Saving Money with Online Coupons
Saving money doesn't have to be limited to clipping coupons. These days many companies are offering coupons on the Internet -- and some of the discounts are offered exclusively online.
A quick Google search for "online coupons" can help you get started. This search not only will bring up individual companies, but will show you a list of Web sites that compile the latest offers, organize them into searchable categories, and provide a list of codes you'll need to provide to get the discount when you make a purchase.
For example, the opening page of dailydeals.com lists what it says are the "Top Deals and Online Coupons" currently available, whether for Internet-only retailers or those that sell both online and in through traditional, so-called "brick and mortar" stores. On the left side of the page is a list of 21 categories, from apparel to music to pet supplies, that you can click on to find specific kinds of coupons. The categories even include offers for goods and services in Canada and the U.K.
Many of the sites allow you to sign up for alerts and newsletters that are sent to your email, informing you of discounts as they are offered. Other useful sites include Family.com and ultimatecoupons.com.
If you want to find coupons for a specific store, you can do a Google search for online coupons and the name of the retailer at which you want to shop. A search for "online coupons and Disney," for example, turns up deals for Disney merchandise on Web sites, including momsview.com/disney.shtml, coupons-coupon-codes.com, and fabuloussavings.com/online/us/disneyshopping.
Keep in mind that often multiple offers exist for the same retailer. For example, one online coupon might offer free shipping, while another might provide a discount on a specific type of merchandise. It's worth looking at several sites and comparing deals before settling on one. And, just like with newspaper coupons, don't forget to check the expiration date.
Each coupon typically has a code attached to it. Retailers use these codes to help track the offers that are being used -- in addition to giving you a deal. As you research the available discounts, write down the codes and their respective offers to help you compare.
Here's the most important part: You'll need the code when making your Internet purchase. Just as you give a cashier a paper coupon at the checkout line, you'll need to type in the code during online checkout. Look for a box that says something like, "Enter new gift cards, gift certificates or promotional claim codes." Amazon.com, for instance, does on the same page that asks you to input your credit card information. Make sure you don't click on "Place Your Order" before the code is in, or you'll lose your chance to save those extra dollars!
About the Author:
Christine Dunn is a freelance writer and founder of Savoir Media Co., a media training and consulting firm in Massachusetts. She worked for more than a decade at Bloomberg News, and currently also regularly contributes to Compliance Week.