Paper Coupons vs. Digital Coupons

printed vs digital couponsSaving money is not only great for the budget, but it can be a lot of fun too! There’s nothing quite like the rush of pairing a great coupon with a significant sale, but when it comes to using paper versus printed or virtual digital coupons, there are a few things every savvy shopper needs to know.  Especially if this coupon advice can help you lead a more green life.

Not All Retailers Accept Printed Digital Coupons

Most retailers are likely to take printed coupons, but not all will. The reason is simple: Depending on the method of downloading and printing the coupons, it may be possible for shoppers to print out an unlimited number of coupons. Retailers who offer coupons are typically doing so because they want to get shoppers in their store, and they’re willing to offer a discount to get them there. However, they carefully assess how much discounted merchandise they can sell to make it worth their while. If they’re not able to control how many coupons are circulating, then they mind find it difficult to accurately assess how much the promotion will cost them.

The best way to find out if a particular retailer takes printed digital coupons is to ask! Remember that all chains won’t necessarily have the same store policy, so you may need to call a few outlets to find out. It’s possible that some stores will take certain printed digital coupons and not others, and it’s also possible that a store could have a policy against digital coupons but would be willing to make exceptions. It never hurts to ask.

Virtual Digital Coupons Versus Paper In-Store Coupons

Of course some digital coupons are not meant to be printed at all – they are used exclusively online. These coupons could be offered either by companies who exist exclusively online, or those who also have brick and mortar stores. Most of the time one coupon can be used at a time. In some cases this may refer to an entire order. For example, if you were buying two t-shirts, some companies may let you use two coupons as long as you fulfilled the requirements of that coupon, while others may only accept one coupon for the entire order – even if each coupon only applies to one shirt.

In other cases you may be able to use two online coupons as long as they don’t overlap. For example, if you were buying two t-shirts, you could use one coupon that gives you $5 off one t-shirt, and another coupon that gives you 15% off one t-shirt. However, you might not be able to use one coupon that gives you $5 off one t-shirt and one coupon that gives you 15% off your entire order. This is because the coupons overlap and you’d effectively get two discounts on the t-shirt – which some companies do not allow.

When Coupons Collide – Choosing Between a Digital and Paper Coupon

The tricky situation arises when you need to buy one item and you have several coupons you can apply to it – one of which is paper and one of which is digital. The first thing to consider is the overall value – and not just the price. A digital coupon used with an online retailer may require you to pay for shipping and handling, which can add up. On the other hand, an online retailer often has a larger selection, which means you can get more for your buck if you’re using a coupon that gives a percentage off of the entire order.

You should also factor in convenience. Do you really want to make a trip to a store to find out if they have what you want when you already know you can find it online? In some cases, the convenience of not making the trip and the ease of ensuring they have what you want makes the digital coupon a better option than the paper one. Either way, pay close attention to the fine print, and if you have a question – ask!

[Photo Via: WP]

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