Thursday, January 20, 2011

Coupon Definition, Coupon Terms and Abbreviations

Coupon is a promotional tool that can be redeemed for a discount when you purchase goods or services in a form of a document. Coupons are issued by manufacturers or retailers and are distributed through direct mail, print and other marketing medium to the consumers. Coupon features a specified saving amount or other form of special offer to persuade consumers in purchasing specific goods or services from retailers. It is also called discount code, promotional codes, and rebate.

Coupon collecting needs time particularly in learning the ins and outs of using coupons. You also need to learn the common coupon terms and abbreviation and its meaning. Below are the words or   most-used terms and abbreviations used by seasoned couponers on blogs, in forums and elsewhere:
$1/1, etc. :: Indicates the value of a coupon, $1 off 1 item in this instance but could be any value, $4/2 ($4 off 2 items), $0.25/1 ($0.25 off 1) etc.
AC :: After coupon
AR :: After rebate 
Blinkie :: Coupon dispensed from a box attached to a store shelf. The term “blinkie” comes from the box which sometimes has a blinking light.
BOGO, B1G1, B1G1F :: Buy One Get One free
BTFE :: Box Tops for Education
B&M :: Refers to a “brick & mortar” store (as opposed to an online store)
CAT, Catalina :: Coupons which print at the register after your purchase is made. These can usually be used like cash on your next purchase. However, if the say “manufacturer’s coupon” on them, you should be able to use them at any store although YMMV. 
CPN :: Coupon
CRT :: Cash register tape — often referring to coupons at the bottom of your receipt.
DND :: Do Not Double
Double Coupon :: A coupon which can be doubled in value
ECB :: Extra Care Bucks (CVS, prints on receipt)
ETA :: Edited to Add
ETS :: Excludes Trial Size
FAR :: Free After Rebate
Filler :: An item or items you buy in order to get your total up to a certain amount in order to use a percentage off coupon
FS :: Free shipping
GC :: Gift card/gift certificate
GDA :: Good Deal Alert
GM :: General Mills
HTH :: Hope That Helps
IVC :: Instant Value Coupon (Walgreens, found in the monthy EasySaver booklet)
IPQ, IP :: Internet Printable coupon
MFG, MFR :: Manufacturer
MQ :: Manufacturer’s Coupon
MIR :: Mail-In Rebate
NED :: No expiration date
OOP :: Out of Pocket
OOS :: Out of Stock
OYNO :: On Your Next Order
P&G :: Proctor & Gamble coupon insert found in the Sunday newspaper
Peelie :: Coupon attached to an item’s packaging which can be peeled off
PSA :: Prices Starting At
Q :: Coupon
Regional :: A coupon or deal available in only a specific area
RP :: Red Plum coupon insert found in the Sunday newspaper
RR :: Register Rewards (Walgreens, which print with receipt)
SCR :: Single Check Rebate (Rite Aid)
SS :: Smart Source coupon insert found in the Sunday newspaper
Stacking :: Using a manufacturer’s coupon in addition to a store coupon for an even lower price
Tear pad :: A pad of rebate forms or coupons attached to a store shelf
TMF :: Try Me Free
Triple Coupon :: A coupon which can be tripled in value
UPC :: Universal Product Code (a.k.a. bar code)
UPR :: Up Rewards, a coupon you can earn on your register receipt at Rite Aid
WSL :: While Supplies Last
WT, Winetag :: A coupon hanging on the package of a product
WYB :: When You Buy
V :: Valassis coupon insert found in Sunday newspaper (same as RP or Red Plum insert)
YMMV :: Your Mileage May Vary (in other words, you may or may not be successful with a particular deal at your store)

Why Everyone Should Use Coupons?

You might be wondering why I am spending my precious time collecting coupons because there are always the pessimists mocking around. I strongly advocate for everyone to use coupons. The concept of discount coupons is not new at all. Shoppers across the world have always been enthusiastic about Discount coupons offered by restaurants, hotels, tour and travel companies, groceries, etc, are warmly welcome by shoppers around the world because it helped them accumulate or score substantial savings. In the past, coupons used to be distributed on the shops, through newspapers, magazines, etc from which customers required to clip the coupon out before presenting them.

Currently, most of online shopping portals have ongoing discounts going at their sites. There are also sites that cater exclusively for distribution of online discount coupons. Online discount coupons have a number of advantages over coupons available in newspapers. However, this is not the issue here. Using coupons can give you 31 days of better grocery budget, that's why everyone should use coupons! 

31 Days To Better Grocery Budget: Everyone Should Use Coupons

I’m going to make a bold statement: I believe everyone should use coupons.
There. I said it.
Wait. I take my statement back. If you are one of the .0002 people in America who have never touched food unless it was grown in your own yard, you make toothpaste out of tree bark and use cloth toilet paper, then I’ll exempt you.
But the rest of you? You’re non-exempt.
And I know some of you are making excuses right now and explaining why you’re the exception to my rule. Well, give me a chance to address your excuses and see if I can’t change your mind just a tiny little bit.

Excuse #1: I Don’t Eat Processed Food

Newsflash: Coupons are not just for junk food.
In fact, there are often coupons available for fresh fruit, vegetables, milk, flour,baking soda, toothbrushes, razors, toilet paper, and light bulbs.
Like I said earlier, unless you literally grow all your own food, make all your household products from scratch, and you use cloth instead of disposable for all paper products, there are likely at least 10-15 items you routinely buy which you could get for much less if you used coupons.
In addition, once you become adept at using coupons, you will usually regularly happen upon deals which give you overage. Even if your family doesn’t use the item which gives overage, you could buy it to donate and then use the overage to purchase items your family does use.

Excuse #2: I Tried Using Coupons and Didn’t Save Any Money

If you buy your Sunday paper, clip all the coupons and then use them all on your next shopping trip, you’re not going to save any money. Instead, you’d probably end up buying  a lot of over-priced items you won’t use or wouldn’t normally buy and end up spending a considerable amount more than you save.
That’s not how to use coupons.
Using coupons wisely requires strategy and patience. In most cases, it involves waiting until an item is at its rock-bottom price and then pairing it with a coupon (and perhaps even a catalina deal!) so that you get it for pennies on the dollar–or even more than free!

Excuse #3: I Don’t Have Time to Use Coupons

Life is busy and there are constantly a hundred demands pulling us in different directions. The thought of adding in something extra like clipping coupons might be overwhelming–but it doesn’t have to be.
How Much Is Your Time Worth?
One of my favorite ways to evaluate whether a money-saving idea or technique is worth my time is to evaluate it in terms of an hourly wage. For instance, if it saves our family $30-$50 and requires an hour’s worth of work, it is totally worth my time.
Coupons are worth my time because when I put in an hour’s worth of time, I’m usually saving $40-$75 for doing so. That sounds like a pretty good hourly wage to me!
Yes, it takes a bit of time to learn the ropes. Don’t expect that you’ll go out tomorrow and save 90% off your grocery bill if you’ve never used a coupon in your life.
However, it doesn’t have to take hours of your week. In fact, I think that you can see significant savings by committing to spend an extra hour each week to checking the sales fliers, making a menu plan and grocery list, clipping coupons, and mapping out your shopping route.
Over the next two weeks, I’ll be sharing tips and techniques for obtaining, organizing and using coupons effectively to make the most of your time and maximize your savings. Slowly implement the ideas I share, find out what works best for you and reap the rewards of money saved!
Do you think everyone should use coupons in some way, shape or form? Why or why not?
By Crystal

Safeway: New Just For U Program (What's It All About?)

Safeway "Just For You Program" is designed to to give consumers lots of money without having to clip coupons! I decided to explain the Just For U program as I understand it.   I tested out this new program over the past month and it gave me a good impression. Registration costs nothing, and Safeway is offering a freebie    (one dozen eggs) to most markets for people who register when it rolls out- you will need to load the coupon to your card to get your free item. Linking your Club Card  to your Just for U account allows the system to analyze your purchase history and will then automatically provides savings based on what you actually purchase.   
Just For You program has only rolled out in 3 markets thus far: Hawaii, Illinois and Northern California.  It should be rolling out to the entire family of stores (Vons, Genuardi’s, Randall’s, Pavillion’s, Tom Thumb, and Dominick’s) very soon.  Safeway is putting a huge amount of resources behind this program so expect to see lots of hoopla at your store once it hits your city.  
Just For You Program Components:
The Coupon Center - You can browse through hundreds of coupons, with just a single click, you can add them onto your Club Card.  Gone are the days of  leaving my coupons on the kitchen counter or even tucked them in my purse and gone right through the checkout without using them. This feature of having a variety of coupons pre-loaded onto your card is just so amazing!
Personalized Deals - Similar to the Coupon Center, a single click adds these coupons onto your card.  What appears on the list is based on your shopping habits.  The lovable part I like the most is that you can see a price comparison with Walmart.  However, the comparison is only with Walmart and not all other local grocery stores.  However, if you find yourself choosing between Walmart and Safeway for most of your shopping, this is definitely a useful feature.
Club Specials - This feature shows you club pricing only on the items you normally buy.  You can then add them onto an online shopping list.
Online Shopping List - This shopping list can be emailed or printed. This is where you will find the items that you have added to your Club Card from the coupon center, personalized deals or club specials. Items are also sorted by category to make your in-store shopping experience easier. 
Overall, I like Safeway's Just for U program although there are plenty of complaints coming from other consumers. I believe this is just temporary and may this blog enlightens you on how wonderful the Just For You program is. It takes grocery club card programs to a new height. I don't think it is a substitution for price booking and it still cannot beat the military commissary prices that I personally enjoy.  However, for most Hawaii residents, Just for U is a new way to save a decent chunk of money on groceries (on average my sister-in-law saved 18% on her shopping trips  at Safeway).   Register now and enjoy hassle free shopping! All the features I discussed in this post are accessible through an easy-to-navigate online site.  For additional questions, check out the Just for U FAQ.  

Basic Safeway Store Information

Safeway and it’s affiliates (including Genuardis) has a club card. This card is needed to get discounts in stores and to use Safeway coupons. I've listed helpful tips in using your Safeway Club Card.
Basic Tips For Safeway Club Card Use:
  • Show your Card at checkout whenever you shop.
  • Your savings are automatically deducted and appear on your receipt.
  • If you forget your Card, just enter your telephone number at checkout and receive your savings.
Safeway doubles coupons, your store doubling amount may vary by region. Check in store at the customer service desk for more details.
Y0u can see the entire coupon policy here.
Manufacturer and Store Coupons:

1. Coupons are redeemable only by a customer purchasing the specific brands and product(s) stated on the coupon, with the face value of the coupon deducted from your retail or club card price.

2. Coupons must be for products sold at Safeway and coupons must be presented at the time of the transaction.
3. Coupons are subject to advertised offer limitations and all limitations and restrictions on coupon.
4. Coupons cannot be applied against the free item received in any offer where a customer buys one or more items to get one or more items free.
5. Coupon amount may be reduced so that any combined discounts and coupons do not exceed the value of the item. See number 12 below.
6. Coupons have no cash value.
7. Accepted coupons must be Manufacturer or Safeway store issued coupons.
8. Safeway accepts valid manufacturer's coupon that display another retailer’s logo or name.
9. Safeway accepts valid Catalina manufacturer coupons that are issued to a customer by another retailer.
10. The coupon must have an expiration date and be presented within valid dates.
11. Coupons are void if they appear distorted or blurry, are altered in any way or copied.
12. The transaction amount may not fall below zero value, or go negative, meaning we will not give the customer money back.
13. All sales taxes are paid by the customer at the full value of the item.
14. All bottle deposits on the purchased and free items are paid by the customer.
15. Safeway reserves the right to refuse any coupons at its discretion.
Internet Printed Coupons:
16. We gladly accept internet printed coupons. The same manufacturer and store coupon rules above apply to all internet printed coupons.17. Internet printed coupons must scan at checkout.
18. Internet printed coupons must have serial numbers and follow an industry-standard format.
19. Manufacturer internet printed coupons must clearly indicate that they are a manufacturer coupon and have a valid manufacture address on the printed coupon.
20. We will not accept “free product” internet printed manufacturer coupons.
Load to Card Club Coupons:

21. Internet and digital coupons that have been electronically loaded to a Safeway Club Card are automatically redeemed at the time of purchase after the club card number has been entered. All other coupon policies above apply to electronic coupons that are loaded to a club card.
Doubling of Coupons:

22. Check with your local store regarding ‘double coupon’ advertised promotions where customers will receive double the coupon face value off the regular or club card price up to the advertised limit. Not all locations offer double coupon promotions. Limitations and restrictions for double coupon promotions may change at any time. Changes will be posted in store only.
Coupon Stacking: (Hawaii stores only)

23. Safeway does not allow a customer to redeem two or more manufacturer coupons against the same item in a single transaction.24. Coupon stacking policies for manufacturer coupons apply to paper and electronic coupons that have been loaded to a club card.
25. If a customer presents two coupons for the same item in a single transaction, Safeway will only accept the first coupon to be applied in the system.
26. Rainchecks expire 90 days from the date issued and are accepted at any Safeway store.27. We reserve the right to limit Rainchecks quantities based on product availability and advertised limits.
28. Rainchecks can be written for a limit of no more than 3 items unless otherwise stated in the advertisement.

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