This week, let's test your knowledge of super couponing. Here's a quiz:
1. Your store has gum on sale for 55 cents a package. You have a 75-cent manufacturer coupon. What happens when this coupon is scanned at the register?
A. The coupon takes 75 cents off your total, giving you free gum and 20 cents in overage applied to your end total.
B. The register automatically adjusts the coupon value down to 55 cents, making the gum free.
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C. The register beeps when the coupon is scanned and the cashier manually adjusts the savings to 55 cents, giving you free gum with no overage.
2. You have a $4 manufacturer coupon for a razor. You have another manufacturer coupon for "Buy razor, get shaving gel free." Can you buy one razor and one shaving gel using these two coupons together?
3. Your store advertises a coupon with the offer, "$10 off a purchase of $50 or more." What is the best way to use this coupon?
A. Give it to the cashier first, ahead of all other coupons.
B. The order in which you present your coupons does not matter.
4. Your store has a Buy One, Get One Free sale on shampoo. You have two $2 coupons for shampoo. Can you use a coupon on each bottle of shampoo?
5. You spot a pad of coupons in the produce department. The coupons state, "Buy two bags of salads, get 2 pounds of bananas free." The coupons expire in one month. How many coupons do you take?
A. One to four
B. Half the pad
1. All answers can be correct, depending on your store's policy. Answer A is the best one from a shopper's perspective. Regardless of whether the store adjusts the value of the coupon down, it will receive the full 75-cent value when it redeems the coupon. Stores that allow shoppers to receive overage pass along that extra 20 cents to the customer versus keeping it for themselves.
2. A. Yes. While a razor purchase is a required qualifier under the terms of the free shaving gel coupon, the shaving gel coupon actually applies to the razor, not to both items. So, you also can use a coupon on the razor. You can always use one manufacturer coupon per item; this case presents two manufacturer coupons for two items. What you could not do, in this instance, is also apply a $1 coupon to the shaving gel. The shaving gel already isfree with the first coupon, and you could not apply another manufacturer coupon to it.
3. A. Always give this kind of coupon first, if the terms of the coupon allow, since it's likely that your total will dip below $50 once your other coupons are applied. When the total dips below $50, the $10-off-$50 coupon will not scan. Put it at the top of your stack.
4. This one depends on your store's policy on BOGO sales. Many stores allow shoppers to use one coupon on each item; even though the second is "free," you're still purchasing it in that you're buying two for the price of one. Other stores will only allow a coupon on the first item in this scenario.
5. A. is the correct answer -- if you like salad and bananas. With any in-store pad of coupons you should take only what you can reasonably use before the coupons expire. If you will eat two salads and two pounds of bananas each week, take four coupons and buy them for the next four weeks. (Produce coupons are great finds.) But you should never take half a pad. You're taking much more than you'll use before the coupons expire, and you're also depriving other shoppers of the deal.
Jill Cataldo is a coupon-workshop instructor, writer and mother. Her website is www.super-couponing.com.