Friday, June 19, 2009

Guest post: To print or not to print!

The following is a guest post written by Ashley at Shopping Frugal.

I have had a couple of you ask me what I do with printing coupons ever since our printers exploded with the mass quantity of Kraft Foods coupons! Many of you want to print them right away as your not sure when the print limit is going to be up but at the same time you don't want to waste valuable printer ink for an item that might not have a sale soon. Plus your not sure when the expiration date is as they do not let you know until you print.

My suggestions for printing coupons online:

Only print items you will actually use:
If it is something I have not used or never plan to use I don't bother with printing it, UNLESS I know I can get it for free (or moneymaker) within that week. Even if I know I can get it for less then .50 cents each. Even though you would be getting it on the cheap is it worth spending that .50 cents or so on an item you will not use? It is only worth it if you are planning on giving it away or donating it. (I will be discussing more on this topic this week) When I 1st started "full throttle" couponing I will print everything and learned real quick it was not worth it.

With that said, you ask "Well, what if I will be able to score it for FREE in a few weeks and now I've missed out as the the coupon is no longer available?" My answer t o that... Your going to win some and you are going to lose some, but guess what! If they have offered that coupon before they will probably offer it again so after some time it will be back for you to snag!

If it is something I might used, even though it's not my favorite brand I will 1st research the price of what I can get it today and if it is equal too, or less then the price of the brand I usually use I will go ahead and print it and try to wait and see if I can find it for less. I might only print 1 of the 2 usual limit just in case I won't like the product, this gives me a chance to try it. Brand loyalty does not need to be thrown out with couponing but it does get questioned.

If it is an item you use already, go ahead and print the "usual" 2 limit coupons limit that the manufacturer might offer. If a manufacturer does not set a print limit on a certain item, do think twice before printing more then 2 coupons. Unfortunately what happens is people get coupon crazy and start to print 10 + of this product and then whatever limit the manufacturer set the print limit too (say 100,000 coupons to be printed) now you might have taken away coupons from someone that did not see this as quickly as you. As with all things be considerate of others. THIS IS MY OPINION.

Print in Black & White if you can:
This will not work for everyone. It does not work for me! When I print my coupons in black and white I will always have issues with the cashier, unless "I know" them. I know some couponers will always print in B&W and if they have an issue they will speak to the manager or show the cashier the different "special" number code. To me, it is worth it to be not to be hassled and print in color. Some coupons even state that the coupon can be printed in color or B&W. If you are one of the lucky ones that are able to print in B&W and not have issues you will save alot of money on ink!

Try to find out the expiration date before printing:
If this is a coupon you are questioning, try to see if you can find the expiration date on a blog before printing. If the expiration date is soon this can help you decide if it is worth printing or not. I try to mark the expiration date on my blog when I post a printable coupon. If I don't, I might not be printing the coupon myself but will ask a reader to leave the expiration date in the comment section to share with others.

Don't leave the coupons printed but on the desk!:
I find when I do this I will forget about them. If I don't clip and sort them right away I will at least put them in my coupon folder so they don't get under a pile on the desk. If for some reason you do not use a coupon and it has hit it's expiration date, go ahead and use this for scrap paper or to print more coupons on! Never let the paper go to waste.

Use the whole sheet of paper:
As you might know, some coupons print a whole ad/recipe and waste ALOT of ink! What I tend to do is WATCH the printer and press cancel once it has printed the full coupon. I then put the paper back into the printer to print more coupons on the blank areas. I have become a pro at turning and fliping the paper to get lots of coupons on one sheet and not to double on each other!

Check back often:
With and other coupon printing sites, they will refresh their print limit meaning you can print your limit again! I try to keep an eye on this when there is something I use alot. Also make sure to print the coupons you want before the end of the month. At the end of the month they usually change their selection and you might miss out.


Ashley writes for Shopping Frugal and is a young, energetic couponer in the South Florida area. Ashley’s goal is to inform her readers, and raise their awareness to ways they too can "shop frugal". She makes it easy to receive samples, get items for free, and collect coupons for online and local shopping - all on one web site.

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