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Coupon Abbreviations
  • SC = Store Coupon
  • MC = Manufacturer Coupon
  • SS = Smart Source
  • RP = Red Plum
  • PG = Proctor and Gamble
Coupon Terms
  • WYB = When You Buy
  • B1G1 = Buy One Get One Free
  • .75/1 = 75 cents off one item
  • .75/3 = 75 cents off three items
  • EXP = Expiration Date

Going Nuts? I can help you understand coupon terms and abbreviations

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Using E Coupons and Paper Coupons

Using E Coupons and Paper Coupons

Since the frugal blogging world is all talking about e coupons with paper coupons and the legitimacy of it I thought I would quickly give you my two cents too. You will notice that this week’s deals still include them matched with paper coupons so that gives you a tip to my take…

First as background I have had extensive conversations with the planners/designers of Cellfire.They found this site a while back and had a lot of questions about us couponers so I tried to fill them in. I told them up front the best part of e coupons was that we could use them with paper coupons.Here is the summary of what they said.

While their goal is make it where you can only use one coupon they know that people can and will use 2 coupons for now.They also are eager for people to use their system and do not want to deter anyone from using it.

E coupons are a business folks. Shortcuts, and Cellfire need and want you to use their coupons. They long to show the manufacturers that this is the route to coupon distribution and thus take the money from Smart Source and other normal coupon distributors and put it into their own pockets. Also there are some pretty good kick backs from Kroger in all this for these companies as you are now loyal to Kroger since your e coupons only work there!!

They do hope to limit use of e coupons however will it happen? I honestly doubt it. Think about the differences between an e coupon and a paper coupon. If you were forced to pick one over the other many of us would always choose a paper coupon. Forcing that decision would be really bad for their business…

  1. The e coupon will never double
  2. You might have numerous paper coupons for the same item, you will only get 1 e coupon.
  3. You can have various amounts off for one item in paper coupons and thus can choose the best coupon for that store. E coupons give you no choice.

Keeping those in mind, and realizing that the e coupon folks know those same issues, they are not going to force your hand anytime soon.

Now for the legitimacy of it. First we covered that they know you are doing it and would prefer your business. Second how would you propose to not use both coupons together?

  • Being able to load over 100 e coupons to your card you cannot be expected to remember what coupons were there every time you shopped.

  • What happens if you find a paper coupon that will double or is worth more while shopping in the store or anytime after you load the e coupon?They have no way for you to remove the e coupon nor do they have a way for you to choose not to use it.

Since both of these are big issues to get around your options would be to
A. not use them entirely
B. only load coupons that you have never seen a paper coupon for in the past
C. continue using them as before and enjoy the savings

I choose option C. Cellfire wants you to also choose C. I can’t speak for Shortcuts but I would assume they would also like to keep their usage rates up to be able to market to other companies.

Now before I am roasted for fraud or other things that you would like to say let me make one comparison for you before you cast the first stone…

Look at your CVS, Walgreens and other store deals where you get items for FREE all the time. Is it Walgreens intention or CVS’s intention for us to get everything for free and never spend money in their stores? No. Is it their intention for us to transfer prescriptions every month always getting rewards greater than the cost of the medication? No. At Walgreens you are using manufacturer coupons to get items for free that then print another manufacturer coupon. At CVS it’s the same thing, manufacturer sponsored deals free or money makers using manufacturer coupons with them. Stating that something is fraudulent because it is not the intention of the company is going one step too far. The computer allows you to do it, the programmers know you are doing it, and the store just wants your business. If we went on intentions of business when finding deals sadly we would have no deals. They want you to pay top retail, and they want you to come in and buy lots of other items.

Now cast any stones you care to. These are my opinions and for my family and our budget needs as long as these coupons work together I will use them together. The same goes for rolling ECB’s at CVS to get FREE items and using coupons at Walgreens to make money too.

On a side note I no longer trust Shortcuts or P&G coupons to work even when used all on their own and see that many of you are also having problems with these two companies.

    • MelRae

      No stones from me…I totally agree (that rhymes!)

      Seriously though, thanks for taking the time to write this all out and explain your position. It never crossed my mind that there was anything questionable about using an e-coupon and a paper coupon.

      And you are totally right….they all want our business. How happy do you think Kroger would be if I told them that I would likely buy most if not all of my Huggies diapers at Kroger now that I can use a Cellfire coupon plus a paper coupon? And that without both coupons, I probably would not but Huggies at all! Both Cellfire and Kroger are happy that I am buying Huggies, I am sure!

    • At this point, it does not really affect me: none of my local stores have the e coupons option. Due to our budget, I am sure I would use both if I could. I tend to agree that if they really are upset about it and losing lots of money then they will figure out a way to take care of it (how hard could it be to make sure the e coupons are used last, then only “use” the ecoupons for which there were not paper coupons?). But, I greatly appreciate all you wrote.

    • Thank you so much for all this info! I started visiting your blog about 3-4 weeks ago, and I LOVE all the detail you’ve got for the stores. It’s helping me cut down my groceries tab and use coupons better. I’ll post another comment to let you know how well I did after I go to Kroger this afternoon.

    • Heather

      Thank you for the clear explanation. I think it builds the case that it is ridiculous to expect consumers to be able to keep up with the e-coupons and not to use a paper one. I appreciate all you do to make our lives easier.

    • jessica

      I couldn’t agree more. Thanks for posting.

    • No stones from me either. I completely agree with everything you’ve said – and while in the past I’ve had no issues with using my coupons, recently I’ve started having problems with Shortcuts (none with Cellfire).

      I highly doubt that e coupons will ever be my primary savings source, and as such if they go, I won’t miss them and will quickly adjust. They’d be stupid not to try to get me as a user any way that they can.

      And if they try to stop me from using both – I’ll just stop using the e coupons. They’re not nearly as valuable to me as the paper ones.

    • Cathy

      Great post-it makes perfect sense:)

    • Merrilee

      I’m with you! They want us to save, I’ll take it! Thanks for all your posts. . .

    • Elizabeth

      I agree with everything you said including not trusting P&G and Shortcuts. There are times they just don’t work so I never depend on them.

    • Julieann

      I agree and think that the people who say we are all but criminals are reading WAY too much into things and need to get a better perspective.

    • Mary

      While, we don’t have e-coupons in our area either, I truly appreciate the time you have taken to explain it.
      I figure we are in this big game with couponing – paper or electronic. The manufacturer and the retailers want our $$. It’s up to us how much they get! hahaha! That’s more than I can say for our taxes!! haha!

      It’s all about abiding by the rules and making it work. There are so many confused people out there. I went to Publix the other day and tried to use a TARGET Q. They told me that Target was not a competitor! HUH? It’s relatively down the road, BUT if I wanted to use an Albertson’s Q I could!! (Albertson’s is approx. 200 miles away!!) Ok where is the logic in this!!

      AS far as I see it, since the rules are made up as they go, and change from week to week, I just keep coming here and checking things out to get the best deals. Thanks Jenny for all your hard work!!

      GAME ON!!!

    • Lauren

      Word! Nice post and explanation. You’re right on about how we all use CVS. Therefore, none of us should throw stones.

    • Lindsey

      I agree with you.
      I think when they put these things out there, they do it full well knowing they are ALL out there.
      And, really, I’d say most people don’t take advantage of the deals anyway, so that’s probably why they don’t do much about it. Because they are making more money off of us then anything.
      And, at this day in age, there probably is some sort of technology that could be implemented if they really wanted to do that.
      Most of the time I can’t keep track of all the ecoupons (even when I print a list, they change so much, I forget) and it’s more of a surprise when they come off.
      A surprise and a guessing game as to whether they will actually work or not!
      Drives me crazy! Like you said, part of the time they don’t even work.
      I did get a credit from P&G for $4 for one that didn’t work. It took nearly a month and a half after it was loaded to actually even come off the card. I was shocked when it did! I was fixing to call them again and complain about it!

    • I totally agree! I have had a horrible time with shortcuts and eSaver coupons, so there is no way I would solely rely on those to work. I have them on my card, but I don’t keep up with what’s on there because most of them, they don’t come off anyway. I like paper coupons because I can see that they work and argue if they don’t!

    • John

      As another member posted previously, I just had a terrible experience with a Kroger manager in Atlanta, GA trying to convince me that I could no longer combine a paper coupon with an ecoupon. My Mega Deals plan is no longer so “mega”! Not only did he refuse to accept the paper coupons (since I had ecoupons loaded on my Kroger card), but also questioned the legitimacy of printed Coupons.com coupons. I won’t be shopping at this Kroger again. Seems like Kroger is really tightening up as far as coupons in general go. :-(

    • Thank you for posting this. I totally agree with everything you said. I am all for responsible coupon usage but there are also practical considerations with this one. Until they allow you to choose, or at the very least remove an ecoupon, then I don’t see how they can enforce this without losing lots of business to the ecoupons. I know that I will stop using them if it comes to that.

    • melissa O.

      Boy they are trying to stick us every chance they get, huh? I can’t stand it…..most of us need to save all the money we can!

    • Abbie

      I too agree completely. My P&G and Shortcuts coupons were not all working during my last visit to Kroger anyway, I’m so frustrated with e-coupons at this point, I can’t even get them to print correctly. As you said, these companies are out to make a buck, but so am I! I will stick to paper, but if and when I feel that e-coupons are back up and running correctly, I will combine them.

    • Thank you for this post! I was about to write a similar one myself. If I end up writing it still, I will be linking back to you as back up:)

    • I am totally with you on that boat girl! The manager at my Kroger told me that “I SHOULD use the both of them together, as he does, who wouldn’t?” I can not count the many times the loadable coupons did not go thru and I’ve had a “credit” in my account for so long now, it’s not even funny. They don’t work too well, so they are my “just in case” coupons. If this “use only one coupon” policy is gonna really happen, then so be it! For now, I’ll use both!

    • Kristie

      This past weekend none of my P&G, shortcuts or cellfire coupons worked. This was on 2 seperate occassions at 2 different Krogers. I had a printed list of what was on my card and i took it to customer service where they had me mark what I bought and then they gave me a refund. The manager at one store said he didn’t understand why it wasn’t working since Kroger is the endorser of the e coupons. So I wondered if something was going on. I did have paper coupons for all the items that did not come off my list. Do you think it didnt work because I had paper coupons?

    • Jenny

      I just used e coupons and paper coupons this weekend without any problems so I don’t think your issues were related to that. My guess it there systems are very particular about products and they are not entering all of the UPC codes that are available for the products. Since each flavor of items will have a different code, I think they are entering the main code but any other codes for the same product.

    • Last weekend I tried Cellfire for the first time and it didn’t work. As far as I know, I haven’t had problems with eSaver or Shortcuts not working.

      With Shortcuts, though, I have had the following problem. I had the coupon loaded twice (different exp. dates) for Yoplait Whips. I only bought one set, yet it came off twice.

      Honestly, folks, that shouldn’t be the consumer’s problem. I didn’t intentionally do that to rip off Kroger or Yoplait. But I have started to load up all the coupons just in case I find a deal in the store and I don’t miss out on an ecoupon. I’ve done it for the convenience … which is the whole point of having ecoupons.

    • Michelle

      2 additional thoughts:
      P&G esavers website even tells you that both the ecoupon and paper are allowed. If P&G is okay with this practice, then so am I.

      All of these companies still make money. If they didn’t make money they wouldn’t allow it to happen and they wouldn’t be in business.
      Therefore, enjoy it while it lasts.

      Thanks for posting your thoughts Jenny. It does help me feel better about using all of these coupons. Great site.

    • Kristine

      I have just come across this site. I love it! We recently moved here to Georgia from Northern Maryland and this site has been soo useful for me! I haven’t shopped at Krogers yet because I have yet to find a Sunday paper in my town that has coupons! I knew Piggly Wiggly accepted IP coupons so that has been my primary shopping place…well until last week when I finally ‘convinced’ the manager of our local Wal Mart SuperCenter that yes indeed it was corporate policy to accept IP coupons ;)
      Thanks for all the useful tips and info and I can’t wait to hit Krogers now that I know they accept IP coupons, do they double them?

    • I say use em all! I figure its like this. For every ONE of us who walks in there with a stack of coupons there are 1000 others who do not, who do not even look for SALES and who just buy away. My couponing is not hurting any of these guys. Especially considering I can rarely get out of one of these places without purchasing additional “good deals”. Which is exactly what they want so … I get what I want… they get what they want…. we all go home happy!

      Kudos for this post! It was very informative!