Today I went to Target to buy some bags of Starbucks coffee. Yesterday my hubby spotted them not only on sale, but you also received a $5 Target gift card if you bought two. The net cost could be $6.39 each. An extreme couponer knows the best deal is to get it on sale, with a store reward AND a coupon. I didn't have any coupons, but I knew a $1.50 off 1 Starbucks coupon was coming in the Sunday paper (net cost $4.89 each) so I waited until today.
Did I pay $4.89 each? No, sir! Why not, you ask? Because of overage! Overage is a wonderful thing that sometimes happens when the amount of a coupon exceeds the value of the item. Some stores will apply the extra toward other items you are purchasing. The Target I frequent allows for overage - I've even had it approved by a manager in the past. I knew from yesterday's trip that the Simply Orange orange juice was on sale for .73 cents and my coupon was for $1, allowing me .27 cents overage per juice. So today, in addition to the 2 bags of Starbucks, I also bought 8 of the orange juices, which I got for free and which also gave me $2.16 of overage that got applied to the cost of the Starbucks. Because of overage, my out-of-pocket cost for the Starbucks was reduced to $3.81 each (72% off).
Overage works out best when you are getting an item you will actually use, like the orange juice for me, but I have also done this with items I don't use. I can always find someone to give/donate the items to, and in the meantime they are reducing the cost of the other items I'm buying. It's a beautiful thing.
Not all stores allow for overage. Many stores simply reduce the amount of the coupon down to the actual price of the item. So the item is still free but you don't get any extra credited toward the rest of your purchase. Sometimes it even depends on which cashier you get. Try it and see if it works!
On a side note, my son once figured out that if we bought an iPad and 885 packages of an item that had .60 cents overage each, that it would give us enough overage to completely cover the cost of the iPad. We haven't tried it... yet!