Identical Coupons with the Same Bar Codes?

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Sometimes Couponing can be confusing. Recently I learned someone was denied using more than one coupon because they looked the same. I actually had the same experience the night before. I had a cashier tell me my coupons looked the same. I laughed to myself, as of course the coupon looks the same if it was for the same item…..So here are a few tips to help you out 🙂

explaining printable coupons serial numbers

Above is a picture of the $2.00 off 1 Nuk printables. Now printables are a bit easier to tell the difference between. Of course coupons for the same items will have the exact same bar codes. BUT, if you look up at the top right of these coupons you can see another “bar code” with numbers. These are serial numbers for printable coupons. Each one has a different one when printed. Some printables you may find them located in different area. As you can see from the picture above. That is a sure way for companies to know that you did not copy a printed coupon out.

Also, did you know that each printable coupon prints with your IP computer address imbedded in it? It is in the wording around the coupon that borders it. It is never ever okay to photo copy a coupon. And if you do, you can get in trouble and they can find who did it this way and keep you from printing any more!

coupon example 2Above is an Example of two coupons I found in store (tearpads). They are for $1.00 off 2 Ritz Toasted Chips or Wheat Thins Toasted Chips. As you can see they do look identical. (and I honestly don’t know a difference between manufacturers printed coupons, do you??)



Okay here is the BIG one people talk about:

  • PDF Coupons
  • Printable Coupons that bring up that print box with “how many?” in it.

PDF coupons

PDF coupons are printables that the manufacturers send out or have on their websites in a document form that you can print from. All PDF files that I have seen are identical coupons. No matter who prints them or from what computer, they are identical. For example head on over to the Breakstone website and check out their coupon for $0.35/1 California Dairy Product. That is an example of a PDF. And while technically if they are all identical, you can print as many as you want. But remember to use your “coupon ethics” and print reasonably 🙂

Also, be sure you know where the PDF came from before you print and use that coupon. Is it from the manufacturers them selves?? You want to be sure you are not printing and using a counterfeit coupon! As always you can ask me about a coupon you wonder about, or check it out at the CIC website. Finding a coupon on the manufacturer’s website is usually a good sign it is legit.

Printable Coupons that bring up that print box with “how many?” in it:

You ever go to print a coupon and it pops up that print box and it has how many? in there? Well I wanted to tell you from the best of my coupon knowledge what you can do to find out if you can print as many as you need, or the limit like usual, 2 prints. Here is an example of a coupon (need to find an updated example) that pops up a box to print, but when you print them they all are the identical coupon.

What I do is print one out to start. Then I print out one more time again and then I see if try are identical or if they have unique codes. (refer to the above picture to figure out what serial codes you are looking for) If they are identical I’d say it’s safe to say you can print as many as you want because no matter who prints them they are identical. I cannot tell you how many is the correct amount to print of these….this is where I say you use your “couponing ethics” to determine the quantity for you to print. BUT….If you do that and they have unique serial codes, you cannot print as many as you need because each print has a unique number to them. That is as good as photo copying them! Here is an example of a coupon (need to find an updated example) that pops up a box to print, but when you print them they all have unique codes.

I hope this helps some of you! Being informed is half the battle 😉

Any Questions?? Let me know! I am here to help!!



  1. Raji

    Does this mean that I can print 2 copies which has same bar codes ?In the coupon it says limit of 2 identical copies.


    1. Kristy

      Well, you can print two coupons typically when you print them off standard couponing sites like,, etc. You cannot print and copy any of them.


  2. Chanel allows u to print 2 like coupons but mine came out exactly the same every number every where is the same can i use them or only 1 i dont want any issues when i go to ck out


    1. Kristy

      same coupons will have the same barcode numbers. The way to tell they are not copies is by the ID of the coupon which is usually somewhere else on the coupon (it’s not the barcode)


  3. Barbara Davis

    If you are allowed to print 2 of the same, will the serial numbers be different? I am so confused about legit coupons. Are serial numbers ever the same?


    1. Kristy

      They are always different, unless the coupon is a pdf coming straight from a website. Then they would be identical. But I don’t think many if any still offer that way of printing coupons.


  4. Shelby

    So I had do this and I iust caught it tonight but u have used coupons already these past few weeks and now I’m scared that It might have don’t this to me before. Am I going to go to jail because printed me off two identical coupons! I’m going through my binder and checking everyone now. I’m a newbie and as a newbie I had no clue! Like I said prob my third week of trying to coupon….freaking out.


    1. Kristy

      Do you mean that you printed 2 coupons out and they looked the same? Or do you mean you printed 2 out and then later was able to print 2 more out (from a reset) and are afraid they are copies? If you are printing from sources like coupons . com, smartsource, redplum, etc. you shouldn’t have to worry about them being copies. Everyone gets 2 prints for each coupon per computer or device you can print from. If for example, you were to photo copy those prints – those would be copies and fraudulent.


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