Multi-stacking to magnify those savings

In previous columns, I've discussed coupon stacking at great length. It's one of the easiest ways not only to reduce the cost of items we're buying but also to get items for free. Many stores allow shoppers to stack one store coupon and one manufacturer coupon together, which gives us an even deeper discount on the same item. Just a few days ago I purchased a $2.50 tube of toothpaste. I used a $1.50 manufacturer coupon for the toothpaste and I added to it a $1 store-issued coupon for the same toothpaste. With a total of $2.50 in coupon value, the toothpaste was free! And free is, of course, my favorite price to pay.

Store coupons are offered in different formats, so it's important to note which kinds your stores offer. Do some research. Many stores print their store coupons in a weekly flyer. Others offer printable coupons on the store's Web site. Still others offer store coupons electronically. These electronic coupons can be loaded to your shoppers' card and stacked with manufacturer coupons for additional savings.

Now, when we combine coupon stacking with other deals running at the store at the same time, our savings increase even more. What's better than stacking? Multi-stacking! When we multi-stack at the store, we use both store and manufacturer coupons and take advantage of additional money-back deals involved. These additional deals typically offer instant savings at the register or a money-back coupon (commonly called a Catalina) that prints at the register for savings on a subsequent shopping trip.

Here's an example. One of my stores recently advertised a sale offering a Catalina coupon good for $5 off your next shopping trip if you purchased any two items in the flyer. When I see an advertisement like this, I immediately look for the items that are going to be the best deals - typically, the items for which I already have both store and manufacturer coupons.

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