A few days ago, I showed you where to find printable coupons online. Today, I want to talk about the correct way to get multiple prints of those coupons, so you can maximize your savings.
There’s a lot of misinformation on the Internet about how to get multiple copies of your coupons. Some methods are legitimate and endorsed by the coupon industry; others are illegal and constitute a crime called coupon fraud. Here’s how to do it the right way.
Do NOT Photocopy Coupons
When a manufacturer decides to run a coupon promotion, they decide how many coupons they want to offer. To track this, every coupon you print has a unique identifier code, and even when you print two of the same coupon from the same computer, this code will be different. When all the coupons are used up, the promotion is over. If you make a photocopy of a coupon, the photocopy will have a duplicate identifier code.
Even if your duplicate coupon scans and even if the store honors it, the manufacturer reimburse the store for the value of the duplicate, meaning you’ve essentially just stolen from your local grocery store. In turn, this drives up prices and makes stores less likely to honor coupons, making life difficult for couponers who rely on coupons to supply their families. Trying to use photocopied coupons is considered coupon fraud, and in serious cases could even result in jail time or fines.
Multiple Computers = Multiple Coupons
Manufacturers obviously want as many people as possible to buy their products. If a single person could print off as many copies of a coupon as they like, you could just set your computer to print a few hundred and go clear out every store in your area. Manufacturers don’t want this, so they put a small limit on the number of times you can print each coupon. These limits are usually on a per-computer basis. Most printable coupons can be printed one or twice per computer. The more computers you have in your house, the more coupons you can get.
Don’t Try Hacky Workarounds To Get More Prints
There are tons of hacky techniques that try to circumvent coupon limits with varying degrees of success — proxy IP addresses, printer queue shenanigans, back button juggling and more. Some of these techniques don’t work at all (or worked at one time and have since been detected by manufacturers and stopped).
Even when they do work, these techniques are really not how manufacturers intend consumers to acquire their coupons, and in some cases, they can result in bad duplicate coupons without unique identifiers. In the end, it’s best to just print what your computer will let you print and leave it at that. 1-2 prints per computer is plenty. If you hit the limit, just take what you’ve got and move on. There will always be more coupons later.
Don’t Abuse The Ability To Get Multiple Coupons
Every time you print an extra copy of a coupon, you’re taking that coupon away from another couponer. Since coupons are usually released in counts of hundreds of thousands or even millions, this isn’t a terribly big deal, but as a matter of courtesy, try not to print coupons you won’t use. Think carefully about whether the item in question is one your family needs. Do you really need a 48th tube of toothpaste?
Keep An Eye Out For Resets
Periodically, some companies will reset a coupon. $1.00 Kikkoman products coupons are a common example — every so often, Kikkoman will reset their coupon, so you can go back and print some more, even if you already printed the maximum number of coupons a few weeks or month ago. If you come across a coupon for a product that you buy frequently, be sure to keep your eyes open for any resets so you can get them at a discounted rate again.
Read and Understand Coupon Usage Limits
Finally, whenever you print a new coupon, pay careful attention to the fine print. Nearly every coupon will have some language specifying how many times the same coupon or copies of the same coupon can be used. Here’s some of the more common ones:
- One coupon per purchase. This means you can only use one coupon on each individual copy of the same item that you purchase. Example: My coupons says “one coupon per purchase,” so if I buy 3 boxes of cereal, I can use 3 copies of this coupon to get a discount on each one.
- Four coupons per transaction. This means you can only use four of these coupons in a single visit to the store. If I buy five boxes of cereal, I can only use four of these coupons at that time, even if I have more than four coupons. You can get around this one by coming back at a later date to use your leftover coupons.
- One coupon per person. This means you get one shot to use the coupon, and then you’re done, no matter how many of these coupons you have or how many transactions you go through. Of course, this is one of those coupon rules that is very difficult to track and enforce, so I’m not really sure why manufacturer’s include it. It’s easy to circumvent, but in a very technical legal sense, it can be considered coupon fraud to use more than the specified number of these coupons.
- One coupon per household. Same as one coupon per person, but this applies to everyone living under the same roof.
When printing coupons, print just one first so you can read the fine print. That way, if the coupon has strict usage limits, you can know whether or not it’s worth printing multiples.
Tomorrow, I’m going to talk about basic necessities. We all need them: things like food, shelter, clothing, medical care, and transportation. Specifically, I’m going to be talking about what happens when we allow frivolous wants to jeopardize our ability to provide ourselves with those basic necessities. Be sure to check out tomorrow’s post for that discussion — if you’d like to get notified when that post goes live, you can subscribe to this blog using the box in the sidebar!
Photo by Chris Potter.