Coupon clipping is becoming a national obsession as the economy continues to slide. In fact, newspaper thefts are up more than 30 percent in some areas on days that coupon mailers appear in the paper, according to ABC News. On the TLC show “Extreme Couponing,” some shoppers even dumpster dive to pull out possible savings. Fortunately, you don’t have to go to such extremes to find a good coupon.
In fact, finding coupon codes may not even involve leaving your computer chair. A number of online sites are now offering coupon codes from catalogs and specialty mailers to shoppers nationwide. With just a click of your mouse, you can connect yourself with coupons for free shipping, bonus offers, and discounts from major retailers and local stores – no dumpster diving required!
Kinds Of Coupons Available
Online coupon codes generally fall into one of five major types. These coupon types are pretty much the same as offline coupons, giving you similar kinds of savings even if you don’t take the paper or clip store coupons.
The most common coupon codes you can find online are percent off, dollars off, or free shipping offers. Free shipping offers tend to peak around big shopping days, such as Black Friday or Christmas. The other two major coupon types online are bonus gift offers (like buy one, get one) or discount codes that can be used toward future purchases.
Visit Major Coupon Code Sites
One very easy way to find coupon codes online is to visit major coupon code sites. Since so many people are interested in saving money, there are now well-organized web sites dedicated to building searchable directories of current coupon codes. These include RetailMeNot.com, Savings.com, and CouponCabin.com.
At RetailMeNot, founder Guy King says that the average visitor saves $21 per shopping trip. This data is collected from actual users of the codes posted at the site, who report their average savings. Users also report in about quirks of using the coupons, which may include fine print limitations and order size limits not outlined in the main advertisements of coupons. This kind of user feedback can be very valuable if you are trying to get the most out of every coupon code that you find, since master coupon users can outline advanced usage tips for newbies.
If you’re concerned that browsing a major coupon code site will be too time consuming, don’t be. These kinds of online savings can be picked up very quickly. Savings.com reports that the average user spends sixty seconds hunting for codes, for an average savings of 30 percent off their ticket totals. CouponCabin says that eighty seconds are needed by its users to save $19 on average.
Search For The Store Name
If you don’t find what you are looking for at one of the major coupon code sites online, you may be able to find coupon codes on the Internet with a targeted web search. To do this, you will want to take the name of the store where you are shopping, and search for that store plus the words “sale,” “coupon code,” or “discount”. This will turn up coupon codes as well as press releases, news items, or forum comments about sales and store promotions.
To cut time out of the process, add date information. For example, adding 2011 will knock out reports on last year’s codes, or you can search using the current month. This can be especially important when you are searching for seasonal deals, such as “Father’s Day” or “Christmas” offers.
To make the most of online coupon code hunts, always read the fine print to make sure you get the best deal. Some codes need to be entered before you begin shopping, while others have to be entered in specific fields during the check out process. You’ll save the most time – and money – in the long run if you do a little pre-reading on the codes.
Finding coupon codes on the Internet extends your potential for savings, especially if you live in rural areas that don’t get many coupons and you don’t get catalogs in the mail. From one-time deals to ongoing savings, smart shoppers like you just have to go online to save money.
©2011 Off the Grid News