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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Frugal 101: Printable Coupons

Fun Fact: In 2009, online coupons increased 263%.

WOW! Printable coupons are more popular than ever. Companies are realizing that they can reach more consumers online through websites, email, and social media. Now, retailers are accepting more and more printable coupons to keep their customers coming back. For us frugal guys and gals, this is really exciting!

Where do I find printable coupons? There are several websites dedicated just to printable coupons. You can also find printable coupons on some manufacturer's websites or Facebook pages. Sometimes, coupons are emailed to you from a company in their newsletter.

How do I print coupons? You will need access to a computer and a printer. Each company will need you to install their printing software onto your computer. This is to enable the coupons to print properly and to track the number of coupons printed. It takes just a few seconds (or minutes) depending on your computer speed. Once the software is installed, you can print away.

Can I print a coupon as many times as I want? Companies generally allow 2 prints of a coupon per computer. You can print the coupon a second time by hitting "back" and "refresh" in your web browser. If you have more than one computer at home or at work, you will be able to print more.

Why do companies limit how many can be printed? Basically, this is just for tracking purposes. These companies would like to know in advance about how many coupons they can expect to redeem. Remember, coupons are real money because the retailer WILL be reimbursed for your coupons. There is a big, fancy formula that calculates how many coupons will be redeemed based on how many were issued.

Will a printable coupon always be available? When a new printable coupon is issued, the company typically will specify that a certain number are available. When that coupon reaches it's limit, you will no longer be able to print it. So, if you see one you like, print it then. Occasionally, if a coupon has reached it's limit, the manufacturer will reset that limit at the beginning of the month. For this reason, the beginning of the month is always a great time to check for new coupons or coupons that have been reset. If you reached your limit of 2 last month, you might be able to print it again this month.

What is all that "stuff" on the coupon? Below is a photo showing the anatomy of a coupon.
Please see Fabulessly Frugal's post regarding Printable Coupon Anatomy 101 for more details.

Tomorrow I'm gong to give you my top 10 websites for printable coupons.

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