Glossary Of Coupon Ninja Message Board Terms

You want to get in on the hot coupon action. You read stories like the one yesterday about the lady who bought 51 items for $45.56 using coupons and you think, damn, I want to go to there. The best deals are getting swapped among elite coupon freaks in online coupon forums where they trade the latest coupons, tips and tactics and refine their deal strategies. But penetrating these zones can seem daunting for the novice, especially when they speak in their own coded language. DND9? OOP? WYB? To help out, here’s a big glossary of common coupon terms and abbreviations to help get you started and not come off as such a newbie.

AFC: A Full Cup, a popular coupon website / forum
Blinkies: Coupons dispensed by small, red machines with a blinking light attached to shelves.
B1G1 (or B1GX): Buy One, Get One (or some other quantity) free. Also written as “BOGO”.
Catalina: A coupon dispensed at checkout from a special printer after your transaction is completed.
Coupon Binder: A binder kept by many couponers. It generally contains flexible plastic pages (the type used for baseball card collections) where coupons are stored by type. Other items in a binder might include weekly store circulars and supplements, a calculator, price book, and so forth.
CRT: Cash Register Tape. It’s your receipt, often required for mail-in rebates.
Dead: A coupon deal that has expired.
Deal: Refers to putting together a transaction in a certain way to maximize savings, or a special sale/event where coupon use can maximize savings.
DND/DNT: Coupons labeled “Do Not Double” or “Do Not Triple” at the top.
DND5: A coupon labeled with “Do Not Double” at the top but with a bar code beginning with the number 5. DND coupons with a 5 at the beginning of the bar code will still generally double or triple at most stores.
DND9: Same as DND5 but because the bar code begins with a 9, these coupons will not double or triple.
Doubles: Coupons where the face value is doubled up to a set amount by certain retailers (Harris Teeter, for example).
ECB: Extra Care Bucks. These coupons are specific to the chain drug store CVS and you must use their “Extra Care” loyalty card. They can be spent just like cash on most items (there are a few exemptions, like cigarettes). You earn ECBs in two ways: CVS will run deals on certain items, for example, buy two get $2 in ECBs, which are supposed to be spent on your next visit. You also earn quarterly ECBs, which are based on 2% of your out-of-pocket spending at the store.
Filler: A small item purchased to reach a minimum purchase amount necessary to get a deal or if your total out-of-pocket cost is less than zero (most stores will not allow you to have a negative total).
GDA: Good Deal Alert. This is a heads-up from other couponers that there is an item or sale/event at a particular retailer where your out-of-pocket cost will be extremely low or possibly, zero.
Frees: Items that will be completely free after the coupon is deducted from the cost or on-sale price.
Hang Tag: A coupon hanging around the neck of a bottle (salad dressing, etc).
HCW: Hot Coupon World, a popular coupon website / forum
IP: Internet Printable coupons.
MIR: Mail-In Rebate.
OOP: Out-of-Pocket. Your cost after coupons, catalinas, ECBs, etc.
OOS: Out of Stock.
Overage: This occurs if your coupon value exceeds the item price. Commonly happens when a store runs a sale and the shopper uses a coupon. Overage may or may not be applied to the remaining sales total, depending on the store. For example: CVS runs a sale on M&Ms for $.49 and the shopper has a $.55 coupon; the coupon would generate $.06 overage, which may or may not be applied to any remaining balance to be paid.
OYNO: On Your Next Order. A coupon (most usually a catalina) that gives you a certain amount off your next order or transaction. You generally get these after meeting some sort of requirement, like buying a certain number of products or spending a certain amount of money.
Peelie: A coupon that is adhered to a product and that must be peeled off to use.
Price Book: A notebook kept by many couponers documenting weekly or monthly prices of items they purchase regularly and what the best price is that they’ve found on it. This enables the couponer to track whether the price is going up or down, and what savings they’re seeing if a store puts the item on sale.
Rolling: Rolling savings generated from one transaction into another; for example, using a $3 OYNO catalina from your first transaction to pay for part of a second transaction.
RP: Red Plum coupons that come in the Sunday newspaper, or that can be printed online.
RR: Register Reward. These are specific to national drug chain, Walgreens. Like ECBs, they can be spent just like cash on most items (with the same exemptions) but unlike ECBs, you Walgreen’s doesn’t have a loyalty card that you must use to obtain these. You earn these from purchases only and there are no quarterly RRs.
SS: Smart Source coupons that come in the Sunday newspaper, or that can be printed online.
Stacking: Using both a store coupon and a manufacturer’s coupon on one item.
Stockpiling: Buying up multiple items or large quantities and storing them for future use.
Super-Doubles or SD: Special coupon events where a retailer will double coupons with high face values. For example, if a retailer normally doubles coupons up to $.75, during SDs, they may take double coupons with face values of up to $1.50 instead.
Tearpad: An in-store display with coupons that can be torn off.
Triples: Special coupon events where a retailer will triple the face value of a coupon up to a certain limit.
V: Valassis coupons that come in the Sunday newspaper.
Wine Tag: A coupon hanging around the neck of a wine bottle.
WYB: When You Buy. An action triggered after you meet a certain threshold. For example, “Get 2 bottles free when you buy 3.”

(Big thanks to Lady Siren for these!)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Muddie says:

    I want to to go to there?

  2. Skellbasher says:

    Some coupons can be a good deal, but it just seems like spending hours searching for finding coupon deals mitigates the savings a bit.

    God bless ya if that’s your thing, but I can’t imagine spending 4 hours getting coupons to save $20.

    • apd09 says:

      using basic coupons from the paper and coupons that get mailed to me everyonce and a while I have gotten great deals. Every couple of months Safeway sends out a postcard with a $10 off coupon, along with really great pricing deals like $.99 for 2lb bag of shredded cheese and other stuff like that.
      Using all of those things along with the $5.00 coupon from the Entertainment Book plus store sales I have managed to got $200 in groceries for $115 and it was all stuff I wanted like meats, veggies, pantry goods as well.

      I am with you, I can’t spend 4 hours a week trying to do that but couple of months or so I am able to put together a great trip to Safeway.

    • Marlin says:

      Well look at mister high and mighty that makes more then $5 a hour. Rub it in our face why don;t ya.


      I use coupons but I just go to fatwallet and other sites and look real quick. That and the ones that come in the mail.

      • Skellbasher says:

        I’m the same way. I’ll look for deals on large purchases, or if I happen to see something in the paper or the mail that I’d use, but that’s about it.

        My girlfriend will spend hours every Sunday going through the coupon section in the paper. She’ll only end up using half of what she cuts out on a good week anyways.

        But, she leaves me alone to watch football, so that’s a plus. :)

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      I usually just compile coupons from the Sunday paper. It takes me less than an hour to clip all the ones I need, and usually they come in runs – like if you see a diapers coupon, you can almost guarantee that at least the next two or three pages are going to be babies and pets.

      I saved $2.50 on detergent a few weeks ago because I used a manufacturer’s coupon and a store coupon. It doesn’t seem so much, except I only paid 30 cents for the Sunday paper (really good subscription deal) and the one coupon gave me $1 off.

      • LadySiren is murdering her kids with HFCS and processed cheese says:

        Hmmm, I’d say I spend oh, a couple of hours on Sundays with my newspaper. But then again, I’m reading it cover-to-cover before clipping and organizing the week’s coupons. It’s kind of relaxing – a cup of coffee, the Sunday paper, then coupons.

    • lukesdad says:

      Why do people assume it takes up so much flipping time to look for coupons?? My wife saves us tons of money by being a “coupon ninja.” She spends maybe a half hour each week going through the Sunday paper and visiting a few of her coupon web sites to come up with them. There’s a bit of extra time involved, sure, but when you see “You saved $90” printed on your receipt? Yeah, it’s worth it.

      And no, coupons do not only exist for processed junk.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        It definitely doesn’t take long at all, but even if it did take longer than just an hour, it would be worth it because it’s really important to me that we save money and that we get all of the foods we like.

        I wish there were more coupons for produce, but the coupons for packaged food are really helpful. I got several boxes of pasta for free one time because of a coupon combined with a B1G1F deal at the grocery store. Those coupons don’t make as big of a dent as laundry detergent ones though. Detergents and dishwashing liquid can get expensive so I buy a big supply if I see that one of the brands has gone one sale at the store and I can use a manufacturer’s coupon.

      • Powerlurker says:

        How much do you save from the Sunday paper coupons compared to the cost of the subscription?

        • Cantras says:

          I pay about $7 a month for a sundays-only subscription. $10 savings per weekly trip is pretty standard for me, and I don’t even put that much effort into it. Bigger savings with bigger stocking-up shopping trips.

          (There’s also, of course, the reading value of the newspaper. ;)

        • UniTonsil says:

          I threatened to cancel my Los Angeles Times Sunday-only subscription and they offered me Sunday-only delivery for $0.21 a week. I couldn’t say no to that.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        That “You saved $X” is a bunch of baloney. When you need a card to obtain the Grocery price (i.e. it’s $4.00, or $3.50 with your Safeway card) then that statement at the bottom doesn’t mean what you saved. It show you the amount the grocery tried to overcharge you.

        Offering lower prices by having a card is just the grocer’s way to track what you buy. I don’t necessarily mind they track what is being bought, but I do find the practice of offering higher prices without the card distasteful.

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          I don’t see it that way at all. Area grocery stores all charge roughly the same amount – unless I move or stop eating, I’m going to pay comparable prices from one store to another. I’ve noticed that when something isn’t on sale, the price is the same as it was before the sale, so the sale really is a sale. Personally, I try to buy things that are on sale in the weekly circular and I’m just happy that a lot of it is produce, because we buy more produce and chicken than we do anything else.

          They can track what I buy all they want – the cards I use don’t have my information on them.

        • jessjj347 says:

          Most grocery stores (not convenience stores) make very marginal profits – they’re not overpricing anyone. It’s the companies they buy from that are.

      • Coupon says:

        If it’s a coupon for food, 90-95%+ of them are for processed food like Hamburger Helper, microwave meals, soup etc. I’ve been a ‘couponing ninja’ hardcore for 3 years now and pretty much have every coupon memorized at this point since there’s a regular rotation you can anticipate.

  3. Miss Dev (The Beer Sherpa) says:

    I tried couponing for the first time several weeks ago (I was waiting for my parents to get home and went through their newspaper). I ended up getting $80 worth of groceries for $28, so it was definitely worth it. I’m not sure I would want to spend all of my free time doing this, but if I got a paper (live in an apartment, so I don’t), I would consider using an hour every Sunday getting coupons to save some money.

    • RandomHookup says:

      Most of the ninja types have the system down pretty well and don’t spend much more time than they usually would on shopping. The secret is that they know where to find coupons, pay attention to deals and use shared online information to make the deals profitable. The shared info is the key time saver — you don’t have to do all the work yourself; someone else will do a lot of it for you.

      • CrissyT says:

        I spend maybe 15 minutes cutting the sunday paper coupons. By the time Sunday rols around, chances are someone has already posted sale ads for the week online somewhere, and i know exactly what Im looking for.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      I live in an apartment, and I get the paper. If yours has a locked front door, ask your management if they’ll accept the paper for you and you can pick it up, or if they’ll let the delivery guy in to drop off the paper.

  4. Cantras says:

    Where are these places that double coupons? All the obsessive-couponer stories mention them, and it must be somewhat common if coupons will take the space to write “Do not double” on them, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a place offering this or advertising this. Is it usually something that requires a membership? Is it local grocery stores versus chains? BIG chains vs regional chains?

    My most recent coupon story is that I had a coupon for 75c off two packages of ziploc boxes, the boxes turned out to be on sale for 1.50 each, and buying two triggered a 1.50 “OYNO catalina” I guess they’d call it. Probably the best I’ve pulled off recently.

    • snarkysniff says:

      Where I live in California there are no stores that double or triple coupons. I know back in Michigan most stores did. Some stores doubled $1 coupons as well, others are up to $1 which means they didnt do the $1 coupons.

    • lukesdad says:

      I’m in the Seattle area and it seems that Albertson’s is the only store that doubles around here.

    • Outrun1986 says:

      In WNY there are a couple stores that do this, most notably Tops and Wegmans. Tops however has VERY high prices, so I recommend that you avoid them unless you have a coupon combined with a sale to make the item cheaper than you can get at another store. Tops also gives out $1 coupons that you can combine with 1$ coupons you already have, you can also go into tops, grab ad papers with these coupons, and take these coupons to Wegmans since they are also honored there and Wegmans has much lower prices than Tops.

      Even with this tactic though, I only save about $10-15 per grocery bill by using coupons. I print internet coupons too. Probably because we don’t buy a lot of frozen, prepared foods which is what a lot of the coupons are for.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      In Virginia, Giant Foods sends coupon doubler coupons in their circular. There are usually four or five and you can scan those along with your coupons to double them. Giant Foods also does double coupon weekends once in a while.

    • lim says:

      Price Chopper in VT.

  5. WagTheDog says:

    That’s sort of like CB radio talk….utterly incomprehensible except to the in crowd.

  6. PencilSharp says:

    As a retailer, I always called the “Buy 1 Get 1 Free” items BIGIF. That is, IF you can find the sale item (they move fast), IF you can find a second eligible item you actually want, IF that coupon isn’t fake…

  7. pop top says:

    But what if someone buys…PROCESSED FOODS with these coupons?! How will I get through life knowing that somewhere, out there, are people that don’t eat organic food all the time?! Oh the humanity!

    • enabler says:

      Don’t post that shameful secret on Consumerist. You will incur the steep judgment of all the vegan farmers, Whole Foods employees and Food Network chefs that apparently read this site.

    • theycallmeGinger says:

      Don’t worry, I’m sure Whole Foods has their own coupons.

      “Buy one, get self-satisfaction!”
      “10% off items with 110% markup!”
      “Free wheat grass drink for every entitled child!”

  8. zweifel says:

    Props for the 30 rock reference

  9. amgriffin says:

    It seems like all I ever see are coupons for stuff I don’t buy like the quasi-prepared food. I’m thinking things like Hamburger Helper or Sloppy Joe sauce or ice cream or chips. Whereas I buy stuff like eggs, chicken breast, russet potatoes, four, fresh fruit, etc. Are there coupon ninjas who achieve these massive coupon coups without ever having to buy all the processed “junk” items? If so, where the heck are the coupons for fresh produce or meats found?

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Check your local circulars. The stores in my area send circulars with coupons for eggs, fruit, etc. Coupons for eggs and milk are more likely than coupons for chicken, though.

    • JulesNoctambule says:

      I routinely use coupons for fresh produce, dairy items and other ‘unprocessed’ foods. Sometimes I find manufacturer’s coupons for those items (even branded produce), but mostly it’s store card-generated coupons.

    • CrissyT says:

      Mambo sprouts also sends out coupons, and WHole Foods has them in store if thats your thing.

    • RandomHookup says:

      The reality is that coupons come for branded items as a competitive aid (make us cheaper than the competition or get you to try us and prefer our item). Meats have some competition, but there’s no real branding in the produce aisle. That means it become store against store for sales and coupons/promotions. Without national manufacturer coupons (there are some, but they tend to be hard to find because of their value), you won’t get the mega-discounts.

    • Big Mama Pain says:

      I read the blog of the guy who lived on $1 a day, which turned out to be a coupon thing. He’d deliberately create overages, which he then used toward the purchase of vegetables, meat, etc. Then he’d donate all the crap he had to buy to get the overage to food banks. It looked like a win/win-he basically never really paid for food, and donated shitloads of food and toiletries to charity.

    • chirish1025 says:

      There are a lot of organic coupons out there. Its all about contacting the companies YOU like. I have free coupons for Organic Salads, organic milk etc. I contacted the company whose eggs my family enjoyed, got some coupons. Even the Irish butter/cheese company that I love and is extremely expensive sent me coupons. Couponing is like a lot of things in life, take what you can use and leave the rest behind.

  10. gargunkle says:

    This sounds like a lot of work.

    • Captain Walker says:

      Work is hard!

      I got $28 worth of groceries yesterday for $12. You don’t care about the details, so I won’t bore you, but it took me a good 5 minutes to go through the circulars for the local stores, the coupons from the Sunday paper, and to write down my list.

  11. The hand that feeds, now with more bacon says:

    The person in yesterday’s story is not a coupon ninja at all. My sister earns income from her grocery couponing. Year-to-date she’s saved over $10,000 at CVS (they show the tally on your receipts) and she receives rebate checks in the mail several times a week. Her CVS receipts are usually $0 or a few cents because they let you apply the ECB to the tax.

    She does not get anything unless it’s FREE or she get’s money back from it. Her last trip to the grocery store was a little over $7 (tax on $170 worth of food), but she got $11 in “ONYO” and she sent in a couple mail-in rebates as well.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      I don’t mess with rebates, not because it takes a lot of time, but it requires you to buy something before sending it in, giving you the risk if something doesn’t work the way you planned.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      Well aren’t you just special?

    • RandomHookup says:

      There are different levels of coupon ninjas. Your sister is a black belt. The OP from yesterday might be a brown belt. Give her some credit…not everyone can make it to the black belt level.

    • LadySiren is murdering her kids with HFCS and processed cheese says:

      Yesterday’s trip wasn’t close to my best trip; it was just handy since I’d done it that morning. I generally have MM’s (money-makers) but my first trip yesterday wasn’t one of ’em. Props to your sister – most of my MMs too, come from CVS or Walgreens. Sounds like she’s got it down. :)

  12. shadowboxer524 says:

    Nice 30 Rock reference, Ben.

  13. Kibit says:

    Many coupon sites don’t approve of Rolling and have asked forum members to not discuss it.

    • LadySiren is murdering her kids with HFCS and processed cheese says:

      You might want to do some research before posting. Rolling is an accepted practice as long as you’re not violating the store’s stated policies or if it’s something not allowed by the catalina you’re using. HCW, for example, just asked members to stop posting about rolling and a particular deal because rolling was prohibited by the language on the catalina.

      Go to either HCW or AFC as noted above and search on “rolling”. You’ll see that there are lot and lots of people who roll their catalinas, ECBs, RR, and such, and that these forums allow members to share strategies for doing so.

  14. tammy75 says:

    Today I got 2 boxes oatmeal, 3 boxes of rice, 3 bottle of dish detergent, and 3 boxes of potatoes FREE. I saved over $60 total. I spent 2 hrs last night going through and organizing my coupons from the last six months. I did this while watching TV and waiting for clothes to dry. $30 a hour is an awesome job!

    • webweazel says:

      This week, our local supermarket has a deal: No coupons needed. Buy 3 boxes of a certain brand of cereal, get a gallon of milk, a dozen eggs, a bag of donuts, and a brick of coffee free. Here’s how it broke down for me:
      Cereal 3.99 X 3 = 11.97
      Coffee = 3.99
      Milk = 4.39
      Donuts = 3.09
      Eggs = 1.89
      Total free: 13.36
      Paid 11.97 subtract free 13.36 = -1.39
      So, roughly, I bought the eggs, coffee, and milk, which was on my list already, and got donuts and 3 boxes of cereal for free.
      I take advantage of sales, but coupons never work out for me, so no ninja here. This trip, I worked the sale items only, and paid 115.28 and saved 48.09. Savings of about 30%. Not shabby.

  15. stint7 says:

    A couple stores here Shop ‘N Save and Sav-A-Lot do 5 for $20 meat sales. You pick 5 of any kind of meat and it’s $20. Not bad if you get some good stuff.

  16. FrugalFreak says:

    I use Fatwallet grocery and coupon forum

  17. klimber says:

    I have never heard of the phrase Coupon Ninja before. But if the story about the lady above deems her as a Coupon Ninja then I would Rate myself as a Coupon Samurai Master. A ninja is a specialist who sneaks in and back out in the cover of darkness, leaving as little trace as possible. Me, I have been running the CVS coupon game for the last couple of years. The key to successful focused coupon shopping is to a battleplan.
    1 Know your rights as a CVS shopper. This way when some trouble making cashier need to taken to school, you are the one in the right. Example: CVS corp policy on a BoGo offer is to allow manufacture BoGo coupons to still be accepted. So on a recent offer from SOBE to let consumers get 2 bogo coupons per PC per day to printout, me shoppers like me printede and printed everyday. Then when CVS offered SOBE (and other beverages) on BoGo one week, I hit many local stores and clean them out. A BoGo coupon used on a BoGo offer at CVS means the store buys you one and the manufacture buys the other one. You get 2 free Sobe’s per coupon you printed.

    2 Have a support team. Shoppers like me use sites and forums to get all the knowledge to have every available coupon, rebate, discount, loop hole, clearance price at our fingertips. There are many out there but some are better than others. So have a site that you can pre-plan for the next several weeks of CVS ads. Right now I have some of the deals planned out for the next 3 weeks and the coupons to work with the deals have already been located by other shoppers on the sites

    3. Always be flexable in your shopping. If a deal falls apart be willing to walk away empty handed rather than spend money on a less then perfect deal.

    4. Take the good with the bad. Some weeks you will have to get some thing you either don’t need or want. So what? if you get it for free…give it to some one who can use it. I donated close to 300 tubes of toothpaste to area shelters in the last 18 months. I gave the local scout troops over 100 J&J first aid kits. Why because CVS sold then to me for nothing out of pocket. By products of me get other stuff that I do want.

    5. Keep your shopping under 30 bucks. Effective shopping means keeping you out of pocket low. If you have a coupon for $5 off a $25 why would you buy any over that $25.01 threshold?

    Some don’t get my shopping but the proof is in the numbers. I have not bought (paid for ) any makeup, toiletries, soda, shaving supplies, school supplies or detergent in over 2 years. Plus I send my friends in to my over stock with bags to take home every time they come over.