I go in and out of coupon clipping. The time and mental overhead it
takes to clip, organize and actually remember the coupons rarely seems
worth the couple bucks I save at the checkout. Finding online discount
codes, however, is like a treasure hunt. A simple cut-and-paste and I’ve
scored free shipping (which means over $5 is still sitting in my
wallet!). That’s a good return.
And that’s only one way to cut your shopping bill. There are so many other types of discounts available online. Some sites promote time-limited sales, others leverage the regional power of group buying, and even the Sunday coupon circulars have their online counterparts. Consider your budget, motivation and available time, and then dig into these sites to see how much money you can save.
Discount and Coupon Codes
This is my favorite place to hunt for discounts as the time spent-to-money saved ratio is so good. You can either browse a site such as RetailMeNot or CurrentCodes.com, or you can simply Google for “Store name discount code,” where store name is the name of the store at which you’re shopping. You’ll come up with sites that list promotional codes — usually a number/letter combination or phrase — which you paste into the Promotional Code field during the online checkout process. If the code is valid, you’ll see the discount appear on your order. It may be some percentage off the total price, or free or discounted shipping. Either way, it’s money you’re not spending.
Some stores offer additional coupon codes to subscribers of their newsletters and feeds. If you’re willing to deal with more email, it may be worth your while.
Group Buying Sites
Sites such as Groupon and LivingSocial offer one big city-specific deal per day. Restaurants, spas, and local attractions exchange a fat one-time discount (usually in the neighborhood of 50%) for exposure to thousands of new customers. You get the thrill of the catch plus big savings, and incentives for telling your friends.
The king of deal-a-day is Woot. One product at a ridiculous discount per day. No more, no less. Actually, there is more… the writing. It’s so clever and fun to read, you’ll want to visit each day simply for the chuckles.
Several retail sites offer daily deals of their own (Amazon, eBay, Target to start), so it’s worth rooting around your favorite online shopping destinations and subscribing to their feeds or newsletters. Some even post their daily deals on Twitter.
Some folks have honed grocery shopping into an art, combining weekly deals with coupons and stocking up when the price is right. I’m not there, but I applaud those who are.
If you’re a Sunday coupon clipper, you’ll find even more coupons (and sometimes better deals) online. Sites such as CouponMom and Coupons.com will keep you busy for hours. You can also visit the online equivalents of the newspaper circulars, SmartSource and RedPlum.
A friendly caveat: Searching for discounts can quickly go from smart strategy to major time sink. Find a good balance between the money you save and the time it takes you to find deals. Also, remember that the best deals are discounts on items you already want or need. Another way to think about not buying something…saving 100%!
Good deals abound, if you can find them. Where do you go to find discounts online?
See more from Parent Hacks:
Your Kid’s Allowance Online
Sites to Help You Plan a Summer Roadtrip
a “Possibilities” Calendar
Asha Dornfest is the founder of Parent
Hacks — where savvy parents swap clever, often unconventional,
parenting tips. Here’s the practical, real-world stuff you’ll never find
in an “expert” book. Featured in Real Simple, Parents, and PC Magazine.