Coupons Sans Scissors
Commercial retailers didn't really understand online commerce until the late 1990s. But they've since caught their stride, amassing huge databases of information about customer behavior. They use this information to tune their pricing, special offers and promotions accordingly -- for instance, offering online promotions midweek, so consumers can shop at work.
The flip side: savvy customers can take advantage of merchants' strategies to score great deals. Clipping coupons no longer requires safety scissors or getting your hands dirty from newspaper ink. They key is to know where and how to find the best online savings.
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Many brick and mortar retailers, as well as online stores have forums that are a boon to finding the best coupons. Additionally, online sites, like FatWallet.com and RetailMeNot.com, dedicated to coupon clipping usually have forum members that are scam bloodhounds and are good at sniffing out scams and alerting others.
Be sure to know the warning signs of fraudulent coupons. You should never have to pay for a coupon or share personal information, such as your name, address or account numbers, in order to redeem coupons. The Better Business Bureau recommends checking whether the coupon is being offered directly by the store or by a third party affiliate. If a coupon has multiple broken links, expired deals or old content, you probably should skip it. Look for sites with the most updated news and deals, editorial content and an active forum or blog.
Compare and contrast
Use all-in-one sites like Extrabux.com to compare prices, find coupon codes and get cash back for making your purchases. Find out where the best deal is first and then make your purchase and maybe even get cash back.
Use your phone
Make that super-cool smart phone carry its weight by using the internet capabilities. There are apps (like Red Laser for iPhone) that turn the camera element on the phone into a barcode scanner that can be used to quickly return results of what the deals are on that item.
Keep an eye on it
Target and Best Buy both have price guarantees so should the item go on sale after your purchase it, they will refund you the difference. The later you buy an item the more time you have for the
price to fall. Use a site like Priceprotectr.com to help track what you bought, where you bought it and what you paid. The site and ones like it will then email you if the product is marked down
after you buy it.