I know that many of us know this and would never attempt it but because I get this question several times a week I felt it may be necessary to share this with those just starting their coupon journey who may get advice from unscrupulous “extreme couponers” and others who don’t know the ins & outs of coupon rules and usage.
A coupon can never ever be copied. A printable coupon cannot be copied. A coupon from Sunday Inserts cannot be copied. There is no grey area- copying coupons is as wrong as copying that $5 bill and trying to use it at the store.
See the image below? The Yellow arrow points to the Unique Identifier barcode – this tracks it back to YOU & YOUR computer. Think of it like a serial number on a US dollar- it tells the clearing house and manufacturer that this is a unique print of that coupon and that there should only be one.
Even without that, we want to be sure we are using coupons we are entitled to. If the manufacturer gave us 2 prints of the coupon (most printable coupons give us 2 prints per device) and suddenly they are getting hundreds more – they are going to rethink giving us printable coupons & we will all suffer.
We can reduce our spending SO much using coupons in the proper method (i.e. following restrictions, store policies etc) that we don’t need to copy coupons in order to save money. To me, copying a coupon is no different than copying US dollars and trying to pass them off as valid tender. Someone has to “pay” and it’s going to be the store or the manufacturer- neither of whom we want to decide that coupons (and couponers) are trouble and stop accepting, or distributing, them.
If someone tries to give you coupons they printed & then copied- don’t accept them and definitely don’t try to use them. I know that most couponers know this and treat their coupons as they do their cash- but there is no handbook of couponing for those new to this lifestyle I felt it would be good to post this.