With the rising popularity of shows like "Extreme Couponing", thrifty shoppers' penny-saving habits have evolved from the solitary pursuit of clipping coupons, to searching for and discussing them in online communities. Even if you've been couponing for decades, if you aren't doing most of it online already, you may be missing out on entire unchartered savings territories.

How can you get started? Ultimately, you need to find a strategy that works for your lifestyle. There's no cookie-cutter approach to saving because everyone's

5-Step Intro To Online Couponing
Making Your Own Coupon Organizer
Inexpensive Graduation Gift Ideas

budget is different.

That said, here are a few major dos and don'ts for online couponing.

Do look for a coupon whenever you shop online.
Before you click the "buy" button, take a step back and do a quick search for "your store of choice" + coupons and deals. Use a search engine, or visit reputable websites that have a strong track record for providing quality coupons.

Don't spend hours looking for offers.
You should be familiar with the expression that time is money. While you should search for a deal, you shouldn't spend hours scouring the internet to save $3. Avoid this frustration by knowing when to quit.


Do look for alternatives to shipping costs.
There really isn't any reason to pay $5 to $10 plus tax for shipping. Instead, find options that are free like site-to-store shipping and free shipping discounts.

Don't decide to buy something just because there is a coupon.
You may end up paying added costs - like shipping, for instance. Even if you have a coupon, you should always evaluate the big picture. Be a smart shopper instead of an impulsive one.



Do ask for help finding deals.
The advantage to couponing online is that there are a number of communities with like-minded consumers. These people live absolutely everywhere and even include people who work in retail and at deals websites. When you have a question, just ask! Being social is much more efficient than spending aimless hours browsing and searching.

Don't have false expectations.
While good do deals exist, too-good-to-be-true deals don't. If it looks unrealistic, then it probably is. Similarly, you shouldn't have false expectations about the deals that you're going to find. Sometimes, good enough is simply good enough.


Do take couponing seriously.
As with many things in life, results take hard work. Don't expect to become an "expert couponer" overnight. Saving does take skill, and some people will see better results than others.

Don't take couponing too seriously.
The consequences include unnecessary stress, stinginess, false expectations, and, yes, wasted money. Above all, when you're looking for deals, freebies and giveaways, you should stay lighthearted. Life is stressful enough, so couponing should never becomes something that bogs you down.


The Bottom Line
You should strive to strike a balancing act with your couponing strategy. There's no magic to saving - it's all about time management, resourcefulness and efficiency.

Related Articles
  1. Home & Auto

    4 Areas to Consider Roofing Material Types

    Roofing your home is very important, that’s why you should choose a roof specifically designed to handle your area’s climate.
  2. Budgeting

    The 5 Most Expensive States for Child Care

    To get a better sense of how child care costs can fluctuate, here's a look at the costs of child care across the country.
  3. Home & Auto

    Looking To Invest In Home Improvements?

    Some home improvement projects could cost you more to complete than they’ll pay out in equity. So, here we show you the worst projects to avoid.
  4. Fundamental Analysis

    Understanding the Internal Rate of Return Rule

    The internal rate of return rule is a popular method used to compare investments or projects.
  5. Active Trading Fundamentals

    How Groupon Makes Money

    Find out how Groupon makes money, including a rundown of how Groupon works and what benefits it provides to the businesses it partners with.
  6. Home & Auto

    Are Home Inspections Worth It? - Price vs. Value

    If you’re wondering whether home inspection is worth the investment, the following information will help you decide.
  7. Budgeting

    How to Defray Long-Term Care Expenses

    Here's a handful of options on what you can do to defray long-term care expenses.
  8. Budgeting

    The True Cost of Home Caregiving

    Caring for eldery family in-home might be unavoidable, but most caregivers don't realize the true cost of doing so.
  9. Budgeting

    Is Level Money the Perfect Budgeting Tool?

    Here’s a detailed review of how Level Money works and whether it could be the perfect tool to help you budget.
  10. Economics

    Explaining Budget Surplus

    Budget surplus is an economic term describing a situation where revenue exceeds expenditures.
RELATED TERMS
  1. Internal Rate Of Return - IRR

    A metric used in capital budgeting measuring the profitability ...
  2. Debt Consolidation

    The act of combining several loans or liabilities into one loan. ...
  3. Personal Spending Plan

    Similar to a budget, a personal spending plan helps outline where ...
  4. Fudget

    A falsified statement of income and expenses. A fudget or "fudget ...
  5. Capital Project

    A long-term investment made in order to build upon, add or improve ...
  6. Haggle

    When two parties involved in the purchase of a good and service ...
RELATED FAQS
  1. How does a bank determine what my discretionary income is when making a loan decision?

    Discretionary income is the money left over from your gross income each month after taking out taxes and paying for necessities. ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What is the range of deductibles offered with various health insurance plans?

    A wide range of possible deductibles are available with health insurance plans, starting as low as a few hundred dollars ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. How do I know how much of my income should be discretionary?

    While there is no hard rule for how much of a person's income should be discretionary, Inc. magazine points out that it would ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What proportion of my income should I put into my demand deposit account?

    Generally speaking, aim to keep between two months and six months worth of your fixed expenses in your demand deposit accounts. ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. How do I use the rule of 72 to estimate compounding periods?

    The rule of 72 is best used to estimate compounding periods that are factors of two (2, 4, 12, 200 and so on). This is because ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. How much risk is associated with subprime mortgages?

    A large amount of risk is associated with subprime mortgages. Since the mortgages are specifically for people who do not ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Trading Center
×

You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!