We’ve all spent money online, and got sucked into how easy it is to see something you like. Just a few clicks later you’ve bought it, having handled no money at all and really got a sense of how much you’ve spent. The reality hits, however, when you see your bank statement, and it’s time to pay off the credit card bill.
Luckily for us online shoppers, there are plenty of resources and tools to use that can help us reduce the amount of money we spent online, and grab deals wherever they’re available. In fact, these resources can be split into five different groups, so you can choose one from each and optimize your new-found saving habits…
1. User-Generated Coupon Resources
When we say social networking, we don’t quite mean Facebook or MySpace. Websites like Promo Codes catalog and organize the latest deals and offer m. If you’ve found a new deal that nobody knows aembers rate and comment each one.
These websites are fantastic for separating the wheat from the chaff and finding the best bargains, as all users can rate them on a one to five scale, and add comments about their experience with it. However, it’s important to remember that anybody and everybody can access these sites, so you may not always get results that are relevant to your favorite shopping niche.
2. The Coupon and Voucher Blogosphere
Blogs are great as they’re set out in a format we all understand, and they’re incredibly up-to-date on the very latest and best quality online deals. Set your RSS reader to follow any number of bargain hunting blogs (check out Coupon lady and Coupon Dad for example) and you can get the posts sent right to your email account or in-browser reader. The disadvantages, however, are that it takes more effort for a blogger to create a post than it does to submit a quick link to a networking site, so you might not get the deals right away, and they might be duplicates of others you’ve seen.
3. Freebie Websites
Chances are you’ll have heard of or seen these sites before. They’re basically aggregators, that collect recent deals and freebies from around the web and post them all in one place. You can visit the site every few days and go through their list of links, ordering the freebies you like and having them delivered straight to your door. It’s a great way to try out new products and take advantage of new product lines that need exposure. The only downsides with these are that for some freebies they’re not actually free (you still need to pay postage, or some other nifty clause), and also you end up giving your home address to a huge number of different companies, who may continue to send junk mail. Try out Free Shipping for good quality, genuinely free shipping offers from reputable companies.
4. Online Coupon Directories
These include sites like Gift Card Granny where you’ll find lists upon lists of gift cards and coupons for products all over the web. You can search for specific product types, and organize the results by date (so that they’re more accurate), and while it’s not such a fun way to find bargains, it’s one that works well to save you money.
Most online directories don’t have the option, but if you can find one that allows users to rate each coupon or deal, it’s well worth using.
5. Coupon codes forums
We recommend you try out the underdog of the coupon forum world: The Coupon Cupboard. It’s not particularly well known, or indeed busy, but the standard of bargains found there is usually high, and the rate of spamming from promoters very low. It’s a pleasure to use.
Pros: Like social media communities, the forums are updated by the active community of enthusiastic bargain hunters.
Cons: These are hard to control, so often heavily spammed and manipulated by sellers promoting their products.
Example: The Coupon Cupboard (probably not the most active one but one of the most useful and targeted coupon code forums out there).
To sum up:
|User-Generated Coupon Resources||User-generated||Spontaneous||Promo Codes|
|Deals blogs||On-topic||Limited||Coupon Lady|
|Freebie aggregators||Freebie updates||What is a freebie?||Free Shipping|
|Coupon code directories||Targeted and rich||No third-party opinions||Gift Card Granny|
|Coupon code forums||User-generated||Spammed||The Coupon Cupboard|
Which one(s) do you prefer?