The Beginner’s Guide to Coupons: Coupon Lingo

If you are brand new to coupons, you may feel like you’ve entered a whole new world, complete with it’s own language.  Feeling like you need major couponing tips? Fear not!  Here is a list of common coupon terms, explanations & acronyms to help you decipher the codes and navigate this money-saving adventure.

$/$$-dollars off when you buy x amount of dollars

$/x-dollars off when you buy x number of items

Blinkies-In-store Smart Source coupons (come from little machine next to product)

BOGO/B1G1-Buy one, get one free

Catalina-coupon printed from a special machine at the register after a purchase; usually handed to you with your receipt.

CNP-Coupon Near Product–usually a coupon found in the store next to the product.

Competitor’s Coupon-A store coupon from one store that is used at a competing store.

Double Coupon-Coupon that the store doubles in value.

ECBs-Extra Care Bucks (from CVS stores)

FAR-Free After Rebate

GM-General Mills (newspaper insert)

IP-Internet Printable

K-Kellogg’s (newspaper insert)

MFR or MQ-Manufacturer’s Coupon

MIR-Mail In Rebate

OOP-Out of Pocket

P&G-Proctor & Gamble (newspaper insert)

Peelie-A coupon attached to a product that you can use immediately

Q-Coupon

RP-Red Plum (newspaper insert)

RR-Register Rewards (from Walgreens stores)

SCR-Single Check Rebate (rebate system at Rite-Aid)

SS-Smart Source (newspaper insert)

Stack-to use multiple coupons for a single item.  At most stores you may use 1 store coupon and 1 manufacturer’s coupon per item.

Store Coupon or SQ-a coupon published by a specific store to be used at that store.

Tear Pad-a stack or pad of coupons or rebates located near a product in the store

UP+-Up Reward (Rite Aid Stores)

WYB-When You Buy

Affiliate links may be used in this post. Printing a coupon or ordering a product through this link may result in a commission, which helps pay for the cost of running this site and keeps the content free. Read my full disclosure policy here.

{ 88 comments… add one }

  • natema April 17,

    thanks.

    that info was good to know

    Reply
  • Kristi April 22,

    Hey, I love your website and videos! very helpful. but i have a few questions.

    1. when a coupon says “limit one coupon per purchase” does that mean that i can’t use several of the same coupons for multiple of the same items in the same purchase? for example i get 6 glade candles and have 6 $1 off glade coupons am i only aloud to use one of those coupons for my whole purchase?

    2. when a coupon says “limit one coupon per customer per offer” does that mean that i can’t use both a store coupon and a manufacturer coupon together? as well as multiple coupons of the same items in the same purchase as asked above.

    3. what does it mean when it says “not valid with any other offer” does that mean i can’t use the coupon on a sale item or with a store coupon? or both?

    4. when a manufacturer’s coupon says “cannot be combined with any other coupon” does that mean no store coupon? or just another manufacturers coupon?

    Hope you hear back from you soon! thank you! =)

    Reply
    • andrew October 1,

      hi everyone. I’m new too couponing and i have a huge question.. i went to walmart (iowa) and i used a 2.00 off any glade, sense and starter kit. i used it for the 94 cent air freshener and it went through because my thought was it meant any glade product when it said any glade. it gave me the 2.00 off giving me an overage of 1.00 but the cashier denied it and said it was coupon fraud. was she right??

      Reply
      • Choua December 9,

        The $2 off any sense and starter kit is actually for the starter kit not off any glade product. Therefore, the cashier is correct. It would be coupon fraud.

        Reply
      • tina marie February 28,

        need to be careful with glade, walmart is no always allowing printable coupons. Some of the glade product required the starter kit hence the and. I used to be a checkout supervisor

        Reply
    • Myrtle H. April 13,

      I have a question about my stores policy. I was reading over their coupon policy and found that I can only use 4 coupons per product type, so that’s a bummer. But I saw that they separated their Internet coupons from Print at Home coupons. Are they not the same thing? Also, they stated “There is a limit of one coupon per purchase unless otherwise stated.” Is that the same as the coupon lingo? Does this mean per item? The other store stated this referring to print at home, “With the purchase of two like manufacturer’s products, we accept two internet coupons, per store, per day.” Does this mean that it will only accept 2 per item type or 2 a day total? Thanks for your help on this. Really enjoying your site and getting lots of info for couponing as well as home schooling.

      Reply
  • Ruth April 22,

    1. In coupon lingo a “purchase” really just means an item. So “one coupon per purchase” means “one coupon per item.” If a coupon says “one per transaction” then you would only be able to use one, but that is very rare.

    2. A coupon that says “limit one coupon per customer per offer” can still be stacked with a manufacturer’s coupon (if it is a store coupon.) It probably means you can only use one.

    3. It means any other manufacturer’s coupon. Stores can do whatever they want.

    Hope that helps!

    Reply
    • iri July 9,

      I have the same question as number 3 which I suppose was accidentally missed. would you please answer it?

      Reply
  • crystal April 26,

    I also have questions about the coupon’s fine print.

    if my coupon is for $1/2 and the print says “one per purchase on product(s) shown”, does that mean only one manufacturer’s coupon for the two? and i would still be able to use the store coupon right?

    Reply
    • Ruth April 26,

      Yes, you would be able to use 1 manufacturer’s coupon for the 2 items as well as your store coupon(s).

      Reply
  • Alisha May 8,

    First, I would like to say how wonderfully helpful and informative your websites and YouTube videos have been! I am new to the couponing scene. I’ve used coupons here and there in the past but never to an extreme by doing matchups, stacking, etc. I went shopping at Publix this past week with only the coupons I clipped from last Sundays inserts, along with store/competitor coupons I collected during the week and I managed to save around 43%, which I thought was awesome for never having done it before! So I owe you a ton of thanks for helping me see the light to coupon heaven!

    I do have a couple of coupon related questions that I would like to clarify:

    1) I’m aware that I can only use one manufacturer’s coupon and one store coupon per item. But lets say I have a manufacturer’s coupon that’s $4 off when you buy Olay soap AND Secret deodorant. What if I also have a manufacturer’s coupon for $1 off the Olay soap and another for $1 off the Secret deodorant – can I use all three coupons or does the one $4 off combo coupon constitute the one and only manufacturer’s coupon I can use?

    2) If I have a manufacturer’s coupon for a free Glade scented oil warmer with the purchase of a Glade scented oil refill pack, can I also use a $1 off manufacturer’s coupon for the Glade refill pack since technically the first coupon is for the free warmer and not the refill?

    I hope all this makes sense because I’m confusing myself as I’m reading it! Thanks in advance for any clarification you can offer!

    Reply
    • Ruth May 9,

      Thanks for sharing Alisha. I’m glad SWSL & LWSL are helping you save. To answer your questions:
      1.) If you use the first coupon, you cannot use the other two. Only one MQ can be applied to any particular item, even if that MQ is applied to 2 items at the same time.
      2.) Yes, you can use a $/1 MQ in conjunction with a B1G1 MQ, for the same reason. The $ off Q is for item A and the B1G1 Q is applied to item B.

      Reply
  • kira May 12,

    Hi,
    Iam new to this…. I live in oregon….
    can I use coupon in winco grocery and walmart superstore?

    Reply
  • Lacy May 17,

    Can you use 2 different (not 2 of the same one) manufacturer’s coupons for the same product?

    Reply
  • Elise May 21,

    Hi, I really am looking forward to saving money for my family. I was wondering can you use coupons at places like Dollar General? I think that would be a good idea and you could get things for free because they have cheaper prices for the same brands.

    Reply
  • Lexy May 22,

    How do you double coupon??

    Reply
  • keiah May 29,

    my question is does manufacturer coupon mean you can only use it at one specific store?

    Reply
    • heather June 5,

      No Manufaturer coupon means you can use it anywhere. If it can only be used in one store then it will specify on the coupon. in walgreens, at walmart, etc.

      Reply
  • Catherine June 8,

    What does “MM” stand for?

    Reply
    • Me September 14,

      Money Maker

      Reply
  • Shaquita Freer July 5,

    Hello. I have a question. If I have 2 coupons one for $1.00 off 2 General Mills cereals and 1 for .75 off a Fiber One cereal (which is also a General Mills cereal). Both coupons say ” no other coupon can be used with this coupon” I plan on buying 4 boxes of General Mills cereal in the same transaction. Am I able to use both of my coupons on this same transaction since I am buying 4 boxes of cereal?

    Reply
  • Jodi August 3,

    I love both your sites, they have taught me a lot. I am brand new to this and am just starting out. My question is what is a in store coupon? I know it sounds stupid and I probably should know but like I said I am brand new to this. Thank you.

    Reply
  • Kara August 11,

    I have a question. At Ralph’s, if they say buy 10/10.00 with card, do you actually need to buy 10 to get that discounted price? I know at Giant Eagle (midwest grocery store) you do not need to purchase all 10 to get the deal as long as you have the card. Thanks!

    Reply
  • Shahnaz August 13,

    What is NLA?

    Reply
    • Ruth August 16,

      No longer available.

      Reply
  • Tracy August 17,

    Will you ever add Whole Foods Store to your list? There are many products there I can”t find elsewhere. Do you have any tips for shopping organic foods?

    Reply
  • Elle August 22,

    Do “Blinkies” (Smart Source) coupons count as manufacturer’s coupons?

    Thanks for all the great info!

    Reply
  • Jamie September 15,

    Thanks for all of your help. My first shopping trip before I found your website did not go so well. But I know now what I am doing. I just made a $341.00 mistake. :) Oh well you live and learn. I have learned a lot from you. Thank you for taking the time to help others out there that just don’t know how it works. You are a wonderful and beautiful person!

    Reply
    • Ruth September 17,

      Thank you Jamie, you are very sweet! :-)

      Reply
    • lila May 25,

      hi im trying to learn to use coupons if u mind can u please tell me what does $! off any 3 means thanks!

      Reply
  • Sarah October 5,

    Hi. I was wondering, I bought a fundraiser coupon book that says “Good only at…” on the cover, but inside the book the coupons all have manufacturer’s coupon on the top. The book is also a C.A.R.E. coupon book and some of the coupons have a symbol on it saying “Good at participating C.A.R.E. stores”. Are the coupons good at other stores other than the store specified on the cover?

    Reply
  • Casey October 6,

    I was just curious about when a coupon says “Save $x.00 on any three of the same item” does this mean that you get the same amount off of all three, or if that amount is taken off of the combining price of the three? Any help is appreciated I am just beginning and your site has helped quite a bit. :0) thank you.

    Reply
  • Chris Riley October 13,

    Hello, I am a stay at home Dad and I wanted to start couponing. I do have a question I am trying to get answers to. If a coupon says (Limit One Coupon per Purchase….Limit of 4 like coupons in the Same shopping trip) does this mean I can use 4 of the same coupons on one product? For instance I have a Febreeze Coupons for $1.00 off, can I purchase using four coupons? Sorry for such a bone head question, just trying to get into saving some money. Thanks

    Chris

    Reply
    • Rayanne February 8,

      Chris, it’s wonderful that you’re a dad trying to coupon, I was just thinking about how I never see guys use coupons! To answer your question, the coupon is stating ‘one per purchase’ meaning one per purchased item, and ‘limit of 4 per shopping trip’ meaning you can buy four of the same item, each allowing for $1 off. Hope couponing saves you money!
      Rayanne Moos

      Reply
  • Dora November 9,

    ok i keep hearing filling or fillies (not sure which one because i can’t make out what they are saying in youtube vids now a days) what does that mean?

    Reply
  • Brandy November 16,

    I’m new to this and confused about how the .75/2 , .50/2 , .60/3 coupons work exactly. In my area the stores only double up to .50 if that helps. I’m trying to put it into a spreadsheet and not sure how to do that particular coupon.

    Reply
  • Roxanne December 7,

    I came across a coupon that says, “with purchase of two”. what excactly does that mean?

    Reply
    • RachelR March 24,

      “with purchase of two” means you have to buy two of that particular item or brand to have to amount off apply. That’s why you end up stockpiling; two of this, four of that.

      Reply
  • Christina January 19,

    I’m new to couponing and I just want to make sure that I am understanding the fine print before I start clipping. When a coupon says “0.75 cents off of two boxes “, does it mean that each box will be 0.75 cents off OR the total of the two boxes will be 0.75 cents off? I am confused because another coupon that I have says “$1 off with purchase of three”, does this mean that each item is $1 off if I get three OR does it mean that the total of the three items is eligible for $1 off? The wording can be a little tricky

    Thanks!~

    Reply
    • RachelR March 24,

      It’s .75 cents off the total of the two items, and 1.00 off the total of the three.

      Reply
  • Tenisha February 12,

    What does it mean when a limit of four coupons is doubled?

    Reply
  • Donna March 22,

    Hello, I have a couple questions about a Dollar General trip I’m making this weekend. Will Dollar General allow more coupons than items purchased? Also, I have a Pledge coupon that says
    “do not combine with any other coupon” can I still combine it with a DG store coupon since DG will reimburse it? Finally, I have two DG coupons for .75/1 ritz and a $1/2 manufactures coupon and the DG coupons say “Limit one offer per customer” could I get buy with using both coupons? Thanks!!

    Reply
  • Laura B. April 11,

    I have a question about doubling coupons. The store I go to most will double coupons that are up to $.99 in value. If I have 2 coupons, both say $.50 each, both for the same product, same amount, etc and the store doubles this item, does this mean that I will get $2.00 off the item (both $.50 coupons doubled) or can I only use 1 coupon and double that so I would get $1.00 off? Also if I have two or more of the same exact coupon, as mentioned before, but two different UPC #’s, does that make a difference? Thanks!

    Reply
  • Katie April 30,

    Hi,

    I have a buy any (5) Lean Cuisines, get a Skinny Cow Ice Cream free coupon, and I also have a buy any (4) Lean Cuisines get $1 off coupon. Can I combine them (and only purchase 5 Lean Cuisines) because one coupon is for the Skinny Cow, not the Lean Cuisines?

    Reply
  • jill May 12,

    i have a coupon that say’s limit one offer per coupon per person per purchase and one that’s limit one coupon per purchase. i have six of both coupons can i get six of each product and use all the coupons in spokane at walmart

    Reply
  • rebecca June 12,

    after reading all these questions my head is spinning! I was thinking about couponing and giving it to the local food bank. I don’t care to stockpile so much for myself. Just want to help the community. I can get all I need for my self but a lot of people can’t for their familes. I am going to read through all this again and take some notes hoping it will help.

    Reply
  • Samantha June 25,

    Ok, i have a store coupon for 1$ off 3 boxes of general mills, i also have mq for 25 cents of a single box of general mills, can i use the one store coupon and 3 mq coupon for the 3 boxses? or can i only use one of each?

    Reply
    • Ruth January 8,

      Only one.

      Reply
  • Kay August 27,

    1. when a coupon says “limit one coupon per purchase” does that mean that i can’t use several of the same coupons for multiple of the same items in the same purchase? for example i get 6 glade candles and have 6 $1 off glade coupons am i only aloud to use one of those coupons for my whole purchase?

    2. when a coupon says “limit one coupon per customer per offer” does that mean that i can’t use both a store coupon and a manufacturer coupon together? as well as multiple coupons of the same items in the same purchase as asked above.

    3. what does it mean when it says “not valid with any other offer” does that mean i can’t use the coupon on a sale item or with a store coupon? or both?

    4. when a manufacturer’s coupon says “cannot be combined with any other coupon” does that mean no store coupon? or just another manufacturers coupon?

    Hope to hear from you soon.

    Reply
  • Katelyn September 20,

    Great information! love the site! i’m just starting this, and trying to get my first shopping experience with coupons right with every detail before i go spend all this money, i am trying to not have surprises at the check out.. so my coupon is
    save $1.00 on any three Kellogg’s pop tarts, toaster pastries and/or mini crisps
    does this mean i have to buy three? or do i get $1.00 of one of those three choices? i assumed this meant save that on one item, only needing to buy one, then i came across a similar one,
    save $.40 on any three campbells soups
    but the choices aren’t shown or described, and there is more than three kinds i could think of to get. i could really use your help! and one last question, if i want to price match my Rite Aid weekly sales flyer, will walmart accept a BOGO offer on there without a listed sale price? or do they only accept coupons that have a specific price, ie 4/$5 kinda thing? i hope to hear from you soon!! thanks for your time,

    Katie

    Reply
  • erica October 22,

    if i have a coupons that says $1.00 off when you buy any 3 can i still combine it with a coupon that say .50 off when you any one product??

    Reply
    • Ruth January 8,

      Nope–only 1 MQ is allowed per product. In this case you would would to use the $0.50/1 since that is the higher value. Think of the $1.00/3 as being (3) $0.33/1 coupons that you have to use together.

      Reply
  • Hope November 9,

    Im new to couponing, and i have a kind of stupid question…If a coupon is for a specific amount off 2 items, then can i use two of the same coupons beings there is two items?

    Reply
  • manda November 16,

    Ok I have coupons n some of them say.. on any eight or on any two.. does that mean I have to biuy eight n two of them???

    Reply
  • Patricia November 29,

    Hi! Love your site :) I have a question (I might have missed it) The coupon I have says: SAVE $1.00 on any TWO (2) Kellogg’s® Frosted Flakes® Cereals (10 oz. or Larger, Any Flavor). Does this mean I have to buy 2 to save a dollar or is it save a dollar on the said cereal up to two boxes which would equal $2.00? Thanks!!!

    Reply
    • vi January 7,

      I have been trying to figure this out too

      Reply
    • Ruth January 8,

      It means you have to buy 2 and you will save $1.00 on the purchase ($0.50 per box.)

      Reply
  • Audra December 6,

    I see a lot of the same questions so I understand why you can’t answer them all – but trust me, I’ve looked for the answer to my question EVERYWHERE and can’t find one so please help :)

    Bruno’s has a BOGO on GM cereal. I have a MQ for $1 off a box. Can I use two MQs since I am technically buying two boxes? If so, I can see myself doing this a LOT so it would definitely help to know – thanks in advance!

    Reply
    • Ruth January 8,

      I am not personally familiar with Bruno’s so I can’t answer with absolute certainty, because every store is different. At Publix you can use two MQs on BOGO items because you are making 2 purchases, and I believe at most stores this is the case. However, there are a few stores that I know do not allow this so you should check with your store manager! Hope that helps.

      Reply
    • Kingsley March 30,

      This could not poilsbsy have been more helpful!

      Reply
  • vi January 7,

    I have a quick question since im new to couponing…how does the $1 dollar off any 2 work…does it take one dollar off each of the 2 or does the take 1 dollar off of the total of those 2 products?

    Reply
    • Ruth January 8,

      It takes $1.00 of the total of those 2 products.

      Reply
      • jennifer H February 22,

        Ok if i have a buy two get $1.00 off if it comes in a 2 pack is it considered 2. At walmart they have a 2 pack of glade carpet freshener and i have a buy 2 get$1.00 off. how can i make this work?

        Reply
        • Ruth Soukup February 23,

          Generally if it comes in a two pack with one bar code it is considered one item–depending on the price of a single pack, you might be better off buying 2 singles.

          Reply
  • Ben February 16,

    Coupon says “take an extra 20% off any purchase of $100 or more*” in the fine print it says cannot be combined with any coupon, certain items, and blah blah blah. The words “extra” and “any” seem to be critical loop holes to me. Wouldn’t they have to honor the coupon based off how the coupon was written?

    Reply
    • Ben February 16,

      Oh and this a store coupon and I live in Idaho.

      Reply
  • Gus February 17,

    I have a question pertaining how this coupon is stated in the small print it says ” limit one coupon per purchase of products and quantities stated limit 4 like coupons” i understand its one coupon per product but i have 3 coupons for the same product for different quantities one coupon is for 3$ off 3 one coupon is for 1.50$ off two and one is for 20 cents off one my question is since its stated that way on the coupon and since the coupons are for different quantities can i use all 3 coupons oneach of the three products since i have three of each

    Reply
  • melody March 1,

    if a store has something 10 for 10 dollars and i have 10 coupons for a dollar off from mf can i use all 10

    Reply
  • Em June 27,

    If a coupon says that it can’t be combined with any other offer that just means that it on that one product right? And also just to make sure, u can use one manufacturers coupon AND one store coupon on the same product right?
    Thanks in advance for any answers

    Reply
  • Gabrielle Rott July 15,

    Quick question I was told by a fellow couponer….. She said on most of insert coupons you can buy 4 of the object and use the same coupon for all 4 items…? Is this true and how do I tell the difference.

    Reply
  • Anonymous July 18,

    What does per customer per day mean? Can I use it one day and come back tomorrow and use another one?

    Reply
    • Carol March 29,

      125 days ago .As soon as I at first left a comment I ceikcld the Notify me whenever new comments are added checkbox and now every time a remark is added I get 4 email messages with the same comment.

      Reply
  • Gaby November 8,

    How can I double coupons? What stores double coupons and how do I know which coupons will double?

    Reply
    • Ruth Soukup November 8,

      Most stores will double coupons up to $1. You can check with your store’s coupon policy to make sure they double before you go shopping. It’s usually right on their website!

      Reply
  • Joseline November 12,

    When a manufacturer coupon says “cannot be combined with any other coupon” does that mean I cant use a store coupon on that item ?

    Reply
  • Rhonda January 20,

    I just started couponing and im not sure how this works, I go on line and it seems I dont find any coupons. I really neeed help here I live in Detroit Mi and to keep my kids out of public school, and keep them inthe private school we have them in I need to be good at what im doing. Ive red and watched Ruths videos and I stillm need help.
    Plz some one take me by the hand and show me what I need to do
    Thank you in advance

    Reply
  • Sylvana February 4,

    Hello, I’m starting my 8 week coupon guide in Texas. I had a question about some of the coupons that I have, some of the coupons say that they can not be combined with any other offers or discounts( it’s a manufactured coupon). So does that mean I can’t use any other coupons with for that product, and would that be the same when it says it cannot be combined with any other coupon?
    Thank you:)

    Reply
  • Paula February 5,

    I recently went to my local wal-mart store and the coupon said “One coupon per person. Limit 4 like coupons per transaction” the csm refused to take any other coupons I had for my other items. Most of my other coupons read “one coupon per purchase. Limit 4 like coupons per transaction” the second is translated as a coupon for each product bought no more than 4 in a transaction. The first is translated how?

    Reply
  • Veronica March 4,

    Hi !!,
    I just started a couple of days with this coupon thing and just be reading this page I’m Loving it !!! hope this works out for me because we are struggling a bit at this moment and i hope i get the hang of doing this ..

    Reply
  • Amilia May 24,

    What is a match up coupon? Reading through your beginner steps and on step two you mention matchups….Thanks in advance.

    Reply
  • Anonymous July 13,

    ok im just starting but I have a question. I see publix has a bogo on the pop secret popcorn and a digital coupon on their site. so am I not aloud to also use the one in the paper cuz it seems like all the coupons say can not be used with another offer? sorry but this is confusing

    Reply
    • Ruth Soukup July 14,

      You can usually use a store coupon along with a manufacturer coupon. I would also suggest asking for the store’s coupon policy. I hope this helps! :)

      Reply
  • Patty Rooney July 18,

    I really like the help you give to others im new at this and im very excited to do this thank you

    Reply
  • Robert July 20,

    If a manufacturer coupon says valid at winco, can I use it at walgreens too or just at winco alone? The coupon does not aay valid at winco only but it does say valid at winco.

    Reply
  • Rachaell August 12,

    Hi, thanks for your help! I’m having trouble reading some of the match ups. For example: Glade Carpet & Room 32-oz or Scrubbing Bubbles Vanish Drop-Ins 2-ct, $1.50
    $2/3 Glade Product Printable
    $1/1 Scrubbing Bubbles Toilet Cleaning Product Printable
    $2/3 Windex, Pledge, Shout or Scrubbing Bubbles Product Printable
    $3/4 Windex, Pledge, Shout or Scrubbing Bubbles Product Printable
    $1/2 Scrubbing Bubbles Toilet Cleaning Product, exp. 8/6/14 (SS 07/27/14)
    $0.50/1 Scrubbing Bubbles Toilet Item (Checkout 51 Deposit)
    Final Price: FREE
    Does this mean I have to use all of these coupons? and how many of this product would i need to purchase to receive the item for free?

    Reply
  • toni August 20,

    Hi I been following your steps and now I’m on step 2. I’m a lil confused on one coupon. I have a coupon that says save $0.40 when you buy six cups any variety yoplait. Does that mean it will take off $0.40 for each of them or it will only take off $0.40 for the six? The reason I ask is because my pathmark store is have a sale on yoplait yogurt. They are only $0.38 a peice.

    Reply
  • Razchel August 24,

    what does it mean when it says “not valid with any other offer” does that mean i can’t use the coupon on a sale item or with a store coupon? or both?

    Reply

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