Reader Favorite Extreme Couponing Tip: How to Print PDF Coupons

extreme couponing

Extreme Couponing Tip: How to Print PDF Coupons

I know printing PDF Coupons can be tricky so this week’s Extreme Couponing Tip is on how to print and handle PDF Coupons.  We here at Living Rich With Coupons would never want you to intentionally misuse a coupon, which constitutes fraud and is illegal, so we’re here to help you understands how to use PDF Coupons.

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Are PDF Coupons Legitimate?

Yes, most PDF Coupons are completely legitimate if issued by the manufacturer directly from their official website, Facebook page, e-mail newsletter, etc.  Not all manufacturer’s have invested in coupon software and technology to produce their coupons.  This special software limits the amount of prints for a coupon, however you will come across some coupons that lack this limitation.  Before printing and using a PDF Coupon, just try your best to assure the coupon is from a reliable source as there are many fraudulent coupons lingering on the Internet.

How Many PDF Coupons Can I Print?

You will notice that from time to time with a PDF Coupon that there is no “print limit” on how many times you can print the coupon.  Although there is nothing preventing you from printing dozens of coupons, we do not suggest you do this.  The manufacturer probably would not reimburse the store for a massive amount of the same coupon, which as a result would constitute stealing, which in turn causes local stores to be more strict in their coupon policies.  We believe a safe and ethical rule of thumb when printing PDF Coupons is to follow the same “2 print limit” rule placed on most other coupons.

Will My Store Accept the Coupon?

Every store has their own coupon policy in regards to PDF coupons.  Some stores make it very clear that they will not accept PDF coupons or any coupon that does not have the authentic watermark that most coupons from Coupons.com have.  This, in their opinion, is the way they can determine if a coupon is legitimate.  Before using PDF printable coupons, just be aware these type of coupons are likely to give you more trouble at the checkout line.  It can’t hurt to bring your PDF Coupons to customer service for them to verify before you begin shopping to save you a headache while checking out.  Another tip on printing PDF Coupons, if at all possible, print these coupons in color ink, which might help them appear to have a less fraudulent look to them.

We hope this answers some of your questions on printing and using PDF Coupons.  If you have anymore questions we did not address, feel free to leave your questions in the comments section 🙂

If you are new to couponing, you may want to check out the Couponing for Beginners section where you will find a lot of answers to your questions.

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  • Beck

    This topic has been on my mind a lot this week. I’ve been ethically couponing for months, and for the first time, a cashier got really aggressive saying my pdf coupons were copies. I was pretty calm, the manager came over, shrugged her shoulders and said for him to take my coupons and there’s really no way for her to check if they are copies or not. So I have been reading up on this. Yes, there is a watermark, but I’m sure a good machine could copy it. Which makes me wonder about what manufacturers are thinking. On the one hand, their products are getting bought, and they pay nothing to print or distribute their coupons in the papers or store flyers. Are they really denying them ?What do you guys think?

  • Kaycee

    Thanks Cindy! You also mention that you should print the pdf coupons in color. I have been printing ALL of my coupons in color and have always wondered if I need to. Do you usually print coupons from coupons.com and the other coupon sites in black ink only?

    • Cindy

      Printing in color is just a suggestion to help make it easier at check out if your store is known for looking over each and every coupon. I personally only print in black and white since my printer only prints in black and white. But I hardly ever use PDF coupon at the grocery store. Instead I use them at Target or the drugstores. To me, the less issues I have to deal with the better. That’s my couponing motto 😉

  • Megan M

    Sometimes I will ask the company to send me coupon saying that my store does not accept a PDF coupon… I say it nicely telling them How much i would love to use it, haven’t been told no yet 🙂

  • Sebsa

    On a related (somewhat) topic…is anyone having trouble printing coupons from coupons. com or bricks coupons? Suddenly a week ago I wasn’t able to print coupons from those two sites. It keeps telling me that coupons. com doesn’t support my printer settings (which I haven’t changed) and to make sure “keep printed documents” isn’t checked (which it isn’t). I have researched on the internet, I have tried another browser, I have looked at the FAQs on coupons. com…I can’t find any answers and of course this is driving me crazy as I am missing so many deals! I am wondering if any of my fellow couponers have had any experience with this? I use a brother printer and Internet Explorer on a PC (I have also tried Firefox with the same problem). TIA!!!!!

    • Beck

      Here is a thought…When i was doing research looking at the problem of people photocopying pdf coupons, I read that the clearinghouse people/manufacturer will, when confronted with many copies of the same coupon, trace the coupon back to the original printer and then somehow shut down that person’s ability to print. Sounded like a bit of an urban ledgend to me. I mean, are there dedicated staff for this problem? Really? But what ‘scared’ me is the thought of giving/trading coupons with someone, and then that someone copies and shares, and that person copies and shares…..and it all gets traced back to your (the innocent person’s) computer.

  • Meg

    Those coupons ring if they were used before. That happened to me at RA a while ago. I printed 2 of them as this is the usual number but second one produced message at the store that it was already used. Different transactions, different RA.

    • Beck

      Well that would be a releif to me. Does anyone have a sister or someone who is a cashier that you could test out if an already used pdf coupon DOES NOT scan? And then just void out the whole transaction of course. I am thinking that they DO scan….I have a vague memory of using a few pdfs and one was sort of wrinkled and so she just ‘beeped’ one of the good ones a couple times for the correct discount.

      • Beck

        Well I am no expert, but it seems to me that when I print 4 of the same product pdf coupons (I have 2 computers)they are the same EXCEPT the 16 digit number under the barcode is different on all four, as is the tiny perimeter that one can barely read.

        • Cindy

          Beck can you give me an example of the coupon you are referring to. PDF coupons do not change numbers since they are files that are saved and made available to print from that file. Every time and everyone that prints it gets the same exact coupon. Here is an example $1/1 Organic Girl Coupon

          • Beck

            Oops, like I said, I am no expert–I see what you are saying now–I am confusing the Bricks coupons with the pdf. Sorry. So now I am really confused. Bill, you are right, how would the Rite-Aid register know it had been used?!

            • Cindy

              The only thing I can think of, at Rite Aid, is that sometimes, since they are PDF coupons, they bar codes don’t print well. And, it might not have beeped when the cashier tried to scan it. The cashier might have just used that as an excuse not to accept the coupon. That’s just a guess on my part.

              • Cindy

                I think there are 2 of you saying the same thing so this response goes to both Beck and Meg.

                • the RA coupons, while you can print them as many times as you want arent pdf,at least like you all are talking here. each computer gets ONE coupon that you can print all you want,but use only once,since thebar codes are individual and unique to each one,thats why you name is on it too. think of them as a raffle ticket,off a roll, you might have bought extra rolls at the store to increase your chances of winning, but you can’t because thier is only one ticket in the pot to match. The only benifit if printing multiples is that you have another if you lose the original. i always print two after leaving ALL my Target Q’s somewhere 2yaers ago at xmas with no prints left.

    • Meg

      It was PDF coupon, not RA and girl told me it was already used.

      • Beck

        Actually, I am the one who did not really know what a pdf coupon was. Sorry everyone. And I also was at SNS last week and my Catalina (Glade and MSFarms) did not go through. Luckily there was a manger there who knew me, and told the cashier to put it in as cash. But I was surprised. And, yes, the cashier tried to make up some excuse, reading from her register, like I did not spend enough. (Total was $11, trying to use $7 of Catalina.)

        • Bill

          Catalina’s are terrible at S&S.I thought it was only at the self-scan that they don’t scan properly, but I had a problem using one at the normal register last week and had to go to customer service to get my money.

          • Anonymous

            Yes, they don’t scan anymore since they changed the barcode (they beep). And before that you had to have a single item worth more than $7 in order to use $7 catalina. Impossible!

  • Diane Kramer

    I tried to print coupons and they did not print, just got a blank piece of paper. What am I doing wrong?

    • Sassy T

      Any luck, same here

    • MisterBill

      Are you talking about stuff like Smartsource that prints thru Acrobat? If so, make sure that you do not have the “print in greyscale” or “save ink” settings when you go to the print screen in Acrobat. If you do, unset them. Both of them break Smartsource coupon printing.

      If you’re talking about printing from an actual PDF file, then save the file locally and print from Acrobat. It will show you a preview of what’s going to print before actually printing, If you’re doing that and still getting a blank page, then something is broken on your machine.

  • Molly Ball

    Two points I would like to comment on. One, I wish more people would follow the 2 print rule. Those who don’t and bring many multiples of the same PDF coupon cause a lot of problems at the store’s for us who don’t. Two, I have the same problem with it shooting out a blank page, especially from Smart Source. I am going to try the “greyscale” suggestion.

    • MisterBill

      If you have the greyscale setting on the print page in Acrobat, that will definitely cause the blank page. However, it seems like this article is about coupons that you download the actual file of and open and print in Acrobat, not SS that gets generated in Acrobat.

      I had the blank page problem and did some research online and found someone talking about the greyscale setting. I did not have that but I had the “save ink” setting on and it turns out that’s what was causing the problem.

  • Gina Carpenter

    Is there a way to save coupons in pdf and then send them to my email so that I can print them somewhere else? I dont have a printer at the moment, but I can go to my library and print them from my email? I have searched online and feel like I’m going in circles haha. Any advice or tips?

    • Harry

      if you have an android phone or tablet and install google cloud print as the printer, most coupons at least those from coupons dot com do go to a pdf file which you can save to dropbox and open the dropbox on another location and print them as any other PDF.

  • Shirley Clifton

    I am trouble printing my coupons, for some reason it keeps telling me my plug in has failed. Could you try to give me directions what to do. I downloaded the new adope . still not working.