The old saying “only suckers pay full price” usually applies to the automobile market. Choosing to buy a new car is a big deal. If you don’t own your own home, your car is probably your most valuable asset. When even the salesperson expects you to haggle, you’d be foolish not to try to talk your way into the best possible deal on what’s likely to be your biggest purchase of the year.
But the “only suckers pay full price” mentality isn’t just for car buyers anymore. In a fiercely competitive, highly fragmented retail environment, “full price” has little meaning. Just about everything is on sale, all the time. While shopping holidays like Black Friday and Cyber Monday still offer singular opportunities to snag unbelievable deals on certain product brands or categories, deep discounts are increasingly the norm rather than the exception.
That’s doubly true after the rise of apps and browser extensions like Capital One Shopping, which automatically searches hundreds of retailers for a better price, and PriceBlink, which scours the web for time-limited coupon codes. Both work in the background as you shop online.
Capital One Shopping compensates us when you get the browser extension using the links provided.
Best Sites & Apps for Daily Deals and Coupons
Two of the most powerful engines behind this trend are online daily deals and digital coupons. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of websites and apps exist solely to connect bargain-hunting shoppers with such opportunities to save.
This list includes many of the most popular, reliable, and reputable, in no particular order. Check them out, and let us know what you think.
- What It’s Good For: Deep discounts at brick-and-mortar merchants in your local market, clearance-type online sales, huge discounts on travel
Groupon probably needs no introduction. It’s the most popular social coupon site in the U.S., with thousands of local deals from a broad spectrum of brick-and-mortar and online retailers and service providers. Groupon is my go-to resource when I want to save money eating out at restaurants. I’ve saved hundreds of dollars since I used my first Groupon voucher back in the early 2010s.
Groupon’s well-known traditional vouchers entitle holders to steep discounts at issuing merchants — often 50% or more off face value. Vouchers have face value (what you actually pay for them) and promotional value (the value of the discount). You pay the face value up front through Groupon, then present the voucher to the issuing merchant to cash in the promotional value.
For instance, on a $60-for-$30 restaurant voucher, you pay $30 up front before arriving, order a $60 meal, present the voucher to the server, and pay nothing out of pocket (except gratuity) when you settle up. Vouchers’ promotional value expires after a predetermined period, but the face value is permanent, so you can always recoup your investment.
Groupon is more varied than your typical coupon site. In addition to traditional vouchers, which are generally redeemable with specific businesses in local markets — although said businesses are often national chains — its verticals include:
- Goods. Merchandise available for purchase online through Groupon’s website and app, often at deep discounts to face value
- Getaways and Market Picks. Varied travel opportunities, from nights at high-end hotels and resorts to all-inclusive vacations in popular honeymoon destinations
- Deals of the Day. Quantity-limited merchandise sales with strict time limits and clearance-level discounts
- GrouponLive. Tickets and packages to live performances, sporting events, and unique experiences
Check out our Groupon review for more details and objective analysis of Groupon’s pros and cons.
- What It’s Good For: Local market discounts, opportunistic online merchandise purchases
LivingSocial is another popular social coupons site, second only to Groupon in the U.S. market. It’s remarkably similar to its better-known competitor, with local merchant vouchers that work in much the same way as Groupon’s and frequent time-limited clearance sales on merchandise. There’s a more overt focus on gifts here — LivingSocial’s Ultimate Gift Guide is a useful road map for frustrated holiday and birthday gift-givers. LivingSocial promises savings up to 70%, although most discounts aren’t that deep.
Overall, LivingSocial’s selection is thinner than Groupon’s, and the lack of a travel vertical is disappointing for people looking to save money on their next vacation. These drawbacks shouldn’t stop you from checking LivingSocial if you can’t find what you want on Groupon though.
- What It’s Good For: A huge selection of coupon deals at popular retailers, cash back on everyday purchases
RetailMeNot is a massive online coupon aggregator with hundreds of thousands of coupons at tens of thousands of digital and brick-and-mortar retailers. Basically, if a retailer you’ve heard of has a coupon-based sale on right now, it’s probably available through RetailMeNot.
RetailMeNot is free and easy to use. Most of its “coupons” are digital discount codes that you can copy and paste into the issuing retailer’s promo field at checkout. Anyone can take advantage — no RetailMeNot account needed.
RetailMeNot also has an extensive cash-back section fueled by affiliate arrangements with major retailers like Macy’s and Staples. When you clear a preset spending threshold, you get a cash kickback. These payouts are very nice — routinely as high as 20%, compared with a maximum of 5% to 10% from the most generous cash-back credit cards on the market. You do need a RetailMeNot account to get cash back through the site, but it costs nothing and takes just a few minutes to sign up, so there’s little downside.
- What It’s Good For: Thematic shopping, discovering new products and brands, last-minute clearance deals
Zulily looks and feels a lot like RetailMeNot. Its wheelhouse is a bit more specific, though: elegant, practical, heavily discounted products that you can use — or at least see yourself using — every day. Zulily’s deals regularly exceed 60% off face value, making it one of the deepest discounters on this list.
It’s fair to say that Zulily’s value is in the eye of the beholder, as many of its best discounts are pretty niche, covering products that might not be on most shoppers’ radars — or need to be. Still, as long as you maintain discipline and use Zulily to purchase only those items you’d buy anyway, you’ll be in good shape.
Check Zulily’s Ends Soon department for soon-to-expire deals. The markdowns on these are sometimes truly eye-popping. Just don’t waste your time searching for local vouchers or discounts on intangible services. Zulily is all merchandise, all the time.
- What It’s Good For: Instant cash back on a wide variety of online and in-store purchases with more than 2,000 affiliates
Formerly known as Ebates, Rakuten is one of the original affiliate-based cash-back websites. With more than 2,000 affiliates offering up to 40% cash back via some 10,000 unique coupons, the platform has an impressive reach. But its secret weapon is its incentive program — there’s a $10 sign-up bonus just for opening an account and spending at least $25 in 90 days, plus a referral bonus worth up to $50.
Rakuten works with a who’s who of major retailers, including Amazon and Walmart. Since cash-back payouts are generally higher on purchases with lesser-known merchants, Rakuten is a great place to try new merchants and brands without paying full price.
Although its discounts aren’t as deep as some competitors, Rakuten’s cash-back model offers greater breadth of savings opportunities with participating merchants — perfect for shoppers who aren’t quite sure what they want. And, while it’s not the focus, Rakuten does have a coupon codes section to complement affiliates’ standing cash-back offers.
- What It’s Good For: Printable coupons for in-person shopping, retailer-specific coupon codes
Coupons.com’s signature product, the printable coupon, is increasingly outmoded. These days, who really takes the time to print out coupons before hitting the grocery store?
Good thing Coupons.com has a powerful mobile app that all but replicates its printable coupons. If you’re watching your grocery budget, this app is pretty much mandatory.
Coupons.com’s wheelhouse is the grocery store, but there are some other verticals worth mentioning here, including travel and professional services. Although I wouldn’t make Coupons.com your first stop for online coupon codes, it’s worth checking. Codes listed here occasionally fall through the cracks elsewhere.
7. Brad’s Deals
- What It’s Good For: Hand-picked deals on merchandise, discounts on hard-to-find or highly specific products and services
Brad’s Deals offers carefully curated deals at relatively low volume. If you’re looking for attractive offers on specific merchandise and services, this is a bargain worth taking.
Unlike most of the other sites on this list, Brad’s Deals actually takes the time to explain why it’s pushing each deal. For example, here’s the full text of the site’s description of an eye-popping comforter set deal:
This Bennet 2-3pc Comforter Set, originally $80, drops from $21.99 to $18.69 when you apply promo code FRESH during checkout at Macys.com. Even with a $3 handling charge, this is the lowest price we could find. Twin/twin XL and full/queen and king are available at this price. To avoid an additional $10.95 shipping charge, spend $99 or add a beauty item to your order. Sales tax is charged in most states.
Most sites would simply name the product, calculate the discount percentage, and let you figure out the rest. That Brad’s Deals invests substantial resources in explaining its deals is a powerful vote of confidence in its methodology. Its purview is also surprisingly wide: Merchandise is definitely the star of the show, but you can find great deals on travel and events here too.
- What It’s Good For: Broad-based savings on a wide range of merchandise and services
Savings.com has a self-explanatory name and a broad purview. Similar in look and feel to RetailMeNot, it’s a great place to find time-limited discounts and deals at major retailers and niche brands alike.
Savings.com opportunities split evenly among online coupons (coupon codes), printable coupons, and straight-up “amazing deals” that don’t require coupons at all. You’ll find some unorthodox opportunities here as well, like $10 off a $50+ Brooks Brothers order when you create a free online account with the clothier. And Savings.com is an excellent place to find high-value discounts, like $500 off select appliance purchases at Lowe’s or $350 off select jewelry purchases at Zale’s.
- What It’s Good For: Across-the-board savings on online purchases with major retailers, hand-picked deals on select merchandise and ecommerce sites, printable coupons
DealCatcher’s approach falls somewhere between Brad’s Deals and Savings.com on the curation axis.
Like Savings.com, it offers broad discounts on purchases with thousands of online retailers, including major players like Amazon and Walmart. Like Brad’s Deals, many of its best savings opportunities are carefully curated, with instructions and caveats that ensure you’re not left hanging when you try to take advantage. If you’re looking for hand-picked savings, check “Today’s Deals & Coupons,” a separate section of the site that trades exclusively in time-limited opportunities — including blink-and-you’ll-miss-them flash sales.
- What It’s Good For: If you have to ask…
FreeShipping.com has a simple, brutally effective elevator pitch: 10% cash back and free shipping on every order. With about 1,000 retailers in its network, it’s not the most expansive deal site out there, but its consistent results speak for themselves.
In recent years, FreeShipping.com has bowed to competitive pressure and added coupons from partner retailers. This facilitates coupon stacking, boosting your potential savings well beyond the 10% threshold.
FreeShipping.com has a sort-of guarantee: If you don’t get free shipping at checkout, you’ll get a $10 rebate from FreeShipping.com. Although that may or may not offset your shipping charges, it’s better than nothing. Plus, FreeShipping.com shoppers never pay for return shipping.
FreeShipping.com even offers price protection rebates similar to premium credit cards’. If you find a lower advertised price within 90 days of your original purchase, you can submit a rebate form to claim the difference, up to $100 per occurrence.
FreeShipping.com has a massive catch: Membership costs $13 per month after a lower-cost trial period. FreeShipping.com claims its shoppers can save much more than that with consistent use, but that’s very much a “your mileage may vary” claim. Indeed, simple math dictates that you’d need to spend a hefty chunk of change to offset the $156 annual membership charge.
Paying for discounted shopping and shipping does feel anachronistic in a hyper-competitive retail environment. But the saving grace here is the consistency. With all but guaranteed cash back and free shipping — or rebates in lieu of free shipping — FreeShipping.com is ideal for high-volume shoppers who can’t spare the time or mental energy to pursue elusive discounts and don’t want to limit their purchases to a single outlet with free-shipping-for-a-price, like Amazon with its Amazon Prime membership program.
- What It’s Good For: Discounts and sign-up promotions on subscription services, credit card offers, travel flash sales, limited-time storewide or item-specific sales
Slickdeals has something for just about every deal-hunter. I spent five minutes on the site and found:
- Insane flash sales on airline travel — 90% off Frontier Airlines airfare, which is already cheaper than full-service carriers
- 50% to 70% off seasonal merchandise — for instance, during back-to-school season, $64 plus free shipping for a laptop backpack at Amazon that normally costs $200
- Sign-up bonus offers on premium travel and small-business credit cards, such as Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card
- New subscriber discounts for subscription services — for instance, $10 off orders of $20 or more with DoorDash
- Storewide online sales — for instance, 50% off at Banana Republic with free shipping on orders over $50
- Deep discounts on specific merchandise items — for instance, $16.40 for a six-quart sauté pan at Macy’s, normally $60
Depending on when you shop, you might not encounter all or any of these deals. But they’re representative of Slickdeals’ selection.
I wouldn’t go so far as to say Slickdeals always has the lowest prices or widest selection, but its varied approach to online deal-hunting makes it a must-visit for anyone with a long shopping list. It’s also not a bad starting point for curious, frugal consumers looking to dip their toes into the wild world of subscription services without promptly overloading their budgets.
- What It’s Good For: Hand-picked merchandise and storewide deals, flash sales, enter-to-win contests
On any given day, DealNews has hundreds of carefully curated deals on merchandise and services, plus storewide promotions — including elusive flash sales — at major retailers like Macy’s and The Home Depot. No deal is too small or insignificant: When I visited DealNews recently, one of the most prominently featured items was a fidget spinner retailing for a grand total of $0.30.
DealNews’s editors display impressive attention to detail. Even broad-based savings opportunities come with extensive context. For instance, the listing for a Home Depot overstock sale includes this detailed primer:
Home Depot takes up to 75% off a selection of overstock items, with prices starting at $3.08. Shipping starts at $5.99, but select items and orders of $45 or more qualify for free shipping. (Some oversized items may incur additional fees; in-store pickup is also available for many items.) Discounted items include power tools, Christmas lights and decorations, lighting, and security camera systems. A couple of best bets, each with free shipping:
- Hansgrohe Croma E 180 2-Spray Fixed Shower Head in Chrome for $115.64 (low by $29)
- Belle Foret 2-Handle Bridge Kitchen Faucet with Side Sprayer for $249.27 (low by $74)
If you’re wary of automated price-matching programs, DealNews’s human-centric approach will put your mind at ease.
This list includes about a dozen coupon and daily deal websites and apps that I’ve found to be reliable and reputable. Not coincidentally, they’re also among the most popular of such resources for U.S. consumers.
If you’re a habitual online shopper with an “only suckers pay full price” mentality, I encourage you to use this list as the basis for further research into the wide, exciting world of daily deals and online coupons. You’ll likely find a bunch of reputable resources not listed here. All I ask is that you share your best finds with us.
What’s your favorite site or app for coupons and daily deals?