How to Stack Coupons; for Newbies

So here’s a term I bet most of you have heard of before: “Coupon Stacking”. To make it easy, it means taking two (or more) coupons and putting them towards the purchase of an item. In the most extreme cases, people will save up multiple coupons, wait until the item is on sale, and then stack the coupons to make the item free!

free I was a dunce when it came to stacking, so I wasn’t certain of all the ifs and the buts and exactly how it all worked. So I went searching and compiled this beginner’s guide to coupon stacking. Let’s call it your intro into how to get away with free things at your store.

Let’s Get Started

First, check your local stores policy on coupons in general. Where most major companies have one universal policy, how one store operates is different from one to the other. Some stores (or just some cashiers, depending on how you treat them!) will usually allow you to stack with no problems. There’s always the exception; one might tell you that it’s not allowed, one might not let you stack coupons more than a certain amount of times, and so on and so forth. The basic rule everywhere is that as long as the coupon value doesn’t exceed more than the price of the product, then it’s no problem (Example: you can’t have a total of $5.00 in coupons when the product costs $4.50). Tax is never included when it comes to coupons, so you’ll always be paying the tax on the product, before discounts, as well.

Where to Find those Pesky Coupons & the Importance of UPC Codes

Next, start searching! From the internet to local flyers to magazines to in-store deals…they are everywhere! But here’s the key to stacking: each coupon you use towards the same item has to have a different UPC code on it. ‘Example, you’re buying a box of cereals and you want to stack two identical $1.00 coupons’. UPC codes are marked on every coupon (if it isn’t, it’s probably a fake coupon and might be refused!) and it’s essential that they are different when you want to stack. UPC codes are those bar code lines shown at the bottom of your coupon, and usually has numbers written right underneath it. Different UPC codes mean different sources, in essence. On some coupons, it might be marked “One coupon per purchase”. Fear not, because you can still use them, but in a different sense! Let’s say you have two coupons for $1.00 off for a can of tomato sauce. The way to get around this is that you’d have to buy two of the product, instead of one, and put one coupon for each. The simplest way to remember this is ‘one item equals one purchase’.

anatomy of a upc
~ Source

Tips on Getting your Coupons Passed

happy shopper
There are some rules of thumbs that you should follow, though. Always check the expiration dates on your coupons. If you start to stack coupons at your local store and you keep trying to pass expired coupons, they won’t allow you to do it anymore. Also, try and be organized when it comes to your stacking; the cashier won’t be fond of you if you’re rummaging through a pile and taking your time just to find one coupon! Finally, be polite with the person serving you. Cashiers are able to adjust coupons if needed. How? Let’s say you have two coupons that have a combined total of $3.00 and the product itself is $2.75, but you would like to pass the coupons because they expire soon. Just calmly ask the cashier if they can adjust the amount of one of the coupons to a lower amount; so instead of them punching in two coupons at $1.50, they could punch in one at $1.50 and the other at $1.25, so the amount doesn’t exceed the product value. If they say they can’t, just inform them that the store will get reimbursed for the amount marked on the coupon. It’s a win-win situation for everyone; you get a free product and they are getting more money back. If they still refuse, try again another day with another cashier.

Coupon stacking is fairly easy to get started if you know what you’re doing. Once you have the necessary tools and experience, you’ll be on your way to being a stacking pro in no time! We’d love to hear your experience with coupon stacking as well! Leave us a comment below with some of your wildest purchases you’ve acquired via stacking!

I want to hear about your coupon stacking stories! Let’s talk coupons, add a comment below, and wait to see how long it takes for me to start talking about coupons…

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