The Basics

Sometimes when I’m posting matchups, or details of my shopping trips, etc… I forget that alot of my readers are beginners. I remember one of my very first time using coupons, I tried to use two $1 coupons on one item b/c I thought that’s what doubling was. Lol. Hey, everyone has got to start somewhere, right? To help you all out, here are some basics on couponing.

A manufacturer’s coupon is a piece of paper with a discount for a specified product printed on it. The coupon can be used at most stores that carry the specified product. To receive your discount you must purchase the product and give the cashier the coupon. The cashier will scan the coupon and the coupon amount will be deducted from your purchase. You then pay for the remainder of the purchase.

Coupons may only be used once. You may not buy ten boxes of cereal and scan the coupon for $1 off cereal ten times. The store will only be reimbursed for the single coupon you scanned – they will then lose $9 for the nine additional times you scanned the coupon.

You may use one coupon per indicated items purchased. If you have two coupons to save $1 on one bottle of shampoo, you can buy two bottles and use both coupons. The coupon will most likely say ‘one coupon per purchase’. This means you may not use both $1 coupons on one bottle. If you purchase two bottles then you may use two coupons.

You may not use two coupons on one item. This is where I messed up trying to use 2 $1 coupons on one item. Hopefully, now, you won’t go through the same embarassment I did at the Walmart checkout counter. LOL. You can’t buy one package of toilet paper and use five coupons on it. You may only use one of your coupons on the toilet paper. What you can do, though, is use one store coupon and one manufacturer coupon on one item.

Coupons may not be copied. Copying coupons is illegal. You can obtain multiples of coupons in legal ways like buying multiple newspapers, printing them from the internet (you still CAN NOT copy printed coupons), etc…

Read the wording of the coupon and ignore the picture! Manufacturer’s usually put a picture of their most expensive product on the coupon to make you think that is what you have to buy. If you actually read the terms of the coupon, it will usually say “save on ANY brand xyz product.” That means you can buy even the least expensive product and still save with the coupon!

You can use a coupon on an item that is on sale or clearance too! Occasionally I will have a store clerk tell me otherwise, but it is usually cleared up with a chat with a manager or a call to corporate.

If a product rings up higher than advertised or they miss one of your coupons, let them know! I always read over my receipt before I leave the store to make sure everything is correct.

Stand up for yourself! If you are using coupons correctly then shop with confidence. Many times the cashiers are just misinformed. Be calm and confident when you explain why you CAN use the coupon. If the cashier still doesn’t accept it, ask nicely to speak to a manager. It is your money and you should not feel bad about being a smart shopper!

Please let me know if you have ANY questions. I’m here to help YOU! :)


  1. Wanda Sharp says:

    FANTASTIC! Although I already know a bit about couponing, this is a very well explained basic tutorial! Can’t wait to see what you post next! I use a few coupons, but want to learn how to cut my shopping bill even more! I may never get to the EXTREME coupining, but I sure would like to rev things up a bit!

    • Clever Coupon Cents says:

      Thanks. I’m glad you liked it. I’ve been couponing for a several months now and my stockpile is starting to grow quite a bit. :) Groceries are harder to save on, though. I have at least 10 bottles of shampoo, but only 2 cans of soup. Lol. Gotta work on the grocery side of things a little more. :)

  2. Rebekah Bradfield says:

    I’ve been getting tons of soup coupons but they aren’t that didn’t save me as much as I was hoping. I need to get better about combining sales with coupons.

  3. Chelsea Preston says:

    I new at couponing and learning so much from your site ! Thanks for all you do and for sharing your knowledge !!!!

  4. KANIYA KNIGHT says:

    newbie?? hellp

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