All About Extreme Couponing: Printable Coupon 101

by Marcy on November 12, 2008 · 0 comments

Last week I began my All About Couponing Series talking about coupon inserts. This week I want to spend a little time talking about printable coupons. Specifically, what they are, how they can be used, where you can find them, and how to spot a “fake”. Please note that I do not consider myself a printable coupon “expert”…these are just a few things that I have learned while using these coupons myself.

What is a Printable Coupon, anyway?

In a nut shell, printable coupons are manufacturer and store coupons that you can print off of the web. Most printable coupons can be printed twice (per computer) by either hitting “back” and “refresh” after printing the first one, or by returning to the initial page where you found your coupon and printing it again.

Sometimes you will be asked to load software on to your PC that will allow you to print coupons, but the process is typically quick and painless. This software is required by some sites so that the bar codes will print properly on the coupons.

How can I use printable coupons?

Printable coupons can be used just like you use the coupons that you find in your newspaper inserts. It is important to note that not all stores accept printable coupons (Marcs is one example), so be sure to check with your local stores to confirm that they do accept these coupons.

If you have ever printed a coupon off of the web, you may notice that some of them say “do not double”. It has been my experience that most stores *will* double these coupons if their store policy is to double coupons up to a certain amount, however this also varies by store.

Like coupon insert coupons, some printable coupons are store coupons and others are manufacturer’s coupons. Most stores allow you to “stack” or use a store AND a manufacturer’s coupon on one product. For example if you print a Target store coupon for Colgate toothpaste, and have a manufacturer’s coupon from either the web or a coupon insert, you should be able to use both coupons in on one product. Again, this policy varies by store, so be sure to check with your local stores to better understand their policy. I always try to note when “stacking” should work in my weekly deals posts.

Finally, I have received questions in the past asking if you can use more than one manufacturer’s coupon on one product. Sadly, the answer is no. Meaning if you have 2 coupons for the same product (whether printable, from a coupon insert, or a combo of both), you cannot use more than one per item. The only time I am aware that you can use more than one coupon on one item is the scenario I listed above (store & manufacturer) and in the case of e-Coupons (which I will discuss next week).

Where do I find printable coupons?

Printable coupons are everywhere! There are coupon services that exist solely to provide printable coupons. Several manufacturers also post printable coupons on their websites. Here are a few of my favorite (and legit!) places to print coupons:

* Coupons.com (if you use this link, I earn a few cents for each coupon printed)

* SmartSource.com

* EatBetterAmerica.com

* Pillsbury.com

* Home Solution News

* AFullCup.com (Target store coupons – which can be “stacked” with manufacturer’s coupons)

If you are looking for a specific printable coupon that you can’t find anywhere, always check out the manufacturer (or product) website. Most sites typically have a “special offers” or “promotions” page that sometimes contain great printable coupons!

How can I spot a “fake”?

This can get a little tricky, but I typically try to steer clear of coupons that are hosted on sites that I am not familiar with…especially if the coupons are on a PDF (or other type of) file. One exception I make to my “no PDF” rule is if the PDF file is hosted on the actual manufacturer’s site. Another sign that an Internet coupon might be counterfeit is if it sounds too good to be true.

In my opinion, the best way to avoid fake coupons is to stick to reputable sites (such as those listed above) when printing your coupons.

Next Up in my All About Couponing Series: e-Coupon 101

Do you have additional questions about printable coupons that I didn’t answer here? Please feel free to email me (runs5k at yahoo) or post a comment. Do you have a tip about printable that I didn’t share? Please feel free to share those as well!


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