Not all stores you shop at will have the same coupon policy. Some may enforce greater restrictions. Others may be more lenient with when a coupon actually expires. Usually, the store’s goal is to make you, the customer, happy and wanting to come back.
But as you seek out savings with coupons and other deals, learning and understanding your go-to stores’ coupon policies can help you save money – and save you a headache at check-out.
Understanding a store’s coupon policy can often be like keeping track of small little details that can feel overwhelming if you try to master couponing in one day. However, while each store may have their own unique policies, it never hurts to ask about your store location’s unique policies, either.
Here’s we’ll share six things you should understand about a store’s coupon policy so you can be sure to get the best deals. We’ll also include some examples from some of the most popular grocery stores including Wal-Mart, Kroger, Publix and Target.
Top Six Things To Understand About Your Store’s Coupon Policy
The Buy-One-Get-One-Free Deal
One rule that can trip you up sometimes is a store’s buy-one-get-one-free policy. While some stores require you to order two of a particular item, others will allow you to purchase one item and receive 50% off that one item. Even better, some stores even allow you to continue to add coupons to that item you’re already getting 50% off on. What a deal!
Wal-Mart: Not available for local sales.
Kroger: You can get one item 50%, no need to ring up two; continue to use coupons.
Publix: You can get one item 50%; continue to use coupons. Or, you must purchase both items.
Target: You’ll need to purchase both items to get the deal.
Stack the Savings
Do you have multiple coupons on one shopping trip? Oftentimes, stores allow you to use more than one coupon and stack on the savings to get you a great deal. By using both manufacturer and store coupons, as well as any other deals that may be available, you can have one savings opportunity on top of another.
Finding coupons that you can use is quick and easy with various coupon sites. And before you check-out at the store, be sure to get out your glasses and read that fine print. Those little words often spell out any limitations the coupons have, like that dreaded phrase of “cannot be doubled or used with any other offers.”
Wal-Mart: stacking is not allowed
Kroger: Limit one coupon per item
Publix: Limits one manufacturer and one Publix coupon per item
Target: can use one manufacturer, one Target and one Cartwheel
Using Mobile Coupons
When gathering up your savings, you’ll want to know what usage policies your store has in place. Can you use coupons for sale items? Can you use both manufacturer’s and a store’s coupon at the same time? And in a shopping environment that is going increasingly mobile, it’s important to know if they accept mobile coupons that you show on your phone or on another mobile device.
These are important questions to ask in your mission to save big on grocery shopping. Often, the fine print on those mobile coupons will give you those answers you’re looking for. To run the rules right, do some research and know your store’s usage policies when it comes to going mobile before jumping in line.
Wal-Mart: Does accept, as long as the coupon is able to be scanned.
Kroger: Limit of one digital coupon, with a valid account.
Publix: Does not accept mobile coupons from phone or mobile device
Target: Yes – check out the Target Cartwheel app
Sometimes, seeing double can be a wonderful thing – especially when it comes to using coupons. Some stores allow you to use two of the same coupon at the same time. While it’s not as well-accepted as what one would hope, it’s still worth a try. Be sure to check out your favorite store’s policy before you hope to double up on savings. Some may offer coupons at a 50% rate.
Unfortunately, fewer and fewer stores will allow you to double coupons. Some policies may even depend on which location you choose to visit. However, if you find a store that does accept double coupons in your area, be sure to utilize those significant savings!
Wal-Mart: Doesn’t double coupons
Kroger: Doesn’t accept double coupons
Publix: Usually does not double coupons
Target: No doubling allowed
You’ve been saving that 50% off coupon for just the right purchase. You’ve planned, thought about and reconsidered how you can best utilize this rare coupon. Days pass and you realize the expiration date posted on your coupon came and went. There may still be hope.
To keep their customers happy and coming back, some stores may offer the opportunity to use a coupon that has expired. While some locations may have hard and fast guidelines about whether they accept or don’t accept expired coupons, other retailers may be willing to bend the rules for you.
Wal-Mart: do not accept expired coupons
Kroger: do not accept expired coupons
Publix: check your location’s policies
Target: check your location’s policies
Using Competitor’s Coupons
Retailers want you in their doors, not their competitor’s. As a result, they may be willing to accept coupons from other stores. Using competitor coupons may give you an extra amount of savings for choosing to shop at a particular location. Some locations may opt to provide a price match opportunity, instead. Allowing the use of competitor’s coupons is not universal, though, so be sure to look into your store location’s unique policies.
Wal-Mart: Accepts if has final price listed
Kroger: Does not accept competitor coupons
Publix: Accepts competitor coupons
Target: Does not accept competitor coupons
Before diving into a full-on coupon strategy, be sure you know the rules of play. Checking a store’s coupon policy will not only make it easier for you to plan out your savings and get the most for your money, it will also save time and hassle while checking out of the store.
Since there’s not one universal set of rules all stores follow, do some research and know your store’s policies. Learning and owning the store’s policies will not only make you a more efficient and effective shopper, it’ll also save time for your cashier, too.