The Coupon Code

Whether you check out my Coupon Match Ups or someone else's, have you ever wondered how to read the crazy coupon code? You know, the one that looks like this: $0.30/1 French's Classic Mustard SS 1/23 (ex. 3/31).

Well, this page is here to help you decode it and make the most out of your shopping trip!

The Coupon Discount. This is the part that states the dollar amount and the number you need to buy. In our above example, the coupon is $0.30 off of one bottle of French's Classic Mustard, marked as $0.30/1. Some coupons are a certain amount off if you buy multiple, like $1 off of 2 (marked as $1/2). Other coupons are Buy One item, Get One Free (or Get One a certain $ or % amount off), listed as BOGO. The first part will always tell you the value of the coupon.

What It's For. Knowing how much you can get off is good and all, but it doesn't do you a lot of good if you don't know what you're buying! For our example, it's for French's Classic Mustard. The plain old yellow stuff. This coupon wouldn't work if you are buying Spicy Brown mustard or Honey Dijon. It also won't work if you buy a brand other than French's! Obviously, this can be very important especially when a company has multiple brands. At this stage many of the match ups will tell you if there is a size restriction you need to be aware of (like if the coupon is for 70 oz bottle of laundry detergent, so you know not to grab the 32 oz bottle.) The size restriction will be important too, since most products come in multiple sizes and you don't want to embarrass yourself at the check out when you realized you grabbed a size too small!

When It Came Out/When it Expires. The final part is listed so you can quickly find your coupon, using whatever method you prefer (want to learn more about methods to store coupons? Check out my post here from my series "How To Do the Coupon Thing"). For those who use the Insert method, the coupon booklet and date the booklet was in your newspaper are listed. 3 abbreviations are used for the various coupon booklets, RP for Red Plum, SS for Smart Source and PG for Proctor & Gamble (in our example, its listed as SS 1/23, which means it was in the Smart Source released on 1/23). For those who use the binder or envelope method, the expiration date is listed (in this case, 3/31). The expiration date can also help you quickly see if you need to use the coupon BEFORE the end of the sale. This is especially true for PG coupons, since Proctor & Gamble always has their coupons expire at the end of the month (whatever month may be listed, its always the last day of the month) which may land in the beginning or middle of a sale.

Printable. When you see this, that means the coupon is from the Internet. Usually, the word printable will have a link for you to click. This will open up the page to print the coupon. Some companies have different printers systems set up for Internet Explorer and Firefox (sorry, Chrome people, no special link for you!). If so, you'll see two links, one that says IE for Internet Explorer and one that says FF for Firefox. Simply click the link of the browser you are currently using. If you see an expiration date with a printable, pay special attention. That usually means it will expire before the end of the sale and plan accordingly.

The Other Stuff. A few more things you may see are funny things like "wyb" and "limit 2 (or 3 or 7)". These are listed because there are restrictions. If you see wyb, it stands for When You Buy. This means that in order to get the discount (or free item) you must also buy something else. If you see "Get XX free wyb YY" then you get a certain item free when you buy a similar or connected item. If you see "$$ wyb 2" this means that you only get that price when you buy 2 of that item, if you only buy 1, it's going to be more expensive.

Limit # tells you how many times you can buy that item (or if in connection with a wyb, that transaction). If you see ice cream for $1 each (OH PLEASE TELL ME!) limit 3, then you can only buy 3 tubs of ice cream at that price, after that it goes back up to the insane $5 and change they want to charge. If you see soda at "$0.75 each wyb 4, limit 1" then this means you must buy 4 to get that price AND you can only do a transaction of 4 once. Anything beyond those 4 will be charged at regular price.

I hope that helps you understand a little bit better on what we're talking about. If you have more questions, leave a comment below or email me. You can also check out my series, "How To Do The Coupon Thing" which gives a more detailed overview of the whole process!