Paying full price can be considered foolish or even lazy by some extreme bargain hunters, but finding the most current online savings offers can admittedly be a tedious task. Skip trying to do all the research on your own – coupon websites are designed to make shopping (and saving) easy for the average consumer. These top sites not only offer a wide range of deals and discounts, they have unique added benefits to make the experience a pleasant one. (For related reading, also see Coupon Shopping: Clip Your Way To Savings.)
IN PICTURES: Top 6 Mindless Money Wasters
In addition to offering a wide range of shopping categories that users can browse through (baby and maternity, groceries, and shoes, for example), CouponMountain features a handy list of the top coupons right on the front page. The coupons range from percentages off your online purchase to exclusive bargains for email subscribers, and the search bar at the top lets you look specifically for just the right product or store you're interested in.
Looking for a deal on a hard-to-find or very specific product? Use CouponMountain's Facebook page to post your wish-list item. Someone from the site will try to respond within a day or two with a coupon code or sale for maximum savings!
One of the first of its kind to offer special limited-time and geographically focused offers, Groupon still reigns as the top pick for getting discounts of 50% or more on all kinds of beauty service, restaurant and travel purchases. With the buying power of thousands of consumers driving the prices down on these "hot offers", the site pushes shoppers to claim the deal before they disappear. Groupon buys are often impulsive in nature, but they make for great "experience" gifts for those whose budget has historically forced them to go without.
No printer? No problem! Smartphone users can snag a deal anywhere by utilizing the Groupon app for iPhone and Android phones. Purchase with the touch of a button, and cash in your discount by flashing your phone screen to the establishment at the time of redemption.
IN PICTURES: 5 Money-Saving Shopping Tips
With a focus on some of the most aggressive electronics deals available, DealNews has been a popular stop for techies with an eye for saving money. Whether you're in the market for a discounted netbook, DSLR camera or boxed DVD set of your favorite sitcom, usually at least one online retailer has a hot deal to share. DealNews is also a must-see destination for Black Friday shopping enthusiasts. It showcases some of the earliest "leaked" ads, as well as those officially provided by the retailers.
Newbies to the site can find out just how worthy a deal is by checking out the "hotness factor" for any listed deal. This rating system helps separate the scorching good deals from the rest.
4. Retail Me Not
The premise behind Retail Me Not's clever name and layout is that no one should be paying full retail prices for their online purchases. If you agree, you'll enjoy perusing coupon codes for over 65,000 online stores by using the site's intuitive search engine. In addition to online codes, you'll find printable coupons to use in your local brick-and-mortar shops, and site members can contribute their own discounts with the community.
Not every discount shared will work for all shoppers. Retail Me Not's feedback buttons allow you to check whether it is still valid when you shop, giving the community at large a snapshot of how many shoppers it has already worked for.
The Bottom Line
As it stands, most coupon and deal sites make money on a large number of the purchases originating from their site. By frequenting the best sites to help keep them in business, you'll likely see a continued improvement of features over time.
Find out what happened in financial news this week. Read Water Cooler Finance: G20 Leader Spats And China Fakes It.