FAQ/Basics

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.

TARGET CIRCLE OFFERS: There’s also a savings program called Target Circle 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 Circle 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 Circle offer with one manufacturer’s coupon and one Target coupon for triple the savings!

If you already have the Target app, Circle offers can be found and added within the app. Once you have added the offers, and head to check out, just pull up your bar code found in the wallet and all the discounts will come off at once. You can also choose to access Target Circle from your desktop and once you add the offers, you can print a barcode to take with you to the store. Just keep in mind to benefit from Target Circle offers you must have or create a Target.com account.

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 kerry@totallytarget.com.

680 Comments

  1. Hello Kerry: I just want to congratulate you on your site. I am friends with Lissa over at Saving Your Cents and I follow Michelle also and saw that Michelle was introducing you. Site looks great and very informative.

    Lisa Sadie

  2. I’m new to couponing and love your site! I have a quick question. On some of the sale items you have 3 or 4 different MFG coupons listed that can be used. Does that mean that I could use all of them if I had them or just one of them?
    I know I can use a retailer coupon & a MFG coupon on the same item but I’m unsure how many different MFG coupons I can use on 1 item.

    Thanks for your help!

  3. Hi Joy- You are only able to use 1 manuf. Q per item. I will list all those available and if you have more than one on my list you should choose the one that will get you the best deal. If they will both get you the same deal- I usually choose the one with the soonest expiration date- since I may want to purchase the item again in the future. Thanks for the compliment!

  4. Are all of the coupons on target.com store coupons? They have a LOT more than they used to if so. I just didn’t want to print another MQ if I already had one and didn’t need it.

  5. Hi Jennifer. No they are not all Store Coupons. I wish! If you visit the Target Coupons Tab below the header on my blog you will see a running list of which coupons are available to print, their expiration date and wether or not they are manufacturer’s or store coupons. HTH!

  6. Kerry,

    Congratulations on your website! My co workers and I love to check out the deals at I heart Publix and I heart saving money, so we are very excited to see this one for Target. Unfortunately, we don’t have a Publix or Target nearby so we try to get together/carpool and make it a worthwhile trip when we go, and these websites definitely help. Do you think you could get a listing together of the different Target stores and how each one handles coupons like Michelle did for Publix? It seems Target may vary in their policy kind of like Publix does. It would really help those of us who have to drive out of town know which one(s) it would be best for us to go to.

    Thanks!

  7. Hi Kerry, I just wanted to say congratulations on your new sitw & I wish the best of luck. Margaret was very excited to have me check it out. Thanks for helping me save money!!
    See i really do exist. 🙂

  8. this site is awesome!!!! will go right along with i heartpublix and i heartsavingmoney.
    congratualtions!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. I have never done price matching before. Do I just take the ad to customer service or can the cashier do it. Will I complete my transaction at customer service? Thank you! I am excited about your new site.

  10. Hi Carrie-
    When I do a price match- I just go straight to customer service and do it there. I find that most cashiers want you to pay the full price and then bring your receipt over to customer service for a refund of the difference. So if I am going to end up there anyway- I may as well do the transaction there :). More often than not- the CS person will reduce the item(s) immediately. Just be sure to take the whole ad with you.

  11. Hi Kerry,
    I am new to this gig, and I am having so much fun! Thanks for the great volume of information. You’ve done all the work for me! Great job.

  12. Hi Kerry,
    The catalina coupons that you get along w/ your cash register receipts at Kroger for example are most of the time, indeed, MQ (as stated at the top of the coupon). They say, however, that they are redeemable only at Kroger. I received a great one at Kroger for Dove choc. and that combined w/ current TQ for Dove is a great deal. Sooo, i decided to ask a mgr. at Target before getting in line. The mgr. didn’t feel like it would go thru since it said, “Kroger”. She said i could try it, tho. I was short on time and didn’t want to “bail” on my purchase at the register, if it didn’t work. Do you have experience w/ this? Thx!

  13. Hi Gina- I have never tried to use a catalina Q at Target. Even though these technically are manufacturer Qs and most of the barcodes scan- I have gotten an argument (at other stores) that they are not able to be redeemed and are treated as store coupons. So I have never even bothered to try at Target. I have used MQ’s with other store logos on them as long as they don’t only specify that they can only be redeemed at that particular store. I think catalina coupons are a ymmv and if you have a store who is willing to give it a shot- that’s awesome. Just be prepared for them to possibly not accept it if it does not scan.

  14. I have a B1G1 free Target coupon for any glade fragrance item that I found in Real Simple magazine. Can I use that plus two 3.50 off printable MQ from the glade website. I was in Target tonight and they have the candles and reed diffusers for 6.99 (holiday scents only). If I can use all of the above coupons that would mean I could get two items for free.

  15. WOW I LEARN SOMETHING EVERY NIGHT I READ YOUR SITE.ALSO UNDERSTAND A LITTLE MORE.SO TARGET Q`S ARE IN THE RED M.Q`S ARE IN THE BLUE?THANKS FOR ALL YOUR HARD WORK.

  16. yep- red for Target- since I thought that was appropriate 🙂 and blue for manuf. Qs. Be patient with all the learning it takes time and effort to save money- but it is worth it- so stick with it :).

  17. Do you know if there is a limit as to how many gift cards you can receive from buying multiples of the same item? Will they only give me one gift card if I buy 2 or 3 or 4 boxes of something that has a gift card deal?

  18. I am not sure if there is a limit. It’s a good question. But if you are talking about 2 or 3 deals than it shouldn’t be a problem. I am sure the store can impose limits on you if it is an excessive amount. But say for example you were doing the Axe deal (Buy 2 at $5 each get a $5 GC) and bought 4 bonus packs of the axe… when she scans the 2nd product the register will prompt the cashier to stop and give you a gift card, now she/he scans number 3 and 4, the register will stop and prompt them again to give you a second gift card and so on.

  19. I have no idea Marie. I would call your local store and ask. If you have a SuperTarget near you- my guess would be they would be more likely to accept them then regular Target stores.

  20. I am a newbie. Where would I find the $2.00 Mobile Target Q that you speak of when buying the Razors and body wash? Thanks,

  21. Kerry,

    Thanks SO much for this site. I have been checking here every day and have been able to grab some awesome deals at Target thanks to your help! Just wanted to say THANKS!

  22. Tonight I did my first shopping trip with price matching – I went to customer service first to make sure that I was doing it correctly and learned a few things: #1 at our store you must check out at customer service if you are price matching #2 the item must be PICTURED in the ad, regardless of what the wording says. I was buying a leapster game which is on sale this week at TRU for $17.49 then I had the $5.00 coupon to make it $12.49. They would only honor it for the specific games pictured even though the add says ALL Leapster games. Is this normal? Just checking for the future – and what if there is no picture?

  23. First, Wowie!! Thank you, for all of the dedication and insight. I am sooo excited about couponing, and the coupon world. If I use a b1g1 coupon, for example the purex deal from 2/21, can I use another coupon for purex on the free one for $1 off? It is a manufacturer coupon? I would appreciate your help. Thank you again, this is my first week of ever doing this and being introduced.

  24. I have a question about the printable coupons from Target. Some are clearly Target (store) coupons and some are manufacturer coupons but have the Target logo somewhere on them. Does anyone know if these manufacturer coupons work at stores other than Target? Since Target doesn’t double coupons sometimes it isn’t the best place to use manuf. coupons under $1.

  25. I found a really good deal on Crest Whitestrips Premium today at target and wanted to share with you, but wasn’t sure where I should post it to. They were on sale in the bulk area from $22 to $11.48. Then there is a $7 coupon in the 02/07 PG making it only $4.48.

  26. I went to my local Target Sat night and the cashier only let me use one of the $1 off Uncrustables even though I bought 2. She said that if the coupon says “Limit one coupon per purchase” then they can only accept 1 per transaction. I’m confused?!?!?!

  27. Just had a pretty frustrating trip to Target. The manager said they just had a huge meeting about coupons and she was told they could no longer take a coupon that did not come up on their scanner. She thought that was all internet coupons that did not come from Target.com but I my Kelloggs fruit crisps were recgonized by the scanner fine. She did take the ones that scanned.
    At first she started to tell me that she could only take the one but the MFQ didn’t say limit one per purchase and she decided to go with what the scanner read. The manager was really nice but it was time consuming and very frustrating. Oh and I was trying to do the Big Lots Juice price match and they told me they could no longer do those at the register, they would only honor price match at the service desk. So that takes the convience out of doing price match. I guess I can’t complain. I got free Sobe and lightbulbs and some really cheap Fruit Crisps. I am very concerned about shopping deals there in the future because you won’t know if the scanner is going to accept your coupon until after everything has scanned and you are at the end of your transaction. Do you know if a price scanner will scan a coupon to tell you if it is vaild? I might try that just for kicks.

  28. I’m not sure if this is where I should post this or not, but I have just found your blog and love it! The pics are great! I hope you or some other nice reader could help me with something. I was at my Target this morning and noticed they had the 10oz of Vaseline lotion(not the new Intensive kind) on sale for $2.69. I had a $1 off TQ making it $1.69. Is this a good deal on lotion? I’m kind of a newbie to coupons so I don’t want to buy more if I could find it cheaper in 2 weeks! Thanks!

  29. First off – I love this site! I just happened on it a few days ago and am now addicted 🙂 I have a follow up question about using a BOGO coupon along with $$ off coupons. For instance, I used my BOGO Purex coupon with one $1.00 coupon, so I could have used 2 $1.00 coupons even though I technically got the second item free? I e-mailed Target yesterday this same question and got the standard coupon policy, but this particular issue was not addressed. How would you handle this at the register if the cashier either refused or wasn’t sure how to do it. I always bring my print out of the coupon policy just in case, but it wouldn’t help me with this.Thanks!

  30. nope you did it right. just remember 1 MQ per item. if you bought 2 purex- then the bogo Q attaches to one- and you have one product left on which to use a coupon on. You would not be able to use a 2nd $1/1 . HTH

  31. First, let me say I’M LOVIN this site! Thank you! I WISH Target doubled coupons! MAYBE, if enough people suggested it, they may think about it, and try it in a select area…..

    My question is: If my coupon says $3 off of 2 Dove deorderent, do I need to purchase 2 singles, or can I purchase a bundle pack and use that coupon?

  32. Hi Anne- although there may be a few exceptions (some stores may do this) I think you will find that you will only be able to use 1 Q on a twin or multiple packs

  33. Today I got a ‘warning’ and a manager override when using a Johnson & Johnson coupon on Buddies soap. I’ve used them in the past without issue – do you know if the policy has changed?

  34. What is Target’s policy on expired coupons? It doesn’t say in their coupon policy. Just wondering.

  35. it will be a ymmv and varies from store to store. some may not accept them at all, some may, and some may but with a certain timeframe stipulation. best to ask at your store the next time you are there.

  36. I just want to say thanks for all the hard work you do, it is so appreciated. My question is where do you get all of your Target coupons, I have no problem getting Man. Q’s but Target ones are hard to come by. Is there some where you need to sign up?
    Thanks for your time…Ginger

  37. I found an item on 75% off clearance at my local Target. I purchased the last one and the only other store that has them only has them marked down 30%. If I bring my receipt showing the product, DPCI # and price will they match the 75% off price?? Thanks for your help.

  38. Hi Kerry!

    I had a problem tonight trying to buy trial sized items with coupons that did not restrict trial sizes. One of the coupons was the $2/2 Right Guard printable, also $1/1 degree printable, St Ives… I also tried to use several J&J printable that states $1/1 off any baby product (but has a lotion/shampoo image) on soap buddies and cotton swabs. All of the coupons beeped item not found. The manager was called over and denied all of the coupons that beeped and kept repeating that they can’t accept them because the items I wanted to purchase did not match the image on the coupon. Do you have any strategies for explaining why they should still accept the coupons for trial size and for items that don’t match the picture exactly? I couldn’t find anything in the policy that addresses that. Thanks so much!!!!!

  39. Rebekah, i would suggest you ask the manager to read the coupon carefully and not concentrated on the image, if the coupon says “on any” that includes trail sizes, thats my arguement, in my case. sometimes managers aren’t so bright, so we have to educate them to understand the coupon in more complex details. i had a walmart cashier at the self check out deny my Angel towel paper for .50 cents b/c it deeped, he didn’t want to do anything about it, so i grabbed my stuff and went to a real cashier and explained to her what the coupon meant, it was a confusing coupon, it said something like this, “,50 off any 2- 6 ct. or larger” worded weird but the cashier made it go through. i’ve had coupons that match the image and the description and still it would deep. i would suggest calling corporate and explaining to them your problem w/that manager and its possible the corporate will call that location and let them know that its okay to use coupons that dont match the image exactly. i hope this helps.

  40. 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!