The best time to redeem in-store coupons

I give grocery stores a lot of credit. They do seem to come up with new and exciting ways to get you to spend more money while giving you the impressing that you’re saving money.

As I was going through my receipts to enter things in Quicken to track our spending, I ran across what looked like an in-store coupon for Mio Water Enhancers. It was good for $1.00 off two, $2.00 off three, or $3.00 off four or more.

What I missed initially was the “Not A Redeemable Coupon” in light letters at the top of the slip. So when I handed the coupon to the checkout person, she told me it wasn’t a coupon and explained what it actually was. After I paid for the products (full price), I received an in-store coupon good for the specified amount.

On my next visit. Not right then, like I had thought.

The coupon, of course, has an expiration date. (I’ve found that even if a store says that something doesn’t expire, it actually can expire.) The grocery store really would be quite happy if I forgot to redeem the coupon by the expiration date. They likely got some bounty for delivering the coupon to me, so they’ve won already.

So, upon receiving the coupon — finally — I took my groceries out to the car, and went right back in for my next visit. I found two containers of dishwashing soap that cost $3.00, plus $0.15 tax. Cost after applying the coupon: $0.15. (I didn’t use a credit card for that transaction. They could have refused it anyway if they wanted to.)

The best time to redeem an in-store coupon is as soon as possible. Cash the coupon in and get real value from it before it goes away, which it usually does quickly. Don’t give yourself any leeway to forget about it.

John Wedding

Husband. Father. Web publisher. Musician. John has blogged at Mighty Bargain Hunter since 2005, helping people to recognize the good deals in life.

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  1. My wife just sticks these in the front of her coupon book and that’s the first place she looks when pulling out coupons every week, so it’s a pretty much failproof way of making sure that these get used.

  2. A coupon that’s not a coupon! Nice little trick to get you to buy the product so you can get a real coupon! I like the MIO’s myself, a lot of flavor for just a little squirt. I’ll pass your post on to my wife, she’s hitting couponing pretty hard and will likely get a kick as well as some good advice since she relies on store coupons to get the best deals.

  3. My wife usually uses the coupons immediately! We take them from the paper that week. On the other hand, I use online coupons when I shop. I notice there are many out of date, but I try to use them anyway.

  4. I’ve learned this the hard way. I got $10 in ExtraCare bucks from CVS once and forgot about them – it was a huge waste! I’ve found that if I don’t use those in-store coupons within a few days of my purchase, I end up not using them at all.

  5. John Wedding says:

    @Money Beagle: That’s a good habit and a great idea!
    @Jose: Yeah, they’re nice but we really have to watch how much we use. They’re pricey.
    @Krant: Do any of the expired coupons work?
    @Elizabeth: Oh man. :(

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