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Thursday, February 2, 2012

29 Days Of Couponing Tips: Internet Printable Coupons 101


Yesterday, I started a new series called, 29 days of Couponing Tips. Everyday, for the next 29 Days I plan on sharing a Couponing Tip, to help you to get started with couponing! Yesterday, we talked about Coupon Inserts.

Today, we are moving on to talk about Internet Printable Coupons! Specifically, what are they, how they can be used, where to find them, when you should print them, how to spot a fake, and how to troubleshoot printing problems.

What are Printable Coupons?

Printable coupons are manufacturer or store coupons that you can actually print off of the Internet from your Computer. Most people refer to these coupons as...
Internet Coupons, Internet Printable Coupons, Printable Coupons, or also know as, "IP's".

There are typically, two different (but not limited to) types of printable coupons. "Bricks" Coupons, and PDF coupons.

Bricks coupons are coupons that are hosted by our friends from Coupons.com. If you are printing a bricks coupon, most of them can be printed twice per computer. Just hit your browsers "back" button or "refresh" after printing the first one, or by returning to the initial page where you found the coupon and simply printing it again.

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

Please note: The sites that I promote on this blog are coupon sites that I personally use, and have found to be trustworthy and reliable. Please be careful when downloading software.

 Some coupons are in PDF (Portable Document Format), enabling you to print out multiple coupons.  However, their validity may be questioned at the register. I would recommend only printing out 1 or 2 of these coupons at a time. When printing them, I would also recommend using a color ink setting, and higher quality printing setting to try to make the bar code print as clear as possible. If it won't scan right at the register, any cashier has the right to not accept it, so keep this in mind, to avoid frustrations.

"Are these PDF coupons Legitimate? How do I spot a fake?"

Some PDF coupons are indeed authentic. Always make sure that you are only printing them from a reliable source, i.e. the manufacturer's own website. This way you will know the manufacturer has authorized this format for their customer's. If you see a PDF coupon that sounds too good to be true, or if it came from an unknown place, then it is probably not real. If you use a fraudulent coupon, you can face jail time.

Each printable coupon is assigned a unique serial number. Your IP address and other information about your printing and coupon redemption habits is recorded on these coupons. If you attempt to make photo copies of these coupons you will get caught. Companies could block your IP address or take legal action, so please don’t do this, it is illegal!
If you are unsure about a coupon, your best bet is to contact the manufacturer directly to make sure that it is indeed legit.

How can I use printable coupons?

Printable coupons can be used just like the coupons that you will find in your newspaper inserts. Most stores coupon policies state that they Do Accept Printable Coupons. If you are not sure if your local store takes them, then contact the store manager to clarify. We will talk about "Store Coupon Policies" in more detail - later on in this series.

When Should I Print A Coupon?

If you see a printable coupon, that you need, or could use, then print it right away! I have learned this the hard way. One minute a coupon is there, the next minute it is gone! Don't delay, print it right away, especially if it is a rare high value coupon. With every new month, most coupon sites restock and or reset coupons. So it is always best to check for printable coupons on the last day and first day of the month, because you could possibly miss out on a good coupon, or if they reset the print limits, then you'll be able to print two coupons on the 31st and two coupons on the 1st of a new month in some cases.

Where do I find printable coupons?

Printable coupons are everywhere! There are some companies that exist solely to provide printable coupons. Also several manufacturers also provide printable coupons on their websites, or facebook page.

{Anytime that I post a place to print coupons, I can guarantee that they are legit.}

Here are a few of my favorite places to print coupons:
(I print coupons from them several times a week)

Coupons.com
Coupon Network
Red Plum
Smart Source
Cool Savings (you have to "skip" past all of the offers first, to get to the coupons)
Coupon Bar (This is a full list of all available bricks coupons)

Printable Store Coupon sites:

Meijer Mealbox
Target Coupons

And a few manufacturer's coupon sites:

Box Tops
EatBetterAmerica.com
Pillsbury.com
Kellogg's
Bettycrocker.com
Home Solution News

More Reliable Sites To Find Coupons:

Free Coupon Alerts
A Full Cup
WUC Coupons Coupon Database



If you are looking for a specific coupon, go to the manufacturer's website. Look for "special offers" or "promotions" to check if they have any available printable coupons. As I stated earlier, I would also recommend checking the manufacturer or products facebook page to check for available coupons.

How do I Troubleshoot Printing Problems?

Sometimes you might come across a problem printing coupons from time to time. These problems can be caused from a number of different issue's.


*Bricks coupons tend to cause issues depending on the browser that you are using.
 
 
Here is an example of a bricks coupon-
link:http://bricks.coupons.com/Start.asp?tqnm=qd2ofpe27206309&bt=vi&o=56178&c=KR&p=R6Q9AMlp
 
 
This particular coupon is configured to work for people using Internet Explorer. You can tell this by looking at the "vi" above in the URL (sometimes a "wi"). To make this link work for someone using Firefox as their browser, simply change the "vi" or "wi" to "vg" or "wg" and you should be able to print the coupon.
 
 
I try to make note of these when I can, but that isn't always possible. Here is an example of what I sometimes write in my posts using the same link from above: Use $1.00/2 here (FF) or here (IE). You would use the link that says "IE" if you are in Internet Explorer, and "FF" means Firefox.
 
 
If you use Safari, word has it that if you change the "vi", "vg", "wi" or "wg" to "xs" that the coupons should print.
 
 
 
  • If you experience issues printing coupons on Smartsource.com, it could be due to a variety of reasons. You can find a helpful Troubleshooting Guide for Smartsource.com here.
  • If you experience issues printing coupons on Coupons.com, you can find answers to your commonly asked questions here and here
  •  If you experience issues printing coupons on RedPlum.com, you can find answers to your commonly asked questions here.
  • Some coupons are hosted on PDF files. You will not be able to print (or even view) these files unless you have Adobe Reader installed on your computer. You can download it for free here.



Whew! That was a lot! Next up in my 29 Days of Couponing Tips Series tomorrow... eCoupon 101!


Do you have any questions about printable coupons that I didn't cover? Feel free to leave a comment below or send me a quick email!



Do you have any Tips that you'd like to share? Please Share! I Love to hear from my readers!





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