The fine print on a coupon can be a little confusing. There’s a lot of legalese, and some of the terms may even seem contradictory. Need help understanding the terminology of savings? These readers do.

Q: Most of my manufacturer coupons have wording like ‘Limit one coupon per purchase,’ ‘Not valid with any other coupon’ or ‘Not redeemable with any other coupon’ written in the fine print on the bottom. Does this mean that I can’t stack my manufacturer coupon with my store-specific coupon?

A: Manufacturers always limit their coupons to one coupon discount per item purchased. This is what “limit one coupon per purchase” means. You can only use one manufacturer discount per item purchased. This is true even if you have a $1-off-2 coupon. That coupon functions as two 50-cent discounts, one for each item. So, you couldn’t in turn use a 75-cents-off-1 coupon on something you already used a $1-off-2 coupon. The register will note that a coupon discount already has been attached to the item, and it won’t allow a second coupon to be used.

So, we’ve established that you can’t use two manufacturer coupons, of any kind, on the same item. What about store coupons?

Store coupons function differently than manufacturer coupons. A store coupon actually has much more in common with a sale price than a coupon. When a store coupon is scanned, it actually reduces the sale price of that item in the store. Think of it as an exclusive sale that you take part in by using the coupon. No coupon? No good sale price. And because it is a store promotion, you can stack a manufacturer coupon with it, too. A manufacturer typically does not reimburse a store coupon as the store is offering you a better promotional price on the item for which the coupon is valid.

Because this is the store’s offer, there’s no issue with redeeming a manufacturer coupon in conjunction with a store coupon. Wording such as “Not valid with any other coupon” and “Not redeemable with any other coupon” typically refers to that manufacturer coupon being combined with other manufacturer coupons, which again, are not allowed.

Smart Living Tip: If you’re a couponer, it pays to know the difference between a purchase and a transaction, as some coupons contain wording restricting usage to “one per purchase” or “one per transaction.” Each item you buy is a purchase. Each trip through the checkout lane, in which you pay for all of your purchases, is one transaction. This means that you can use one manufacturer coupon discount per item (purchase).

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