The Different Types of Coupons

This is Day 1 of the Meghan’s Guide to Couponing series. Are you ready? We’ll start with the basics.

There are different kinds of coupons, and that’s important because when we start talking about how to stack coupons (tomorrow), you will need to know this stuff. Without further ado, here are the types of coupons we’ll look at:

Store Coupons

Store coupons are coupons that a store puts out for products they sell that are only accepted at that store or at stores that accept competitor coupons. (None of the grocery stores near me do this, that I know of. Boo.)

For example, if you see a coupon like these:


You will see that the top one says CVS Pharmacy, and the bottom one says TARGET COUPON in the black box by the expiration date and also has the Target logo on the coupon. These are coupons intended for use at those stores.

Publix, Kroger, Target, as well as many other grocery stores and drug stores put out their own store coupons in fliers with newspapers.

You can also find printable store coupons online, often at store websites.


Manufacturer’s Coupons

Manufacturer’s coupons are made by the manufacturer of the product. The majority of coupons you will see online or in newspapers are going to be this type. It will say MANUFACTURER’S COUPON in the area beside the expiration date.




You can also print many manufacturer’s coupons that you find online, cut them out, and use them instead of, or in addition to, newspaper coupons.



Catalinas are coupons that print out after your receipt when you purchase certain items from a store. For example, the other day, Kroger was running a Catalina deal where if you bought two GE energy saving light bulbs, you could get a catalina for $2 off your next Kroger purchase.

Since I had coupons for those light bulbs and found them on sale, I went ahead and purchased some for future use. So at checkout, along with my receipt, came this:

Although it says Manufacturer’s Coupon on it, the way that I came by it is what makes it a Catalina. If you see on a coupon site that there is a “Catalina Deal,” they mean that when they bought a particular item, they got a coupon at checkout to use for future purchases .

eCoupons or Electronic Coupons

Electronic coupons are coupons that you can save to your store shopper card (like your Kroger Plus Card, Ingles Advantage Card, etc).

You go onto a website, enter your information and shopper cards’ numbers, and then load up your cards with free, online coupons.

When you go to check out, and they scan your card, the coupons that relate to the products you purchased are automatically applied to your total.


Kroger, Ingles, CVS, and other stores offer a way to load coupons to your shopper card through their site. If you aren’t sure if the store you shop at does this, and you know they have a shopper card, you can just look on their site for a link to “coupons.” This will often be where those are located.

There are also just general electronic coupon websites where you can enter every store’s shopper card that you have, and then you can load all the electronic manufacturer’s coupons onto those cards. Some examples of these include and

Before you go loading up all of your shopper cards with eCoupons, I have to let you know of something. Recently, some stores (including Kroger) have stopped accepting both print coupons and eCoupons if they apply to the same item.

So, if you had loaded a coupon that got you 50 cents off of Breyer’s Ice Cream, but you had a clipped print coupon that gave you $2 off of Breyer’s Ice Cream, the clipped coupon would not be allowed. Once they scan that card, whatever coupon you had on there is what goes.

So be wise in your eCouponing. I’ve gotten to where I will only put an eCoupon on my card if it is a reward coupon (see below) or if I couldn’t find a clipped coupon of higher value for that product.

Reward Coupons

Reward coupons are just what I call them; I’ve never seen anyone else refer to them as that. But these work just the same as eCoupons until you get to it taking money off your total. Instead of it saving you money on your purchase, it applies money towards a reward for you.

For example, Upromise is a shopper card you can have swiped at a plethora of grocery and drug stores (even Publix, who doesn’t offer a store card, accepts it), restaurants, and online shopping sites (well, you can’t swipe it online, so much as shop through your Upromise account). For our purposes, we’ll stick to grocery and drug stores.


Okay, so Upromise’s site has eCoupons that you can load to your Upromise card, and then when you shop at any of the stores that accept that card, buy an item you have a Upromise eCoupon for, and have the Upromise card swiped, the amount of money that coupon was for will be put into a savings account for your child’s future college education. You can get grandparents, aunts, uncles, whoever to save for your kids too!

So, if you load an eCoupon for 40 cents off of Minute Maid Orange Juice to your Upromise card, and you buy Minute Maid Orange Juice at Publix (or any other store that accepts the Upromise card) and have your Upromise card scanned at checkout, 40 cents will go towards your child’s college savings.

Another reward coupon site is Saving Star. Instead of getting another shopper card (like you have to with Upromise), you just put numbers for all of the shopper cards you already have for the stores you shop at on the Saving Star website, then load the Saving Star eCoupons to those cards.


When you scan the card, the coupons will, once again, not take any money of the total of your bill. Instead, the money value of each coupon you use via Saving Star will be registred to your Saving Star account.

Once you have accumulated $5 worth of savings, you can put it towards a bank deposit, paypal, an Amazon giftcard, or donate it to American Forests. More ways to use your money are to be added later.

None of the Rewards eCoupons will affect your use of printed coupons the way that regular eCoupons would. So load up your Upromise card and the Saving Star eCoupons and shop!!

Still with me?

I know that was a lot of information, but it’s important to note the differences before you move on to planning your coupons for a shopping trip. That’s where we’re headed tomorrow.

Get excited!

13 thoughts on “The Different Types of Coupons”

  1. Meghan, thanks for the info. I’m a stay at home Dad who is new to the shopping thing. I look forward to Part 2 because i don’t understand how some people can walk out of the market with a full cart and pay almost nothing. My last shopping trip cost me $165.00 with little to show (I felt violated LOL).

    1. You are so welcome! Good for you for learning this! I have to say, I never get a full cart for basically nothing, but even saving $60 a shopping trip is better than saving nothing, to me, so I still do couponing. I’ll share what I know! =)

  2. I learned a lot. Upromise is awesome. I will have to sign up for that today! Also, I do know that Publix accepts their competitor’s coupons. I use Kroger coupons there all the time.

  3. I really want to start couponing, but it seems so overwhelming. Should I start with just the products I use, or do you need to start a pantry? How do you know if it’s really worth it in the long run?

    1. Tracey, you can do it!! I think that you should just check the sales each week and see what you have coupons for.

      If you follow this link, you will see a breakdown of how stores operate with sales, and it will help you know when to buy those products you know you and your family use most often at the best price.

      And when you see an item you know you will need in the future anyway (like shampoo, for example) hit its lowest price, go ahead and use a coupon to get it for a steal. You will naturally start a pantry of things that way. And then when you need that stuff, you won’t have to pay full price for it.

      Paying a little bit for what you need is always worth it! 😉

      1. Thank you for this. I have been reading a few websites, but this is actually easy for me to understand. I am a single dad of two little boys and this will help out tremendously. I have a question though. One of my children has special needs, therefore we are all on a pretty restrictive diet. Unprocessed meat, veggies, fruits, and nuts. No grains or processed food. I find almost all of the coupons I find are for mass produced boxed foods. Can you offer any advice for saving money on meats and produce? Thanks!

        1. Hey Chris! That’s a popular question- how to get a good deal on the healthy things like produce and meat.

          Here is something I did recently that is saving my family money. I went to the store and shopped the quick sale meat. That’s meat that is close to the expiration or “sell by” date. They mark it down to get it out the door. I bought A LOT of it. I also bought veggies that were on sale. Here’s a post I did about it:

          Then I had a BIG cooking day. I marinated a lot of raw meats and froze it that way. Since your son is gluten free, from the sound of things, he probably can’t have many of the pre-made marinades, but you can make your own! I packaged it in quart sized bags, and it went in the freezer. I also went ahead and cooked a lot of ground turkey (some with seasonings, some with veggies, etc) to make it easier on myself to put a meal together later. I packaged it in baggies and froze it as well. Same with potatoes, etc. Here’s a post I did on it:

          It is surprising how much money you can save by buying a bunch of quick sale meat and reduced price produce. You can freeze bananas, potatoes, etcetera too. Since you would go ahead and freeze the meat, it won’t go bad before you and your boys eat it. And another bonus is the time it will save you in the future when you need to put a meal on the table! =)

          Good luck!

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