’s coupon policy will come into play. Knowing what a coupon policy is AND how to read them will only make your couponing life and shopping trips to the store a whole lot easier.

Coupon Policies for the New Couponer

© karenkh / Dollar Photo Club

Do Your Research

When you first go to coupon at a new store, you should always log onto their website or call them to find out what their coupon policy is. This “document” is their rules on how you can use a coupon while you’re shopping at their location. As you’re planning your trip, keep the coupon policy rules in mind, but also make sure that the rules found in the policy do not trump the rules of the coupon itself.

Some of the items included in a coupon policy are how many coupons you can use per trip, how many of a “like” coupon you can use in one trip, whether or not the store allows overage, what their maximum coupon value is, etc. These rules must be followed to use the coupon in that particular store.

In addition, you’ll want to take a look at the coupon itself. Individual coupons may also have limits. You can find things like a limit per transaction or a limit per shopping trip, no overage allowed and other limitations.

As an example, our local Walmart’s coupon policy is only six “like” coupons per transaction, unless specifically prohibited on the coupon. I’m noticing more coupons indicating ONE per transaction these days.

Every Store is Different

Each store will have a different policy. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that because one store only allows 4 coupons per trip that another will only let you have the same amount. The policies are set by the corporate owners of each store so they could each be drastically different.

I’ll use Walmart again as another example. Coupon policies are set by individual store owners. While our local Walmart has a strict coupon policy compared to other Walmart stores. It doesn’t seem fair, but it is what it is.

They Serve a Purpose

Coupon policies can appear excessive, but they are there for a reason. For starters, they help cashiers know what acceptable coupon use is and what isn’t. Secondly, they provide a layer of protection for both the store and you against coupon fraud. Coupon fraud hurts not only the store, but you as well. Stores tend to tighten up their coupon policy after a major coupon fraud incident.

Keep a Copy

Your best bet is to carry a printed out copy of each store’s coupon policy with you in your coupon binder or box. This way if you have an issue, you can pull it out and show the cashier that you are within policy. Also, don’t assume that cashiers know the policies by heart. Most of them don’t so if they give you any trouble, politely show them the policy and explain it to them. It’s easy to get mad when this happens, but getting upset will only lead to the cashier and the management getting upset and not allowing you to do your transaction.

Check out my other posts about couponing and saving money: 17 ways to save money on groceries, how to save money on groceries with Checkout 51, why I’m not price matching anymore, how to price match with flyers, 10 sites to find coupons online in Canada, 20 ways to save money on electricity, how to save money shopping online and four apps to save money on groceries in Canada.

Do you know the coupon policies of the stores in your area?

Stacie Vaughan

Stacie is the mom of two girls and lives in Ontario, Canada. She enjoys cooking/baking, photography, reading, DIY and is fueled by lots of coffee!

more by Stacie »