History of Coupons

In 1894 Coca-Cola first used coupons to market their new soft drink. There was no precedent for this and the coupons were hand written! Offering a penny off a glass of Coca-Cola, this coupon was mailed all over the country to potential customers. The campaign was a huge success. Between 1894 and 1913 a free Coca-Cola was given to 8.5 million Americans. By 1895 Coca-Cola was being served in every state.

Soon after Coca-Cola realized the impact of coupons, C.W. Post of Post Cereal began to offer coupons for his products as well. C.W. Post use a penny off coupon to promote his new cereal Grape Nuts. During the depression, the popularity of coupons soared, helping people afford groceries. By the 1930s coupons became a household staple.

With the rise of chain supermarkets, coupons were able to be widely distributed and more accessible to people all over the country. To help the companies and grocery stores redeem the influx of coupons, the Nielson Coupon Clearing House was established in 1957.

Today, it’s estimated that 2,800 companies offer coupons for their packaged goods. Americans redeemed $3.5 billion dollars worth of coupons in 2009, and the numbers are growing steadily. Not only can coupons be found in magazines and newspapers, but they can be found online as well. Many websites are dedicated to coupons and distribution.

Types of Coupons and Deals

The path for coupons was paved by companies like Coca-Cola and Post, but offering a penny off a product isn’t going to work in today’s market. The savings have to appealing, and companies have become creative in the savings they offer. There are two major types of coupons today: manufacturers coupons, and store coupons.

Manufacturers coupons are produced by the companies themselves, while in-store coupons are produced by the store. In many cases you can combine these two types of coupons for one item. For example, if you have a manufacturers coupon for a dollar off a Coke, and the store has a coupon for a dollar off a Coke, you can use both coupons and get two dollars off! Stores will not give cash back for overages, although many allow you to use the overages toward other items.

Many companies use coupons as a way to not only get to the customer to buy the advertised product, but a separate product as well. Other coupons, once used, lead to more savings. Here are some different types of savings:

The Mail-In Rebate

Rebates are mostly found in advertisements under products listed at incredible prices. Computers,
housewares, furniture, and big items are usually sold with a mail in rebate rather than traditional coupon. A
rebate generally requires the customer to pay full price for the item, then mail in the receipt to receive a
check for the rebate’s balance.

Buy One Get One Free

This coupon allows customers to double their money. It gets products off the shelves and lets customers know
about the product. There are variations as well, like “buy one, get one half off,” or “buy one item, get a
different item free.” A popular deal around holidays is to group foods together; buy a bag of chips and get a
soda for free is a good example.

Take Money off Your Purchase

Whether it be twenty cents, or twenty dollars, these coupons can mean big savings. Turn your $30 grocery bill
into a $10 grocery bill. Usually, these coupons require the customer to buy a certain amount of items before
the coupon can be redeemed. For example, if you have a $20 off your grocery bill coupon, they may require
you to purchase at least $30 worth of groceries. These coupons can still make a big difference.

Free Item Coupons

These are promotional coupons, often used for new items, or an older item with a new flavor, look or
packaging. These coupons are simple, just bring them into the story and redeem them for a free item.

How to Find Coupons or Rebates Online

Finding coupons online can be tricky and it’s easy to be mislead by worthless deals. However, finding coupons online can lead to incredible savings. There are many ways to use coupons online, or to get coupons online to use at retail stores locally.

When shopping online coupons can be used on many sites. The most popular kind of internet coupon is used to reduce the cost of shipping. Shipping cost is a huge factor when shopping online, but many companies offer low or free shipping to encourage shoppers.

Instead of paper coupons, online retailers often use “coupon codes” or “promotional codes.” These words or phrases are sometimes given through other sites, such as blogs or podcasts that are promoting the company. Other times the company will print the codes or offer the codes to return customers or first time purchasers.

When shopping through a companies web site, and not going through a large retailer like or, many of the rebates, coupons and savings are offered on the home page. For cross promotional purposes, a website may lead the customer to a second website for a coupon code.

In addition, many websites offer coupons that a customer can print off and use at store locally. Like promotional codes, these coupons can be found on the home page of many retail websites. Customers are often restricted to how many coupons they are allowed to print off a single computer.

How to Find Coupons or Rebates Offline

Traditionally, coupons were distributed through newspapers, magazines and fliers. Many coupons can still be found here today. Mail in rebates are often found in ads for computer retailers as well as large warehouses. Many business will also have their current coupons available at the front of the store.

Another overlooked coupon that can save you money are Catalina coupons. These are the coupons that get printed out on your receipts at the grocery stores. They are often for small items that would not normally be purchased in a regular shopping trip, like a cup of coffee or ice cream.

Some grocery stores offer to double your coupon’s savings under a certain amount. For example, if you have a coupon for fifty cents off a can of beans, this coupon becomes a savings of one dollar. This type of promotion is used on certain days or under certain circumstances in the store.

Why Use Coupons?

More and more people are discovering that coupons, rebates and discounts are a great way to save money. Some of these savings, such as the mail-in rebate, may take a little more effort, but the savings can make a huge difference.

Some people think it’s too good to be true, but the companies win out on these deals too. When people buy their brands and are pleased with the results, they are more likely to buy that brand again, whether or not they use a coupon. When you use coupons, everybody wins, otherwise the companies wouldn’t offer these deals.

Coupons have a long history of helping people out when financial times are tough. From hand-written Coca-Cola coupons to online promotional codes, coupons have been used by so many people to give them savings and to promote the company name.

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