JILL CATALDO: Where did you get that coupon?
t seems any time I pull out coupons for free products at the supermarket, people wonder how I got them. Whether it's the cashier or other shoppers in line, it's inevitable that someone will ask, "Where did you get that coupon for a free pizza?" "How did you get a coupon for free toilet paper?"
Coupons for free products are not terribly difficult to come by. While manufacturers sometimes run coupons for free items in newspaper inserts, they tend to use other means to distribute them.
One method that has exploded is online distribution. I'm not referring to printable coupons. Many manufacturers offer free coupons via online promotions to their shoppers.
I've received coupons for free yogurt, free coffee creamer and free cheese from offers that I responded to on the Internet.
Companies post free coupon offers in different ways. With the free yogurt, I happened to see a TV commercial inviting viewers to go to the yogurt's website and request a free coupon. The manufacturer of the coffee creamer used its Facebook page for a one-day offer of free coupons. I received the coupon for free cheese when I visited the manufacturer's website one day to look for a printable coupon and instead saw the offer to request a free coupon.
Another great way to get free coupons for products you like and use — email or write to the manufacturer. Whether it's a compliment or suggestion, many companies will send coupons, either high-value or for a free product, in return.
Manufacturers rarely off print-at-home coupons for their free offers. Printable coupons for free products are extremely rare and the majority of manufacturers do not offer them. Due to fraud, it's too easy for people to make photocopies and use far more coupons than the manufacturer intended for the promotion. Free printable coupons also make up the majority of counterfeit coupons. If someone's going to "make" a fake coupon, they typically won't stop at a $1 offer. When a shopper uses a fake coupon, the store takes a loss because the manufacturer won't reimburse the store for the discount. Because of fraud, most stores have a policy against accepting any printable coupons for free items.
Learn more about couponing at www.jillcataldo.com. Email your coupon questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.