Posted at: 4/03/2010 03:22:00 AM .
There will be times that you print a coupon off the internet and are so excited by your great find, only to arrive at a store and find out the coupon is not valid. Even valid coupons are turned away because stores are tired of fraudulent coupons being used. My local grocery store will not accept any internet coupon worth more than $5 or for a free item (even BOGO) because of fraud.
Every Sunday your newspaper comes full of advertisements and coupon inserts. The two major coupon inserts you find are the same as the internet coupons: Red Plum and Smart Source. Additionally you might find company specific inserts such as Proctor & Gamble or General Mills. These coupons are the least likely to give you problems in stores because it is obvious to cashiers that they are real and valid.
Through websites such as coupons.com, redplum.com, and smartsource.com you are able to print out additional manufacturer coupons to use in stores. You can also sometimes find internet coupons on companies' specific websites. Stores are often nervous about accepting these internet coupons because it is easier to fake than the newspaper coupons. Red Plum has a resource that will help stores determine if a coupon is valid. The coupons can be printed in black & white or color. I recommend setting your printer to black ink only, unless your local store gives you trouble. While the colored coupons look more "official," colored ink costs more and would negate the purpose of printing coupons which is to save money.
Most online coupon sites will limit you to two coupons of a kind. It is considered fraud and is illegal to photocopy the coupons to give yourself more copies. Remember when I mentioned that stores are more hesitant to accept internet coupons? This is why. When people redeem photocopied coupons, the barcode still scans but the store will not be reimbursed by the company. The store then loses that money.
Before you say to yourself "I don't care if the store loses money as long as I save" you should realize that they can determine where the fraudulent coupons came from. (1) Most retailers have the bonus cards that you use to get special prices. They can run a quick computer search to determine who used the copied coupons. (2) If you look closely at the coupon, you will see that the border is actually small print which gives the details of the coupon along with the IP address of the computer that printed the coupon.
If there is a really good internet coupon, talk to your friends and ask them to print extra copies for you. This option will only work if they do not use coupons so it might be difficult to find someone like this. If you have multiple computers in your house, you should be able to print two per computer. I'm not positive if the sites use IP addresses, cookies, or something else to track the printing.
Sometimes you will find coupons in a grocery store's flier. Other times, stores like Target have coupons on their website which are specifically for purchases in Target. If the coupon has the words "manufacturer coupon" other store might accept them but it really depends on your local area.
You might think you're going to get a great deal because you found two different looking coupons for the same item. Unfortunately it doesn't work like that. However, if one coupon is store specific and the other is a manufacturer coupon, you can do what is known as stacking. For example, you can use a Target coupon for a specific item as well as a manufacturer coupon on the same item (so two coupons for the same product) to double your savings.
Note About Making Cents of It and Deals Involving Coupons
I am currently only posting coupon deals that involve internet or store flier coupons. I know that not everyone gets the newspaper and I don't want to confuse anyone by trying to tell you which insert a coupon is in. Any deal posted on Making Cents of It will provide you with a link to print the necessary coupons or instructions on how to print if a direct link cannot be provided.
If in the future, my readers would like me to begin posting deals involving coupons from the newspapers, I will.
Last Updated: July 27, 2012