It's a brave new (digital) world for couponing
As technology continues to evolve, the way we receive coupons does too. If you're a smartphone or tablet user, did you know that you might be able to use these devices to print coupons? One of my readers has been wondering just how to do this.
Q: I recently got an iPad and am using it for everything it seems. But I have not been able to figure out how to print coupons with it. I can load them in the browser, click on them and everything looks good, but they don't seem to connect to my printer. Can I print coupons from my iPad, and can you help?
A: Depending on the website from which you print, you may or may not be able to print coupons from a tablet or smartphone. There are a lot of variables that can affect this, so let's run through them.
First, you'll need a wireless printer. If your printer is an older style that must be connected to a computer via a printer cable, you'll likely not be able to print to it from a wireless device. Wireless printers have to be used on Wi-Fi networks.
If you have a wireless printer, open your tablet or Smartphone and connect to that printer. Now, here's where things get trickier. Most coupon websites require a browser plugin to print. As you cannot install this browser plugin on your tablet or Smartphone, this currently will prevent you from printing from many popular coupon websites.
The one exception to this is Coupons.com, which has its own coupon printing app. Download the app from the App Store (it's free!) and once it's installed, simply select the coupons you wish to print from within the app. The coupons will be sent to your wireless printer. And, just like when you print from a computer, you can print two of each coupon via the app.
Another reader has a question about text coupons.
Q: Can you help me understand how to use text coupons? I do not have Internet access on my phone but I can send and receive texts. Can I still use text coupons?
A: You may be able to use text coupons, depending on the kinds of promotions your retailers of choice offer. Some retailers utilize text coupons that are truly text, a text code that is entered or shown at the register when you shop. My local pizzeria offers coupons like this, where you simply show a code like "5OFF" for $5 off a pizza.
Other text coupons utilize a link, which you must click. That link will load a webpage or graphic, which contains a coupon. Typically, the image that loads also contains a scannable barcode that the cashier can scan at the register. I often receive these kinds of coupons for department and clothing stores.
If your phone is text-enabled but cannot access the Internet, you'll only be able to use text-only variety of coupon. Unfortunately, there's really no way to tell the difference between the two kinds of text coupons without receiving them. You'll need to sign up and see what kinds of coupons you receive. Remember that you can always opt-out of text coupons too by unsubscribing.
I don't subscribe to a plethora of text coupons, but I have a few retailers that consistently send good, high-value offers. I especially like text coupons for clothing stores, as an extra 20 percent or $10 off comes in handy when I'm shopping. I often get good offers for local restaurants via text too.
Smart Living Tip: When opting-in to text coupons and alerts, save the first text you receive from the system. It contains instructions for unsubscribing to the coupons should you find that they don't suit your needs. Typically, replying to the retailer's text with "STOP" will stop the text coupons and alerts.
Jill Cataldo, a coupon workshop instructor, writer and mother of three, never passes up a good deal. Learn more about couponing at her website, www.jillcataldo.com. Email your own couponing victories and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.