I’ll admit that I’m not much a of a couponer. In fact, the only time I’ll ever hand over a coupon in a brick-and-mortar store is if it’s significant, such as $20 off a $40 purchase. But other than that, I’m not interested in taking the time to clip coupons. While I definitely don’t fault those who do so, the idea of clipping, organizing, and shopping with an envelope stuffed with coupons completely intimidates me.
Shopping with coupons online is a different story, however. Online coupons are simple to find, really easy to use, and you don’t get the evil eye from a cashier when you try to use one. It’s perfect for someone like me who does a ton of online shopping. In fact, it’s pretty rare that I buy anything online without first finding a coupon.
Shopping With Coupon Codes
Though coupon codes can save you money, you need to be smart about how you use them. Before you grab that code and plug it into the online checkout, make sure that it’s a code really worth using. In some cases, spending more to save a couple bucks isn’t a great investment at all.
Here are five more tips to use when shopping online with coupon codes:
1. Get the Terms
Some coupon codes can shave a couple bucks off of your bottom line, but only if you spend a certain amount. When this happens, it’s worthwhile to do the math. Compare how much you’ll spend without the coupon code versus the final price that you’ll spend with the coupon code. If you’ll end up spending more with the code because of limits and restrictions, it probably isn’t worth it.
Make sure that you know exactly what you’re spending so you can make the right decision. Sometimes, you can justify spending more because you’ll score more stuff – but it’s a moot point if it’s not in your budget or is something you wouldn’t have purchased otherwise.
2. Compare Deals
Whenever searching for coupon codes, you’ll find that many sites, such as RetailMeNot, offer a couple different options for coupon codes. However, the biggest percentage discount isn’t automatically the best bet. Sometimes, taking a free shipping code beats getting 15% off your purchase, depending on how much you’re spending. Calculate the various options until you find the one that gives you the best discount for the items currently in your virtual shopping cart – this way, you’ll always get the best deal.
3. Check the Locations
Some coupon codes are strictly for online use. But other codes also work in stores as a printable coupon, or even on the screen of your smartphone. If you find a great deal with a coupon code, see where it applies. If you can get the deal in-store, you’ll save on shipping costs while still nabbing the discount for the lowest price possible. If you can’t tell whether a coupon code is online only, make a quick call to your nearest store and ask. Sometimes, it’s totally up to the manager to decide whether you can use a web code in-store.
4. Check for Stacking
The vast majority of coupon codes can only be used one at a time, to prevent customers from abusing the offer. But some coupon codes don’t work with gift cards, so you could end up in a pickle during checkout if you’re using one. If the site you’re buying from only has one area to enter promotional codes and gift cards, you must figure out which will give you the deepest discount. Of course, a ton of stores allow you to use your gift card with a coupon code, which is one of the best ways to get what you need on the cheap.
5. Share the Deal
When you’ve scored a great deal using a coupon code, check the terms to see whether the code can be used more than once. If so, offer the coupon code to friends or family members by posting the code on your blog, on online forums, or even on Facebook. Since not all coupon codes are total winners, it’s nice to pass along one that is really worth a shopper’s time.
Looking for a coupon code should be a constant step in online shopping. Why pay more than you have to? But since there are a ton of different deals available, it’s important to do your homework and choose the deal that gives you the best discount, without encouraging you to spend more. It’s like going on a quick treasure hunt before you spend – how much could you save?
Have you had much luck with coupon codes?