Here is a Guest Post about Coupon Policies from Staying Lean in Oakland:
To be a smart shopper and use coupons wisely you have to have a good working knowledge of the coupon policies of the stores you frequent. Smart shopping techniques consist of not just using coupons but using coupons on items that are on sale and stocking up when prices are low. A store’s coupon policy can hit on two of those, how much impact your coupon will have on a sale item and whether or not you will be able to stockpile items. Some stores allow you to use as many of the same coupon as you like some limit the number of coupons that can be used. Some stores double coupons some do not. Some stores take all verified printable coupons from the Internet some do not. You may end up using one or two stores for your weekly shopping and another store for specialty or stock up items.
If you shop at a local store you will want to ask for a copy of the coupon policy or speak with the manager to verify what it is. Here are some questions you may want to ask:
What is the true value of the coupon? (Are they taken at face value? Does the store double or triple coupons? Is there a limit to how many coupons are doubled? Etc.)
Does the store have their own store coupons? If so how does one obtain them?
Are store coupons able to be used with manufacturer coupons? (Can you stack coupons?)
Does the store accept coupons for free items? (Some stores actually have in their policy that they do not honor coupons for free items!?!)
Does the store accept any competitor coupons, if so what type?
Does the store accept any expired coupons? (Believe or not some do!)
How does Buy One Get One Free Sale work and how can coupons be used on this type of sale? (For example some stores ring up each as 50%, thus you can chose to buy only one item, and you can use two coupons on each item if you chose to buy two. Other stores ring up as full price on the first and $0 or the second which allows you to only use one coupon.)
How are Buy One Get One Free Coupons handled? (Some stores believe the coupon is attached to both items and is the only one allowed, others believe the coupon is attached to the free item and another coupon can be used on the coupon you are not getting for free.)
Does the store accept Internet Printable (IP) coupons?
One last question you may want to throw in that is not at all coupon related but gives you a small discount and helps the environment: Do you give a credit if a customer brings their own reusable bags?
Knowing the store’s coupon policy will also help you if you have an uneducated or unfriendly cashier that wants to question your transaction. Some stores you may need to keep the coupon policy with you when shopping. Some stores are more coupon friendly than others and it usually just depends on the area you are in.
Tashena Lynette Gonzales is the author of http://stayingleaninoaklandcounty.blogspot.com/ and is a Bilingual Supply Chain Specialist by day and frugal blogger at night. She uses her education in the field of marketing, her experience as a consumer and the plethora of frugal experts already on the web to try to bring tips on frugal living to those in her area of metro Detroit, while still looking for on-line deals that other readers can enjoy nationally.