While we usually think of "coupons" as pieces of paper you hand over to your local retailer, online shoppers have similar opportunities with promotional offer codes you type in when placing an order. You've probably seen the space in online checkout forms for these discount digits, but where do you find them? You can scour the company's advertising. Or you can check out one of the online sites that specializes in compiling them.
CouponPal has an extensive listing of coupon codes, which can be sorted by product or service category. RetailMeNot and Coupons.com are also good sources. You'll find lots of free shipping offers here — in fact, before buying anything online, it pays to see if there's a free shipping code available. You'll also find some codes that just don't work, mostly because they've expired. We said there's a gamelike element to hunting for online coupons, and you can't win all the time.
Loyalty Card "Virtual" Coupons
An up-and-coming way to access coupon savings is via your existing store loyalty card. Shortcuts.com and Cellfire are the leaders in this area. The idea is simple: You enter your store card information into the system, choose the offers that interest you and the information is transmitted to the retailer's computer system. When they swipe your card at the cash register, your discounts are taken automatically — no muss, no fuss, no bother.
Grocery stores make up an overwhelming majority of the stores participating in these programs, and that may or may not include a store in your area. It's worth checking these websites to find out, though — you may be able to enjoy coupon discounts without adding a single slip of paper to your wallet.