Sunday, July 6, 2014

Couponing 101: Making the most of printable coupons; a how-to with tips and tricks

Even though I get the paper now, most of the coupons I use are printables -- meaning, I print them out from my computer.  Those with iPhones can even print coupons using the coupons.com app.  I love printable coupons because you can easily find what you need, when you need them, and without having to deal with other coupons you don't care about.  You can also easily obtain multiple coupons (more on that below).

Where to find printables:
The main sources for printable coupons are coupons.com, smartsource.com and redplum.com.  While you can get their coupons directly from their websites, there are also a lot of other places from which you can get them.  The coupon companies pay websites to refer people to print coupons as well.  They're the same, but there are some advantages to printing elsewhere:

MyPoints: This is one of my favorite places to print coupons because you actually get points for the coupons you print and redeem.  Points can be redeemed for gift cards.  It takes a while to add up, but considering the coupons are free to print and use, a little extra savings is just a bonus!  MyPoints has partnerships with Coupons.com and SmartSource.

LivingRichWithCoupons: This is the main site where I get my deals from, so it's often just convenient to print there.  They often provide links that will open the coupons page with the specific coupon you want already clipped.  Also, their tool allows you to easily change ZIP codes.  This is useful, because some coupons are only available under certain ZIPs.  When you're looking at a coupon match-up site and they reference a printable that's ZIP-specific, they'll provide the ZIP you need in parentheses next to the link.  LivingRichWithCoupons has partnerships with all the major coupon providers.

General Mills products have some additional resources for their printable coupons.  They usually have a lot of coupons available through Coupons.com, but if you go to one of their sites directly to print, those coupons are worth slightly more.  So a coupon for $.75 off Golden Grahams on Coupons.com would be $.85 off through one of General Mills' sites.  You have to be a member to print from one of their sites, but it's free.  I typically go to BettyCrocker.com -- the coupons are the same no matter which of their sites you go to.

You can also find an assortment of General Mills coupons at everydaysaver.com.  In some cases the deals are better on one of the General Mills sites, but some of the coupons they have are exclusive as well.

Multiple coupons:
One of the best advantages of using printable coupons is the fact that you can easily print out multiples.  With coupons from the paper, you either need multiple papers or another way to get additional inserts.  With nearly all printable coupon sites, there is a maximum of two prints per computer.  If you have multiple computers in your house, you can print two from each of them!  That's how I end up with four coupons for really good deals -- my husband and I each have our own computers, so I just hop on his to print the additional coupons out.  Once you've reached the limit on your device, it will usually tell you that on the website and simply won't let you print that coupon anymore.

I believe that you can get two additional prints from an iPhone with Coupons.com, but I don't have one to test that out.  Unfortunately the Android version of the app doesn't have the ability to actually print any of the coupons.

Please note that you should never copy a coupon.  There are specific codes on each coupon, and copying them is considered fraud.  There are also some additional features in place on the coupon that can make it obvious when it has been copied versus printed out legally.

Updates and Resets:
New coupons are released throughout the month, but the best time to find new ones is right when the month is switching.  The beginning of the month is a big time for new coupons.

From time to time, usually at the beginning of a new month with the big update, some coupons will "reset" -- meaning they basically get a new supply and if you previously reached your limit, you'll be able to print more again.  The big couponing sites usually tell you which coupons have reset.  You can also just check in to the printable coupon sites at the start of a new month to see if the site still claims your limit has been reached.

Tips for printing:
It's always a good idea to check out the coupon sites right when they've made their big update for the new month.  Printable coupons typically have limits -- once a certain number of people have printed them, they disappear.  This means that the good coupons that come out at the start of a month may go quickly!  If you see a really good coupon for something you'd buy regularly, it may be worth your while to go ahead and print it, even if you're not sure you'll use it.  At the start of July, I got 4 copies of a coupon for $1.50 off any Breyers, Magnum, Popsicle, Klondike or Fruttare product.  That's a great deal on a product that's super popular during this time of year and often has great sales -- the coupon was gone within 24 hours!

Ink can get really expensive quickly.  To help keep costs down, print in black-and-white only.  Unfortunately you can't change any settings before printing coupons -- it's a safeguard to help keep people from finding ways to print out more copies than they should -- but you can change the default settings on your computer to be grayscale.  Here's how to do it on a Windows computer.  Your coupons won't be as pretty, but who cares?

I try to maximize how I use my paper so I'm not overly wasteful.  With most of the sites, up to 3 coupons can fit on a page.  If I need to print multiples of a single coupon, I'll print one on one side, then flip the paper over and print on the other side too.  Just make sure you're not printing on the back side of the first coupon, because you need the coupons to be separate!  Sometimes if I needed to print two coupons I'll use the other side to print a single coupon as well.  Just make sure there will be enough room.  If you have any doubt that the coupon will fit without overlapping another coupon, don't do it!

When I can, I'll group like coupons together and cut multiple pages at once.  The coupon sites each seem to have a standard coupon size, so even if the coupons are for different items, they often line up just fine for cutting.  Just give yourself a little bit of a buffer around the coupons so you don't accidentally cut off some of the fine print on the side.

This week's deal:
I'm pretty stocked up on just about everything right now, so this week's shopping was just to pick up a few things that had really good sales.  All of my manufacturer's coupons for this trip were printed!  This was at ShopRite, as most of my trips are.  But don't fret if there's not a ShopRite near you -- you can get similar deals at many regional supermarkets.  Also, I'm planning a post soon to talk exclusively about my good friend Target!

I'm getting paid $.44 for this!  Don't mind the toddler hand; she was really excited to help me put things away!


  • 5x Golden Grahams on sale for $1.88 (had to buy in multiples of 3 -- the Reese's Puffs below is also part of the deal)
    • 4x $.85 printable MC (BettyCrocker.com), doubled
    • $.75 printable MC (Coupons.com), doubled
    • $.75 eCoupon
    • ($1/2 eCoupon pending -- have to call ShopRite because it didn't work)
    • ($.75 SavingStar rebate pending)
    • Total: -$1.40
  • Reese's Puffs, on sale for $1.88
    • $.60 printable MC (BettyCrocker.com) - didn't double?
    • $.50 eCoupon
    • ($.50 SavingStar rebate pending)
    • Total: $.28
  • 4x Sprout Organic Toddler Pouches, on sale for $1.39
    • 4x $.75 printable MC (Coupons.com), doubled to cost of item
    • Total: Free
  • BumbleBee Tuna, on sale for $.69
    • $.69 store coupon
    • Total: Free
  • Food Should Taste Good Chips, on sale for $2.00
    • $.75 printable MC (EverydaySaver.com), doubled
    • $.75 eCoupon
    • ($.75 SavingStar rebate pending)
    • Total: -$1.00
  • 3x candy bars (Hershey/Reese's), $.79 each
    • B2G1 Free eCoupon ($.79)
    • ($.79 SavingStar Friday Freebie rebate pending)
    • Total: $.79 ($.26/each)
  • Wasa Crackers, $1.99
    • $1 printable MC (Wasa's Facebook page)
    • ($1 Ibotta rebate pending)
    • Total: -$.01
  • Peaches, on sale $.99/lb ($1.93)
    • $.98 store coupon ($.50/lb)
    • Total: $.95
  • Sargento sliced provolone, on sale for $2.99
    • $.55 printable MC (SmartSource), doubled
    • Total: $1.89
  • Land O Lakes Eggs, on sale for $2.50
    • $1.51 store coupon
    • $.35 printable MC (Land O Lakes website)
    • Total: $.64
  • Bird's Eye Recipe Ready chopped onions, on sale for $.99
    • 2x $1 printable MC (SmartSource)
    • Total: -$.02
  • Klondike Bars, on sale for $1.88
    • $.89 store coupon
    • $1.50 printable MC (Coupons.com, no longer available)
    • Total: -$.51
Other deals:
  • $2 Catalina coupon from last week
Total out-of-pocket (before SavingStar and Ibotta rebates): $3.35
Total after rebates: -$.44



1 comment:

  1. Really nice information about tricks and tips regarding printable coupons.. I like it very much.. thanks a lot. Do you have any information about Debenhams Discount Code

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