Do the math: Stacking coupons adds savings

I'm often asked how many coupons we can use on a single item. To answer this, you need to note the difference between manufacturer coupons and store coupons.

Manufacturer coupons always have the words "Manufacturer Coupon" printed on them. Regardless of whether a store's name or logo is also on a coupon, if those words appear on it, it's a manufacturer coupon. Store coupons will have the words "Store Coupon," or "Retailer Coupon" on them, and the name of the issuing store will also appear on the coupon.

Many stores allow us to "stack" coupons, using one manufacturer coupon and one store coupon on the same item. This gives us an even larger discount on that particular product. But in order to successfully stack, it's important to make sure you are only using one store and one manufacturer coupon - not two manufacturer coupons. We can only use one manufacturer coupon per item. The register will never accept more than one manufacturer coupon on the same item; this would be considered coupon fraud.

In my coupon classes, it's a common misconception that you can stack one Internet-printed coupon with a coupon from the newspaper inserts, but this is rarely the case. Most coupons available on the Internet for printing out are manufacturer coupons, so double-check the wording. If you have a coupon you printed out and a newspaper coupon for the same item and both state "Manufacturer Coupon," you'll either have to choose which coupon you want to use or buy two of that item in order to use both coupons on a given shopping trip.

As long as you note the differences in the coupons and play by the rules, though, you can definitely multi-stack deals. The goal? To maximize the number of items you take home while minimizing what's coming out of your pocket to do so. To help you understand the way I will break down a sale, I'll share with you one of my recent deals involving multi-stacking.

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