HEB Couponing Tips: The Difference Between Stacking & Piggybacking Coupons

I have been receiving a lot of emails from HEB Bargain Hunter readers recently trying to sort out deals they see posted that involve both a manufacturer coupon and a yellow HEB coupon.

So I thought now would be the perfect time to discuss the difference between stacking coupons and piggybacking coupons -- and how one is acceptable under the current HEB coupon policy, while the other is not!

What does stacking coupons mean?
A coupon stack is when you use two coupons -- a manufacturer coupon and a store coupon -- on the same item for double discounts at the register.

So for example, if you have a manufacturer coupon for $1.50 off any Cover Girl product, and a store coupon for $1 off Cover Girl, you combine both coupons on the same item for a total of $2.50 off.

Although many other chains offer and encourage coupon stacking (think CVS, Walgreens, and Target) HEB ended their stacking policy back in January of 2013.  If you haven't printed a copy of the HEB coupon policy since before then, grab yours here.

What does piggybacking coupons mean?
A coupon piggyback is when you have a store coupon for a free item X when you buy item Y, and you also use a manufacturer coupon for item Y, which you are paying for.

In this instance, you are buying two or more items, and using two or more coupons to discount the items.  The manufacturer coupon attaches to item Y, and the store coupon attaches to item X.

Here's a more concrete example of piggybacking:

  • Buy a Stouffer's Large Family Size Entrées (priced around $10 per box), get a free pack of Nestlé Toll House Cookie Dough and a free bag of Nestlé Fun Size or Assorted Mini Candy with in-store coupons.  
  • Use this $1.50 off Stouffer's coupon to drop your price even lower.
  • Your price drops to around $8.50 for the Stouffer's, and then you can use the HEB in-store coupons to get the cookie dough and the candy for free.
  • Piggybacking is acceptable under the HEB coupon policy, but can freak some cashiers out.  Be prepared to show your copy of the HEB coupon policy -- which says "one coupon will be accepted per qualified item" -- or ask for a manager as necessary.
    Or, if you feel weird about any possible confrontation at the register, it's totally acceptable not to do the deal -- that's cool too!

    What about piggybacking coupons when you have a BOGO coupon?
    The gray area in the coupon policy comes when you have a true BOGO coupon involved, where you buy item X and get a second item X for free.

    If the BOGO coupon is a store coupon, many stores will allow you to use a manufacturer coupon on the first item (the one you would otherwise be paying full price for.)  

    On the other hand, if the BOGO coupon is a manufacturer coupon, it will attach to BOTH items in the register -- which means your store coupon will beep and probably be refused (which it should be, since the store runs a big risk of not being reimbursed for the coupon at that point.)

    My store won't let me piggyback coupons!  What do I do?
    My first question would be: did your cashier refuse the piggyback, or did the store manager?

    If your cashier refused the piggyback, I have a series of suggestions here on how to deal with a coupon-challenged cashier.  The best way to resolve the situation, either at the register when it's happening or going forward, is to talk to a manager.

    In my personal experience, store managers have a much broader awareness of the coupon policy than individual cashiers might, and will be willing to help address training issues in their store.

    If the store manager or manager on duty refused your legitimate coupons, you have a couple of different options.

    You can email HEB Customer Service to share your experience and ask for clarification.  Most of the time, HEB will email you back a letter that you can keep in your coupon binder to show at the register, and they will also follow up with the individual store.

    You can also simply go to another HEB store that is more coupon-friendly!  I am a big believer in spending my hard-earned cash with businesses that want to do business with me.  If you're not sure which HEB stores are coupon-friendly, readers on the HEB Bargain Hunter Facebook page are ALWAYS glad to share their stories and advice about this!

    Finally, you can always simply decide that piggyback coupon deals are not for you.  

    Not everyone has the time and stomach for the occasional argument at the register, and if that's not how you want to spend your time, I totally get it.  Sometimes life is just too short to stress out over a missed deal!

    Hopefully you found this discussion of coupon stacking and coupon piggybacking useful.  Feel free to share your experiences with piggybacking at HEB in the comments below!


    1. Awesome clarification! I have been piggybacking coupons, but wasn't sure how it differed from stacking, or if it did at all. I now understand completely and feel much more confident. Thanks!

    2. So glad to see this! I was refused by a manager. I had free Simple facial wipes with the purchase of a moisturizer AND a $2 off Q for the Simple moisturzer and was denied. I smiled nicely, said thanks and then handled by business at the courtesy booth (business center) after i made my purchase. I felt justified.

    3. Would I be able to redeem a $3 off suave...oil spray wyb ...lotion manufacturer cpn with a $2 off ...lotion HEB catalina?

    4. Catalinas are usually manufacturer coupons

    5. I am a cashier at HEB, we do our best to try and make sure all coupons are properly redeemed. When I went through training we were told we could not use two coupons for the same item, for example, zytec had a $5 coupon on the bottle and HEB had a yellow coupon. We can only use one of the coupons, we are told to always use the higher one to give the customer a better value. So please don't always get upset at your cashier we try to do our best to serve customers & still meet our expected IPMs (items per minute). And please don't leave coupons attached to the items, especially the manufacturer ones that are small and hard to see.

      1. you have a tough job and clearly give you thumbs up.

    6. Thanks so much for this info and this website! I have saved so much money from all of your research and work, and I really appreciate it. I've turned several family members on to your site as well. -CC

    7. You are probably fielding a lot of these issues right now because there is at least one Facebook page telling couponers that it is illegal to use these coupons together. If you try to post anything that tries to educate the people, your banned from the group. Probably not the only group trying to cloud the already difficult coupon policy landmine we try to navigate daily. Thanks for making sure we have the correct information. Its people like you that make it worth while to coupon and shop!

    8. HEB does not allow piggybacking as well. Their new policy states that each coupon must have required items. If you have a BOGO you cannot use a coupon for the item purchased for the freebie.

    9. ^your not being told to use a q on free item she clearly states you use a q on item that must be purchased...C'mon ppl!

    10. Quick question. When piggybacking?, Do we use the heb yellow coupon first of the manufacturer coupon. Tia.

    11. This is awesome I just started getting into this and was really uncertain while shopping at H.E.B about what the rules were when you had both a yellow and a manufacturers coupon so up till now I was only using one or the other. Now I know I can use both with confidence in certain cases.

    12. So there was a -$1 yq dove products at HEB, Dove body wash was $4.88 after yq, and i had. The mq of $2 or $1.50. i don't remember exactly. So i got several products and the manager didnt approve my purchase casue he said it was piggybacking. Which i didnt want to argue cause im a newbie at this. Any advise? Was i wrong?

    13. Thanks so much for distinguishing between piggybacking and stacking. I was losing my mind. Lol

    14. Tyty that makes it as ouch easier to understand....

    15. If I want to do a legitimate piggyback deal I always look for an HEB digital coupon first. If there is an equal digital version of the HEB yellow one then I use that instead of the paper version. Then there is no questions from the cashier because it comes off automatically and they don't get confused.

      1. Do u down load a HEB app for that?

    16. Do you have an article like this for CVS? I was recently told that you could stack two coupons (one digital manufacturer and one paper manufacturer) at CVS and I am completely confused!


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