Coupon Language/Couponing 101

We all were new to couponing at some point in our life. Here is a list of what all the ECB's& RR's, ect. in couponing terminology mean :)

AC :: After coupon

AR :: After rebate

Blinkie :: Coupon dispensed from a box attached to a store shelf. The term “blinkie” comes from the box which sometimes has a blinking light.

BOGO, B1G1, B1G1F :: Buy One Get One free

BTFE :: Box Tops for Education

B&M :: Refers to a “brick & mortar” store (as opposed to an online store)

CAT, Catalina - Coupons which print at the register after your purchase is made. These can usually be used like cash on your next purchase. However, if the say “manufacturer’s coupon” on them, you should be able to use them at any store although Your Mileage May Vary  (YMMV).

CPN :: Coupon

CRT :: Cash register tape — often referring to coupons at the bottom of your receipt.

DND :: Do Not Double

Double Coupon :: A coupon which can be doubled in value

ECB :: Extra Care Bucks (CVS, prints on receipt)

ETA :: Edited to Add

ETS :: Excludes Trial Size

FAR :: Free After Rebate

Filler :: An item or items you buy in order to get your total up to a certain amount in order to use a percentage off coupon

FS :: Free shipping

GC :: Gift card/gift certificate

GDA :: Good Deal Alert

GM :: General Mills

HTH :: Hope That Helps

IVC :: Instant Value Coupon (Walgreens, found in the monthy EasySaver booklet)

IPQ, IP :: Internet Printable coupon

MFG, MFR :: Manufacturer

MQ :: Manufacturer’s Coupon

MIR :: Mail-In Rebate

NED :: No expiration date

OOP :: Out of Pocket

OOS :: Out of Stock

OYNO :: On Your Next Order

P&G :: Proctor & Gamble coupon insert found in the Sunday newspaper

Peelie :: Coupon attached to an item’s packaging which can be peeled off

PSA :: Prices Starting At

Q :: Coupon

Regional :: A coupon or deal available in only a specific area

RP :: Red Plum coupon insert found in the Sunday newspaper

RR :: Register Rewards (Walgreens, which print with receipt)

SCR :: Single Check Rebate (Rite Aid)

SS :: Smart Source coupon insert found in the Sunday newspaper

Stacking :: Using a manufacturer’s coupon in addition to a store coupon for an even lower price

Tear pad :: A pad of rebate forms or coupons attached to a store shelf

TMF :: Try Me Free

Triple Coupon :: A coupon which can be tripled in value

UPC :: Universal Product Code (a.k.a. bar code)

UPR :: Up Rewards, a coupon you can earn on your register receipt at Rite Aid

WSL :: While Supplies Last

WT, Winetag :: A coupon hanging on the package of a product

WYB :: When You Buy

V :: Valassis coupon insert found in Sunday newspaper (same as RP or Red Plum insert)

YMMV :: Your Mileage May Vary (in other words, you may or may not be successful with a particular deal at your store)


$1/1, etc. - Indicates the value of a coupon, $1 off 1 item in this instance but could be any value, $4/2 ($4 off 2 items), $0.25/1 ($0.25 off 1) etc.

We all were new to couponing at one point in our life. I have added this page in hopes that it will make your coupon experience a easy and great time! Have fun learning!! Welcome to my wacky life of couponing ;)

If you have absolutely no idea how to do this ‘coupon thing’, this is the place to start! You’ve already taken the first step!! You’ve found Krazy Coupon Club! Read the Getting Started forum completely.

This thread is intended to give you the basic and not-so-basic tips to save a lot of money on groceries, cleaning supplies, and health and beauty products using coupons. So let’s get started!

What stores do you have in your area?

Make a list. It may be bigger than you think! Once you learn how to work the system, you may find yourself shopping at stores that you thought were “too expensive”, because they actually have better deals in the long run.

Familiarize yourself with their coupon policies. Ask at the customer service desk. Policies vary by store, chain and area of the country. Some stores that you thought do not take coupons actually do! Did you know that Dollar General takes coupons?
  • Double Coupons: The stores will double the face value of the coupon, meaning that your coupon is worth twice the face value. The best kind of grocery stores double coupons up to $1.00 (commonly known as Super Doubles). Many other stores double coupons up to $.50 or $.60. Some stores also have a limit as to how many of the same coupon they will double.
  • No Doubles: Your coupons will be accepted at face value only.
  • Triple Coupons: This rare bird comes as a promotion in certain areas. The store will triple the value of your coupon up to a certain value. In this instance, a $.50 coupon would be worth $1.50!
  • Some stores will allow you to ‘stack’ their store coupons with your manufacturer coupons for even greater savings! Some of them are: CVS, Walgreen’s, Rite-Aid, Toys-R-Us, Target and some grocery stores. These store coupons can come from home mailers (get on the mailing lists!), store ads, flyers and the stores’ monthly magazines.
  • If the store has a loyalty card, get one. Or two. This is often the only way that you will get the sale prices.
  • A very few stores-- mostly in the Midwest-- will take coupons that have already expired. The dates vary from 3 months to 6 months past the expiration date.
  • Certain stores will accept competitor's coupons for everything from FREE gift cards with a prescription to the Catalinas that print after the order.
Questions to ask:
  1. Does your store double coupons?
  2. What is the maximum value that you will double?
  3. How many ‘like’ coupons will double?
  4. Do you ever have triple coupon promotions?
  5. Do you take Internet printed coupons? (This is a big one. Many stores no longer take them.)
  6. Can I combine store coupons with manufacturer coupons?
  7. Does this store take expired coupon
  8. Do you accept competitor coupons?
Get the weekly ads for all of your stores!These are usually delivered in your home newspaper. If they are not, you can view them online at the store’s website.

Your goal is to match the weekly sales with the coupons in your possession. You will spend less if you have a plan. Don't buy everything you need at one store just because it is convenient for you. The store across the street might have other things from your list on sale.

NOTE: brand loyalty goes out the window for serious couponers! Buy what is on sale!!!

**Make sure that you read the ads yourself, because a hot deal for one person might not be hot for you!

NOTE: If a store has something on sale for lets say 10 for $10.00 or 2 for $5.00, you are not obligated to buy the full number (10 or 2, etc.) to get the sale price… unless the ad says so! Something that is 10/$10.00 is actually “each item is $1”.

Also, these types of sales are not always the best deal. Sometimes they even increase the price for this type of sale. Example: a can of tomatoes is on sale for 5 for $5.00. But since you are now so price-savvy, you know that the regular, everyday price of the item is only 89¢! You know to pass on this 'sale'!


Finesse shampoo or conditioner is on sale for 2 for $5.00 which is really $2.50 each. You have a $1.00 off 1 coupon, and your store doubles coupons up to a dollar! The math looks like: $2.50 - $2.00 = 50¢ each. That is a good deal for something that usually costs $3.49!

Hamburger Helper is on sale for 10 for $10.00. You have a 50¢ off 1 coupon. You store doubles that coupon, making the item

Where do I get all of these coupons?

Your first source should be the Sunday newspaper. The coupons are usually with the magazine section inside the funnies! There are three kinds of coupon inserts to look for: the SmartSource (SS), the Redplum (RP), and once a month, the Procter & Gamble Brand Saver (P&G). There are no inserts on major holidays, so you might want to save your money on those days.
The first key to saving money is to obtain multiple copies of the inserts-- lots of them! You want to do this as inexpensively as possible.

  • You probably already get a paper, either home delivered or at the news stand, so you have one set of inserts there. If you buy it at the store, make sure the coupons are actually in there before you pay for the paper!
  • Some stores discount the price of the Sunday paper, or offer a special deal on two.
  • Then you can ask everyone you know. Most people don’t use coupons, or if they do, they cut one or two and toss the rest. Get those. Ask your mother, your neighbors, your church friends, coworkers-- anyone that you can think of!
  • If you live in or close to an apartment or condo complex, check out the recycling bins. You’d be surprised how many people just toss the whole center section! These are usually pretty clean, since recycling companies require you to separate newspaper from other recyclables.
  • Join the “Dumpster Divers”! This is what people call it when they go to the local recycling center to poke around for extra inserts. Make friends with the people who run them if you are confronted—they can become your best friends! They might be able to tell you when the carriers come to dump their extras. More information on Dumpster Diving.
  • Ask at the local store on Sunday night or Monday morning. Many papers require that only the front page of unsold papers be returned for credit, or if they need the whole paper, they don’t want the inserts. It never hurts to ask!
  • Look at hotels, nursing homes, McDonald's on a Sunday morning... anywhere that people sit to read the paper and leave the inserts.
  • There are reputable coupon clipping services that will send coupons for a handling fee. Free from the sources above is always best, but sometimes you have to spend money to make money!
  • Another source of coupons is online printable coupons. There are many links to these in our Krazy Coupon Club! Most sites allow you to print two copies of each coupon. One caveat, however, is that many stores no longer accept them due to fraud. You will need to ask if your store accepts these.
  • A preview of the coupons that will be appearing in the next weeks' inserts can be found in our Insert Coupons forum on Krazy Coupon Club's Blog.
Organize your coupons
  • Some people keep the inserts intact and file them by date (SS 12/4, V 12/11, P&G 1/6, etc.) This system saves a great deal of time initially, but getting ready for shopping is more of a chore. You have to cut the coupons that you need at that time.
  • Others clip all of the coupons from the beginning, and file them in various ways. The most popular is the "binder method": some form of 3 ring, zippable binder with baseball card and other inserts.
  • Find the system that works best for you.
  • Make sure that you go through your coupons and weed out your expired coupons at least once a month! This prevents the task from becoming overwhelming, and prevents embarrassment at the store if you try to use an expired coupon.

The second key to saving money is the stockpile! Once you have found that great deal, you need to buy a lot of it. Not just 1 for now and 1 to have on hand for later, but 10 or 20 or more. This is the logic behind all of those coupons that you obtained from everyone you know!

This is only a sensible idea if you have room to store it, and the item is non-perishable. Many of our members can tell you that you have more room than you think you do! You know what your family needs, but everyone needs toilet paper, toothpaste and deodorant!

Hard-core couponers have on hand a one or two year supply of things like toothpaste, toothbrushes, body wash or soap, and cleaning supplies. When you use one of them, you can just go to wherever you store your stockpile for another. You have purchased these items at the price you wanted to pay, not the price the store wanted you to pay! Free or nearly free is better than full price any day! Once you get better at this, you will see the maximum amount that you are willing to pay drop like a rock!

Other Tips and Tricks of the trade:

Ask for rainchecks!

Take a look on Krazy Coupon Club's Blog at the 
Understanding Rainchecks!
Sometimes you have prepared yourself, gone to the store, and they are out of what you want. Rainchecks are the solution: they give you the sale price on the item when it is back on the shelf, even when the sale is over. You may have anywhere from 2 weeks to a year to get that price, depending on the expiration date of the raincheck. (Some stores' rainchecks never expire!) By that time, you may have newer and better coupons!

"With raincheck now in your binder you now have TIME to collect coupons! You can trade for them or buy them! None of the rainchecks here have expiration dates on them but some stores may..I don't know. I have rainchecks issued to me from a year ago. I get rainchecks on stuff that doesn’t have coupons, too. Meat especially. When boneless skinless chicken breasts go on sale for $1.49LB I buy a bunch (40lbs or more) and freeze it... then I get a raincheck too in case it doesn't go on a good sale by the time I run out of chicken."

Look for unadvertised sales!
One store may have too much of a certain item in stock, and will put it on sale. Others will have items on clearance. This is why you need to have all of your coupons with you as you shop!

Look for in-store coupons!

There are lots of coupons to be found in stores, if you know what to look for! They may be better coupons than the ones in you binder, or may be combined with the coupons that you have for even more savings!

NOTE: If you find a great coupon in the store and decide to take some for yourself, couponing etiquette says that it's polite to leave some for others!

  • Peelies: these are the coupons that are stuck to the product. If you don't need the product now, you might later.
  • Blinkies: those coupons in the SmartSource machines that may or may not have the little blinking light.
  • Catalinas: these print from the machine next to the register, and are usually red, green or blue. People frequently leave them in their shopping carts-- grab them!
  • Tearpads: usually these pads are on the shelf or display.
  • Try Me Free or Rebate forms: these are a great way to try a new product and/or make money on a deal! Buy an item on sale, use the coupon, and send away for the rebate!
  • Winetags: these are coupons that hang around the neck of wine bottles. They can require a wine purchase or not, depending on the state.
Many of the store flyers will have coupons or they will print Catalina coupons for an amount off your next order!
Keep your eyes on the cashier!

Occasionally, you will run into a cashier who is a master of the sleight-of-hand. This results in some of your coupons not being scanned. Stand up for yourself and don't let it happen. If you had 10 coupons and she only scanned 9, speak up. It's your money we're talking about here.

Also, many stores have a "scan right guarantee": it scans correctly or it is free, or you get double the difference back. Make sure that you get the price that you were expecting!

Buy the smallest size possible!

Stores like Sam's Club and Costco may have you convinced that the bigger sizes are the better value. You're a couponer now, and you know better!

A large product may be much less expensive with coupons, but the smallest size may be free! This is part of the logic behind multiple coupons. One of our members bought the 34oz coffee for a few dollars until she realized that the 11-13oz size was totally free!

Don't let the cashier pull the "one coupon per purchase" line on you!

One coupon per purchase does NOT mean one coupon per transaction. Each item is considered a purchase-- many coupons actually say "one coupon per item purchased, which is a much better way to phrase it.

Item 1= this is a purchase; Item 2= this is a purchase; Item 3= this is a purchase; etc... Have them ring them up in individual transactions if they don't get it.

To further drive your point home, you can show them a receipt that has total items purchased= xx, followed by a transaction number.

Be on the lookout for those FREE coupons!

You've seen others using them, and heard Krazy Coupon Club members talking about them. Where do coupons for FREE stuff come from?

  • The newspaper: companies will put coupons for free items into the regular inserts to get you to try the product. EX: the recent FREE Oust fan
  • The mail: get on as many mailing lists as you can. Go to the company web sites and sign up for the newsletter.
  • Pay attention to the postso Krazy Coupon Club. Members will frequently post when companies are offering free coupons in a contest, as a giveaway, or for answering a survey.
  • You can contact the companies with a compliment or complaint, and will sometimes receive coupons for a free product.
Don't get discouraged if you aren't getting the same deals that you see on the boards. Some of us have been couponing for 20 years or more! You will get better as you learn, and a penny saved is a penny that you didn't give to the store.

Also, there is no reason to start stockpiling flat out, no-holds-barred. Start out slowly if you're on a budget. You can allot $20 each month for the first few months to building your stockpile and slowly increase the amount as you become more coupon-proficient.

If you miss a sale, don't worry! The deals almost always come around again-- sometimes better the next time! Usually they run on a 8-12 week rotation!

Remember, everyone has to start somewhere. I am so glad you have decided to start at Krazy Coupon Club! Again Welcome to my wacky coupon life ;)


  1. I have never got the double coupon thing to work I always get we don't do that here

  2. wow! i had no idea how complex couponing can be. dumpster diving? again, wow. i've never heard of double coupons before. thanks for all your tips. greatly appreciated. :D

  3. Thanks - lots of great ideas here! Many stores will allow stacking coupons, but you wouldn't know it if you didn't ask.

  4. Thanks for the information! It is so helpful to be all in one place!!!

  5. Thanks so much. I learned so much! I can't wait to try out some of your pointers!

  6. Thank you so much for the information. I need to start serious couponing because everything is sooo expensive and stockpiling on items that are a must in the home would be a good idea.

  7. I am still a newbie and I don't think I am very good at it. But these are some very useful tips to help

    fb/ shirley greenawalt zolenski

  8. Thank you so much for sharing this information. I also went and read the coupon terminology page.. wow i have a lot to lern lol thanks for making it easier!

  9. Just getting into couponing and love all the help. Great tips

  10. This is everything a new couponer needs to know all compiled into one place. Thanks for making info so easy to find.

  11. Thank you for the 101. I live in a small town but finding I can get a lot more if I follow the ads and coupons. Price matching at a store that then will take their own coupon has been a huge saver. I'm slowly learning.

  12. Although they don't have double couponing in Florida, I can take advantage of stacking the coupons with one store coupon and one manufacture's coupon. This saves a lot of money. Also stockpiling is a great way to save money. I stockpiled on a lot of paper products that were on sale last February, and I am still using from that stockpile. Thanks for the great tips as they can be very beneficial, especially to a new couponer.

  13. Thanks for the great tips. Even though I have been a couponing for awhile it is always nice to brush up on the rules. It is very important to know how your store works.

  14. When I see a guy at the grocery store with a coupon stash and using coupons, my estimation of him goes up greatly! This is a terrific outline for newlyweds, newbies, guys, and well almost anyone could find some new trick in here! I find it fun and a challenge to save as much as possible! EXCELLENT JOB - I've never seen anyone put an outline this comprehensive yet still simple enough to not feel overwhelmed!!!

  15. Thanks for your worthy advice! I'm surprised to know that in the Midwest its OK to use expired coupons. Sure wold love it if that practice moves to ethe East Coast!

  16. thank you for the information and advice--- would love to beable to this for my family

  17. Thanks for the tips. If I can just get my car running better, I can afford to do this.

  18. thanks for all the great info, i always need help

  19. This is so much work! I'm grateful for the tips, but it's just so much for me.

  20. I am just starting to coupon more and the above advise is a huge help.
    I am looking forward to save alot more on my grocery bills. Thank you
    for the great post.

  21. Thank you for all of the great information regarding coupons.

  22. Thank you for all this great information!! I am just starting to get into couponing, trying to save money. I'm going to do more research on this.

  23. lots of information... thanks so much for sharing it with all of us

  24. Thanks for all the great tips! Ive been learning and can take all the tips possiable lol

  25. Thanks for the tips, unfortunatey there are no stores by me that accept double coupons, the ones that did before stopped it ( I think due to Extreme Couponing , etc.)so that's kinda a bummer but I still have a pretty hefty stack of my single coupons :)

  26. i now our store here do not double the coupon ad now they are
    not accepting a lot of couns that are on the net

  27. The supermarket where I shop has double coupons, but only up to $1. What I really hate is now it seems any coupon that is $1 off, it's $1 off 2 items, most of the time I only want 1 item

  28. Thank you for all this information! I always wondered what the term "blinkie" meant. I've bookmarked this for future reference.

  29. Thank you so much for helping me understand the language! I am not a good couponer at all and I want to learn how to do it better and save my family money!

  30. Thanks for all the good information! I've seen so many of those abbreviations before and was like... huh??? Now I know what most (gotta make a crib sheet) of them mean and I hope to be able to follow some of your tips! Thanks again!

  31. I am finally able to understand couponing because of you. You also helped me to understand the rules.

  32. Thanks so much for sharing the insider info for coupon redeeming and Happy Easter to you and yours.

  33. I've been couponing for just over a year now, and it is EXTREMELY time consuming, but the payoff is very worth it!!

  34. Very helpful info. I love to use coupons and do so regularly, but you had some tips and terms on here that truly helped. Thanks!

  35. Thank you for all the fantastic information! I have been couponing for several years but after reading this post I realize that there are many tips and techniques that I have not been utilizing. I cannot wait to put these to use the next time I go shopping!