Monday, April 19, 2010

Know Thy Coupon

Over the weekend, there were some questions about how a coupon should look. There are really only 3 things that MUST be on all coupons before you can redeem them.

1. The coupon has to have a valid UPC code. This code will be scanned at the register. There are also numbers that correspond to the code. Those have to be present just in case your printer doesn't print clearly and they need to hand enter the code into the register. I have cut mine off by accident before, and that make the coupon invalid. Be careful cutting!

2. The coupon has to have a valid expiration date. The entity issuing the coupon has placed product in stores to correspond to the coupon validity. The cashier has to be able to read the expiration date, or the coupon is invalid.

3. The coupon must state who is issuing the coupon. If it's Kellogg's, it will say "Manufacturer's coupon", and have their logo on the coupon. If it's a County Market Coupon, it will have "Store Coupon" and the County Market logo. This tells both you and the cashier how the coupon can be used. It also let's you know if you can indeed stack coupons.

These three things must be present. Let's pretend that your two year old spilled a bottle on a newspaper coupon and the corner with the expiration came off. This coupon is now invalid. It will not be accepted. Let's pretend that you printed coupons at home and in a hurry you placed them all in a bunch and the ink ran. Now the UPC numbers are not legible. The coupon won't scan, and the cashier can not hand enter the numbers for you. Unfortunately, this coupon is not valid.

Usually, there are not spilled bottles, or ink smears, but you do need to keep your coupons "Safe." Keep your coupons in one place, where they will not get wet or torn. I keep mine in a little coupon wallet in my purse. I say little, but it's really bigger than my regular wallet!

If you are ever in doubt as to whether a coupon will be accepted, just stop by customer service at County Market first. I've done it, and I've been glad to give them time to review the coupon and check the codes to see that it is indeed valid before hitting the check out lane.

My personal goal is to redeem 25 coupons per checkout. That usually means $25 in savings on my groceries. It throws me off my game if a couple are not valid that I was planning to use. Whenever I print coupons, I try to print 2, and when I trade, I get at least 2 as well.

Go for 25 this week. See how many you can use in one checkout.

Keep Saving!