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Where can you find printable coupons?

If it only it was this easy!
If it only it was this easy!
Hemera/Thinkstock

Some people absolutely refuse to pay more than they have to for the things they want. For them, store coupons are like cold, hard cash. With some coupons, you even get cash back. Those little slips of paper don't clink when you knock them together, but even so, they're like coins at the checkout. Put them together with double coupon days at the market, nationally discounted promotional items or in-store sales, and you get a trunk full of goods at bargain basement prices.

The key to printable coupons is in finding good online sources and staying current with what's out there. This can be a tougher proposition than it sounds. There are hundreds of discount sites that offer printable as well as card-linked coupons (paperless coupons loaded to store cards, smartphones and credit cards). Most also have other services, too, like advanced lists of a retailer's weekly specials. Some of the coupons are site specific, others are manufacturer specific, and still others are retailer specific. That means you may have to go to a manufacturer's site, a national or regional retailer's site, or a couponing site to find the best coupon deal for a product.

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There are counterfeit coupon sites out there, too, so you'll want to find reliable resources that provide trouble-free coupons. To make the checkout process easier, scannable coupons that include bar codes are best. Sites that offer them are also more likely to be the real deal. To download this type of coupon, you'll need special printer software on your computer. Most sites that have the coupons also make it easy to download and install the software necessary to print them. You can usually initiate the process with a simple click on the coupon page. The software installation only takes a couple of minutes.

Coupon software may also limit the quantity of a specific coupon you'll be able to print based on the rules of the promotion. This sounds like mean-spirited interference, but it's actually a good thing in disguise. Coupons printed with security software are usually easier to redeem because they result in fewer delays at the checkout. If you've ever been asked to step away from the checkout line to wait for a manager to authorize a questionable coupon -- with all the sighs and eye rolling from other customers, you'll appreciate a downloadable coupon that's reliably hassle free to use.

Now that you know what to be on the lookout for, on the next page we'll tell you where to go to find them.

In a smart hunt for the best coupons around, leave no store -- uh, stone -- unturned:

Retail sites -- Target, Walgreens, Kroger and many other retailers offer printable coupons via their Web sites. Just access a retailer's site and perform a search on the word "coupon." Sometimes you can find promotional coupons that aren't available anywhere else. Taking a few minutes to explore the Web sites of merchants you visit often has other benefits, too. You'll find recommendations about using their products, as well as expanded customer service information. You might also find goodies like advanced notice of planned events, loyalty club invitations, freebies and more.

Brand and manufacturer sites -- Before goods ever get to a retailer's location, someone has to make them. Those folks have a vested interest in promoting what they make. They're behind most of the coupons you use, and they usually have an online presence you can tap for information and added savings. Take Hunt's for example: The brand is actually owned by ConAgra Foods. ConAgra also owns some other product brands you'll probably recognize like Healthy Choice, PAM, One Egg Beaters and Orville Redenbacher's. Visit one of the individual brand sites owned by ConAgra Foods or ConAgra's corporate site, and you'll find consumer extras like recipes that incorporate their products. On some of the brand sites, you'll also be able to sign up for promotional e-mails that include printable coupons delivered right to your computer.

If there are products you find yourself buying over and over again, discover who makes them and visit their sites occasionally. You'll almost always come away with valuable information and probably score some money-saving coupons, too.

Dedicated coupon sites -- Driven by concerns that the more than 500 Web sites specializing in bargain coupons aren't all worthy of a mouse click, the folks over at SmartMoney.com took a gander at a number of the major and secondary players in 2011. It turns out that coupon sites aren't always what they seem: The good ones perform a valuable service; the mediocre ones tend to carry only those coupons that generate the largest commissions; and the really bad ones indulge in shenanigans like offering counterfeit coupons and loading spyware on your computer. Choosing a site that's on the first page of a Google search may not always take you to the best coupon site candidates, either.

Of the 500-plus sites that claim to do the legwork gathering together printable coupons and other consumer bargains, only about 10 percent are worth your time and trust. That still leaves a lot of ground to cover, though -- 50 worthwhile sites to peruse for great deals and discounts. With all that bounty, your best bet is to find a few sites you like and get to know them well. Some sites may have a layout you particularly like, or special features like dedicated browser bars that will alert you to new deals automatically. Below, we've listed a few of the best downloadable coupon sites based on recommendations by experts like Mary Hunt, Jill Cataldo and Kathy Spencer (author of "How to Shop for Free"):

  • CouponMom.com - CouponMom has been around a while. The site is extensive and offers brand-, store- and region-specific information.
  • CouponNetwork.com (by Catalina) - These are the folks behind those purchase-specific coupons some grocery stores provide at the checkout.
  • Coupons.com - Usually has lots of printable coupons.
  • DealNews.com - This site also has an Editor's Choice section that lists the best deals of the day, as well as a regional section that lists purchase discount coupons like Groupon deals near you.
  • MommySavesBig.com - This one's always worth a quick weekly perusal.
  • RetailMeNot.com - This is the largest online coupon site around.
  • SmartSource.com - This is an oldie but a goodie.

Related Articles

Sources

  • Constine, Josh. "RetailMeNot Could Shred The Paper Coupon Biz With Credit Card-Integrated On and Offline Discounts." Tech Crunch. 4/4/12. (4/18/12). http://techcrunch.com/2012/04/04/retailmenot-card-linked-coupons/
  • Dashing for Deals. "How Do Printable Coupons Work." (4/18/12). http://dashingfordeals.com/couponing-guide/how-do-printable-coupons-work
  • Ebay. "Coupon Search." (4/18/12). http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=coupons
  • EverydaySaver.com. "Printable Coupons - Coupon Printer." (4/18/12). http://www.everydaysaver.com/
  • Grant, Kelli B. "The New Best Coupon-Clipping Sites." Smart Money. 6/6/11. (4/18/12). http://www.smartmoney.com/spend/deal-of-the-day/the-new-best-couponclipping-sites-1305051028323/
  • Hunt's. "Promotions." (4/18/12). http://www.hunts.com/newsletters-and-promotions
  • MashUpMom.com. "Walgreens mobile app adding scannable coupons." 11/17/11. (4/18/12). http://www.mashupmom.com/2011/11/17/walgreens-mobile-app-adding-scannable-coupons/
  • Mommy Saves Big. "Coupon Sites." (4/18/12). http://printable-coupons.blogspot.com/2006/05/coupon-sites.html
  • RedPlum.com "Printable Coupons 101." (4/18/12). http://www.redplum.com/pages/viewarticle.aspx?id=2731
  • The Consumerist. "Before You Shop, Check Out The Best Printable Coupon Sites." 5/12/11. (4/18/12). http://consumerist.com/2011/05/before-you-shop-check-out-the-best-printable-coupon-sites.html
  • West, Allison. "Where to Find Free Printable Coupons." Yahoo. 3/11/10. (4/18/12). http://voices.yahoo.com/where-find-free-printable-coupons-5631428.html?cat=25
  • YouTube. "Smart Source Express Card." (4/18/12). http://www.smartsourcexpress.com/video.html

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