Smart Money Mom

Couponing in California: Where to Find Coupons!

Welcome to Couponing in California! This is a new series that is geared towards new couponers–or those that need a little refreshing on how to save money. I realize that learning to coupon is about as easy as learning a new language– so I hope to help those that are trying to learn–hopefully in an understandable way 🙂

Here are the basics on where to find coupons, coupon terms (what DOES that fine print mean?) and a little bit on coupon ethics.

Internet Printable Coupons:

:: Print coupons from home

:: Download software

:: You can print 2 coupons per computer

:: Once you print the first, hit back screen 3x to print a second

:: Or go back to the homepage

Best sources for Printable Coupons:


Coupons added to your favorite shopper card.

Accepted at Ralphs, & Vons, Stater Brothers

Sites to load E-Coupons:

Other Places to Find Coupons:

  • Newspapers
  • Store booklets
  • Blinkies
  • Peelies
  • Samples
  • Facebook
  • Company website
  • eBay or coupon clipping site
  • Magazines
  • Friends, family, co-workers, coupon train

Expiration Date:

All coupons have an expiration date. (it is fairly rare that you will not find an expiration date)

If the coupon’s expiration date is 12/6/2011, you can use the coupon until 11:59 pm on 12/6/2011.


How much will be deducted from your purchase and how much do you save?


How do you know what the coupon is for?

If the coupon says “save on ANY XYZ product” then it truly can be used on any, not just what is pictured and you get to spend less of your savings.


  • The picture can be useful if you have never heard of the product and can help you know where to find the item on the shelf.
  • Advertising for the manufacturer.
  • The picture is NOT what is important.
  • The manufacturer’s generally put the newest or most expensive products in the picture, obviously hoping you will use your savings to buy the products.
  • As long as you follow what is in the wording of the coupon, you will know where to find the lowest priced product which is generally the better deal and save money.

Fine Print:

  • Information for retailers including the coupon redemption address.
  • There are usually one or two lines that are intended for the consumer. Limit one coupon per purchase? Coupons typically have some version of that statement.

Limit one coupon per purchase:

  • Each product in an overall transaction is considered one purchase.
  • If the coupon is for $1 off 2 boxes of cereal and you buy 2 boxes, that is 1 purchase.
  • If you bought 2 more, that is another purchase and you can use another $1/2 coupon. You can not use 2 coupons on 1 product.

Limit one coupon per transaction:

This indicates that only one like coupon may be used in a single transaction. Each transaction is concluded with a receipt.

Limit one coupon per day/visit:

You can only use one of those coupons per store visit.

Limit one coupon per person/customer/household:

You can only use one of these coupons.

Not valid on travel/trial size:

  • This means the coupon cannot be redeemed on a trial size item.
  • If it does not have this verbiage and does not specify a size, then any size (even trial) is applicable.

Do not double:

  • They do not double wording is the one exception to the terms.
  • Coupons that specify “do not double” will still double if the first number is a 5.
  • The store is offering a discount on the double portion.
  • If the barcode starts with a 9, the coupon will not double automatically.

“Coupon Fraud”:

  • Knowingly misusing coupons.
  • You cannot photocopy coupons! This is a federal offense. It would be just like photocopying actual money.
  • Coupon fraud is a very expensive cost to manufacturers who issue grocery coupons.

Use coupons ONLY as stated:

  • Read the fine print.
  • If it reads, “good for the products pictured above,” don’t use it on other products – even if it will scan at checkout.
  • If the coupon states “limit one per household,” it’s just that. One per household.

Use coupons with store policies:

  • Know your store’s coupon policy.
  • Ask questions if you are unclear.

No obnoxious, overly aggressive coupon tactics:

While this is subjective, I think we can all agree that asking a cashier to do 30 transactions back-to-back for you is obnoxious.

I think we can also agree buying all 50 of a store’s brand X shampoo is obnoxious (because now no one else can do the deal).

I’m all for stockpiling, but there are polite ways to go about doing it (such as contacting the store ahead of time to see if they can order extra stock).

Be considerate of others.

When to use your Coupons:

  • Don’t use your Coupon Right Away:
  • 3 – 4 weeks.
  • Wait for rock bottom price.

Stacking Coupons:

  • My favorite coupon secret!
  • 1 Manufacturer Coupon and 1 Store Coupon on 1 Item!!
  • Target, Albertsons, Vons, Ralphs, Walgreens, and Rite Aid, CVS (to name a few) all have store coupons and allow them to be stacked with a manufacturer coupon!
  • You can never use 2 manufacturer coupons on 1 item.

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15 thoughts on “Couponing in California: Where to Find Coupons!”

  1. if abc company has a coupon in the sunday newspaper, you can buy as many newspapers as you want and therefore have as many coupons as you want. yet, if abc company issues a printable coupon and you are limited to printing one or two, you are not allowed to make a copy of the coupon and to do so is illegal. but if you have 2 computers, you can print twice as many. or if you have three computers….. it just doesn’t make sense to me.

    • Manufacturers put limits regardless of where you get the coupon. They budget for this and have control over how many coupons are available.. When people start photocopying coupons the control over the limits has disappeared.

      The limit of two printables per computer is simply placed there so that everyone can have an equal share. Having multiple computers is simply an advantage but you are still staying within the limits for the manufacture. Hope that makes sense

  2. hi there. i just want to clarify a coupon. ive been seeing a coupon for SAVE $3.75 off MILK wyb THREE BOXES any flavor General Mills cereal and it is a manufacturer coupon. my question is that can you still use GM cereal coupons to stack with this? my understanding is that you cannot since the cereals are tied to this MQ with milk. unless it was a store q, you would NOT be able to stack OTHER MQs with this q….? t.i.a.

    • I don’t know for sure, but it seems to me like it might still be possible to use the MQ for the cereal as well, since the milk+3x cereal Q only applies it’s discount to the Milk, leaving the cereal at full price. The post says that you can only ever use one MQ per item, not per purchase or transaction.

      At the very least, it seems like it would be worthwhile to ask the cashier at the store and see if they’ll allow it.

  3. Hello, I am a newbie and have a general question about reading and understanding a coupon on the p& g coupons. What does limit one coupon per purchase of products and quantities stated. Limit of 4 like coupons per household per day mean? I would greatly appreciate it if you can answer my question, thanks for your time!

  4. I need some help with printable. I tried to use them in Vons and Walmart and they will not scan. I print my coupons in fast draft black ink only. I have always printed them that way and this is the first time I have had this problem. Oh yeah the stores will not accept them if the don’t scan. 🙁

  5. Josie: Thanks so much for all you do. I have saved so much money by finding your site and trying out the tips you and all my fellow savers post!

  6. The newspaper coupons r like getting money from the bank. The printables r like getting a money order from the bank,if u have several bank accounts,get money out from several bank accounts,heck get money orders from several bank accounts. Putting the printed coupons on the copy machine&hitting copy is like putting your money order on the copy machine and hitting copy. Each coupon like each money order&like each dollar bill&other cash bill has a secret code,a different secret code. There may be 2000 of lets say a diaper coupon available,so the stores get paid for 2000 of the coupons by the manufacturer cause they only gave the public 2000.its just like copying money orders or money instead of going in a bank&asking for it.


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