Almost any coupon can be doubled (barring, of course, those that have, quite clearly, "DO NOT DOUBLE" printed at the top), making it worth twice its face value. If you're clever about which coupons you use, you can even get paid for taking home products you would have paid for anyway -- for instance, if you are purchasing a drink on sale for 75¢ and have a 50¢ off coupon that your store is willing to double, you can end up getting paid 25¢ to take the product off their hands! Some stores will not actually pay you, but will instead give you the item for free. Hey, that's not a bad deal either!
There are limits to double couponing, of course. Some stores put a cap on the number of coupons you can redeem during one visit, and a double coupon will count as two towards your total, so be sure you're using the coupons that get you the best deals (getting toilet paper you didn't necessarily need for free may not be as important as getting the cheese you desperately need for half price). Another potential cap is the value of the coupon -- some stores only redeem coupons for $1 or less; this may apply to the total value of the doubled coupon, as well.
How do you find out what stores will honor a doubled coupon? There are lists available online, compiled by frugal shoppers across the 'net, but really the only reliable way to know if your local store honors doubled coupons is to ask. Many stores double coupons but don't advertise this practice (saving a lot of money for themselves!), and others have promotions on certain days of the week.
Here are some handy tips for using doubled coupons:
- Keep your coupons in the same order as the merchandise you're buying. It's already trouble for a cashier to ring up coupons, particularly doubled ones -- there's no reason to make additional work for him or her.
- Keep a flyer handy in case you're buying an item that's on sale, but the clerk is uncertain of its current status. Know where the items are so you don't spend valuable time hunting them down in an eight-page flyer.
- Remember, you'll need to pay tax on items that end up free, so calculate that into your budget.
- Don't use doubled coupons unless you're getting a good deal. Sure, you might be able to get $3 off a bottle of shampoo, but if it still costs $6 even after the coupons, it's just not worth it.
- However you choose to pay, be sure it will go through or be sufficient, especially if you are using a ton of coupons.
Got a question about using coupons? We'll cover it! Send us your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll write up a blog entry as soon as we can!