The Ultimate Guide to Couponing in the Northwest: Know the coupon strategies {DOUBLE COUPONS}

by Angela Davis on January 18, 2011

DOUBLE COUPON: A store coupon that doubles the value of a manufacturer’s coupon

Double coupons are the primary way we are able to get free or almost free food and household items in the Pacific Northwest. You can only double a small amount of manufacturer’s coupons per transaction at any PNW store, so it is inevitable that you will be doing multiple transactions, especially if there is a fantastic deal running on something your family regularly uses.

When talking about double coupons, I’m always asked how many transactions someone needs to do. The answer: As many as you want and no more than that. It all depends on how much you want that item at that price, how much energy you have and, mostly for me, how much your children will cooperate (read more about how I make couponing work in my schedule).

Here are some strategies that I have used in the past to do multiple double coupon transactions:

  • I sweetly as my cashier if I can do two transactions if there isn’t a line.
  • I do one transaction, put the bag in my cart, grab another deal’s worth of items, and hit the register again. I’m a wimp and usually go to a different cashier.
  • I shop with my husband and we each do a transaction or two.
  • I go out after the kids are in bed or on a Saturday and do a couple of transactions at a couple of stores. I may do this a couple of nights during the sale, especially if the deal is really good.
  • I send my husband off to work with a ready-to-go transaction in a Ziploc baggie (shopping list, coupons, doubles, and exact cash — usually $.32) and he does a deal or two while he’s out. The “list” usually consists of 4 items, so it’s really not complicated or time-consuming. Plus, my husband is pretty sharp and can handle doing a deal on his own.
  • I errand trade with a couponing friend — one babysits the kids while the other does a few deals and then we trade.
  • I keep my coupon box/pouch with me at all times and stop by a store if I happen to be kid-less or my kids are especially agreeable at the time.

There are three stores that double manufacturer’s coupons in the Pacific Northwest: Safeway, Albertsons and Thriftway.

SAFEWAY: Safeway offers double coupons in Oregon and SW Washington only. They do not offer double coupons in Western or Eastern Washington or Idaho.

The Safeway double coupon is found in Safeway’s weekly ad that is released on Wednesdays. There are always extra ads in a display at the front of the one of the entrances and/or the customer service desk. The double  is located at the bottom of one of the inside pages and looks like this:

This one piece of paper is what we refer to as a “Safeway double coupon.” Here are specifics about Safeway doubles:

You may double up to 4 manufacturer’s coupons per transaction with this double coupon.

You may only use 1 double coupon per transaction.

Each manufacturer’s coupon may be doubled up to $.50. For example:

  • A $.35/1 coupon will be doubled to an additional $.35 off = $.70 off one item.
  • A $.55/1 coupon will be doubled to an additional $.50 off = $1.05 off one item.

You many not double “FREE” coupons, which includes BOGO coupons.

You may not double “internet” coupons. Some stores and some cashiers will double internet printable coupons without hassle. Just depends on your store (all Safeway store managers have final discretion over coupon policy, so if he/she allows it, go for it!).

You may not “make money” using a double coupon. You can get an item for free. For example:

Colgate Toothpaste on sale $1
Use $.75/1 coupon
Use Safeway double (-$.25)
FREE after coupon & double

In this scenario, the cashier is supposed to double your coupon to an additional $.25 off, not $.50 off. Otherwise, you’d make $.25 “buying” the toothpaste. Again, some cashiers will allow overage.

You cannot manufacturer’s coupons that state “DO NOT DOUBLE.”

ALBERTSONS: Albertsons offers double coupons periodically to Oregon, Washington and Idaho on a very limited basis. The coupons are released in the Sunday newspaper or the weekly ad and look something like this:

Here are specifics about Albertsons double coupons:

Albertsons “doubles” are actually “Twice the Value” coupons, which means they will double a “DO NOT DOUBLE” manufacturer’s coupon. Oh, yes they will!

You can double one manufacturer’s coupon per double coupon (per square, which is different than Safeway’s doubles).

You may use up to 3 double coupons per transaction.

Each double coupon will double the value of a manufacturer’s coupon up to $1.

The double coupon is not valid on coupons valued at $1.01 or more.

You many not double “FREE” coupons, which includes BOGO coupons.

You may not “make money” using a double coupon. You can get an item for free. For example:

Colgate Toothpaste on sale $1
Use $.75/1 coupon
Use Albertsons double (-$.25)
FREE after coupon & double

Though not stated  in the official coupon policy or on the actual coupon, it is customary for Albertsons to allow each customer 3 doubles transactions per shopping trip without treating you like a criminal.

THRIFWAY: Thriftway also double manufacturer’s coupons in Oregon for sure, not positive about Washington. Thriftway double coupons are located in the weekly ad and function similarly to Safeway double coupons.

Read more from The Ultimate Guide to Couponing in the Northwest here.

This post may contain affiliate links. See the disclosure policy for more information.

{ 65 comments… read them below or add one }

Julie July 25, 2014 at 5:54 pm

I am also new and very interested in couponing. Is there anyone out there in Spokane that can give advice or help me be successful in this adventure?

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Candyce July 19, 2014 at 12:10 pm

Hello! I live in the seattle area. Im wondering how possible couponing is in this area. Not a lot of places if any double coupons here. So if anyone lives near here and has any tips it would be much appreciated!!!

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Kate from Frugal Living NW July 19, 2014 at 8:58 pm

It is possible, but you’re right, double coupons are not going to be available. I know many friends that have great luck with QFC and their mega sales. When they come around they stock up on all the great deals. Also, Grocery Outlet is a good option if there is one near you and then shopping Fred Meyer sales when they are good.

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lola May 27, 2014 at 11:00 am

I am totally new to responding or commenting on anything but I am so in need of couponing help. I take care of a couple houses and always need more help with savings. is there anyone in Portland that know what they are doing and can help me/? im an on hands person so I mean in person or web? any help!! thx:)

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Morgan May 18, 2014 at 9:20 am

Hey guys! So I’m away at college, but my mom lives alone and I would love to help her out when I’m home for the summer. She doesn’t have a lot of money, and I don’t either haha, but I’ve been looking into couponing and think it’s a awesome thing! Are there any tips on starting out? I live in Oregon, close to Portland. The closest store to me is Safeway. I read above about the double coupon, but you said only “manufacturer coupons” what does that mean? And if you can only double four items, does that mean you can only buy four items?

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Kate from Frugal Living NW May 18, 2014 at 1:59 pm

It does mean you can only double four items but can buy more than four items. It’s best to jump in over here on this deal thread and start asking questions. We have some wonderful longtime readers that willp help bring you up to speed quickly. http://www.frugallivingnw.com/store-retail-deals/safeway/safeway-deals-for-may-14-20-double-coupon-deals/

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Asia May 15, 2014 at 4:18 pm

Im so confused on couponing and I desperately need to coupon. I moved out on my own with my boyfriend and i want to save on grocerys as well as items. I live in the Puyallup area so please if there are any strategy’s or things i should know please email me at asia.fierro@gmail.com Thank you so much in advance.

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Kate from Frugal Living NW May 15, 2014 at 9:20 pm

Just follow along here and start commenting on posts and we’ll help you out.

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arestrepo April 20, 2014 at 12:39 pm

I’m in Texas. I’m new and need help.

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Shelley March 27, 2014 at 8:10 pm

I live in Klamath Falls, Oregon. I would love to share coupons and ideas with others that want to live as frugally as possible. I have teens and live on a teacher’s salary :)

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Evelyne May 21, 2014 at 9:03 am

I am a couponer. I will be moning to KF at the end of July. I would love to talk coupons with someone.

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Michael February 15, 2014 at 2:55 pm

Hello here in tukwila wondering if anyone somewhat near does any couponing.. Would really like some help on couponing. You can email me at gonzalezm-10@hotmail.com.

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Michael February 15, 2014 at 2:50 pm

Hello there I live here in tukwila, looking to save some money on grocery and house stuff. I am a 21 male working but have to many things I pay then when it comes to buying stuff for the house I barely have money left. Hoping to find someone who can help or if people get together. Just recently started collecting coupons and have tried looking at store deals just need to learn more and get more and go out and see someone actually do show. Well thanks

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Maya January 20, 2014 at 10:18 pm

My husband , three kiddos and I are trying to save money to buy our first house. I would love to find a fellow couponer in the arlington /marysville area to coupon with:) Maybe we can clip together, exchange coupons and learn from each other!:) I would also love to join a coupon group if anyone knows of any!:)
mayaroxby@yahoo.com
Take care!!!
Maya

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Korina November 23, 2013 at 11:28 am

HELP!..Single (disabled Late Stage Lyme) of 4 boys. We all have special diets. So soy/gluten free vegans(?) we can occationally eat white meats/fish, and eggs.
So I have about $4-500 to spend a month on food….its not working even shopping at Winco. I could really use a couponing mentor here in SW Portland. I can’t handle hearing my kids are still hungry and I have no money left. I’m fairly frugal, and I’m at a loss as to why this is happening, other than they are GROWING! :-)

Thank you,
Korina

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Kate from Frugal Living NW November 23, 2013 at 6:32 pm

Look and see if there are coupon groups by asking over on the FB page — https://www.facebook.com/pages/Frugal-Living-NW/180842293838

Keep following the blog and a certain store to gain more understanding of how you can save money. New Seasons deals would be helpful for you too.

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Mary K November 7, 2013 at 3:24 am

Anyone have an idea where I can find a binder for baseball cards to use for organizing coupons? Also, would love to start a couponing group in the Wenatchee area, please email me if interested. will also join facebook page. Thanks!!

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dana April 1, 2014 at 6:31 am

try the dollar store

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Laura April 2, 2014 at 12:47 pm

Staples or walmart

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Terry July 30, 2013 at 11:20 pm

I live in federal way,wa . I want to learn how to coupon . I’m a stay at home mom with 2 kids and have all the time in the world but i just don’t know where to start. Plz help me on how to be a couponer.

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Barbara February 8, 2014 at 10:21 am

Hi, im a begginer as well, I say as a couponing tip dont try to do this on your own. First you need coupons from your mailbox,newspaper,friends,you can print them have them mailed to your home, then comes the dirty work of scouting out the deals and price matchups. Find a good couponing blog you can follow and let them do all that for you, make sure they are profesional and not asking you to commit coupon fraud..

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sheila February 25, 2014 at 10:02 am

I need help with couponing, salem, oregon. My kids aee always hungry.

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sheila February 25, 2014 at 10:10 am

Help me start couponing, I want to save, so I have food always in my house, salem, oregon.

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sheila February 25, 2014 at 10:12 am

Someone in salem, oregon help me get started.

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Angela Mccloskey June 7, 2012 at 8:23 pm

I am so glad I stumbled across you. I live in Salem and am fairly new to couponing. I don’t have a lot of time to sit down and try and figure everything out. It is nice when deals and senarios are listed for me. I also get confused about what is the best size to by sometimes. But what I really want to know is who do you figure out if bath tissue is a good deal? I get mine at Costco which I have heard is not a good deal. Help…And Thank you

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mel March 4, 2012 at 11:34 pm

Im new to couponing. Im so confused i dont even know where to start. Is there anyone in kent,federal way,burien,or anywhere close to these areas that can teach me how to coupon.i have all these coupons and its really overwhelming not knowing how to use them properly.PLEASE HELP!!!

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mary January 19, 2012 at 6:50 pm

The Thriftway in my town in washington has a double coupon in the back of the paper. Says up to four coupons up to .50. But i also do not shop there since they are the only store here in the mountains and charge alot for everything….$5 gallon milk,$3 loaf of bread…etc…

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Candy January 17, 2012 at 10:47 pm

At my Albertson’s (in Beaverton), they will not let you do more that one transaction using the three doublers. Boo!
I have not used the safeway double coupon yet though….Is Safeway more lenient on this? Can I snatch a few papers and break it up into multiple transactions to use a double coupon (along with my MC’s) in each transaction?
I’ve been couponing for years, just at different levels of obsessiveness. :)

Thanks!

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Mary January 30, 2012 at 11:01 am

Alberson’s has officially re-worked their coupon policy and in there it is specifically stated you can do three transactions. See the link below. This was as of December 2011 so some stores and cashiers are not fully familiar with it yet.

http://ems02013.egain.net/system/selfservice.controller?CONFIGURATION=1000&PARTITION_ID=1&TIMEZONE_OFFSET=&CMD=VIEW_ARTICLE&ARTICLE_ID=2816

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Morgan May 18, 2014 at 9:24 am

Hi! I’m going home this summer to Beaverton and wanted to try couponing to help out my mom! Have you tried any couponing at Safeway? I’ve never gone to the Albertson’s in Beaverton, but my family loves Safeway!

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lola May 27, 2014 at 11:04 am

can you help me?..desperate, and watch extreme couponing everyday but still cant seem to get it right

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Chelsea December 5, 2011 at 2:42 am

Does anyone know where i can go to get coupon inserts out of recycling centers?

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Casey November 5, 2011 at 8:40 am

To the folks in marysville, snohomish and lake stevens…i’d love to start a couponing group to exchange coupons and help others out. I can get those diaper deals and baby things but I don’t need them. Would love to give them to those that do! Please contact me at kc725@hotmail.com

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Louise October 26, 2011 at 11:13 pm

Hello I live in Renton, wa and need help on saving lots of money and be able to feed my family. I am just starting and would love help in saving. And learning more about how it is done. Thank you

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jennie November 4, 2011 at 9:09 pm

Louise-My email is agostinojennifer@yahoo.com Just send me an email.

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Jennie Stanton October 19, 2011 at 10:27 pm

I just moved to Marysville, WA a couple months ago…were expecting our 3rd child soon and have had a recent severe decrease in income…I desperatly need help getting stocked up on EVERYTHING and saving as much as possible as my household budget has gone from about 350 every 2 weeks down to about 75-100 every 2 weeks!!!! I’m a stay at home mom and have all the time in the world if someone could please HELP!!! I don’t know where to start, and I’m from the east coast where the stores and rules are TOTALLY different! PLEASE contact me if you can help me~~~THANKS!!!

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Kate October 19, 2011 at 10:33 pm

Jennie, welcome! The best place for you to post this question would be on our Facebook page. There are several couponers out there who would be willing to help. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Frugal-Living-NW/180842293838
We can also teach you what you need to know here. Just follow the blog daily and you’ll start to see some patterns.
One thing to note is that we’re based in Portland and our Safeway has double coupons. Safeway’s in WA do not have double coupons. So you’ll want to follow our Safeway non-double deals.
Other than that, all the stores are the same. Hopefully we’ll be a big help to you in this transition.

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jennie October 23, 2011 at 4:53 pm

I live here in Marysville! I am home with my 2 little ones and do a bit of couponing. Not extreme, but a good amount. Marysville is the perfect location since there are just about 1 of every store locally. I grocery shop for our fam of 4 for food and household prod for around $200 a month myself. Let me know if you’d like my help. :)

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Casey October 19, 2011 at 6:51 pm

I just watched extreme couponing…how do these people make money off of these deals with coupons? Is it just that they won’t allow it in the NW?

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Casey October 19, 2011 at 6:49 pm

Just watched extreme couponing. So how do these people get stuff for free? Is it just their location? Our stores won’t allow it?

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Jennifer October 12, 2011 at 11:09 pm

I need a couponing mentor in Kent, WA anyone able to help me out?

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Jackie October 21, 2013 at 5:29 pm

Jennifer did you find a mentor in kent, I know it was a long time ago. I am looking for one in the area (Puyallup)!

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Hope December 7, 2013 at 9:08 pm

Jackie! I am looking for someone to get into couponing with me im in Federal Way!!!!!!

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Hope December 7, 2013 at 9:09 pm

Jackie!! I am looking for a partner to coupon! Im in federal way! Email me at taylor.andrea0807@gmail.com if you are still looking !

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Miranda December 12, 2013 at 1:36 pm

I’m just getting into couponing and looking for more people in the area that are into it.

I don’t know which part of Federal Way you’re in, but I am in Tumwater/Olympia. Email me if you’re interested fleurdevereux@yahoo.com

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Mary July 5, 2011 at 10:12 am

At safeway they have the double coupons up to four coupons does this mean four different types? Can I double two or more of the same coupon plus three more? or is that a total of four coupons even if they are the same coupon?

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Morgan May 18, 2014 at 9:26 am

Hi Mary, did you ever find out if Safeway allows four different types or is it just four items total, or what?
Thanks!

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MrsC June 27, 2011 at 3:05 pm

Does the Thriftway in Oregon take as many coupons as you have for doubles or just 3 or 4 like the other stores?

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Amber April 30, 2011 at 11:47 am

you guys are awesome! so helpful. I was very overwhelmed at first but you guys have helped alot! I no longer have to take a xanax before a shopping trip :-) lol

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Tiffani April 25, 2011 at 8:53 am

If I have a bogo can I also use a .50 off coupon on the item I do purchase?

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Kate April 25, 2011 at 9:27 am

Yes, you can use $.50/1 coupon for the item you are not getting free.

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Jessica February 4, 2011 at 10:47 am

Do manufacturers actually reimburse the stores when they double coupons? My instinct says no because Albertsons will “double” even though the coupon says not too. But on the same note, if they don’t get reimbursed, then why would Safeway care if it says Do Not Double. I think the Do Not Double is meant to effect other regions more than us, such as the MidWest, where Kroger always double all your coupons and sometimes even triples. I know this because I used to live in Kansas and my mom always used coupons at Dillons, as did I until I moved to PDX.

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shelly February 3, 2011 at 3:57 pm

I tried to use a coupon that said manufacturer coupon on it but also said redeem at albertsons on it. The cashier said they could not accept at bales thriftway. I do not agree. Have you had this problem?

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kellie June 28, 2011 at 5:02 pm

i’ve recently started couponing, and albertsons and the coupon have a deal, so yes, these coupons can only be redeemed at albertsons. i have one for axe products that has the albersons logo. i guess the companies have figured out a way to take the advantage out of our hands.

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Sarah July 14, 2011 at 11:13 am

In the earlier post, “Know your coupon”, it says that unless the coupon states “Use at ______ Store ONLY”, you can use them at any store that accept manufacturer’s coupons. Having the store logo on it is just for marketing purposes, where the store pays the manufacturer to have their logo put on it.

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Mom of Three January 20, 2011 at 7:54 pm

Thanks SO much for this site! I live in Astoria and am new to couponing. But if I can’t earn more money, then I gotta save more, and I’m willing to try it out. Thanks for your time-honored tips–saves me a lot of trouble!

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Yoko January 20, 2011 at 8:17 am

Thriftway sometimes triples coupons. The ad says “See store for details” so you’ve got to ask.

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susan January 19, 2011 at 5:34 pm

So here’s a question: (for Safeway)
the Double Coupon actually states:
’1 double coupon per manufactures coupon. 4 double coupons per family this shopping trip.’ What does SHOPPING TRIP mean? and is that the same as TRANSACTION?

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charolyn January 19, 2011 at 11:10 pm

Yes-that is the way I have always heard it interpreted and experienced it in the store.

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Jenna January 18, 2011 at 11:04 am

What are the limits for the doubling at Thriftway?

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Sarah July 14, 2011 at 11:19 am

I believe that Thriftway will double up to 4 manufacturer’s coupons every day of the week.

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Carrie January 18, 2011 at 8:12 am

I was in Albertson’s the other day and my cashier told me (after she had already doubled it) that they do not double coupons over $1. I said that I thought they doubled upto a $1 but she said that was not correct. But she doubled it anyway! Go figure.

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charolyn January 19, 2011 at 11:11 pm

That is true though-it isn’t the same as Safeway.

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shelley January 18, 2011 at 7:59 am

I did not know that Albertsons will double a “do not double” coupon. My checkers will not take them.

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charolyn January 19, 2011 at 11:11 pm

Mine always have with out any hesitation in Hillsboro OR.

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