Online shopping: coupon codes
When shopping online, not only can we look for the best prices, but we can also look for coupon codes that can give us additional discounts and/or free shipping.
Finding coupon codes for a specific store is relatively easy. Once all your items are in the vendor’s shopping cart, open a new Web browser and search for the vendor’s name and the phrase “coupon code”. A variety of sites will appear. Pick a site (I often choose the one with the address that seems the most reliable) and skim through the results. Once you find a code you think will apply to your purchase, go back to the vendor site and enter it into the coupon box (or whatever that site calls it).
Sometimes these codes are outdated and won’t work, so keep searching until you find one that does (and sometimes more than one is applicable). Although searching through the results can be a bit annoying, it is often worth the effort (see examples below).
Our fearless Thriftista leader (aka, LisaG) indicates in her BlackFriday/CyberMonday blog that she likes RetailMeNot and Coupon Chief. I’ve found that CouponCabin works pretty well, but I don’t really have any favorites; instead I stick to the search method I mentioned above.
Cash back or reward points: Want an additional bang for your buck? There are Web sites that will offer either cash back or reward points if you enter their Web site first, then click on one of their listed vendors. Be forewarned: this option isn’t for everyone. You are required to create an account and it can create some junk mail. (Also, this Thriftista says that you are NOT to make any unplanned purchases just because you can receive points from one of these site!) I’ve received about $50-$75 per year (in cash or gift cards) using my two favorites: InBoxDollars and MyPoints.
For example, you’ve found what you are looking for on a vendor’s Web site. Before making your purchase, see if that vendor is listed on one of these cash back or reward Web sites; if it is, then find the vendor, click on it, and then go to the shopping cart with your items in it. Continue checking out (using coupon codes!). It could be a few days or a few weeks, but eventually your points will appear. (I purchased a trip to Seattle this year and not only got double reward points on my credit card, but got reward points in MyPoints as well:)
Examples of recent savings and points earned
- I recently made a purchase from Shutterfly and, after finding some coupon codes that offered a discount and free shipping, my $85 purchase was down to $60. Saving $25 for five minutes of work seems like a reasonable pay-off. Plus rewards on MyPoints.
- I just purchased $75 worth of certificates from restaurant.com; price due to coupon code = $6. Plus rewards on MyPoints.
- I also made a Victoria’s Secret purchase of 2 bras ($42 each) and 5 panties ($7.50 each); price due to sale, discount code of 20% and free shipping, plus tax = $85. Since the bras alone would originally have been $84, I got 5 pairs of undies, shipping and the equivalent of tax for $1. Plus rewards on MyPoints.
If anyone has any favorite coupon code sites or cash back/reward Web sites, let us know!