Whenever I launch into a new project, it seems like the first thing I always have to do is spend. Thankfully, couponing isn't like most projects. Reason being, the actual costs of couponing are very low, but the payoff is high and immediate.

One area where even the most ardent couponers find themselves hesitating is when it comes to using printable coupons (the kind you have to print out on your own printer before using).

Here is what you need to know to ensure you save more than you spend when using printable coupons.

What you need

You only need a few basic items to get started using printable coupons.

What you need to print coupons:

  • An Internet connection
  • A printer
  • Ink
  • Printing paper

Calculating your printing cost per coupon

The average monthly cost of office supplies for an office is just $19 (paper, ink, pens/pencils, staples, etc.).

This means the average company must generate at least $19 in profits to cover that expense. Sounds doable, doesn't it?

So now let's look at your average monthly cost for printing out coupons.

  • Printer paper per page: The average cost per ream (500 sheets) is $7. So that means you pay $0.014 per sheet you print.
  • Black and white ink per page: Depending on what brand of printer you have, and assuming you print your coupons in black and white ink, expect to pay no more than $0.10 per page—the average is around $0.06 per page.
  • Total: This means that for each page of coupons you print out, you’ll spend just $0.11 cents per page—less if you print more than one coupon per page!

Related: 5 Ways to Print Coupons Like a Pro

Calculating your printable coupon ROI

ROI, or "return on investment," represents what you have to earn in profit to justify the expense.

So here, you need to save more than $0.11 per coupon in order to justify using your printer/paper/ink supplies to print that coupon out.

The latest coupon statistics show that the average face value of redeemed printable coupons is $1.52 per coupon.

Now it’s time to calculate the ROI from printing that coupon. $1.52 coupon redemption value – $0.11 printing cost = $1.41 in savings. 

This formula will work for any coupon you’re considering printing out to use. In fact, so long as the coupon in question will save you more than $0.11, it deserves your consideration.

Keeping your printing costs even lower

Even at a very reasonable estimated cost of $0.11 per page, there are additional strategies you can use to lower your costs of using printable coupons still further.

  • Know where to buy the cheapest ink. Check out KCL's favorite—Inkfarm: Deep Discounts, Super Sales and a Huge Selection of the Ink You Need.
  • Print your coupons economically. Use the draft print mode (along with only black and white ink) each time you print.
  • Buy ink only as needed. Do NOT accumulate a stockpile of cheap ink—ink has a "use by" date, and after that date it can get thick and unreliable. Rather, buy cheap ink as you need it.
  • Look at "cost per page" when buying a new printer. When it’s time for a new printer, the manufacturer's "cost per page" for black/white printing is the number you need to know!

Your annual printable coupons savings potential

According to the Promotion Marketing Association's annual report, the average American family that spends just 20 minutes per week on couponing can save up to $1,000 per year.

This means that if you save $1,000 annually, you can expect to save at least $19 per week, or at least $76 per month, by using printable coupons and other coupons.

But the truth is, many couponers save much more than this on a weekly, monthly, and annual basis!

Keeping track of your savings

One easy way to ensure you can justify the costs of using printable coupons is to actually keep a running log of your savings.

Watching your own savings adding up (weekly, monthly, and annually) is the biggest reassurance and motivation to continue printing out those coupons!

KCL has some easy, FREE resources to help you effortlessly track your couponing savings: