Coupons – Reading the Fine Print

Coupons – Reading the Fine Print (Printed Coupons)


Coupons come in all shapes and sizes. There are tear pad coupons, printed coupons, pdf’s, peelies, booklets, mail outs, and more.

Understanding coupons is a basic necessity to using them. Coupons can be very confusing sometimes. And some stores will not always agree with what we believe the coupon shows. But, to be fair, stores are permitted their own interpretation of coupons. Unfortunate as this is, sometimes it restricts us when we use coupons especially when we believe we’re using a coupon in the correct way, a store might say that’s not their take on it.

So, lets review some of the important aspects of reading coupons.

  1. Each coupon must state what product the coupon covers or in the case of multiple products it needs to be specific.

  2. There are coupons that may state, ‘Good on any (Product Name) Product.

  3. The coupon must have a specific amount on it. Coupons are treated like cash because they reduce your amount at checkout just like cash does, so the amount is very important.

  4. All coupons must have a Canadian remit to address somewhere on it to be used in Canada. U.S. remit to addresses are not valid in Canada.

  5. Each coupon must have an expiry date

  6. Each coupon should have a bar code and a unique pin. In the case of PDF coupons, all coupons will have the same bar code and not usually a pin #.

  7. Most coupons have a QR code for scanning. Although I’ve never seen it scanned when used, it could be for the manufacturer when redemption occurs.

  8. The outside line around a coupon is not a cutting line. This outer line can show a number of different items including the product name, the bar code, the UPC code, the expiry date, and sometimes the time it was printed. This is a safety measure to confirm the details of the coupon are the same as the outer line. It’s supposed to prevent forgery.

  9. Some coupons will have your email address printed on them. Some may have your name printed on them.

Coupons – Reading the Fine Print (Tear Pad Coupons)


The main difference in a tear pad coupon is it’s produced by the manufacturer and distributed for use as opposed to printing it at home.

All the main key points are shown with arrows. The 5 main items that make up a tear pad are:

  1. The amount, the product it covers and the size

  2. The remittance address (should be Canadian

  3. The expiry date

  4. A bar code

  5. Instuctions on use, ie. one per customer, one per product, one per purchase, one per family, etc.

  6. This is a whole completely different lesson in learning about coupons which is touched on in another tip.

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