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The New Frontier of Coupons

Have you ever watched the TLC show Extreme Couponing? I haven’t. It’s not because I don’t like to use coupons now and then, I like a Groupon as much as the next person, but I’m not the type who sits at home on Sunday clipping coupons out of all the junk mail I receive. I may flip through the supermarket ads to see what’s on sale, but spending more than 2 minutes on it just isn’t for me.

Lately, I’ve noticed that couponing is going through a revolution. Gone are the days when you had to dumpster dive through your local trash bins in search for discarded circulars! Gone are the days when you had to spend money on a newspaper subscription just to get the coupons on Sunday. Gone are the days of scissors and papercuts just to save 50 cents on a can of tuna. And, you’ve got technology to thank for this new frontier.

Printable Coupons

There are an endless number of ways to find printable coupons. One of the simplest is simply Googling the name of the product you want a discount on and the word “coupon.” This can also work really well if you’re making a trip to a big store like Staples. I once scored a printable $50 coupon and used it to score a great deal on a camera. This option works best if you’re looking for coupons on specific items. If you’re looking for printable coupons in general, then you’ve got to add these bookmarks to your browser:

There are literally dozens – probably hundreds, even thousands – of additional sites that offer printable coupons online; these are just the two I visit frequently. In some cases, you’ll be prompted to enter your local zip code, but here’s the clincher: you don’t always have to enter your zip code. For example, a few months ago, a friend told me that by entering an out-of-state zip code (I believe it was Utah), I could snag a coupon for $0.75 off milk – and who doesn’t buy a gallon of milk every now and then?

Online Coupons

Closely related to printable coupons, you can find online coupons at many of the same sites. Red Plum, for example, lets you not only print out coupons from its website, but also lets you upload them to your store loyalty card. Instead of printing out the coupon, clipping it, and taking it to the store, you simply check a box next to the desired coupons and – voila! – you’ll automatically see the discount on your next shopping trip to that grocery store.

Another site I like for online coupons is Saving Star. To use this site, you do have to register for a free account, but once you do, you’ll be able to connect your store loyalty cards (Saving Star is associated with dozens of grocery store chains nationwide) to your Saving Star profile. All you have to do is select your ecoupons. You won’t notice any discount on your in-store receipt; instead, Saving Star keeps track of which ecoupons you use, and gives you the option to cash out once you reach $5 in savings.

Then there are the online coupons offered by grocery stores themselves. I have a friend who lives out east who swears by the eVic programat a chain called Harris Teeter. This free program lets members upload online coupons onto their store loyalty card, then gives them the credit at checkout.

Mobile Coupons

You can’t talk about free coupons without talking about mobile coupons. Similar to online coupons, mobile coupons allow you to avoid the whole printing and clipping process altogether.

Cellfire is probably the most widely known; however, there are tons of other sites that ado the same thing. When you sign up for a free account or download the app, you gain access to the sites’ bank of coupons. Instead of printing them out or uploading them to your store loyalty card, you can download them to your phone. That way, when you go to the store, the clerk at checkout simply scans the barcode.

Readers, do you use any of these sites to get coupons? Are there others you like even better?



  1. I use and as my main source for printable coupons. You have to be careful because most sites (including the ones I just mentioned) will install tracking cookies on your computer, so they do come at a cost.

  2. Daniel,
    I’m not much of a couponer either. But I shop online frequently and find what you suggested to be effective: searching the online store and “coupon” or “promo code” or “discount code.” So maybe I am a new age couponer?

    I’ve saved money on everything from gift baskets to bike parts to Transatlantic flights!

    Daniel, how do you see the future of coupons? I imagine one day there will no longer be coupons on paper, just digitally accessible ones.

    -Christian L.

  3. I only use online coupons before any big purchases. Otherwise, I’m not a huge fan of searching for deals that will only save me a few bucks. I know it adds up, but I would rather spend my time earning money… :)

  4. I probably only use coupons when I’m shopping online, since they ask you if you have a promo code, so it’s really not hard to look for one.

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