Online Coupons 101: Printable coupon basics
To get started, all you need is some scrap paper and a few minutes of your time.
This post comes from Karla Bowsher at partner site Money Talks News.
I recently received an email from a reader who had never printed online coupons before. I felt bad because I'd never considered the possibility that we have readers who haven't tried online coupons yet -- even though I hopped on that bandwagon late myself.
To give this a try, you have nothing to lose but a few seconds and some scrap paper. In fact, printable coupons may be the closest we'll ever get to having a money tree in the backyard.
If you're already an e-couponing pro, feel free to share your own tips by leaving a comment below. But for now, here are mine:
Print coupons ASAP, even if they don't expire for a while or you don't plan to use them immediately. This is perhaps the most important tip. Internet coupons can be pulled down at any time. Some also have print limits, which means they're first come, first served. You never know, so always print coupons as soon as you happen across them.
Use scrap paper. I keep a bin of scrap paper next to my printer so I can easily swap out my clean paper before printing coupons. Just make sure that the scrap paper doesn't have any personal information on it before you hand your coupons over to the cashier. Post continues after video.
Try hitting the back button after printing a coupon. Coupons often are limited to one per printer. I've seen extreme couponers set up multiple printers just to be able to print multiples of the same coupon, but there's another way around the limit. Internet lore says your printer may spit out a second copy if you hit the back button after the first one prints, and I find this often works.
Do keep in mind that printing more than one of a limited-run coupon is like depriving another couponer of the chance to print it even once.
"Unlike" Facebook pages after printing their coupons. Most Facebook coupons require you to first "like" a product's or company's Facebook page. If you're like me and don't want your Facebook news feed cluttered up, this requirement could get annoying. But there's nothing stopping you from clicking "unlike" (which you'll find at the bottom left of the page) after you print the coupon.
Get organized. It doesn't matter how you keep your coupons in order -- and you don't need complicated 4-inch-thick binders like you may have seen on TLC's "Extreme Couponing" show. Even the simplest system will keep you sane so you can enjoy the savings.
I don't use that many coupons, so I have two envelopes: one for food coupons and one for everything else. Within each envelope, I organize the coupons by expiration date, but some people organize alphabetically or otherwise.
Make sure you get the best deal. Coupons don't replace comparison shopping. Just because you have a coupon doesn't mean it's the cheapest way to buy a product. For example, while a coupon can make a brand-name product cheaper than its generic equivalent, sometimes it's cheaper to toss the coupon and buy the generic.
More on Money Talks News and MSN Money:
Do any of you understand, if you REFUSE to use the coupons... they may just lower prices?
Why do you think they offer them in the first place?
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