FAQ/Basics

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JUST GETTING STARTED?

IMG_21012014_181203We were all new to couponing at one time or another and I can remember just feeling overwhelmed in the beginning. But I hope this page helps to explain things a bit more and gets you started on the road to keeping more of your hard-earned money in your pocket.

Saving money by couponing goes way beyond simply clipping a coupon and using it on something you need. The best way to maximize your savings is to wait to use your coupons against a sale or a special deal and to buy several of the item if the price is right.

While I do maintain a stockpile, I don’t believe in letting my stockpile overtake my house. Sales usually cycle around every 3 months, so purchasing enough to last you through to the next sale is a good bet, especially if you are short on space. Be patient- building a stockpile takes time, it does not happen overnight, but little by little you will find yourself being able to grab something from your stockpile when you normally would have to run out for something.

FINDING COUPONS

coupon-insertsNEWSPAPER COUPONS: One of the most popular resources are the coupon inserts that can be found in the Sunday Newspaper. There are 4 main types- the PG- usually put out once a month by Proctor & Gamble, the RMNE or RetailMeNot Everyday insert and the SS or Smart Source Insert both usually found in most papers every Sunday, and the GM or General Mills which can usually be found every 4-5 weeks.

Every Saturday I post a Sunday Newpaper Insert Preview with highlights of what will be coming in the Sunday paper and I also list resources for obtaining inserts and coupons that come from them. You can go HERE to check out the most recent preview with a list of Resources.

PRINTABLE COUPONS: Another popular way to get coupons is to print them. There are several sites that consistently offer printable coupons: Coupons.com, Red Plum, Savings.com, & SmartSource are good places to start. Lots of manufacturer’s sites also offer coupons and a good way to check and see if there is a printable coupon for something you need is to check My Coupon Database. If there is a printable– there will be a link provided to lead you to where you can find the coupon.

OTHER COUPONS: Coupons come from many many sources. Many manufacturer’s place Hangtag Coupons or Peelie coupons found on products on the shelves or Tearpads usually located on a display or shelf near the item.You may even spot coupons in magazines or at the office of your doctor, dentist, pediatrician, vet and more. Once you start looking for these valuable little pieces of paper, you will be surprised at just how many places they turn up!

COUPONING LINGO

We couponers use lots of abbreviations and terms, and you will catch on soon enough, but if you are just getting started- here’s a few terms to familiarize yourself with…

$1/2 etc: One dollar off two items. (1st # = Discount/2nd # = Quantity required for discount)
B1G1: Buy 1 Get 1 FREE, or B2G1: Buy 2 Get 1 FREE and so on
PSA: Prices Starting at
GC: Gift Card (Target offers Gift Cards as a reward for buying specific items, see Special Deals Page for extended Gift Card deals)
ETS: Excludes Trial Size or , or ESS: Excludes Single Serving
MIR: Mail In Rebate (You can check my Rebates Page to see current offers available)
TMF-Try Me Free. Another form of a rebate or sometimes a satisfaction Guarantee
OOP: Out of Pocket. The amount you actually spend.
Q: Coupon, MQ: manufacturer coupon, TQ: Target Coupon
WYB: when you buy
YMMV = Your Mileage May Vary-this means that it may or may not be the case in all instances.
x: Expiration Date of a coupon

ORGANIZING YOUR COUPONS

There are several different ways to keep your coupons organized so you can easily find them. Many people use a binder method- where you can split up your coupons into pages with pockets and organize how it works best for you. Sometimes people organize by item type- ie Frozen, Snacks, Canned, etc, or some prefer to alphabetize. You have to do what works best for you. Some people like to just grab baseball card type album sleeves fitted into a binder to keep them organized. A binder is very nice in that it’s a way to have your coupons with you at all times which comes in handy for Target Clearance- it can be a time-consuming method- but wonderful if you can keep it up.

You can also use a filing system for your inserts. You can use either drawers or a filing box meant to hold the complete insert and file them by date. Since I and other sites you may start to follow usually list where you can find a coupon- it is just as easy to go find what you need and cut when you are ready to shop. So for example – if I list the following coupon as a matchup-

-$1/3; .50/2 Campbell’s Microwaveable Bowls or Soup At Hand 1-8-12 SS x3/15

it means it can be found in the January 8th Smart Source Insert. The different amounts in the front mean that some areas will have a $1 Off 3 and some areas will have gotten a .50 cents off 2. The x followed by the date is when the coupon expires. But finding the best way to organize is a process – and you may go through several different ways before you figure out what method works best for you.

TARGET COUPONS

multi_coupon_nobleedTarget can be a great place to save money in several different ways. For starters- Target allows you to stack coupons- this means allowing the use of one manufacturer’s coupon AND one Target Store Coupon AND one Cartwheel Offer on EACH item. Target Coupons can be found in a variety of places….

TARGET INSERT COUPONS: Target store coupons can sometimes be found in the regular Sunday inserts on occasion. Target Insert coupons are always regional though and not everyone will get them. I do maintain a Target Coupon Page with a list of the available Target Coupons with matching manufacturer’s coupons you can stack.

MOBILE TARGET COUPONS: Mobile coupons are Target Store Coupons that can be sent to your phone to be used for in-store purchases at checkout. You can pull them up on your phone’s screen and the cashier can scan the bar code. These coupons are meant to be used only once but can be stacked with manufacturer coupons. You will need to have an internet-capable phone in order to retrieve the coupons. Keep in mind- text messaging & data charges will apply depending upon your phone’s plan. We don’t see many of these any more, but you can see a current list on my Target Coupon Page HERE.

cartwheelTARGET CARTWHEEL OFFERS: There’s also a savings program called Cartwheel by Target offering even more opportunities to get great deals! You can get as much as an additional 50% off, occasionally even higher, on items at Target including grocery, health & beauty, baby, clothing and much more. You can redeem all offers on your Cartwheel in one transaction and an identical offer can be applied up to a maximum of four times in a single transaction. You are allowed one Cartwheel offer with one manufacturer’s coupon and one Target coupon for triple the savings!

You can sign up thru email or your Facebook account and you will need a smartphone to redeem savings in stores, although you can bring a printed bar code with you in lieu of a smartphone. This bar code never changes, no matter what you delete or add to your cartwheel, so if you laminate it or find some other way to protect it, you can use it over and over.

IMG_21012014_181327OTHER TARGET COUPONS: Target also sends out various mailers with coupons – home mailers are random – there is no 100% fool-proof way to get one. Sometimes having created a baby or wedding registry may help, or spending on a REDcard helps, or filling a prescription, and the list of theories goes on. But none of these things are a 100% guarantee you will start receiving them and unfortunately there is no definite mailing list to get on. When you check out at the register you can check the coupons that print from the Catalina machine that you get with your receipt. Sometimes they are Manufacturer coupons, but sometimes they are Target Coupons!

You can always see a complete list of ALL Types of current Target coupons on my Target Coupon Page.

CASH BACK & OTHER REWARD PROGRAMS

cash-rewardsThere are a couple of great savings apps out there for both iPhone and Android users to earn cash back for shopping in-store. The first one, ibotta, is a fun & easy way to earn extra money while shopping for buying products that most likely you were going to buy anyway. Plus, the Ibotta app offers lucrative Bonuses. The second one, Checkout 51, is also a fast and easy way to earn cash back on the brands you love, yet it also has some unique features and… you do not need to have a smartphone to take advantage of this great app! Watch the blog for new offers and matchups to be posted, plus you can read about each of them in more detail as follows…. for more info on ibotta, go HERE and for more info on Checkout 51, you can go HERE.

GIFT CARD & SPECIAL PURCHASE DEALS

IMG_21012014_180857Another way to save at Target is by taking advantage of their Gift Card Deals where a Target Gift Card is awarded at checkout in return for buying a specified product or products. Gift Cards cannot be used in the same transaction you earned them, however they can be rolled into the next transaction. If you do more than one Gift Card Deal in a transaction you WILL receive both Gift Cards. There are usually several Gift Card Deals in the Target Ad every week, that usually only last that week. However sometimes quite a few Gift Card deals remain unadvertised and extend for longer periods of time.

Target also offers Special Purchase Deals. These are usually a B1G1 Free type of deal or instant savings when purchasing 2 or more of a specific product. Again several of these are advertised each week, but some are not and last for 2 or more weeks. I do my best to keep track of as many unadvertised longer-term Gift Card & Special Purchase Deals as possible on the Special Deals Page. On that page you can find the details, coupon matchups and some Deal Ideas so be sure to check it out.

TARGET’S LOW PRICE PROMISE

Target has a price matching policy which they refer to as a Low Price Promise. This can be another way to save Gas, money & time, since Target will honor local competitor’s ads, however there are quite a few rules and restrictions. You can view Target’s official price matching policy HERE.

TARGET COUPON POLICY

You can find the official Target Coupon Policy HERE. It’s always a good idea to print it out and keep with you when you shop.

387211_10151581781563120_690736138_nTarget will accept printable coupons with a scannable bar code except one that is for a FREE item when no purchase is required. Target does not accept competitor’s coupon or expired coupons.

Target does not give cash back – if the coupon is for more than the value of an item, the coupon amount may be reduced to meet the cost of the item. Target also has specific rules about using B1G1 coupons. You can check out this post HERE for more details and examples.

MORE QUESTIONS?

I hope you have found this page helpful, but if you have more questions or you have a deal you would like to share with me, you can contact me at [email protected].

680 Responses to “FAQ/Basics”

  1. Melissa says:

    Can I use all of the Brita Q’s from target and All You in the same transaction?

  2. Kerry says:

    no you will have to choose 1 MQ & 1 TQ. I just try & list all the coupons available.

  3. Susan says:

    I was in Target today and tried to use the $1Q on the travel Johnson&Johnson baby shampoo. The register kept beeping and she told me that it is because I was buying the “trial” size and on the coupon it says “excludes trial size”. Is there a difference between “travel” and “trial”? Thank you!

  4. Kerry says:

    no they are one in the same- if a Q says excludes trial size that means travel too.

  5. Amber says:

    Hi, just a quick question….when doing MIR’s can you send a copy of your register receipt if it says original or does it have to be the original? I goofed up and bought several things that could be used for MIRs in the same transaction!!! UGG! Thanks so much!

  6. Kerry says:

    HI Amber- I always send in the original and don’t like to risk it. You can call both companies and ask- if they say a copy is alright I would get a name and include a short note with your rebate saying that you spoke to such and such of (company name) and they indeed let you know that a copy of a receipt was acceptable. You can also do a return and have them re-ring. I heard Target does duplicate recepts too but I have never done one there, unfamiliar on wether it says duplicate receipt at the top (which would probably be condiered a copy) or if they can pull it up after the fact. wish I could be of more help.

  7. Amber says:

    Thanks so much Kerry! You were more help than you know, I appreciate it very much!

  8. Margaret says:

    How do you use the mobile coupons?

  9. Laura says:

    Just wondering how come I see some of the deals that quote prices, but when I go to my Target, those prices are different? How can they differ so much from region to region? Thanks!

  10. Kerry says:

    Hey Laura- most regular prices vary by region and I usually note that on a lot of my posts. usually price cuts are more in line nationwide. It just depends upon where you live unfortunately.

  11. Kerry says:

    Hey Margaret- you pull them up on an internet-capable phone and the barcode is scanned from your phone instead of a paper coupon. hth

  12. Joy says:

    Question: I was in Target Saturday eve. and was told that I could not use 2 of my $3 snuggle coupons (1 Q per bottle) – that I could only use 1 at a time, in separate transactions. The cashier told me that because the Q says “1 coupon per purchase” I can only use 1 of the Q’s and she’d have to ring them up separately. HUH??? I was attempting to buy the 2 Venus Embrace razors to get the $5 gift card – using 2 $2/1 coupons – but, she wanted to ring them separately and I would NOT get the gift card. Eventually she and the manager said “just do it”… I was a bit perturbed, to say the least as I’ve done SEVERAL great coupon runs there in the past 2 weeks and all have gone through JUST FINE. Just wondering if you are hearing ANYTHING on this. They said it’s from the manufacturers. How would the manufacturer’s know who’s buying how many??? I don’t get it. Thanks for any insight you may have. Perhaps it was just the wrong night, wrong cashier and wrong floor manager. Ugh. Blessings.

  13. Kerry says:

    Hey Joy- I would cross my fingers that it was just a bad night- one coupon per purchase means one coupon per item- there is major confusion at some stores over this- so if you continue to have a problem- you are going to have to take it up with corporate. I will cross my fingers that it was just a rough night for you!

  14. Joy says:

    Thanks Kerry! I’m hoping too it was just a bad night. Very strange though! Thanks for all of your hard work.

  15. Hayley says:

    Went to Target today and my cashier would not let me use any coupon where my item rang up for less than my coupn. I tried to buy clean and clear face wash .97 and had a $1 any clean and clear product and she wouldn’t let me because my item was less than my coupon. I asked if she could just ring up my coupon for .97 and she said no. ?? I haven’t ever had them do this to me before?

  16. Kerry says:

    hey Hayley- all you can do is show your store the policy where it says they will adjust it down. if they refuse you need to call corportae and try and get it worked out with them.

  17. Sharon says:

    Milk Bones essential plus are on sale this week for 2.38. I had a bogo so I got one free. Then a catalina spit out for 2.00 next one. I ran back and got another. Then another. Then another. Had a friend with me she couldn’t believe it. Paid .38 for a box of bones.

  18. Laurie says:

    I purchased the Nikon camera S570 on 04-18-2010. Next week it will have a 30.00 gift card
    with purchase. If I take my receipt to Target will they give me a 30.00 gift card because I
    recenlty purchased the camera? I did not see any information of their webpage.

  19. lauren says:

    I was in a super target last night & found some marked down baby clothes & i took some pics to send to you…how do i contact you?

  20. Kerry says:

    kerry @ totally target dot com (remove spaces) 🙂

  21. shelly says:

    Hi, love your site. I have a question reguarding printable coupons from any site. Five days ago my computer’s hard drive failed, had it fixed at our local Best Buy and the guy that fixed it said its a very bad idea to download coupon printers from coupon sites because viruses come into your computer through them, he said my computer was loaded with viruses and was pretty sure thats why the hard drive failed. I also had virus blockers on my computer but I guess it didn’t help much.
    So my question is how do you keep your computer safe and still print coupons off the internet? I have been couponing for about a year now, and Love it! Unfortunatly our local news paper has very few coupons, so I rely on printables. Any info about this I would greatly appreciated Thanks

  22. Kerry says:

    Hi Shelly- you have to do what your gut tellys you but if it makes you feel better- I would call and get a second opinion if that guy’s advice is sticking in your head. I think it also depends on what software you use to protect your computer and to be sure that you update it and run scans often. If you have virus protection, it can be of no use unless it is kept current. Personally I have never had a problem –knock on wood– buit if any other readers have- please share your opinions. You may also just want to stick w/the big ones- RP, SS, coupons.com, betty crocker, target etc. and let any of the little ones that come around that want to install something pass you buy. jmo hth

  23. Jennifer says:

    Hi Kerry,

    Does Target accept using B1G1 coupon and a $off coupon together? I tried to buy 2 OFF! clip-on today, and I had one B1G1 coupon and one $2off coupon. But the manager told me when I use B1G1 coupon to get 2 same items, I am allowed to use only the B1G1 coupon. So I cannot use the $2off coupon. I looked up Target coupon policy from your blog, it doesnt say anthing about B1G1 coupon. Is it true?

  24. Vicki says:

    Hi Kerry I tried to use a manufacturer coupon and a target coupon for a purchase of some detergent and the target coupon would not scan from their web site it said target web coupon on top and they would not accept it. The cashier/manager said that if it doesn’t scan they can’t take it. Do you know if this is true I have not had this problem before? Thanks

  25. Kerry says:

    Hi Vicki- curious to first know if it was because it was a clearance item and if the amount of the Target coupon was greater than what the remaing balance was after the MQ was scanned?

  26. Vicki says:

    Hi Kerri no it was for seventh generation detergent that was on sale and I had a manu. coupon and a target web coupon. I still would of paid a few dollars for it with both coupons applied but the girl told me because it wouldn’t scan they would not take it. Thanks

  27. Trina says:

    I just wanted to let you know of the problem I encountered a week ago at Target. My aunt and I were using our coupons as we always have. The cashier had a ? abt one and called a Sup over. She was VERY rude to us. I never said a word to her. We got almost done and my aunt asked the cashier if she minded counting her coupons. The Sup looked over at the other and said, she wants us to count them b/c she thinks we missed one. I then asked her why she was being so rude. She then stated that we could do “what we were doing this time, but we wont be allowed to do it in the future.” WHAT!!! Are you serious!! I asked her if using coupons was wrong and what were we doing wrong. She said, we know what you are doing! I asked for her name, the Store Mgr’s name and the name of the district mgr. I called and made a complaint abt her and the store mgr. Needless to say, after a few days I received a call from the Dist Mgr and then from the store mgr with an apology. I told him I have never felt like such a criminal just for using coupons and that if this was not rectified I was contacting the local news station for an interview. The store mgr did confirm that you cant use a coupon on free item that you may get w/ a b1g1 coupon, but did not tell me you couldnt use a cents off coupon with a b1g1 coupon. I figure, if you are still getting 2 items and the b1g1 Q is for the free item, you should still be able to use a cents off coupon for the one you purchasing. In any case, I just wanted to share what happened to me. CRAZY!!!

  28. Blyth says:

    I have had several bad experiences at my local Target, including the feeling that they were treating me like a criminal for using coupons. In fact one supervisor stated to me that they were going to contact their securities department about me using coupons. I tried to contact their corporate office, no response. I spoke to the store manager, he states one thing, they do what they want the next visit. I take in their coupon policy, they ignore it. In fact, a supervisor told me that they were separate from their corporate office. My last visit took an hour and a half to check me out in the line. I am so frustrated and humiliated that I have not stepped foot back in my store. Any suggestions on who I should speak to in order to rectify this situation?

  29. Jennifer says:

    Hi Kerry, how can I find the printed coupon policy stating that we can use a B1G1 coupon and a $off coupon together for 2 items? If we cannot prove that we can use both, how can I argue with cashiers and managers next time they refuse to let me do so? I dont think that’s YMMV thing, is it? If we are legal to do so, why are some of the Target stores starting to refuse to take both coupons? I really need your help!! Please!!!!

  30. Kerry says:

    Hey Jennifer- more and more it has become a ymmv unfortunately. And while I usually mention it on my recent posts- I need to update this page to reflect that. Unfortunately Target doe s not address it in their policy and therefore we are at the mercy of the store.

  31. Amy says:

    does target match ads to stores like walgreens? i notice that walgreens has their toilet gel things on sale starting tomorrow. id rather shop at target than walgreens.

  32. Shirley says:

    Do sometimes the target coupons go away after you print them? I printed the $3/2 Armor All products one time (using your idea scenerio this week, thanks) . The next day I checked 5 times and it was gone. My mom checked on her computer and it was on page 11.The confusing part is that I did see 3 other coupons I had printed, even more than once. Thanks for all your help.

  33. Kerry says:

    Hey SHirley- you’re not going bonkers 😉 most coupons on the Target site have a print limit and once that is reached by your computer they will disappear. It varies how many you can print of each- some are one or two some are many. If it’s gone then you’ll know you’re maxed. hth

  34. Meghan says:

    I am confused, a coupon for kleenex hand towels printed at the register when I bought them, is this considered a manufacturer coupon or a target coupon?

  35. Kerry says:

    Hey Meghan- look at the top and see what it says- if it says Target coupon its a store coupon. of not it will say manufacturer’s coupon. hth.

  36. Meghan says:

    It does say manufacturer at the top, and redeemable at target. so i don’t think they would take it along with a coupon from the paper right?

  37. Kerry says:

    Hey Meghan- nope – not if it is already an MQ. BUT it can be stacked with a Target coupon. If you’d like- I i’ve got a post here: http://www.totallytarget.com/2010/03/02/target-store-coupons-vs-manufacturer-coupons/
    that may be helpful to read. hth 🙂

  38. Meghan says:

    That was very helpful, thank you so much!

  39. Amy says:

    Target really needs to get through to their associates about coupons that need to be priced down… and how to read a coupon. as couponers, we are suppose to know how to read the coupon – so that we dont waste cashiers time arguing why it should go through ….. then in the same they should understand…
    i gave up trying to use any b1g1 coupons at my 2 local targets, neither of them know how to put them through correctly.. and i was also told that when i “purchase” 4 of 1 item i can only use 1 coupon for the whole transaction – not one on each…and that they cant price match and use a manuf coupon… becuase price matching is an “offer” and they cant combine offers …

  40. Kathryn says:

    Just one quick question, are mobile coupons considered manufacturers coupons or target coupons?

  41. Kerry says:

    They are Target store coupons and can be stacked with MQs 🙂

  42. Rachel Fauber says:

    I went to Target with a MQ for Band-Aid and a Target coupon for Band-Aid. The cashier told me I could not stack coupons. I said okay because I thought maybe their policy had changed. Just one more reason to try to have a store’s policy in print with you at the store!! So annoying!

  43. Meredith says:

    Could you please tell me where I can find info about how to decipher coupons fine print? I know that you have put down that one could go and buy Kleenex hand towels and use both TQ and MQ. But on the MQ it states “limit one coupon per purchase”. Doesn’t that mean you can only use one coupon per hand towel? I have tried to use MQ and TQ on some items but have been denied because of the fine print and would like to be well-informed before trying it again. Thanks for helping us save money.

  44. Brandy says:

    Maybe I have missed this somewhere, but how do you get on the Target home mailer listings to get all these target Q’s that you use? I know how to do the printables, but how do I get the home mailers?

  45. Lynn says:

    How do you enter to win in the giveaways?

  46. Kerry says:

    Hi Lynn- just leave a comment on the Giveaway post. hth 🙂
    Just like you left a comment on this page- do the same thing but on the Giveaway post that interests you.

  47. alexis says:

    I was wondering if you have encountered this problem, or maybe I am not seeing it on my receipt. Whenever I purchase an item that gives a gift card and I’m using manufacture coupons, I notice that it isn’t taking out the manu coupons. On my receipts, it will have a list of the items that I bought for the gift card. It also lists the manu coupon amounts. But when it says how much I paid, it doesn’t seem to factor in the manu coupons. I have had this happen a few times and I don’t know if these coupon amounts can show up in other places on the receipt. I want to get a good deal, but I hate the feelings I get from the clerks when I try explaining it to them. Thanks!

  48. Kerry says:

    Hey Alexis- the registers at Target can be very odd. For me- the easiest way I feel like I can monitor that coupons come off is to count them up before my transaction and then count them up right after I get my recipt while I stand there. This way if there is a problem I get it fixed right then and there. You ALWAYS have to check your receipts at Target- it is not just you and it is not just on GC deals either.

  49. savingsrfun says:

    hiee

    can you please let me know how can i get target home mailers? like the flip, clip & save?

  50. kaylene says:

    Hi! Im new to target…I printed coupons from the target website, but they didnt have the Target logo or any mention of Target. Are these still only for Target?

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