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Understanding the Couponing Basics: Couponing 101

Couponing and searching for those die-hard bargains is a lot of fun, but BEWARE it can become very addicting! Open-mouth smile

My husband is very grateful to me for all of the money that I save, but sometimes even he just laughs at me!  To be a successful couponer and bargain-hunter, you must first familiarize yourself with the basics.

 If you are new to couponing I know that sometimes it can be overwhelming and you just don’t know where to start. Here are a few important things to note. I will discuss coupon stacking in detail at a later date so stay tuned!

First off, let’s talk about where to find coupons:

  • Inserts – these are the coupons that you find in your Sunday newspaper.
  • Magazines – Don’t throw out those magazines that you get every month!  I have found some great gems hidden in them! One of my favorite magazines for coupons is All You Magazine. You can currently get a 6 month subscription for only $6 or $1 per issue. Go HERE to check out the details.
  • Home Mailers – Companies will add you to their mailing list if you prefer and send out great coupons!  Complimenting or Complaining to a company about your favorite or maybe not so favorite items will also get you some great home mailer coupons!
  • Internet Printables – Aside from Insert coupons that you receive in your Sunday newspaper, internet printable coupons is one of my top ways to get coupons. Be sure to check out sites like Coupons.com, Redplum.com, Smartsource.com & Coupon Network.com as they offer awesome coupons for items that most of us use on a regular basis.
  • Tear Pads – These are a pad of coupons usually found hanging from a store display in front of products.
  • Peelies – Sticker-like coupons that are stuck right on a product -you just peel it away!
  • Blinkies – These are found in coupon machines right in the aisle of the grocery store and usually next to the item that the coupon is for.  The coupon is dispensed from a machine with a blinking red light.  These coupons are Drew’s favorite to get for Mommy! He loves to see the red light blink when the coupons come out!
  • Hang Tags and Wine Tags – These are coupons found right around the neck of a product or bottle.
  • Store Coupons – Many stores like Publix and Target offer their own store coupons that can be “stacked” with a manufacturer’s coupon to score really sweet deals. You can head over to Target.com to print some awesome Target Store coupons. At Publix, be on the lookout throughout the store for Coupon booklets filled with Publix store coupons. The general rule for “stacking” coupons is one manuf. coupon and one store coupon to be used per item. Although this is the norm, I highly suggest that you familiarize yourself with each store’s coupon policy that you shop at and print their coupon policies to keep with you while you shop. Most coupon policies can be found right on that stores’ site. (I will discuss “stacking” coupons during this series in depth so stay tuned)

Here are the coupon policies for a few of the more popular stores that I post about here on My Sweet Savings:

Target.com

Walmart.com

CVS.com

Walgreens.com

Publix.com


Secondly, let’s discuss Coupon Lingo. Did you know that we couponers have our very own lingo? If you visit couponing blogs, you may see some term paraphrased or abbreviated. It is helpful to know some of that lingo. 

Here are some of the more common couponing lingo terms out there:

BOGO– Buy One Get One Free 
B2G1– Buy Two Get One Free
BOLO– Be on the Lookout 
OOP– Out of Pocket expense
WYB– When you buy 
WT – Wine Tag 
NWP – No wine purchase necessary *some of the wine tag coupons that you will find, do not require you to purchase wine
GC– Gift Card
MIR– Mail in Rebate
OOS– Out of Stock
YMMV– Your Mileage May Vary *this is saying that the deal posted may vary by location.
POP– Proof of Purchase *many rebates require this!
TMF– Try Me Free *this is like a rebate incentive. You usually have to mail in a proof of purchase with your receipt to receive your refund.
CO– Cents-off coupon
FAR– Free After Rebate 
HT– Hang tag *many bottled items will have these types of coupon around the neck of the bottle. 
PSA– Prices Starting At *many times in advertisements you will see this in the fine print. It is just letting you know that the prices for that deal start at a certain amount.
AR– After Rebate
AC– After Coupons 
UPC– Universal Product Code
RC– Rain Check 
WSL– While Supplies Last-*no rain checks can usually be issued for these items. They are first come first serve items! 
IP– Internet Printables 
DND– Do not double 
EXP– Expiration
NED– No expiration date *it is rare to find a coupon with no expiration date, but I find that many times when you contact a company they will send you coupons with no expiration date. I love these coupons!
GDA– Good Deal Alert I love to this term! It means heads up on an awesome deal!

B&M – Brick and Mortar when you see this term, it usually means that you have to go to the actual (brick & mortar) store to get the deal. 
SS– Smart Source- Smart Source insert coupons found in your Sunday newspaper as well as www.smartsource.com 
RP– Red Plum You can also print coupons from www.redplum.com 
P&G– Proctor and Gamble 

CAT– Catalina coupons. These are coupons printed on a white paper after you make a purchase at stores like Target, Walgreens and other Grocery Stores.

OYNO– On Your Next Order- *many of the CAT coupons that you receive will say that particular coupon is good for your next shopping order.
RR– Register Rewards *these are the paper-like coupons that you receive at Walgreens when you purchase certain advertised items. RR’S print from the Catalina machine and you can use them on most everything at Walgreens! You may also hear these referred to as CAT’s or Catalina coupons.
ECB– Extra Care Bucks *these are the paper coupons that print on your receipt at CVS. You can earn these when you buy certain advertised products. ECB’s are like money that you can spend on pretty much anything at CVS!

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