Saturday, August 29, 2009

What is overage?

This is a word we extreme couponers love. Overage.

Overage is when you have a coupon (or coupons) for an item that are worth more than the item itself. The overage is the extra leftover. Some stores will allow you to have that extra to use toward other items in your transaction, others will reduce the value of the coupon to the amount of the item.

Opinions vary on this topic, but in my humble opinion, you should get the full value of the coupon used, because the retailer will be reimbursed full value no matter how much the item purchased costs.

There are several ways to get overage. The best way is to find a store that has a very good coupon policy, like Publix. Because the more types of coupons a store accepts, the more opportunity there will be for overage.
1) An item is on sale and you have a coupon for a larger value than the item.
i.e. Cheerios are on sale for $1.00 a box. You have a coupon for $1.50 off one box. What happens to the $.50? Overage, if your store allows.
2) You have a manufacturer coupon and a store coupon for the same item. When used together at a store that allows stacking, it adds up to more than the value of the item.
i.e. Cheerios are $1.00. You have a manufacturer coupon for $1 off one and a store coupon for $.50 off one box. When used together, you have $.50 overage.

I believe that overage should be given for any items you purchase that the item is less than the coupon. Unless the coupon states "minimum purchase", then the manufacturer knows what they are doing when they put out their coupons. Sometimes I think people think the manufacturers are just oblivious. They're not. When they do not "exclude trial sizes" on their coupons, they understand people can use them on trial sizes. And often, that is their plan. They want you to try their product for free so that you will then like it so much, you'll purchase it full-size and full-price. They are not stupid!

As I said, opinions vary, but since this is my blog, and mine is the only one that really counts (heh) Overage should be given on all coupons that do not disallow it.

A good example is the $6 pork coupon. This coupon states that you can save $6 off of any "the other white meat" when you buy Kingsford Charcoal and another {participating item}. There is no minimum requirement. If this coupon stated "Save up to $6 on the other white meat, value of coupon not to exceed item value" then I would say absolutely not. No overage should be given. But it doesn't. So I am happy to use this coupon at a store which allows overage.

The thing we have to remember is that the average shopper does not use coupons. The occasional shopper uses a few coupons (probably saving up to ten dollars per transaction). It is a very rare shopper that does what we do. So at the end of the month, when the retailer turns in their coupons to the clearinghouse for reimbursement, there is plenty of pork sold to cover everyone. The $20+ of overage I am getting is way outweighed by the hundreds or thousands of dollars in pork sold by the retailer in the month.


  1. Funny I was just thinking about overage yesterday.

    I was wondering how it was we - they - whoever - got Publix to allow overage....and how we could lobby to get other stores (Walmart, Target, Kroger, etc) to allow it too, without making us feel like theives.

    I remember back when I first started coupon-shopping, back in January/February, my Publix cashiers were still most of the time adjusting coupons down - or refusing them altogether.
    So it seems like it might be a new(er) thing, and that maybe we - the coupon shoppers - got this going? Or maybe it was always policy, but we just brought it to the forefront. Either way it seems like we brought about a change.

    I'm with you, the stores get reimbursed full value of the coupon, we ought to be getting full value of the coupon. We wouldn't spend .75 cents, hand them a dollar, and be okay with them just keeping the change would we?

    Jenny taught us from the first to think of our coupons as money.
    I guess that's why I get so bent out of shape when cashiers act like they/the store are giving me items for cheap or free...when I am giving them MONEY. Lots and lots of MONEY.

  2. You know, one of my pet peeves is when a store will adjust down the value of a manufacturer coupon so that you won't get overage. When the coupons go to the big overseas clearinghouse and are scanned on the big conveyor belts, the store receives the full value of the coupon plus the handling fee, usually 8c. So in my humble opinion, the stores are committing fraud if they adjust down the coupon value!

  3. Oh I totally agree with both of you- and I love it when they say, well, I'll write the value on here. (HA!, like some single person is sitting there looking at every single coupon to see if some moronic/clueless cashier has hand-written something on there).
    Or when they say, we won't get reimbursed full value if the item is less. Oh really? How do they know? {one assistant manager said to me at Wal-Mart "They know more than you think :rofl:
    I said, "no, I know more than you, obviously."}

    That's why I LOVE my Publix so much. The store manager understands that
    Coupons=Money. (A coupon is just a promissory note, not like anyone knows what that means anymore)

  4. I agree with your posts on overage of Mfg Q, but I do have a question:

    In a situation where you stack a store Q & mfg Q to get overage, isn't the store giving you the extra out of their own pocket? Example is the Sundown vits ($2.99 price): when you stack the $6/2 Publix Q & $5/2 Mfg Q they are only getting paid $5/2, not $11/2. The store Q is like a price reduction. So by stacking those 2 together, the store only gets paid $5 & is paying you $6 out of their pocket. Right? So, in that scenario, if they would refuse to accept the Publix Q (b/c it gives overage) that would be ok, right?

  5. I dont think anyone could have said it better!!!

  6. Jennifer, well, there are varying opinions on this. A store rarely/never offers deals that aren't backed by the manufacturer. So if Publix has a store coupon for $6/2 in their flyer, it is 99% likely that it is there based on a deal made by a bigwig at Sundown talking to a bigwig at Publix. This results in income to Publix. So, say the Sundown guy says, if you offer a store coupon, we'll reimburse 40% of the value of the coupon. It increases your sales and our sales. The customer gets a better discount because if they're savvy, they know they can use a mq with it.
    So yes, it's a store coupon, but it's not money out of Publix' pocket. They will get partial/all value of that coupon back from the manufacturer. THere has to be an incentive for the store coupons.

    Then, there's this to consider (thank you Mel):
    If I walked in and purchased two bottles of vitamins at $2.99 each and paid cash, and used a $6/2 coupon, I would be given the full value of that coupon, no questions asked.
    How is that any different from me walking in to purchase two bottles of vitamins at $2.99/ea, paying with a manufacturer's promissory note (coupon) and then using the store coupon for $6/2.
    Coupons are money.

    Look at it like this :

    Option A:
    I buy
    1 Sundown Vit D 2.99
    1 Sundown Vit D 2.99
    Total: $5.98 + tax
    I pay $6/2 store coupon.
    Cash for tax.

    I receive a $6 discount offered by the store and manufacturer for the vitamins.
    Store receives compensation for coupon deal.

    Option B
    I buy
    1 Sundown Vit D 2.99
    1 Sundown Vit D 2.99
    Total: $5.98 + tax
    I pay $6/2 store coupon.
    $5/2 mq for tax (plus overage which I would use for other items).

    I receive
    *$6 discount offered by the store and manufacturer for the vitamins. +
    *$5 discount offered by manufacturer by using the mq.

    Store receives
    *$5.08 for my coupon +
    *compensation for coupon deal.

    By paying with a coupon, how does that affect the store's income? Bottom line: it doesn't. If anything, they make a few pennies more by me using my coupon since they are reimbursed $.08 per coupon for handling.

    So no, I do not agree with the store refusing to accept store coupons which will give overage, or even marking them down. This is the store making the assumption that my coupons are worthless and they are losing money when I use them, and that is not the case.