Q I organize my coupons by expiration date. Why are there so many different dates when coupons expire? This month, I have some that expire the 15th, 17th, 23rd, 26th and 28th. It is crazy, and I have to check them constantly. Any ideas why?
A: Most coupons have expiration dates that fall somewhere between 30 and 90 days from the time the coupon was issued, though there are always exceptions. During allergy season, we often see very short-dated, high-value coupons for allergy medications, and the coupon might have a 7-day time period to use it. Why?
In each case, the manufacturer has created a window of time in which they wish the coupon to be redeemed. Remember, a coupon is used to boost purchases within a very specific timeframe.
The company may also wish to end the coupon promotion before launching into a different offer. Did you know that at times, when you see a product on sale, the manufacturer funds that sale? This is called a temporary price reduction and the manufacturer is reimbursing the store for featuring an item at a lower price than it normally would even when on sale.
If a manufacturer is already paying for a price reduction, they might not want their coupon valid during that same sale period. (This also explains why you sometimes see a coupon expire, and the product is deeply discounted the next day!)
With manufacturers planning promotions for thousands of different products, it would be impossible to insist that they all coordinate with each other to have like expiration dates. So, each promotion has its own.
Smart Living Tip
There’s logic and a science to what marketers do, even when sale and coupon promotions seem random to us.
While it may seem chaotic to have a variety of sale dates and expiration dates, each product’s campaign is different and independent of other promotions.
And, while it might seem archaic or antiquated to physically send all coupons from the store to the manufacturer or its agent, it’s exactly what happens, week after week.
Jill Cataldo, a coupon workshop instructor, writer and mother of three, never passes up a good deal. Learn more about couponing at her website, www.jillcataldo.com. Email your own couponing victories and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.