Super couponing champs know a secret for getting their coupons to clear retail registers in record time. Each printable coupon has a barcode that must be read by a scanner. If the barcode is fuzzy or faint, the scanner will send out a beep indicating that it could not read it. Either the cashier will inspect it, enter it manually, or deny use of the coupon. Stop this extreme couponing nightmare with the right printer for the job.
Choosing a Printer for Printable Coupons
The number one problem with printable coupons is how clean the barcode will print from your printer. You will need the highest resolution printer available in your price range. High resolution is the number of ink dots that make up the image on the paper. A resolution of 600 to 1200 dpi (dots per inch) is good for consistent quality.
Some printers create high resolution by making multiple passes for more ink coverage. This is wonderful for rich looking photographs but not economical for couponing. To save money, you will want to know the cost per printed sheet and dpi at the normal print setting, not the high resolution setting.
Inkjet or Laser Printer: Which is better for couponing?
Without a doubt, a laser printer is superior to an inkjet for printable coupons. The inkjet sprays out tiny dots of ink onto the paper to make the printed image. The edges of these dots make printing slightly fuzzy to almost unreadable when the print head gets worn out.
The laser printer sets the image with a heat process applied to toner. It literally melts the toner into the paper which makes for a more precise printed image with no ink bleed or fuzzy edges. It is also fast and consistent at the normal print resolution. No need to change between normal printing and high resolution printing on a laser printer.
The Real Cost of Printable Coupons
The hidden cost of printing coupons can eat away at extreme couponing profits. Inkjet or laser, it all comes down to cost per page printed. Many office supply stores will have a cost per page listed with the printers they offer. This is a manufacturer’s estimation of the cost of ink, cartridges or toner for an average printed page. This does not include the paper. A cost of $0.05 per page is good, and lower is better. Usually only laser printers will come in at $0.04 or lower.
Make your own comparison by dividing the cost of the cartridge or toner by the yield. For example, if the cartridge is $34.99 and the manufacturer states the yield as 800 pages, the cost per page is $0.04 per page. This will give you an estimate. Online forums are valuable places to read up on the printer’s value to other consumers.
While the initial cost of replacement laser cartridges may cause sticker shock, they save money over inkjet cartridges. You can lower costs by refilling inkjet cartridges yourself, but within two to three refills the print head will wear out. For further cost savings, investigate this article by Melissa Riofrio at PC World, The Cheapskates Guide to Printing.
Many laser toner cartridges can also be refilled by the consumer – research this topic before making a purchase. Check in with an online ink supplier with your proposed printer’s make and model number to see what the costs are for all your refill needs. Many online sites have coupon codes for discounts on your order for additional savings. Compare the price per page printed, not the cost of the individual ink or toner cartridges.
What Should I Expect to Pay for a Good Coupon Printer?
Printer companies make their money from the ink cartridge replacements, not the actual printer. To be a champion at super couponing, you will need a quality printer.
A generic black and white (monochrome) laser printer can be purchased for under a hundred dollars. But beware the cost of the toner and the resolution of the printing. Cheep is cheep. Quality is quality. If you want the most economy for your money, a mid-price color laser ($150 to $300) is for you. Before you buy, check out customer reviews at a website like PC Magazine. While not exclusively for couponing, look for good reviews on your most important items – resolution and cost per page.
Coupons are official documents and should be printed as they are sourced from the manufacturer, including color. Most people will never get into any trouble for printing coupons in grayscale (all black and white) but you never know when rules may change. It would be troubling to have a printer you can no longer use should this ever occur. A color laser may be the best bet although it adds slightly to cost in comparison to a monochrome model.
For cost effective free printable coupons, a laser printer is a good investment that will last a long time. They are fast, clean and profitable for extreme couponing.