Which is better, the 20% off coupon or the $5 off $15 coupon at Bed Bath & Beyond? There are may different scenarios, but for a quick answer, there are a few basic rules that apply to most purchases. If you want to get more specific, a simple calculation will tell you which coupon will save you more money. All of the answers depend on the price of the item (or items), how many items there are, and how many coupons you have.
The Coupon Rule of Thumb
If your total purchase is between $15 and $25--no matter how many items you have--it's best to use the $5 off $15 coupon. If the total purchase is $25, you'll save 20 percent ($5 off of $25 is a 20 percent savings). If the total purchase is $15, you'll save 33.33 percent ($5 off of $15 is a 33.33 percent savings).
If a single item is $26 or more, you'll save more money by using the 20% off coupon. But keep in mind that the 20% off coupon can apply to only one item, while the $5 off $15 coupon can apply to multiple items. On the flip side, you can use more than one 20% off coupon for a purchase. For example, if you're buying a $100 item and a $300 item and have two 20% off coupons, you'll save $20 on the first item and $60 on the second item.
How to Calculate Percentage
The best way to compare savings is to calculate the percentage of the discounted price. There are two ways to calculate percentage: one uses multiplication and one uses division.
Use the multiplication method if you know the discount percentage, such as with the 20% off coupon. Simply multiply the price of the item by 0.20; the result is how much money comes off the price. For example, 20% off of $100 is $20 (100 x 0.20 = 20).
Use the division method if you know only the dollar amounts.
Divide the amount of the discount by the price of the item. For example, if the item costs $20 and you have a $5 off coupon, you will save 25 percent (5 divided by 20 = 0.25, or 25 percent).
If you're not up for calculating percentages or otherwise figuring out which coupon is best, do what a lot of shoppers do and simply ask the clerk which coupon will save you more money. They deal with coupons all day and usually provide a quick answer.