One of the questions I hear the most from new couponers is, "where can I find good coupons?" These readers want to know more about where to find electronic coupons, both digital and printable.
Sometimes I go online and see a link to a printable coupon that I want to use. When I click the link, I get a message, "Sorry, this coupon is out of print." But I never got a chance to print it. Why would it be out of print? — Sarah G.
Print-at-home coupons seem simple enough. Select the coupons you want and print them out immediately. On a major coupon website (such as coupons.com, smartsource.com, redplum.com or couponnetwork.com), you'll usually be able to select a coupon and print it without a problem. But printable coupons can come with a catch. Occasionally, after selecting your coupon and clicking "print," message on the screen alerts you that this coupon has reached its print limit, or that the coupon's print campaign is over.
How could a coupon have reached its print limit if you didn't print it? While most printable coupons are limited to two prints per computer, there's another print limitation you may not be aware of: global print limits. When a manufacturer posts a printable coupon online, it can also set a specified number of total prints per coupon. Once this limit is reached, the coupon's campaign is out of prints. Anyone else trying to print the coupon will receive an onscreen message that there are no more prints available for this coupon.
If you try to print a coupon and receive the message, "This coupon's print campaign is over," something similar has happened. The coupon may not have hit its global limit for the number of prints, but the coupon's campaign time has passed. A manufacturer may decide to end a coupon promotion on a specific date. Once that date passes, the coupon will no longer be available.
To avoid this, print any coupons you're interested in as soon as you come across them. I like to log onto my favorite coupon sites early in the week, Sunday or Monday, to look for new coupons to print. By the middle of the week, the best and highest-value offers may be gone.
A few different sites I visit let me load e-coupons onto my shopper's card. But sometimes I see a coupon I want to add to the card, and I get a message that it's sold out. What do I have to do to get it? — Kenneth D.
Electronic coupons, or e-coupons, are growing in popularity. Many supermarkets and drugstores offer e-coupons on their websites, and some national coupon websites allow shoppers to load e-coupons to a store's loyalty card via home computers or smartphone apps. Then, when a loyalty card is scanned in the checkout lane, the e-coupons are deducted automatically — no scissors needed!
But, just like their print counterparts, e-coupons have limits. If a store or manufacturer releases a great offer and the desired number of shoppers load it onto their cards, the offer is sold out. It's worth visiting your favorite electronic coupon sites regularly to search for new e-coupons. That way, you can load them before their limits have been reached.
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Jill Cataldo, a coupon workshop instructor, writer and mother of three, never passes up a good deal. Learn more about couponing at her website, www.jillcataldo.com. Email your own couponing victories and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.