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Where do all those coupons come from?

Q: "I have been following your column, and a lot of what you have discussed I have implemented. You often talk about the number of coupons you use. Where and how are you obtaining so many duplicate coupons? I know I can print out multiple copies on-line from some of the coupon Web sites."

A: There are a few reasons I have a good amount of coupons available to me when a good sale comes along. I save all of my newspaper coupon inserts in their entirety each week. Many coupons often repeat every few weeks or months, especially for common items like cereal, bread, juice and personal care products. One of the most common myths about coupons is that they all expire quickly. But the truth is that most of them have, on average, a three-month window for redemption; others may not expire for nine months or more.

When a sale comes along, I usually have multiple coupons for a single item simply because I've saved all of my inserts. When the item goes on sale, I may be using coupons from several different "appearances" of that coupon in the inserts. Some may be several weeks old while others may be months old or even older. I will save my coupon inserts until everything inside expires. Doing this, it's possible to build what amounts to a library of coupons at our disposal. Then, when we need them, those coupons are waiting to be looked up, cut out and used.

As you mentioned, most printable Internet coupons do allow multiple prints of the same coupon. The average print limit is two per computer, but I will always try to click the "back" button in my Web browser and print again until I receive the message that the print limit for the coupon has been reached. It's important to do this because companies do offer higher print limits at times. I can recall a major cereal manufacturer that offered $1 coupons with a print limit of 14! That was a high limit and it allowed me to really stock up on that item at a low price because I had so many coupons.

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