What is Coupon Stacking?
How you can get things free, nearly free, or even PROFIT when you stack coupons
You may have heard the term "Coupon Stacking" and wondered what it meant. It isn't just stacking a coupon on top of another one, yet it is -- sort of. You may be wondering how a person can use TWO coupons on ONE item, legally. There is a way and it's 100% legal.
In this page, I'll give you an explanation of Coupon Stacking, along with some examples.
Image: Clker public domain
Video explaining coupon stacking - What does coupon stacking mean?
To clarify what the lady is showing in the video below, if you had a .40 cents of 3 cans of Campbell's soup coupon, you could use that with the Walgreen's Store Coupon. If the Walgreen's Coupon was for one item with a maximum purchase of 3 cans, then you could use THREE Walgreen coupons, you would use 1 Walgreen Store Coupon on each can, then the Manufacturer's Coupon over the entire purchase.
So, if the Walgreen's Store Coupon brings the soups down to .79 cents per can, then .79 x 3 cans = 2.37, then take the .40 cents off, bringing the price to 1.97. Then take 1.97 and divide it by the 3 cans, which brings the price per can to 66 cents before tax. Not bad in a time when most cans of Campbell's soup retail for at least $1.19 on a good day.
It seems confusing at first, but write it all down if that helps you. Take the sales flyer and you can write on it with a marker by each item, circling the final prices that are good for you and you know you want to buy them. It will help you stay on track in the store and not get tempted by additional items that are not such a good deal. After awhile, you'll really have the hang of this figuring. Most of the time, I just round the figures and calculate it in my head.
So how do you "Stack" Coupons?
For an example, let's say you have a $1.00 off any Suave hair product coupon and it says at the top it's a "Manufacturers Coupon." You also have a coupon from CVS Drug Store that is for .75 cents off any Suave product. Now let's say CVS has Suave Shampoo on sale for $2. You can use both coupons and you'll get the shampoo for .25 cents.
You can use a Kroger Store Coupon with a Manufacturer's Coupon for the same product and so on.
SO REMEMBER: You CAN combine a STORE coupon and a MANUFACTURER coupon, but you CAN'T combine a STORE with a STORE or a MANUFACTURER'S with a MANUFACTURER'S coupon.
Store Coupon + Manufacturers Coupon = YES
Manufacturers Coupon + Store Coupon = YES
Store Coupon + Store Coupon = NO
Manufacturers Coupon + Manufacturers Coupon = NO
Also, don't assume that just because you see a store's logo on a coupon that it's a Store coupon. It may be a Manufacturer's coupon. You'll need to look for the words Manufacturer or Store Coupon. They'll usually be near the expiration date of the coupon.
It will get easier to recognize them as you start stacking coupons more. I use a paperclip to keep the Store coupon and the Manufacturer coupon together so I'll remember to use both.
Understanding the 2 types of coupons
...and how to tell them apart
There are 2 types of coupons. The kind you see most of the time is a Manufacturer's Coupon. These are the coupons that the company that make the product provides to consumers -- the kind of coupon you find in the newspaper inserts on Sunday mornings.
The second type of coupon is a Store Coupon. These are the coupons issued by the grocery store or drug store, etc.
Manufacturer's Coupons will have the words "Manufacturer Coupon" near the expiration date. Store Coupons usually have the words "Store Coupon" on them, but not always. See if the bar code looks different, or if there is a L.U. (Look Up) Code Number, then that is probably a Store Coupon.
When in doubt, ask at the Customer Service desk of the store where you plan to redeem the coupons. It's much better to find out before you are in line, rather than hold up the line if the coupons cause confusion. Most of the time though, you're going to be able to figure this out for yourself and it does get easier to understand over time. So allow yourself some learning time.
Am I ripping off the store if I do this?
No not at all. Look at the small print of a Manufacturer's Coupon. You'll see this or something very similar to this: "Manufacturer will redeem this coupon for the face amount, plus 8 cents handling when product is sold." The store makes money from the manufacturers of the product when you use the coupon. The store has issued a Store Coupon (often with the knowledge that the Manufacturer's Coupon is out there in circulation.) The store wants you to come in and buy the product (plus some other items too!) Just to get you in the door, they're going to make money.
You may even make a PROFIT!
Sometimes, you may even profit by using 2 coupons together. If you had the 1.00 off Suave Manufacturer's Coupon and the .75 cents off store coupon and the shampoo was on sale for $1.50, you would come out .25 cents ahead. BUT - it depends on the store's coupon policy. Some stores can give you the money back, some apply it toward other items in your purchase.
Another way I "Stacked" Coupons
I needed to buy a new faucet for the bathroom. I decided on a Moen faucet. Our local Publix Grocery Store had a Store Coupon that would allow me, with a $25 accompanying grocery purchase, to get a $50 Lowe's Home Improvement Gift Card for only $40. I knew I needed a faucet and it would be around that price.
At Lowe's, I found the faucet I wanted for $59. I used a 10% discount (again a Store Coupon, but the Publix Store and Lowe's are different stores, and separate transactions, so in this case it worked.) The 10% discount took $5.90 off the price of the faucet, then I tendered the $50 Gift Card.
Now remember, I already saved $10 by getting a gift card with a face value of $50 for only $40. So all together, I saved $15.90 on the faucet. This brought my actual price for the faucet down to $43.10 plus tax.
I used a coupon to GET the Gift Card, but a Gift Card is a form of payment, not a Coupon, that's why I could use the Lowe's Coupon and the Lowe's Gift Card in the same transaction.
Have a question or comment about coupon stacking? Would love to hear from you.