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Chances are you’ve seen her on Oprah. Or you read about her amazing stockpiles in the local paper. Perhaps you’ve even heard her interviewed on the radio. You know who I mean. That savvy lady who can walk into a CVS, Kroger, Meijers Target or Walgreens and come out with hundreds of dollars worth of merchandise after only paying a few cents out of pocket.


She is a serious couponer. She’s constantly on the lookout for great deals and broadcasts them even if she can’t use them herself. She’s also eager to teach couponing to anyone who is willing to learn. To take advantage of her tutelage, all you have to do is understand her. To do that you must learn her language. Here’s a guide to get you started.


$/$$

A coupon most commonly issued at CVS, but have been known to come from Lowes, Target and other retailers as well, for a certain dollar amount off when you purchase a certain dollar amount. Popular ones from CVS include: 3 off 15, 4 off 20, 5 off 30, 10 off 50 and more recently, 15 off 75 and 20 off 100. They can be used in combination with other manufacturer or store coupons, but should be presented first to keep your out of pocket as low as possible.


B1G1 or BOGO

Buy One Get One Free. The term can refer to a store sale or a manufacturer coupon.


Blinkie

This refers to the coupons you can obtain from the red Smartsource machine with a red blinking light on it. You can find them in store aisles generally next to the product the coupons are for.


Cat

This term is the abbreviation for Catalina coupon. These are coupons that print at the register after you make a purchase. The name is derived from the company that makes the machine to print the coupon. These types of coupons can also be referred to as a:


CRT

This name is the acronym for Cash Register Tape. They can also reference a coupon printed at the end of your CVS receipt or from the red self service price scanner located in most CVS stores.


CQ

This is a Competitor Coupon. It is any coupon issued by a store like Walgreens, but used at another store like CVS or Target if they accept CQs. Some do, some don’t. When in doubt, simply ask.


DND

Do Not Double. This is printed on coupons that stores are not supposed to double meaning that the face value of the coupon is all the savings allowed by the manufacturer.


D/TQ

If the coupon is not DND, the stores are free to double or even triple its value. When announcing this kind of promotion, you may see D/TQ to let you know about the increased value of your coupons during the sale.


ECB/eb

Extra(Care) Buck. This term is specific to CVS. When you buy certain products there, an ECB will print on the bottom of your receipt. These dollar amounts work like cash on your purchase at CVS. They can be stacked with no problem. Just be aware of the expiration date.


EOB

Also specific to CVS. This term refers to their Essence of Beauty line of products.


ESQ

Easy Saver Coupon. This term is specific to Walgreens. You can find ESQs in the front of booklets Walgreens prints every month. The coupons are for Walgreens, but you may find another store who will accept them as a competitor coupon.


ESR

Easy Saver Reward. Also specific to Walgreens. This is the rebate found at the back of the Walgreens booklets. They can absolutely be combined with an ESQ, but you may not use them at another store.


FAR

Free After Rebate. After you buy a product, you can submit your receipt and receive a full refund of the purchase price. Just be aware of any limits to the rebate. You may be able to submit only one.


HBA

Health & Beauty Aids. These are items like toothpaste, deodorant and the like. Usually, they are very easy to stockpile because there are no expiration dates. Be aware that toothpaste does have an expiration date. If you find that your toothpaste stockpile is larger than what you’ll use in that timeframe, it makes a good donation to shelters.


IP

Coupons that you can print from the internet to use in stores are called Internet Printables. Even though you printed it, you must never copy it. This is coupon fraud and is illegal. Manufacturers limit how many coupons can be printed per computer. Generally, the number is two. The good news is that limit can be reset on a schedule the manufacturer sets. This can be on a monthly basis or even weekly.


ISO/IDSO/IVDSO

In Search Of/In Desperate Search Of/In Very Desperate Search Of. You’ll see this term used when a couponer is looking for a specific coupon. If you have one you’re not going to use, feel free to offer it to her. Usually she’ll have something you need and the two of you can do a trade. It’s a marvelous way to get multiples of coupons you know you’ll use.


A tip: if someone is suddenly looking for this coupon, chances are there is a great sale coming up. It’s only polite for the person to mention that in the post, but sometimes they don’t. If you were going to use that coupon you might want to sniff around and see what you can find.


MFR

Manufacturer. You’ll see this a lot when couponers are talking about the corporations who issued the coupons. This term has started flying around recently in response to the Register Rewards system at Walgreens that only prints out more RRs if the previous RR was used on a different Manufacturer’s merchandise.


MM

Money Maker. This happens when a couponer puts together such a great deal that they actually make money after the store transaction instead of spending anything out of pocket. Naturally, each store differs on how they handle this. Some may issue a store credit, others may adjust the coupons down to even everything out, or they may give you cash.


MQ

Manufacturer Coupon. These are coupons most commonly found in your Sunday newspaper insert. They can also refer to blinkies or peelies. The purpose of the terms “blinkie” and “peelie” is to let you know where to get that particular coupon.


MIR

Mail In Rebate. Similar to the Free After Rebate, this term refers to any offer to buy a product and be reimbursed for a certain dollar amount after purchase.


OOP

Out Of Pocket. This is the term referencing the amount of your purchase that was not covered by the coupons you used during the transaction. It’s how much you actually paid the store from your pocket.


OYNO/OYNP

On Your Next Order/On Your Next Purchase. This coupon is usually a cat that prints after you make a purchase. It’s good for a certain dollar amount off the next purchase you make at that store. If you are expecting an OYNO and the store allows it, you can separate your purchase into two transactions and use the coupon immediately. This is a practice commonly used to get the best deals at both CVS and Walgreens.


Peelies

These are coupons attached to items in the store. You simply need to peel them from the product to use them. Usually, you can use them on the item at your first purchase. There’s no need to return to the store just to use it. They can be used immediately or saved for future purchases.


PG/P&G

Refers to the Proctor & Gamble coupon insert from your Sunday newspaper.


PSA

Prices Start At. Very helpful when planning your next shopping trip. Many stores don’t publish the purchase price of items when they are having a BOGO sale. This makes it impossible to accurately calculate your OOP before going in. Couponers will publish the PSA so you can at least have a ballpark and determine if the sale warrants further investigation.


RAOK

Random Act Of Kindness. When you see this in a post, it means that the person is giving away an envelope of coupons with no expectation of anything in return. Generally, these are potlucks, meaning that the coupons will vary or the coupons can be tailored to you if you’ve posted an ISO and the couponer is super nice.


RP

This is the Red Plum coupon insert from your Sunday newspaper.


RR

Refers to the Register Rewards you get at Walgreens after purchasing specified items. It’s very similar to CVS’ ECB program except there is no card required to receive your register rewards.


SS

This is the Smartsource coupon insert from your Sunday newspaper.


Tear Pad

This is a pad of forms or coupons that you can find hanging from a store shelf or display. There’s no machine involved. It looks like a notepad. You tear off the coupons to use on your purchases. Can be used immediately or saved for future purchases.


V

Depending on the region in which you live, you may receive a Valassis coupon insert instead of a Red Plum in your Sunday newspaper.


Wags

This is the quick reference for Walgreens.


WYB

When You Buy. This term refers to the conditions some coupons have in order to receive the added value. For instance, at CVS you may receive $5 in ECBs when you buy $20 worth of L’Oreal products.


YMMV

Your Mileage Might (May) Vary. When reading about deals online, your experience may differ from what was posted. The couponer may have found a store that accepts multiples of competitor coupons which significantly lowered her OOP while you may be stuck with a store who refuses to accept even multiples of manufacturer coupons despite what their coupon policy states. This terms lets you know that there were factors to the deal that may very well be beyond your control, but is still worth a try.


Now that you’ve learned the basics of a couponer’s language, let’s see if you can translate the following just for fun:


CVS is offering $10 in ECBs wyb 3 Softsoap refills. PSA at $6. MFR has a FAR running, limit 1 MIR per household. You can find $2 off 1 MQ from SS, RP and PG. There’s a $3 off 1 Wags ESQ for an OOP of $3 plus tax. Possible $13 MM if all three CQs are accepted, but ymmv.

 

If you know what I just said, congratulations! You are on your way to being a serious couponer and saving loads of money. If not, feel free to review the article and try again. When you start saving oodles of money you’ll be glad you did.


Happy shopping!!

Decoding a Couponer’s Language