5 Fabulous Online Coupon Sites for Valuable Money Savings
Many companies realize the value of providing regular coupons to help stimulate their business and increase sales. These coupons offer customers a way of accruing substantial savings on their shopping and bring more “eyeballs” to a business. Some coupons offer a certain percentage off a particular product or service, while others offer a “buy one, get one free” deal or a “buy one, get a discount on another product” deal. A number of coupons do not offer a discount on the product itself, but rather offer free or discounted shipping of the merchandise purchased.
Due to the increased popularity of online coupons (and the ease of which a business can provide them), the number of websites that feature such coupons has grown to such proportions that it can be difficult knowing which one (or ones) to use. The following list offers an overview of five top-rated online coupon sites based on four key factors: ease of use, level of help and support provided, variety of coupons offered, and coupon availability and status.
Coupons.com is perhaps the best and easiest online coupons website to use. Membership is not required to take advantage of the tens of thousands of coupons the site offers on a regular basis. The site has a helpful filter system that allows you to sort coupons based on store name, brand name, expiration date, etc.
By combining an easy-to-use interface with excellent support and service, Coupons.com has gained great popularity and ranking among regular coupon users. These factors make it easy and convenient for people to take advantage of the numerous deals available to them on this site.
Coupons.com does have a “members only” section of the site that is not free, and this section provides additional coupons that are not readily available on the regular site, as well as a variety of coupons from other competing websites. Consumers will need to determine whether the paid section of the site is worth their patronage, depending on personal shopping habits and how desperately they want to save money on a particular purchase.
Grocery Smarts is another online coupon site that has a lot going for it. Here, consumers gain access to a wide range of printable coupons from nearly every large and small grocery store in the United States. The site is updated regularly, so people can always find good deals. Besides providing coupons, Grocery Smarts provides customers with a rating on each coupon deal, using a scale of one to five stars.
One drawback to this site is that it only offers printable coupons, not online coupon codes. It focuses on grocery products, so is not a good option for those who are looking to save money on non-grocery merchandise. At the same time, everyone has to buy groceries, and since most people buy their food, household cleaning items and toiletries at a local store rather than online, you will want to check out Grocery Smarts on a regular basis. The site is totally free and does not require membership or that you log in as a customer.
At Shortcuts, consumers find an extremely easy-to-use online coupon site that provides the added attraction of having removed that annoying banner ads and link lists so often found on less professional websites. Shortcuts offers coupon codes for online use and printable coupons that can be used at local stores.
Shortcuts has two particular features which sets it apart from other online coupon websites. First, it has a unique savings program that allows you to earn a bit of money for every coupon you use. You have to sign up for membership in order to take advantage of the savings card feature, but the membership itself is free. The other helpful feature the site has is the ability to filter the search results and get only local deals. By typing in your Zip Code, you will see a list of coupons from stores close to where you live.
One disadvantage to Shortcuts is that, unlike its competitors, it does not allow you to share most of the coupons it offers via social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
MyCoupons.com is an excellent coupon website for anyone who is new to looking for coupons online. This site provides a large number of useful coupons to choose from, within a well structured and manageable system that enables you to find what you are looking for quickly and easily. Newbies to online coupon sites will benefit from the website’s step by step video tutorial for any assistance they may need. There is also a customer service number on the website that you can call for help and assistance.
Unfortunately, the site does not have a daily deals section; however, it makes up for this by offering a large variety of coupons from stores small and large, and providing both coupon codes and printable coupons.
A visit to RetailMeNot will reveal thousands of coupons from both popular and lesser-known retailers offering great deals on everyday items. RetailMeNot also has a very helpful “Frugal Living” blog that offers general tips and advice on how to save money.
The downside to this site is a lack of good technical support; there is also no phone number you can call if you run into problems. On the other hand, the site does provide a practical search function to reduce your chances of encountering problems with its use.
These are but a few of the plethora of coupon websites consumers can take advantage of to save money on shopping. What appeals to one customer may not necessarily appeal to another. However, taking into consideration the amenities offered, these five sites are rated as some of the best coupon websites available online today. Each one has much to offer and can help consumers save hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year off their shopping budget.
5 Ways to Make your 2013 Money Savings Resolutions Come True
What are your New Year’s financial resolutions? We all have them, and they tend to revolve around either saving more money or managing your money more effectively (or both, if you’re extra ambitious). You might want to save a specific amount for a purchase, start an emergency fund, or simply beef up your household savings. No matter what your goal for 2013 is, the following tips will help you stick to your resolution and finish out the year in a better financial position.
When you decide to set any goal, it helps to be specific about what you want to accomplish, as this will help you measure your success with concrete numbers and keep you on track. If you simply set a goal of “Save Money,” it will be harder to define what steps you want to take - -and harder to be able to tell when you’ve achieved your goal. Setting a goal of “Save $1200 in 2012” allows you to clearly define what you need to do, easily break your goal down into segments ($100 a month gets you there), and define success. If you are specific about what you want to do and how much you want to save; you’ll find your resolution is easier to stick to. and accomplish
Prepare to save
Make a budget and write down exactly what you are actually spending now – some of the figures may shock you. If you need help figuring out where your money is going, look over the bank statements from a few previous months. Knowing where your money is going will help you track down unnecessary expenses so that you can remove them, which allows you to painlessly boost your savings. If you’ve prepared your budget and know what areas will be impacted by your resolution, you’ll be more likely to stick to it all year.
Baby steps, big achievements
Little steps really add up when you are trying to save money. Bypass your daily $3.00 (or more!) coffee treat by making the beverage at home most mornings, and you could save about $50 a month – or $500 a year. By simply dropping your change into a jar at the end of the day, and then totaling it up at the end of the month, you can yield a surprisingly large sum over the course of a year, too. Taking little steps like these allows you to slowly achieve your savings goals throughout the year; turning into a Scrooge or tightwad the first month will make you miserable – and set you up for failure.
Get creative about saving. Are there foods you can prepare at home for lunch to replace fast food or eating out at work every day? Getting acquainted with a few basic go to recipes can really cut your food costs.
This also applies to maintaining an active social life, while keeping your budget intact. Have you ever ventured into a thrift or consignment shop for your clothing needs? Headed to an auction for furniture or housewares? Checked out the cheap or free tourist destinations in your own hometown for some fun? When you look to cut expenses, it can be an adventure as you discover new ways to purchase the items you need and new things to do that don’t bust your budget.
Check your progress
Mark your 2013 calendar right now with specific dates to check your progress. Depending on your goal, you might want to give yourself a check in time each month, or just a few times a year. You can track your progress any way you like - from using an iPad or phone app to writing your goals and progress down on an old school paper calendar.
Spread the word
Share your resolution with others — being accountable will help you stay on track. If you have a partner, parent, or trusted friend in whom you can confide, you’ll be more likely to keep your resolution for 2013 and beyond. The best accountability partner is an objective third party who has goals similar to yours — or has already achieved the goals you hope to duplicate.
Helpful resources for your money savings resolutions:
- Why setting specific goals is ideal
- How to set up a household budget
- Cut your food expenses — how to make the perfect iced coffee at home
- Save money by taking a Staycation
- 40+ ways to cut your everyday expenses
- Let Bounce Energy Help with your New Year’s Resolutions
- Save More with Energy Efficient Products
- Lock in a Great Fixed Rate in the Winter or Spring to Beat the Summer Rate Increases
I started this challenge yesterday and even though it’s only one dolla which barely equates to anything in this economy; it is one step closer to the goal of $1,378.00 at the end of the challenge.
One of my Facebook friends posted this over the weekend and I also saw it on the blog …
Anyone heard of this? Could be an easy way to help build your savings account.
4 Ways to Save Money On Holiday Travel
Holidays are a time of great fun and fellowship, but the money spent on those days is enough to cause heartburn the rest of the year. With travel expenses, gifts, and elaborate meals, there is little room to save money. At least, that’s what if feels like. The truth is there are lots of ways to make it through the holidays with your wallet intact.
- Invite the family to your house for the holiday. Yes, it means you’ll have to break out the dust mop, but you’ll save on travel if everyone comes to your humble abode this Thanksgiving. You can always do a pot-luck of sorts and ask each family member to bring a favorite dish. That will help you save money on food along with the travel expenses.
Seven Cheap Halloween Costumes That Will Have the Whole Town Talking
Witches, ghosts, and vampires, oh my! Halloween is right around the corner, which means it is time to start thinking about what your kids are going to dress up as for the big day. Even if you are on a budget this year, as many Americans are, that does not mean that your family can’t have the coolest costumes around. In fact, with a little creativity you may be able to get away without having to spend any money on your Halloween costumes at all. Of course, there are always the staples, such as witches, ghosts, and vampires. But don’t you want your family to stand out this year? If you do, here are seven ideas for easy and cheap DIY Halloween costumes that will satisfy even the pickiest child.
Does your little girl love to dress up in fancy gowns? If so, this is the perfect creative costume for her. All you will need is an old gown (either from your closet or the thrift store), random clothing pieces from your child’s closet, and some felt and fabric paint. The concept is that your child will be Miss America, with a little more spunk. Accent the gown with random socks, shoes, and even a t-shirt underneath the gown. Then make a simple sash out of the felt, and use the fabric paint to write out Miss Cellaneous across it. Of course, no pageant princess would be complete without a crown. You can easily make your own with some cardboard and spray paint.
If your child loves exploring how things work and is always mixing up concoctions in the kitchen sink, the mad scientist may be the perfect costume for him. And the good news is that you probably already own everything you need to make this outfit complete. Dress your child in khaki shorts and a plaid button-up shirt. Next, add one of dad’s bright-colored bow ties into the mix. And finally, you can use one of your white button-up shirts as a lab coat. To complete the ensemble, grab out the rubber gloves and a glass measuring cup from the kitchen. You can even add some gummy worms into the measuring cup to finish off the look, and don’t forget to mess-up your child’s hair for the full effect.
Is your daughter in dance class? If so, she probably has a plethora of black leotards and tights lying around, but ballerinas are so overused at Halloween. Instead, steal this brilliant idea from Real Simple. Confiscate the oldest ones for this costume and you are already almost done. Next, you need to get some yellow duct tape, which can now be found in almost every hardware store and mass-market store around. Use the duct tape to create yellow lines across the leotard. Now you need to cut out random letters to place on the leotard to get the spelling part added into the bee. You are almost done, but no bee would be able to fly without wings. To create your own wings, grab some wire hangers from the closet and wrap clear plastic bags around them. The easiest way to attach them to the costume is with Velcro, but you can also use safety pins or even staples. Your child will be the buzz of the town in this unique costume.
Does your little boy dream of blasting into space to explore the skies? Help make his imaginary dreams come true by making him a rocket man this Halloween. First, you will need to gather up a white shirt and pair of pants from his closet. If he doesn’t have any, thrift stores are your best friend when it comes to completing cheap Halloween costumes. Once your little guy is dressed all in white, add some silver duct tape accents to his attire. Stripes down the leg and around the biceps are the perfect options. Finally, no rocket man costume is complete without a rocket pack. To make one, grab two empty Pringles cans and two party hats. Attach them using hot glue and spray paint them silver. For the full effect, add some yellow and orange streamers to the bottom of the Pringles cans. You can easily connect the rocket pack to your child by creating duct tape straps. Three, two, one, blast off!
If your child is always coloring and painting, you should harness her creativity by making her an artist this Halloween. First, you need to raid Dad’s closet and get one of his old work shirts to transform into a smock. Parents Magazine then suggests streaking and splattering paint on it to make it appear that your little one was hard at work creating his latest masterpiece. Artists are known for their creative style, so you will also want to get some colorful leggings and an accent scarf to finish up the outfit. Complete the ensemble with paintbrushes in the pockets and an empty paint can to collect the treats.
If your child is an animal lover, you could always go the veterinarian route, but this Halloween is all about creativity, so why not go for the safari guide instead. You will need some wardrobe staples from your child’s closet to get started. With some khaki shorts and a white shirt, the base of the costume is started. Next, you need to create a safari vest and binoculars. For the vest, use a paper grocery bag that is cut to fit. You can create large pockets on the vest using an extra paper bag or brown envelopes. For the binoculars, connect two toilet paper rolls with some small felt pads between them using hot glue. Finally attach a string to the binoculars so they can be used easily throughout the night to find animals of all sizes. To finish off the look, have your child carry a stuffed animal of an exotic variety, such as a lion, tiger, or giraffe.
If you do any baking yourself, this will be one of the easiest costumes for you to whip up, and your kid will be proud to be taking after their mom. First, you need some pajama pants from your kid’s wardrobe to create the appearance of chef pants. You will also need a coordinating t-shirt. Next, choose one of your aprons and add a little flavor to it. You can do this with self-adhesive felt or duct tape. Of course, no chef costume is complete without the famous chef hat. You can either buy one for a minimal amount of money at a kitchen supply store, or you can make one using some cardboard and an old sheet. Give your child a wooden spoon or a whisk and don’t forget to sprinkle some flour on your kid’s cheeks and outfit to make it look like she has been hard at work. Finally, a large mixing bowl makes the perfect treat basket.
As you can see, with a little bit of creativity and time your children will be the talk of the town this Halloween.
(Photo by kevinpoh)
What Are the Best Things to Buy In October?
It’s finally October! Now that the weather is colder and you can no longer spend your days soaking up the sun, you may be itching to do some shopping. While shopping can be a lot of fun, it is also a good idea to be wise when deciding what to purchase. Believe it or not, there are specific seasons where you can get great deals on specific items. Here are the top things you will want to make sure to purchase this October, as well as some things you will want to avoid.
WHAT TO BUY NOW
Now that gardening season is over, many stores will put their perennials on sale. Not only is now a great time for you to get some new plants to add to your garden, but CBS points out that October is also a great time to get them planted. The cool fall weather and ample rain will help your plants build roots now so that they can flourish come springtime.
Back-to-school time is when most stores sell the largest amount of casual clothing. However, now that school is in full swing, many retailers find themselves with overstock items. Since they need to frantically make room for the new holiday items, they will clearance out the clothing at unbelievable prices. Denim is particularly great to stock up on, since it is usually a more expensive item to buy. So stock up on all of the clothing your family needs now and for back-to-school time next year.
As the end of the year approaches, car dealerships start to receive the new 2013 car models. While it may be alluring to purchase the newest car on the lot, according to Deal News you can save as much as 20 percent by purchasing a 2012 model instead. Since 2012 cars are old-news to the dealerships, they are anxious to get them off of their lots to make room for the shiny new cars. The car will still be new; it just may not have the updated trim style or new features. With most car models, however, there are very few changes between years.
Of course you are going to buy your costume in October, right? Well, yes, but the longer you can wait, the better. As Halloween approaches, stores start to get nervous that they are going to be left with a plethora of costumes that they won’t be able to sell. The closer to Halloween you buy your costume, the cheaper it will be. The same goes with Halloween candy.
WHAT TO BUY LATER
Cold Weather Clothing
It is just a basic principle of business that when the demand is high things are not likely to go on sale. Since now is the time the weather starts to turn cold and people start to realize that they need new coats and sweaters, stores would be silly to put them on sale. After all, they are going to sell anyway. If you can persevere for another month or two, you will see prices start to drop dramatically as holiday shopping begins. Anytime after Black Friday is a great time to stock up on the cold weather clothes. Just make sure to get enough to last your family through next November.
As mentioned, Black Friday is right around the corner. If you are familiar with Black Friday shopping, you know that technology items, like televisions and computers, are always big door-busters during the holiday shopping season. For that reason, you should hold off on purchasing any new technology items until then. The only caveat is if the store you are purchasing from has a price-match guarantee. Many stores will agree to refund you the price difference if the exact item you purchased goes on sale within a certain time frame (usually 30 or 60 days). If they do, you can purchase the item now, but you have to remember to go back in when the item is priced lower to get the difference returned to you.
This also goes for the new iPhone 5. Since the phone just came out, it is going to be a hot commodity for a while, which means no sale prices anytime soon. However, if you still don’t have an iPhone, you can now get a great deal on the iPhone 4 or 4S.
With Thanksgiving right around the corner, many people are starting to think about purchasing the items they will need for the big feast. However, if you hold off until the holiday approaches, you can save a substantial amount of money.
You would think that October would be the prime time to purchase appliances for the same reason that it’s a great time to buy cars; because the new models are starting to come out. However, according to MSN, you are better off waiting at least one month. In November, stores are now anxious to get rid of the old models because the new models have all been received. Plus, with Black Friday and holiday shopping beginning, many appliances serve as door-buster deals.
As that shopping bug hits, make sure to be wise about your decisions. There are still plenty of items to shop for now that you will be able to satisfy the bug without spending money unnecessarily. And remember, holiday shopping will be here before you know it. Then you can really go crazy.
(Photo by ReneS)