We’ve all been there, standing in line at the store feeling proud of our shopping finesse because we remembered our list AND our coupons. It’s a glorious feeling, especially with the state of inflation and food shortages knowing you’re saving money! We also all know the feeling when those coupons they mailed you are expired and you’re questioning your entire shopping list for the week. A good coupon can make or break what I buy at the store or provide for the week because without it chances are I would not purchase the item. So are there written (or unwritten) rules for the expiration of coupons? And without the dreaded sweat at the checkout line when your coupon has been denied, is there another way to find out if you can use an expired coupon?
Also see: Where to get free coupons in the mail
So, can you use a coupon on the day it expires?
In most cases, the answer is YES and you can bring that coupon in and claim it by the skin of your teeth, but be sure to read the store’s coupon policy to be sure. Coupons in general are valid until the end of the business day, which for in-store coupons will be at the end of store hours, while digital coupons are at the end of the calendar day (you do need to be aware of time zones).
Why do coupons have expiration dates anyway?
The reason a coupon expiration date can differ from coupon to coupon, but in general, the manufacturer either wants to see how the product is moving/encourages it to move along or according to Capital Gazette, the manufacturer funds the sale by offering a temporary price reduction. In this case, they are trying to optimize the sale of a specific product in a short timeframe by reimbursing for the item way below what a sale price would be.
Now, this can most definitely be different for restaurants and fast food chains as we often see coupons to bring guests in for popular items or to show off new menu items. The printed expiration date (may also say expiry date) here would provide a short window to draw customers in to purchase items they might not normally, or bring them in at a time when they may not typically.
So what do you do with a coupon after it expires?
I love the thought that we can still do something to make our couponing useful towards our service men and women. If you have a manufacturer coupon that has expired you can help our troops by sending them overseas! Groups like Troopons ( which seems to be the largest and most prevalent) will take and allow military families to use coupons for up to six months after they expire! All you have to do is mail the coupons out to them and they will get them into the hands of those who need them! I love the thought that we can continue to support our troops in yet another small way!
Where’s the best place to find coupons?
Printable Coupons and deals – This is a cut and clear couponing website that offers coupons the best way (IMO) Print and cut. I hate having to go through my phone looking for a coupon I found and hoping it’s still open in a browser page. This website allows you to just print and cut then hand it over to your cashier and taa-daa!
Coupons.com – I love that the name says it all here. That’s what this website is…. That’s all it is… just coupons. I love a website that gets right to the point. And to make things better, they have it organized SO well so you can find what you’re looking for or browse the best coupons of that week!
Groupon – Groupon is GREAT! If you are doing any traveling, this site can save you a bunch of money. I love that I can add my location and see coupons for any sort of restaurant or excursion available to us. We’ve taken a break from the camper life to go to a water park, explore a new restaurant or get some great deals on activities for our son like mini golf or go-karting!
The newest trends are cash back shopping which offers a kind of couponing where if you purchase certain items or shop at certain stores and take a picture of your receipt you get instant cash back! It’s that simple!
The two most popular cash back apps and sites
Rakuten– Rakuten ( formerly known as Ebates) is a website that can conveniently be downloaded as an app. You can easily browse hundreds of websites to find great deals and getting your cash back is super easy! You can link your credit card, get a check, or have money put into a PayPal account. Safe, convenient, and simple. That’s the name of the game with Rakuten and they play the game well!
Ibotta is similar and also offers an app for the on-the-go shopper! They offer a similar incentive but also want couponers to complete some tasks. Whether this is providing proof of purchase through a picture of your receipt, taking surveys, etc. Sometimes you can bundle multiple savings into one receipt. The tasks are small, but can sometimes come with great rewards!
Can I use outside coupons on top of my cash back app?
Sadly the answer to this is no. When cashback apps first came out this was a different story and the savviest of couponers were making out great by stacking paper coupons and outside coupons on their cashback offers. But these cashback companies tightened up and now you could lose any of your cashback opportunities if you attempt to double dip.
A great plan, and a little time can save you a lot of hard-earned money and still yield fantastic finds, great values, and name brands! So coupon on mama, coupon on!