How do you read a coupon?
Coupons utilize a large variety of different numbers, codes, language, and other elements that make them unique.
You need to fully understand all of this language to ensure that you properly utilize a coupon on your shopping trips.
While some of this language can be surprisingly complex, much of it is relatively simple to understand and shouldn’t tax your understanding too much at first glance.
The Unique Language of a Coupon
All coupons utilize the same universal language to make them more comfortable for you, the manufacturer, and the store to understand.
As a result, a ticket is broken down into various elements that create a way for you to grasp a coupon at a glance.
While this language might not be immediately apparent or easy to know at first, a basic understanding of it can improve your shopping experience.
For example, the coupon’s barcode utilizes a variety of numbers that help to not only track its use but can help you understand how it is used.
These numbers break down into several types and help make your coupon use more streamlined.
The most important of these numbers include the following:
- The UCC Number – This code is designed to let the cash register know that it is reading a coupon and also gives you an insight into a coupon’s legitimacy. All UCC numbers start with a five, which lets the scanner know that it is a coupon right way. If you run into any coupons that don’t have a five at the start, it is not legitimate and should be avoided.
- Manufacturer Number – After UCC number on your code, you’ll get a five-digit number that indicates the manufacturer associated with the coupon. This number should match all other coupons available from this manufacturer. If you find a coupon that does not match the appropriate manufacturer number, report it to a store.
- Family Code – Following the manufacturer number is the family code. This code pairs up with the product that you have purchased that is associated with the coupon. This three-digit number is programmed directly onto the coupon and the product to ensure that they both scan properly. The family code is harder to check, though may find it on your product’s barcode.
- Value Code – Two numbers follow the family code and determine the value of the coupon. The neatest thing about this code is that it can sometimes let you know, at a glance, how much you’ll save on the coupon. For example, a code of 50 may mean that you get 50 cents off the product. This coding isn’t always so literal, though.
- Check Digit – Lastly, the final number on the code is known as the check digit. This number helps to calculate all of the numbers on the coupon and ensures that they are properly synthesized at the cash register. This simple number has a lot of weight to it, so make sure that your coupon’s check digit is clean and not scuffed up or else you might run into complications with its acceptance.
Other Types of Coupon Language
Although the technical language of coupons is typically streamlined and similar from coupon to coupon, other types of terms exist that you need to understand.
Most of these concepts should be basic and easy enough for most people to understand without help.
However, some might be a little harder or go beyond a basic understanding of coupon savings:
- Expiration Date – This detail is probably the easiest language to understand on a coupon. The expiration date lets you know when your coupon is no longer valid. Typically, most expiration dates are printed in an easy-to-understand way and should be one of the most obvious elements on the coupon.
- Wording Concepts – Many people get confused when reading their coupon because the language may be confusing. For example, the coupon may say “Save $2 on 2 Bags of Doritos, Your Choice.” Typically, this means that you can buy two bags of Doritos – of a specific size – of any flavor and save $2 total on their purchase: not $2 per bag.
- Picture – All coupons should have a picture of the product with which it is associated. This picture should accurately showcase the item that you can purchase. If it does not, you need to make sure to pay attention to the description of the product first. The picture is not legally binding, but the description of the coupon will dictate the appropriate product.
- Fine Print – All coupons come with copious amounts of fine print, some of which you need to understand. For example, you need to understand the restrictions of the coupon – such as how many you can use per purchase – and more. Other types of this fine print will be necessary for the retailer – but not you – to understand.