Welcome to Learn to Coupon... in 30 days. For the next 30 days (week days), I will be posting a couponing how to. Each day we will build on the prior days information. The goal of this series is to teach you the basics of couponing. Where to start, what coupons to use, how to use your coupons and more.This series will focus on realistic strategies for couponing. There will be some depth to the posts, so you will need to spend the time reading the posts in the entirety. Since each post will build on the day before, I suggest you read them chronologically.
If you have not read Day #1, you can read it here.
Day #2 – What Does A Coupon Barcode Mean?
Yesterday, we looked at the Anatomy of A Coupon. You should now be able to look at a coupon and know all the basics of the coupon. Today, we are going to start to explore the coupon in more depth. The coupon barcode is the instructions of sort. When the barcode is scanned, it tells the register what you must buy.
As we established yesterday, you can determine if your coupon is a manufacturer coupon by looking at the bar code. If the bar code starts with 5 or 9, it is a manufacturer coupon. If it does not have a scannable barcode with a 9 or 5, you probably have a store coupon in your hands. Even if the coupon states manufacturer coupon, it is in fact a store coupon and cannot be used at other stores.
The coupon barcode holds a wealth of information. It tells the computer what product you are to buy, how many and how much the coupon is good for. When you learn about these coupon barcodes, it will help you understand what and how to use them.
NOTE: Some people use barcode knowledge to cheat the system. This is totally unethical and I am by no means suggesting that you learn this system. The information I am sharing here is only to be used for ethical and fair couponing.
The first digit of the UPC Code signifies that it is a coupon. The code will be 5 or 9.
:: If a coupon begins with a 5, this tells the register that the coupon can be doubled.
:: If the code begins with a 9, this tells the register that the coupon cannot double.
Note: Sometimes you will see Do Not Double on the top of a coupon and the barcode starts with 5. This is contradictory – because if the coupon is scanned, it will automatically double at stores that offer doubling. The cashier will have to override this. You can read more on do not double here.
Some stores such as Rite Aid, do not have their registers programmed to recognize coupons that begin with a 9. If you use a coupon that starts with a 9 at some stores, you will find they will beep, even if the coupon matches the product. (Remember, a register beeping or not beeping is not necessarily an indication of proper coupon usage).
Many of the coupons you find in store will be a 9 coupon. Some retailers use this 9 code to distinguish coupons that are distributed in the stores, such as peelies.
The next few digits helps to match the coupon to the products you are to buy. The register will beep if the product upc codes do not match the upc codes on the manufacturer coupon.
The value code is the next item of importance. The two-digit field following designates the redemption value of the coupon in dollars and cents. Some numbers are a direct representation of face values (for example, code number 10 represents a 10 cent coupon value) and some are not (such as code number 83 represents a $2.25 coupon value).
This chart tells you what the value code means in each coupon.
These value codes are also helpful to know how many coupons you can use. Remember, you can only use one manufacturer coupon per item. This does not mean that you can always use one actual coupon per item. The value code tells the computer how many items it must scan in order for the coupon to be valid. It “attaches” to each of these bar codes.
So for example, the coupon above for $1.00 off 1 Milk Bone works like this. This is considered one manufacturer coupon per item. You may not use any other manufacturer coupons with this transaction.
This next coupon is for $1.00 off the purchase of 2 Greens Ice Cream.
To redeem this coupon , you must buy 2 Green’s Ice Creams. This coupon will attach to both items UPC. Even though you are only using one coupon, the requirement is a purchase of 2. You will not be able to use another manufacturer coupon with these items. This example is still considered one manufacturer coupon per item.
The last example is a purchase of three items.
To redeem this coupon , you must buy 3 Breakstone Cottage Cheese. This coupon will attach to all three items. Even though you are only using one coupon, the requirement is a purchase of 3. You will not be able to use another manufacturer coupon with these items. This example is still considered one manufacturer coupon per item.
The key is to remember, that regardless of value or actual number of coupons, only ONE manufacturer coupon can attach to an item. So, you may have 20 items and only 10 $1.00/2 coupons, but all of your items have a coupon attached.
Remember, the bar code is a tool to make couponing easier for all of us. Please do not abuse coupon barcodes.