Breaking News: Being an underemployed, loafer-sporting middle aged woman is no longer a prerequisite for using coupons.
We’ve all watched our mothers trifle through their “pocketbooks” at the checkout counter searching for that coupon they cut out of a magazine at home. No offense to your mom, but we promise there’s a better way. We found and compared four of the best online couponing sites for you, so here’s everything you need to know about the trendy way to use coupons:
Let’s start off with the basics: if you’re feeling nostalgic and you want to use physical coupons, this is the place to go. They offer printable coupons for everyday goods, ranging from toothpaste to cat food to cream cheese. They’re entirely reminiscent of the coupons you’d find in the middle of a newspaper, giving you a few dollars off of products you use all the time.
You can also take advantage of their coupon codes—these are usually specific offers through different companies, from electronics to hotels. They’re more specific and therefore sometimes less useful than the printable coupons, but they also generally offer greater savings. For instance, while you will probably need toothpaste at some point, you won’t necessarily need 50% off your next stay at the Holiday Inn in Indianapolis (but if you happened to be looking for deals on hotels in Indianapolis, you’d be having a pretty great day—until you actually got to Indianapolis, that is). So you can count on the printable coupons to be pretty consistent, and periodically check the coupon codes to see if there’s anything pertaining to you.
Coupon Cabin uses a lot of rebates, meaning that you get cash back after you’ve already purchased something, rather than getting the discount off of the initial price. This has its advantages and disadvantages: the advantage is that you can often save more money than you would’ve with a coupon, but the disadvantage is that most people forget to actually go through with collecting their rebates.
Coupon Cabin also has some other tools: it has the standard printable coupon, other discounts of the day, and promo codes you can use online. Most notably, it has a “free samples” section that tells you all the best freebies of the day. Sometimes, these are things that you, nor any sane person, would ever want. But sometimes they’re useful, and either way they’re always free, so it’s definitely worth checking out.
Groupon has the widest variety of coupons and other deals of the websites on this list. Do you need new pots for the kitchen? Groupon can help with that. Need a manicure? Done. Ever had the desire to pay someone to lock you in a room with an actor dressed like a zombie until you can find your way out through a series of puzzles? Yes, there’s a Groupon deal for that. You can pretty much plan entire vacations (hotel, excursions, pre-vacation shopping sprees, etc.) on Groupon.
Groupon wouldn’t be the place to go if you’re looking for basic printable coupons to use at the grocery store, but it would be the first place to check if you were looking for a restaurant deal, or something fun and different to do with your friends or family. We’d highly recommend it. If you get really into it, you might end up doing things just because there was a Groupon deal for it—so remember that you were warned when you find yourself getting your bartending license just because it was 88% off.
Retail Me Not
Despite its more creative name, Retail Me Not has essentially the same features as the other coupon sites (printable coupons, online promo codes, rebates, etc.). And these aren’t to be ignored—there’s a wide selection of brand names covered by Retail Me Not’s inventory. You can search for a specific store, or just browse categories. Among the highlights were $60 plane tickets and $200 gift cards with the purchase of a smartphone at Best Buy.
Retail Me Not’s unique offering is discounts on gift cards. For instance, you can usually buy a $52 gift card to select stores or restaurants for only $50—it may seem like an insignificant discount, but why pay $50 and only get $50 in return when you could just as easily get $52?
With these websites in your arsenal, you’re ready to start couponing so much you’ll make your mother proud—but effectively enough that you won’t have to carry around newspaper clippings every time you want to go out to dinner. Happy couponing!