Save more with online couponing

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You can save big with online couponing. Being prepared and watching the timing could deliver savings on items you regularly buy.

Online couponing: A growing trend

More and more companies are testing the waters in online couponing, and it's no secret why. With a tight economy, budget-minded consumers are searching for ways to save money, and the use of coupon discounts has increased dramatically in the past two years. Online coupons are popular because they frequently have greater face value versus traditional circular coupons, so the small amount of extra effort to retrieve them is time well spent.

Online coupons lead the way in the restaurant and retail categories but haven't caught up on redemptions for grocery and drug stores. Traditional newspaper and direct mail coupon companies such as Red Plum and Valpak are getting into the online game, too, competing with Groupon and similar coupon/online discount providers.

Here are a few tips to make online couponing easy and profitable:

1Update & bookmark.

Look for updated coupons. You can bookmark a coupon website and have it be your "go to" destination when you're ready to shop.

2Get cash back.

Find your online coupon code, then shop at a cash-back website. Cash-back sites help you pile up bigger savings on everyday items including groceries and clothing.


Shop, then shop some more.

Compare prices by checking out different websites. You want to be certain that your coupon is worth using. You may find the item elsewhere at a lower price with a different coupon code.


Get the extras.

Try for free shipping. Many sites offer it as a limited-time promotion or with orders of a certain amount. Look for the free shipping code, and time your purchase to take advantage.


Don't get carried away.

Remember that there's a difference between need and want. Don't buy now if you don't need it. For items on your "want" list, be patient and check back. Wait for a great deal, then match it up with a coupon and make your purchase. Timing is everything in getting a great bargain.


Keep it simple.

As fascinating as shows like "Extreme Couponing" are, most of us don't have the time or the storage space to stockpile thousands of items purchased with coupon savings. But don't pass up savings opportunities on items you consistently purchase. Online couponing can be a smart strategy for regular savings on the things you normally buy.

Get in on the growing trend. Finding online coupons is easy, fun -- and ultimately, profitable.

Vicki Clinebell majored in journalism at the University of Colorado, and headed an advertising agency before beginning a long career in broadcasting, spanning production and copywriting to sales and management for an ABC affiliate station. Deciding to switch gears and write fulfilled a lifelong ambition. She started as a blogger for a diverse group of businesses, and now writes for a number of websites for companies in her hometown in the Rocky Mountains, and provides advertising copy and media buying for national and regional clients. She finds the research as interesting as the writing, learning about subjects as diverse as construction scaffolding, child safety seats, and newest trends in beauty and fashion. As a long-time devotee of SheKnows, she’s thrilled to see her own work on the pages.