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. Don't decide to buy something just because there is a coupon.
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.
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.
Don't decide to buy something just because there is a coupon.
BudgetingThe excitement of welcoming your first child to your family shouldn't prevent you from making good cost-effective decisions.
BudgetingDating on a budget doesn't have to be boring. Try these 5 tips to find the best dates on a budget.
BudgetingBuying secondhand items is a great way to save money, but these seven kids items should not be bought used.
InvestingFrom platforms for saving money to those that account for side jobs, mobile apps are changing spending habits and income generation in urban areas.
BudgetingCooking at home saves time and money but most importantly, it could even help lower future health costs.
Personal FinanceFinancial trends among college students are a cause for concern, prompting a renewed emphasis on financial instruction.
Home & AutoFinancial experts will argue that there’s no problem with allocating 50% of your net income to housing, but that barely leaves enough money for living comfortably. Reducing housing expenses to ...
Investing BasicsThe tiny house movement throws all assumptions about household budgeting and mortgage management out the window, and creates new market segments too.
BudgetingDiscover seven money-saving options available to consumers who are looking to partake in the luxury of dining out while cutting down on cost.
RetirementIf your employer matches your 401(k) contributions, fund your plan up to the maximum they'll match. Unless, of course, you don't like free money.
Discretionary income is the money left over from your gross income each month after taking out taxes and paying for necessities. ... Read Full Answer >>
A wide range of possible deductibles are available with health insurance plans, starting as low as a few hundred dollars ... Read Full Answer >>
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 >>
Generally speaking, aim to keep between two months and six months worth of your fixed expenses in your demand deposit accounts. ... Read Full Answer >>
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 >>
A large amount of risk is associated with subprime mortgages. Since the mortgages are specifically for people who do not ... Read Full Answer >>