Couponing ABC's

Coupon Lingo

  • BOGO or B1G1-Buy One Get One Free
  • Brick-Printable Coupon
  • Cat or Catalina: Coupons that print out from a catalina printer with cash value or money off certain item on next trip.
  • ECB-Extra Care Bucks (CVS Stores)
  • E-Coupons-Electronic Coupons downloaded to cell phones or Loyalty Card
  • FAR-Free After Rebate
  • GC-Gift Card
  • IP- (manufacturer internet printable): When you see this, click on it and it will take you to the site to print off coupons.
  • IVC-Instant Value Coupon
  • MFR or MQ-Manufacturer's Coupon
  • MIR-Mail In Rebate
  • OOP-Out of Pocket
  • OYNO- On Your Next Order
  • P&G- Proctor & Gamble insert
  • PDF-Coupons that do not require installation of a printer/No Print Limit
  • RP-Red Plum insert
  • RR-Register Reward (Walgreens)
  • SCR-Single Check Rebate (Rite-Aid)
  • SS-Smart Source insert
  • WYB-When You Buy
  • YMMV-Your Mileage May Vary (basically this means it depends on the cashier or manage

::Where To Find Coupons

Coupons can be found:

Newspaper inserts

Home Mailers

Blinkie Machines

Catalina Machines

Coupon Clipping Services




Rewards Cards

Store Fliers and Booklets

Tear Pads

Hang Tags

Online Printable Coupon Web Sites*

. . . .And More!

What a coupon looks like:

There are 3 types of coupons.

1. Manufacturer Coupon

Coupons have a code at the bottom that starts with either a “5” or a “9”. Coupons that start with a “5” are automatically set to double in value by the computer even if the coupon states Do Not Double. Coupons with a "9" will not double in value.

BarCodes are pretty standard:

Coupon NSC Prefix: A number systems character (NSC) of “5″ identifies the coupon as a coupon. “99″ is another coupon prefix. The “99″ is used for non-doubling coupons.

Manufacturer ID: The next five digits after the Prefix are the Manufacturer’s ID. These numbers will match the numbers on the corresponding product’s bar code. This serves as purchase validation at checkout.

Family Code: The next three digits are the family code. The manufacturer assigns family codes to each of their products. These numbers will not likely match the product since most coupons are good on more than one size and variety of the item. The family code is what verifies that you have bought the correct item for the coupon. Generally, if the family code has no zeros, it will only work on the exact product shown on the coupon (possibly different sizes, flavors, etc.). If the family code has one zero, it will work on a wide variety of products. If it has two zeros, it will work on just about any related product.

Value Code: The next two digits after the family code are the value code. The value code tells the register what amount to deduct. You can click here for the value code table.

Check Digit: The last number in the bar code is the check digit. The check digit is calculated based on all the other numbers in the bar code. It’s purpose is to make sure the other numbers are correct.

(Thanks to Couponing 101 for this awesome tutorial on the barcode)

The important thing to remember about a coupon is to look at the wording on the coupon; not just the picture. Sometimes a coupon may be for any item in a product line, but the picture on the coupon will be for the more expensive item. Other times, the coupon will be for a specific size or product. Currently coupon codes are vague and there are not codes for every single item in a family code. Because of that, sometimes a coupon will "beep" even though you are purchasing the correct item. Should you have a coupon "beep" (and we all have), simply show the wording on the coupon to the cashier. If needed, you can ask the cashier to contact a Manager.

2. Store Coupon

The other type of coupon is the Store Coupon. This coupon can be found in sales fliers and booklets and is to be used specifically in that store. The Store Coupon is the store's way of giving a discount on a particular product. Since this coupon is a store discount, you can use it together with a Manufacturer Coupon to maximize your savings. In forums and couponing sites, you will see this referred to as "stacking".

3. Printable (Internet) Coupon:

This is a Bricks Coupon:

Internet printable coupons can be found on websites from the product manufacturer or couponing websites. They can only be printed out twice per computer. (Hitting the back button twice is the easiest way to print these again.) It is fraud to copy any coupons and use them, please use coupons as they are permitted.

*Most sites such as require that you install their coupon printer. Most manufacturer's sites that offer coupons require that you submit your email address for newsletters. I suggest that you set up a separate email account just for this offers.

::Strategies For Savings

1. Timing ( Sales Cycle)


Historically, Quaker has hot deals on cereal/all items. We see Pepsi/Tostitos go on sale mid-January (again, rebates abound for these). Other items of note this time of year are chili, side dishes, anything for hearty/warm meals.

• Post-Holiday Sales

• White Sales

• Sports and Weight Loss Equipment

• Computers

• Winter Apparel and Accessories

• Organizers, Rubbermaid totes, shelf organizers, planners, filing cabinets


many of the same food items as January

• Electronics

• Floor Coverings

• Housewares

• Furniture

• Candy and Chocolates


Frozen food month. You'll find many stores are offering free freezers or fill-a-bag deals. Between March and April, look for spring cleaning deals, so many cleaner items will be on sale. With Easter, looks for eggs, ham, Kraft products to cycle into good sales. Paper products like towels, napkins, plates are starting to come on strong. Beverage items.

• Spring Apparel and Accessories

• Winter Sports Equipment

• Gardening Supplies

• Luggage


• Spring Apparel and Accessories

• Coats and Hats

• Paint

• Wallpaper

• Jewish Foods and Eggs


get ready for summer! Here come loads of deals on BBQ sauce, frozen veggies, baked beans, and condiments of all kinds, summer-time meats (ribs, hotdogs, and ground beef). Also with all the holidays, look for tons of paper goods that match the holiday and pick them up after clearance. These deals generally continue through September!

• White Sale - Linens and Towels

• Spring Cleaning Supplies

• Auto Maintenance

• Home Maintenance

• Sodas & Bottled Water, Hot dogs, Hamburger Meat, Condiments, Paper & Plastic plates & cups

* Raid/Off bug repellents and sunscreens


• Summer Apparel and Accessories

• Pianos

• Television Sets

• Building Materials and Hardware

• Dairy Products


• Air Conditioners

• Summer Sports Equipment

• Sportswear

• Craft Supplies

• Sodas, Hotdogs, Hamburger Meat, Condiments


• White Sale - Linen and Towels

• BBQ and Patio Equipment

• Back to School Supplies

• Bathing Suits

• Fresh Fish and Vegetables

• Breakfast foods (Cold cereal-Juice-Waffles-etc)

• Cold lunch items for in lunch boxes


back to school; time to fill up on snacks! Pudding cups, Capri suns, fruit snacks, cereal sales start up hard again, peanut butter/jelly. Also, like clockwork, there will be Prego coupons in August, and plan on getting lots and using them in a hurry before they expire in September when the spaghetti sauce goes on sale. Sauce wars between Ragu and Prego this month. Campbell’s soups will go on as well and there will be coupons in the end of August for these as well. Lunchables are on sale this time of year, too.

• Back to School Supplies and Apparel

• Gardening Supplies

• Housewares

• Bicycles

• Canned Goods


Stock up on holiday foods – Stove Top, turkey, instant mashed potatoes, broth, cranberries, marshmallow, ice cream, pie shells, whipped cream, pudding. Look for great Kraft deals again this time of year. Piggyback those Kraft coupons when you can. Crackers are a biggie - going on for $1 or less a box. Lots of extra deals like $ off cheese WYB crackers. The real kicker is the after Christmas food deals! Save your coupons because pie fixings, fried onion, broth and canned green beans will be on deep discount. I got those onions for .50 a can, normally almost $4. These generally continue through December.

• Cars

• Houses

• Fishing Equipment

• Crystal, Silver, and Glassware

• Candy

• Baking/candy-making items (choc chips, sprinkles, vanilla, corn syrup, nuts, etc)


• Winter Apparel and Accessories

• Quilts and Blankets

• Heating Devices

• Turkey, Sweet Potatoes

• Canned goods (soup, chicken broth, condensed milk, veggies etc)

• Baking goods


• Toys

• Gift Items

• Party ware

• Post-Holiday Sales

• Party Foods, Baking Goods, and Various Meat

• Canned goods (broth, soups, etc)

2. Buy One Get One Deals

A great way to save money is to take advantage of the BOGO offers in your stores. The first thing that you need to find out is your store's policy on BOGO deals. Some stores charge for two items and then deduct one item at the end of the transaction; while other stores, charge half price for each item. Even so, many stores will allow two coupons on a BOGO deal.

For even more savings....use a BOGO coupon on a BOGO deal. Doing so, allows you to get two items for free.

3. Use Two Coupons On One Item

Remember earlier I told you there are Store coupons and Manufacturer's coupons. Whenever you have both coupons for the same product; use both to save even more. When you are reading forums and saving sites this will be referred to as "stacking". Most of the time you must present the store coupon first and then the manufacturers coupon for the most savings.

4. Unit Price

When determining your savings, you will be looking at your savings per unit (ie; ounce, pound, etc). For the most part, you will find that purchasing two smaller packages with two coupons is a greater savings than purchasing a larger package on sale with one coupon. This is especially true when you find that rare coupon that does not have a size restriction. You can; then, purchase trial size and travel size products for free or only pennies.

5. $X off $XX Coupons

Many stores offer coupons that are a certain dollar amount off of a minimum purchase; ie, $4 off $20 purchase; $3 off $15 purchase. Whenever it does not go against store policy, always be sure to have your minimum purchase amount met BEFORE coupons. Hand over the $X off $XX coupon once you have met the minimum purchase amount; such as $20; then hand the remaining coupons to the cashier. The only store that I am aware of that requires you to use your $X off $XX coupon after other discounts and coupons is Walgreen. However, this can still be a big savings.

6. RX Transfer Offers

Many drug stores and big box stores offer incentives when you transfer your RX to their pharmacy. The incentive is usually a store gift card. Since your goal is to spend as little money out of pocket as possible, this can be a great opportunity to "make some money"

7. Store Incentives

All stores have their own incentives to get consumers to purchase in their stores. Some stores price match or accept competitors coupons. CVS has Extra Care Bucks. Walgreens has Register Rewards, Rite Aid has Single Check Rebates. Whenever possible, take advantage of these incentives; especially when it will result in free products. Even if it is a product that you do not use, you can always donate it.


There are many methods for coupon organization. You will probably try several methods before you find the one that works best for you.

Many new to couponing start out with the envelope system……

The accordian file………

The coupons are organized by category such as Frozen, Dairy, Health & Beauty.

The advantage:

They are small and they fit inside your purse, tote or diaper bag.

The disadvantages:

1. It is difficult to find the coupons that you need. You generally have to pull out all coupons in a section to find the needed coupon.

2. It does not take long to "grow out of it" because they do not hold many coupons.

Once you are more advanced, you may decide that the coupon binder is the method that fits you better. This is an actual picture of MY binder! I used baseball card inserts so I can see all my coupons easier.

Advantage of a binder:

1. Sub-categories (under the Health & Beauty category you can break down into Razors, Oral Care, First Aid, etc.)

2. You are able to see every coupon

3. Your pens, scissors, loyalty cards, calculator and weekly sales fliers can be kept inside the binder.

The disadvantage is:

The binder can be cumbersome and heavy to carry. . .especially once your make your way to the 3" binder.

In each of the above methods of organizing coupons, you clip all coupons. In order to save yourself time and effort in clipping, use this method. Tear your inserts apart and lay like pages together. Staple the pages together at the top and bottom (avoiding the coupons themselves). This prevents the pages from slipping. Cut the coupons out and file.

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