The first article in the Coupon Basics series, “Types of Coupons,” hashed out the vital differences between manufacturers coupons and store coupons. But knowing which type of coupon you have before you is just the first part of the process; next you have to examine the value so you can be sure to use them.
The best kinds of coupons are those that offer a free item, though these are the most rare. Freebie coupons are manufacturer coupons, typically often offered for new products. The manufacturers are willing to give away free products in hopes that you’ll get hooked and keep buying full priced products down the line. You can often get these by joining company email lists, checking company websites or by engaging with social media profiles of your favorite products and companies.
Single product coupons offer a set amount of money off the purchase of a single product. These will read something like “Save $1 on any one [product]” or “receive 50 cents off one [product]” Just be aware of the fine print, as you may be required to buy a certain size, variety or flavor of the product in order to use the coupon.
Multiple product coupons function like single product coupons, except they require that you purchase a set number of items, greater than one, to reap the benefits. Coupons like this will read “Save $1 on two [product]” or “Save $1.50 when you buy any three [products].” These coupons often allow you to pick from multiple products produced by the same company, or to mix and match various sizes, flavors or varieties of the same products.
BOGO coupons, or buy one get one coupons, are like a combination of freebie coupons and multiple product coupons. These coupons entitle you to a free or discounted product when you purchase the minimum number specified on the coupon. These will read like “Get one [product] free when you purchase two or more [products]” or “Buy three [products], get your 4th for $1.”
These Catalina coupons can have many different values, but usually come in two varieties: purchase or product. Purchase catalinas offer you money off your next purchase, regardless of the products that your next purchase contains, but they must be used at the same store where you earned the reward. If you receive a product catalina, for money off your next product order, the opposite is true; these are like manufacturer coupons and can be used at any store that sells the product in question.
Once you can differentiate between the various types of coupons and can easily understand the values of the coupons before you, you can move on to part three in the Coupon Basics series: Combining and Maximizing.