Save Money Easily Using Online Coupons
Once upon a time, the Sunday editions of major newspapers held the key to saving money at the grocery store and other places. With scissors in hand, shoppers would comb through the many manufacturers’ and other brands’ coupons to find savings.
Circulars would afford further opportunities to cut costs for dinners at restaurants, oil changes, clothing and electronics, among others.
With digital now the prominent way of transmitting data, the day's events, sports, weather and coupons are available with a few strokes applied to smart phones, laptops and tablets. Online coupons serve the same essential purpose as that of their paper counterparts, which is to attract shoppers with lower prices. The digital way of couponing can preserve pennies and other coins by eliminating the need for Sunday papers. Here, we present the top tips for maximizing the power to easily save money with online coupons. Some of these strategies also apply even with paper coupons.
Top Ten Steps to Save Money Easily Using Online Coupons
- Enroll in discount or loyalty programs
- Download coupon apps
- Find coupon websites
- Print minimally
- Apply coupon codes
- Consider other discounts
- Avoid the tease
- Watch your data
- Understand the terms and conditions
- Compare prices
The Top Ten Explained
Scores of online coupons come directly from retailers representing the grocery store, pharmacy chain, discount store, restaurant, department store and other sectors. You can find coupons for anywhere, from Michael's Craft Store to Walmart! Enrolling in the particular store’s loyalty of discount program affords access to them. With these programs also come sales and other discounts offered in the store with just the loyalty or rewards card. Coupon apps save users time otherwise spent searching for sites with coupons. Some include storage of coupons for future use or immediately presentation in the checkout line at the brick-and-mortar store or online checkout.
Coupon websites link visitors to various retailers or their coupons. Groupon and SmartSource represent just a pair of examples. Depending on the store, users can download the coupon on a smartphone and present in the store or print it out for in-store use. When printing online coupons, the user needs to ensure that the printer operates and the computer, tablet or smartphone has Adobe or other pdf applications. Due to their contractual obligations, many coupon sites do not mail coupons directly to customers.
In fact, many stores can scan the coupons from the smartphone using the QSR (Quick Response Codes) symbol. This technology renders paper often unnecessary. Printing coupons, especially in color, when not necessary represents one source of negating the benefits of online coupons.
Many retailers deliver savings with coupon codes. Online shoppers can grab the discount codes displayed in emails, web advertisements or catalogs that come in the mail. Application of the codes occur typically during checkout, from which the savings or discounts are displayed and the final price for the order appears. These perks may include price reductions, free shipping or buy-one, get-one free (BOGO) products. In some cases, the shopper may benefit from multiple codes for the same transaction.
Often, though, the retailer limits the shopper to one coupon or offer code per purchase. To see the best savings or price requires entry of different codes before paying. Taking advantage of coupons also involves separating purchases.
Certain shopping practices can undermine, at least partially, the savings from online coupons. Apparel and department stores tie their online coupons to purchases with their store-issued credit cards. Yes, the savings appear very enticing and the resulting purchases seem money-wise. However, the interest on these cards can erode the savings down the road. With these credit cards, the customer can claim the discounts by completing the purchase and immediately make the credit card payment at the store or pay before the billing cycle ends and interest is assessed.
The convenience of coupons on smartphones can come with an indirect and hidden cost of data charges if downloading happens on a data network. These costs do not arise with a connection to a Wi-Fi network. Many stores and restaurants, including those of the fast-food variety, have public, free Wi-Fi networks so that downloading doesn’t delete data. Also, customers should do online shopping or online coupon grabbing from the comforts of homes or establishments with free Wi-Fi.
As with the paper versions, online coupons come with catches sometimes hidden or inconspicuously placed in the fine print. Expiration dates usually first come to mind. Shoppers should pay special attention to limits on quantity, flavor, size or types of products; and location restrictions, among other conditions. Retailers may reserve online coupons only for online purchases. When coupons or discounts apply only to online shopping, any shipping and handling charges might counteract the discounts.
Comparison of savings also means examining the price of alternative products without the discount. Sometimes, an online (and paper) coupon draws a shopper to a particular brand of, say, a two-liter drink. Another brand, particularly the store label, may prove less costly than the name brand propped by the coupon.