The conventional wisdom is that if you’re going to save a lot of money with coupons, you have to live in an area where grocery stores offer double coupons. While it’s certainly easier to find many more food deals when you have stores that will double coupons, double coupon grocery stores aren’t necessary in order to save a lot of money. I can confirm this because live in an area where stores don’t double coupons, yet I was still able to eat well for 100 days on less than $1.00 dollar a day. I managed to serve a Thanksgiving meal for six while spending less than $1.00 total. I have purchased over $20,000 worth of food for less than $500 out-of-pocket all from grocery stores that don’t double coupons. here is a list of stores that double coupons so you can see if any in your area do.
The concept of doubling coupons is pretty basic. The grocery store will double the amount of a manufacturer coupon that you give to them (usually up to a certain amount) so that the coupons that you use are twice as valuable. For example, if you have a $1.00 off 1 coupon for cereal and the cereal costs $5.00, the store will double coupon to $2.00 off and you will only pay $3.00 for the cereal.
Double coupons get a little more complicated when the grocery store has limitations on up to a certain amount they double coupons. Different grocery stores will interpret the meaning a little differently, so if you ever have a question about how your store doubles coupons, you should go to your local grocery store manager for clarification. For example, if a store doubles coupons up to $.50, a grocery store might do the $1.00 off 1 cereal coupon above in one of two ways. First, it might give you a $1.50 off of your purchase. In this case, the store is doubling any coupon that you give it up to $0.50. Another way that a store might do the transaction is that they may only take off $1.00 on your purchase. In this instance, the store will only double coupons that have a value from $0 .01 – $0.50, but do not double any coupons above $0.50. Unfortunately, it just depends on how the particular grocery store interpret their wording on the way that they will do it.
Another issue is coupons that say “do not double” on them. This wording is there basically to let the grocery stores know that if they do double the coupon, the manufacturer won’t reimburse any more than the face value. Many grocery stores, however, will not double coupons that have this wording even though there is no difference for the store whether these words are on a coupon or not. What it does do is save the store a great amount of money since they can reject doubling these coupons. Again, it is up to each store to determine whether they will accept to double the coupons marked as “do not double” and you need to talk with your local grocery store manager to find out the rules at your store.
Grocery stores doubled coupons as an incentive to drive traffic into the grocery store. When the store decides to double the amount on the coupon, it’s the same as the store discounting the item by the amount that they double. The manufacturer will reimburse the grocery store for the face value of the coupon, but the store ends up having to pay for the amount that they double the coupon.
If you are one of the lucky ones that lives in an area where grocery stores do double coupons, you should be able to find many more deals and a lot more instances where you can get food for free. If you are like most of us and don’t live in an area where there aren’t double coupons, this is not something that should cause you any despair. There will still be plenty of opportunities to get good deals on food, they just won’t be quite as frequent. The one thing that you need to understand is that while having grocery stores that double coupons is a great benefit, it’s not essential in order to get good deals using coupons.
If you have any questions about double coupons, please feel free to leave a comment and I will do my best to answer them. This post is part of the Lazy Couponing series. The next step will be learning about picking a grocery store.
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