Friday, March 26, 2010

Overlaps and Double Dips

Lots of my friends use coupons. We get together and swap, and often recant our fabulous adventures in savings. Sometimes, we even talk about how confusing the coupons can be. One of my coupon pals, Angie, has been using coupons for years. One of my other friends is Jackie, she just started. Jackie sometimes is amazed that we don't know all the answers to the question, "Will this work?" We had lunch this week, and a Kraft coupon issue came up. I'll explain...

There are some things you can know that will help you to identify how to use the coupons to your best advantage. Here are some coupons:

This one Clearly shows the who is paying for the discount on the purchase. It's a Manufacturer's Coupon. It says so in the top box. All coupons will identify who is paying the discount. It will either be Manufacturer or Store. There are only 2 options, but knowing is important.

You can use one manufacturer coupon per item purchased, and one store coupon for each item purchased. I've had some friends get confused and think if you buy three Kraft Salad dressing bottles, and have 3 manufacturer coupons that you can not use all three. Yes, you can. But you can NOT use 4 coupons on 1 bottle. They have to be equal.

If the coupon says, "Save $1 off two bottles" then you can use one coupon for every 2 bottles you purchase. If you happen to be lucky and have a Store issued coupon for the same exact brand of dressing, ZING, you get to use those as well for "Double Dipping." A double dip is considered GOOD.

Clear bar codes have to be on every coupon you submit. You also need an expiration date to be valid. Both must be legible. You'll notice that there are 2 bar codes on each coupon. The first one matches the item bar code. The second is the coupon offer. They use these to process the coupons.

If you find that the description offer is vague, you can match the bar code to the product to be sure you have the right item. For example, It may say, "Offer good on Large Mayo only" What's large? Well, just look at the bar code, it will match the qualifying size. It doesn't happen very often, but sometimes there is confusion as to sizes.

You can also see by looking at these coupons, that they apply the savings to different products. I ran both codes in Google. I found that the top one will give $2 off of your Chicken purchase, but counts 3 Kraft items to qualify.

The bottom coupon Applies to the actual Kraft items. This is an overlap coupon offer. Kraft is paying both discounts, but allowing you to use two coupons on one planned meal with lots of Kraft items. You could purchase, 1 Kraft BBQ sauce, Velveeta shells and cheese, Kraft Mayo, and some hamburger, and save $3 on all of them. Zing, again, you're doubling the savings.

Some new coupon users get confused with Overlaps. "Why would they do that?" is a common question. These brands are looking for ways to encourage you to consume more of their products overall. They know if you fix burgers, you'll need Kraft BBQ sauce, A couple of side dishes that use Kraft (like salad dressing or A1 steak sauce), and maybe they can build their brand with you. It's Clever, and they are rewarding you for buying multiple items from them.

My advice is that if you are ever in doubt-see the customer service manager before hitting the checkout lane. They can help. I've had them run transactions for me to see how the computer will respond. Guess what? They are on your side, and are hoping that you have found a Double Dip or Overlap that can save you money!

Keep Saving,