The use of coupons has exploded over the past few years. Coupons are readily available in the Sunday paper, magazines, by direct mail, from the cash register at the store, mobile downloads, and online.

Online coupons often have the word free attached to them. This is partly true because you do not need to sign up or pay a fee to print the coupons. Except, you need to consider this, free printable coupons -- are not exactly free. You have to factor in the use of the printer ink and paper used to print the coupon on your home printer.

Paper for the printer is very economical if you watch the sales and stock up. Printer ink, on the other hand can be quite costly. If you make it a habit to print off coupons regularly, it does not take long to go through the cartridge.

To conserve ink, print coupons in gray scale whenever possible and only print coupons you will definitely use. The goal of coupons is to save money, not waste it.

For now happy shopping!

Laurie Dixon