Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Piggybacking Coupons - Can I?

I read emails constantly from bloggers/websites suggesting ways that shoppers pair Buy One Get One Free coupons (B1G1F) with additional manufacturers coupons to save even more money.  Likewise, I frequently receive emails asking whether or not it is appropriate to follow this coupon "stacking" advice.  After having been a serious couponer for the last 18 years I thought I'd share with you my philosophy on how to use B1G1F coupons correctly.

Piggybacking/Stacking Coupons:  "The combination and use of two or more coupons on the purchase of a singular product."

First, one must note that only ONE manufacturers coupon may be used per product - read the fine print on almost every coupon in circulation and you'll find this restriction.  After that, the concept is quite simple in my opinion.  We've all had a piggyback ride as a child.  Our fathers hoisted us onto their backs and jumped around the backyard thrilling our little hearts at one point or another.  We, basically, stacked our body on top of his - 2 people, 1 equal ride?  It's the same idea in this coupon strategy.   Can you use 2 coupons to buy 1 product?  Did both piggyback participants (say that 10 times fast) get the same ride? The answer in my opinion is no. 

This concept is sometimes difficult to explain so I have two scenarios that I hope will shed some light on the subject:

Scenario #1:

                 Buy One                                                       Get One                

Imagine that I bought 2 bottles of Mr. Clean Liquid using a B1G1F coupon.  Awesome right - that means one bottle is totally free!  But, I also have an additional $1.00/1 Mr. Clean coupon that I want to use - can I?  The theory here is that the B1G1F coupon is ONLY being used on the FREE bottle so shoppers should still be able to use a coupon on the first bottle. 

But, ask yourself this question "What am I required by the manufacturer to buy in order to use a B1G1F coupon?" The answer is two bottles - you could surely place only 1 bottle on the conveyor belt and not get a second bottle for free but what would be the point - the coupon would not be valid!  In order to use a Buy One Get One Free coupon TWO products MUST be placed on the counter.  Two products are REQUIRED for the coupon to be valid and take effect.  That means that the coupon has definitively been used on both products.  Could you then piggyback or stack another $1.00/1 coupon on top of this transaction - no, as a manufacturers coupon has already been used on both items purchased and there is a strict limit of one manufacturers coupon per product.  You would have to buy 3 bottles of Mr. Clean to use a B1G1F coupon and an additional $1.00 coupon in one transaction.

Scenario #2:

Buy One                      Get One                     Get One?
We're buying the same two bottles of  Mr. Clean - except I have a Buy One Get One Free coupon and a Buy One Bottle and get a Magic Eraser FREE coupon.  Could I buy one bottle and get a free bottle + a FREE Magic Eraser?  No.  This could literally be an unending situation where you have multiple FREE product coupons when you pay for only one product.  You can't keep getting more and more items for free on top of the B1G1F coupon.  Again - " What am I required by the manufacturer to buy in order to use a B1G1F coupon?"  If a Buy One Get One Free coupon counts as a coupon being used on both products you can't keep adding more coupons.  This would violate coupon guidelines.  Limit 1 coupon per product.

Clear as mud right? - but all you have to do is apply the "what am I required to buy" question and the answer should be crystal clear.  And, remember, you can still stack a manufacturer coupon and an in-ad store coupon together when allowed by the store as long as only one is a manufacturers coupon.


  1. Macey's won't allow you to stock in-ad store coupons with manufacturer coupons. I discovered this at the recent Quaker sale.

  2. That coupon was actually a manufacturer coupon issued by Quaker. The coupon must be a store coupon - issued in Maceys case by Associated Foods - not the manufacturer to be stackable. FYI - Harmons won't allow any stacking and specifically prohibit it in writing on their in-ad coupons.

  3. I totally understand only one manufacturer coupon. My only questions is the Rite Aid video value coupons. You seem to stack those on your deal list, but when I print the coupons, it does say manufacturer coupon on the top. What do you know about using one video value with a manufacturer coupon? I've been doing it and want to make sure it's legit.

  4. Rite Aid coupons are considered store coupons. not sure why they say manufacturer on them, but Rite Aid corporate considers them to be stackable store coupons.


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