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Posted 06/23/2021 in Couponing

Top 19 Resources for Price Discounts and Coupons to Save Money


Top 19 Resources for Price Discounts and Coupons to Save Money

Where do you find coupons and discount codes?  This article provides 19 various types of sources, all the possible coupons and discounts codes you need.

Price Discounts and Coupons Everyone Should Use to Save Money

Price Discounts and Coupons is the number 2 technique in the article Top 14 Ways and Hacks to Save Money.  One could say "Duh!  Everyone knows everything there is to know about discounts and coupons.  Most people know how to take advantage of those, and there is absolutely nothing new one can learn about this hack.”

And one couldn't be more wrong.  Let's jump right in.

 

Introduction to Price Discounts and Coupons

All vendors, without exception, run promotions (also known as "promos").  Some run them all the time, while others do that only once in a while.  There is an infinite number of types of promos.  Here are some of the most popular ones:

  • Percent Off: for example, 50% Off
  • BOGO FREE: Buy One, Get One Free
  • BOGO 50% Off: Buy One, Get One 50% Off
  • Dollar Off:   for example, $5 Off any purchase of $20 or more

Combinations and variations on this are endless.

One critical thing to remember about any Discounts or Coupons is that just because a vendor is offering a discount or a coupon it does not mean that vendor is offering the best value in the market.  If, before any discount, Vendor A's regular price for a widget is 100% (or 2x) higher than the regular price of Vendor B’s beginning price, even with a 50% discount the price would only match vendor B’s price.

So, if you truly want to save money it is important to do Price Comparison even when you find a seemingly great coupon, discount, or some other type of promotion—even when deal stacking.

 

Top 19 Sources of Price Discounts and Coupons

What are the best sources of where to find and take advantage of Discounts and Coupons? Keep in mind that discounts and coupons vary a lot by product or service category.  Also, different industries prefer different discount and coupon distribution channels for different product or service categories.

For example, in a Sunday newspaper’s "free-standing inserts" (aka FSI) you will rarely find car dealer discounts and promos.  But you will find bountiful selection of grocery, health and beauty, and some dollar store items.  At the same time in your local coupon book you will rarely find a lot of grocery coupons.  But there will be a ton of local restaurants, hairdressers, as well as air conditioning and plumbing company coupons.

Below is the list of the top 19 sources where Discounts and Coupons for various industries and product / service categories could be found.  (Click on a specific source to skip to that portion of the article.)


Top 19 Sources of Price Discounts and Coupons

  1. Sunday Paper "Free Standing Inserts"
  2. Digital Load-to-Card Coupons
  3. Checkout Cash Register Coupons
  4. Instant Redeemable Coupons
  5. Direct Mail Coupon Packs and Flyers
  6. Coupon Books
  7. Local Newspapers, Magazines, Newsletters, and Radio Stations
  8. Printable Online Coupons
  9. Coupon Apps
  10. Coupon Browser Extensions
  11. Emails
  12. Professional Discounts: Military, First Responders, Teachers, Students, and Seniors
  13. Group Buying
  14. Employee Perks and Discounts
  15. Association Special Discounts (e.g. AARP, Radio Stations, etc.)
  16. Discount Networks
  17. In-Store and Online Flyers
  18. Online Promo Code Websites
  19. Social Media (Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, etc.)

 

Brief Info on the Top 19 Sources of Price Discounts and Coupons.

#1

Sunday Newspaper Inserts

Most local newspapers include in their Sunday issues what is known as "free-standing inserts." These inserts are typically grocery, health and beauty, and dollar-store coupon booklets under one of the following brands:

  1. SmartSource 
  2. RetailMeNot Everyday (formerly known as RedPlum)
  3. Save
  4. Procter & Gamble

These Sunday paper inserts are actually by far the largest source of grocery coupons in America, bar none.  Coupon-filled inserts can be purchased in bulk and without buying a newspaper from companies such as Sunday Coupons Inserts.  Each year Sunday newspapers distribute about 200 billion (that's billion with a B) coupons worth $470 billion in total discount value.  A billion were redeemed in 2016.

Amazingly, fewer than $1 billion worth of these coupons (or about 0.4%) are redeemed by consumers, a tiny portion, if you think about it.

And the trend over the last decade or so has been that more and more consumers have been shifting their grocery coupon redemptions from clipped Sunday paper coupons to digital. 


Figure 1:  Sunday Newspaper "Free-Standing Inserts"

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#2

Digital Load-to-Card Coupons

Digital grocery coupons have been continuously growing in popularity, especially as more and more consumers are now comfortable ordering their groceries online.

In 2020, out of all the different types of coupons redeemed, digital coupons had the largest share of the volume (29.3%), surpassing paper coupons (28%) for the first time.

Load-to-Card (aka load2card or L2C) coupons are basically manufacturer coupons loaded onto retailers' loyalty programs, where shoppers can choose to digitally “clip” them to load the coupons to their individual loyalty accounts or cards.  The great thing about loading all your grocery coupons onto the retailer card is that you do not need to clip paper versions. You are also less likely to forget about redeeming them or misplace them.  And, in case you are tracking your savings (there is nothing like keeping a score to keep one motivated!)—all of your redemptions are saved digitally.

But it is not all bubbles and unicorns with these L2C coupons.  A couple of key issues with these L2C digitally preloaded coupons are that (a) they require a membership or loyalty card account with a particular retailer, (b) that if you loaded a coupon for that favorite toothpaste onto your Kroger card, it’s not available to use anywhere else, (c) if it is listed on multiple retailers’ loyalty programs, you need to clip it at each one (unless you already know where you plan to use it), and (d) most manufacturer’s digital coupons can be used only once (per loyalty account per retailer)—which puts a dent in deal stacking.

In spite of our increasingly "digital" world, having that clipped paper coupon in your wallet, always ready to be redeemed at any retailer, still has some clear advantages, especially for extreme couponers who need specific numbers of certain coupons.   .

 

#3

Checkout Cash Register Coupons

Many retailers print and hand their customers coupons when customers check out at their stores.  Sometimes such coupons are printed at the bottom of the receipt tape.  Sometimes they are printed on the back of it.  And sometimes they are printed as a separate, color coupon.  

Those color coupons printed out separately are also known as Catalina coupons, by the name of the company, Catalina, that prints the receipts at most grocery stores in the United States.  Catalina's coupons are primarily coupons from big brand manufacturers like Kraft, Procter & Gamble, and Coca-Cola, who are trying to either entice you to come back and buy more of their stuff or, quite often, they are trying to convince you to switch from the competitor brand you have just purchased to their own brand next time you go grocery shopping..

 

#4

Instant Redeemable Coupons

Instant Redeemable Coupons are in-store promotions that are either attached directly to a product packaging or coupons dispensed by or picked up from a shelf-edge dispenser.

Unfortunately, it is hard to be proactive with these types of coupons, unless you pick up those coupons during your shopping trips and incorporate them into planning your next grocery shopping trip.


Figure 2:  Peel-Off Instant Redeemable Coupon Examples


Figure 3:  Instant Redeemable Coupons—a Shelf-Edge Coupon Dispenser Example


#5

Direct Mail Coupon Packs and Flyers

Every week all of us get a ton of advertising materials in our mailboxes.  Those range from individual dentist or real estate agent cards, to letters from credit card and telecom companies, to local coupon books, to envelopes, such as Valpak or Money Mailer, chock-full of flyers from national and local businesses..

 

#6

Coupon Books

There are three main types of Coupon Books:

  1. Those that are snail-mailed to your home every month
  2. Those that you pick up for FREE at a local gas station, convenience store, or medical office
  3. Those that you buy from a national company, a local school, or a nonprofit fundraiser

Typically, local coupon books, those that are mailed to your home or get picked up at one of the local businesses, are full of coupons from local, small, mom-and-pop businesses, such as restaurants, barber shops, nail salons, auto repair shops, local pest control, roofing, as well as AC and plumbing repair shops.

The reason why these local coupon books are offering primarily local mom-and-pop businesses is because these coupon books themselves are owned by small, local, business people who have access primarily to the local mom-and-pops.  They rarely offer national chain coupons from the likes of McDonald’s, Papa John's, or Jiffy Lube, because such national chains prefer to advertise with and distribute their coupons through big, national publications or direct mail companies, such as Valpak.

A couple of national coupon book companies, such as Entertainment and SaveAround, sell their location-specific coupon books for $20-40 each (typically the price goes down during the year as their pre-printed coupon book coupons approach their expiration dates and these companies need to get rid of their inventory)..

 

#7

Local Newspapers, Magazines, Newsletters, and Radio Stations

Paper newspapers have been a declining business since the advent of the Internet. In 2004, there were about 9,000 daily and weekly newspapers in the United States.  The majority of them have been local.  As of 2020, only about 6,700 of these newspapers are still alive (down 2,300 or 25%).

Many of such local newspapers have traditionally published not only local businesses' ads but also their coupons.  If your county or city still has one or more local newspapers, you are one of the remaining lucky ones!  If you are looking for some coupons from local auto dealers, home repair companies, or restaurants, make sure to regularly check the local newspapers for those as well.

Since the feverish development of group buying (discussed later in this article), around 2008-2010, many local radio stations have also ventured into online coupons and deals.  Today hundreds of local radio stations sell electronic vouchers at deep discounts to their users.  Below is just a small selection of such radio stations.


#8

Printable Online Coupons

Similar to the Coupon Books there are four types of sources for printable coupons:

  1. Websites focused on big brand consumer goods
  2. Websites focused on national chain restaurants, auto shops, and other types of businesses
  3. Websites focused on local mom-and-pop restaurants, automotive, and other local businesses
  4. Hybrids of the above three

 

Printable Coupon Sites for Big Brand Consumer Goods

Speaking of the big brand consumer goods manufacturer coupons, a number of websites offer printable coupons that can help you save on your next grocery trip:

  1. Coupons.com
  2. Lozo.com
  3. SmartSource.com
  4. Some big brand manufacturers’ own websites:

 

Printable Coupon Sites for National Chain Restaurants, Auto Shops, and Other Businesses

Many websites offer FREE or paid access to coupons and discounts from the national chains in such segments as fast food, casual or fine dining, auto repair and oil change shops, fitness centers, kids’ sports, tutoring, and other education services.  Here are a few examples of such sites that you can use:

  1. CouponFindr.com
  2. CouponSherpa.com 
  3. GivingAssistant.org 
  4. Offers.com
  5. Retailmenot.com

 

Printable Coupon Sites for Local Mom-and-Pop Restaurants, Auto Shops, and Other Businesses

There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of websites that list coupons and deals from local mom-and-pop restaurants, auto shops, barber shops, home contractors, and other local businesses.  Many of these websites are owned by local Coupon Book owners, local newspapers, or local radio stations.  Keep in mind, the majority of such local sites have a very limited geographic area.  Most cover just their local county or even just a few zip codes where they print and distribute their Coupon Book.  A few have regional coverage, and even fewer cover all or most of the United States.

Here are a few examples of such sites that you can use:

  1. CouponFindr.com
  2. LocalFlavor.com 
  3. MoneyMailer.com 
  4. Retailmenot.com
  5. SaveOn.com
  6. Valpak.com .


Figure 4:  Printable Restaurant Coupons—CouponFindr.com Example 

#9

Coupon Apps

One of the most popular trends among Americans trying to save on grocery shopping, eating out, auto repairs and other needs is the growing usage of various coupon apps.

Similar to the coupon websites, there are different types of coupon apps.  They differ by (1) the type of retail they focus on, (1) by the way they save shoppers money, and (3) whether they are free or paid.

Some apps focus primarily on grocery shopping, some focus primarily on non-food retail and some coupon apps are a lot broader and offer coupons and discounts on retail, restaurants, auto shops, fitness, travel, theme parks and other services.

Below we are listing various types.


Coupon Apps focused primarily on Grocery Shopping

The most popular grocery coupon apps are:

  1. Ibotta (download the app for:  Android;   iPhone)
  2. The Coupon App (download the app for:  Android;   iPhone)
  3. Coupons.com (download the app for:  Android;   iPhone)
  4. Fetch (download the app for:  Android;   iPhone)
  5. Shopkick (download the app for:  Android;  iPhone)
  6. Checkout 51 (download the app for:  Android;   iPhone)
  7. ReceiptPal (download the app for:  Android;  iPhone)

Ibotta seems to be the most effective grocery discounts app and has recently announced achieving an impressive milestone of saving their app users $1 billion since its inception in 2012.  As far as we know the other grocery apps on the list cannot boast of such an achievement. 

While some of the grocery apps tie to merchant loyalty cards, most users scan their grocery receipts to claim credit for grocery purchases.  Once the user hits a specific threshold, the app allows the user to withdraw earned cash, mostly in the form of gift cards.  

 

Coupon Apps focused on Online and Brick & Mortar Non-Food Retailers

The most popular Non-Food coupon apps are:

  1. Retailmenot (download the app for:  Android;  iPhone)
  2. The Coupons App (download the app for:  Android;  iPhone)
  3. SlickDeals (download the app for:  Android;  iPhone)
  4. Rakuten, formerly eBates (download the app for:  Android;  iPhone)

 

Coupon Apps focused on National & Local Restaurants, Auto Shops, and Other Businesses

Americans spend almost as much money on eating out (on average $3,326 per year) as they do on groceries ($4,305) every year.  Amazingly, unlike dozens of various grocery coupon apps, there is unfortunately a dearth of good apps for restaurants, auto shops, and other small local business coupons and promos.  Of course, there are apps such as OpenTable and Yelp, but they are either for booking restaurants or checking out and/or leaving restaurants and other local businesses reviews.  Not for saving money eating out or fixing your car.

Fortunately, one of the paid membership apps, called VIP Perks, saves the day.  This app offers access to about 500,000 coupons and deals, including 55,000 restaurants, tens of thousands of retailers, as well as auto shops, barber shops, fitness centers, travel, and theme parks.   According to our estimates, you can save up to $2,150 per year if you use this app regularly.

We suggest first reading more about the VIP Perks app, then selecting and joining at a membership level (monthly, quarterly, or annual), and only then downloading the app (Android or iPhone).  While downloading the app is free, it will not work without an active membership—a point missed by several of the app's reviewers.  .

 

#10

Coupon Browser Extensions

There are only a few thousand large big brand grocery product manufacturers in the United States who publish the vast majority of all manufacturer coupons.  There are about 38,000 grocery stores in the United States.  These grocers run regular in-store promos as well as publish retailer coupons on a regular basis.

In the meantime, there are more than 1 million restaurants in the United States, a number that is more than 25 times bigger than that of grocery stores.

As we have seen above, for grocery products there is a handful of key printed, online, and mobile app coupon providers.  However for restaurants, unfortunately, there is no single all-encompassing source of coupons and discounts.  There are literarily hundreds (if not thousands) of different sources in which one could find restaurant coupons, including:

  1. Honey 
  2. The Camelizer 
  3. Piggy 
  4. CouponCabin Sidekick 
  5. Deal Finder by Retailmenot 
  6. BeFrugal 
  7. Rakuten 
  8. Cently by CouponFollow.com 
  9. Online Coupon Tool
  10. Coupert 

Honey is one of the most popular coupon browser extensions helping shoppers save money online.  Like most other browser extensions Honey searches and tries to automatically apply coupon codes whenever you check out at an online retailer.  If it does find an applicable coupon code it automatically fills it in upon the checkout.

The Camelizer (a browser extension from the Amazon price tracking website CamelCamelCamel.com) shows you the price history of a product you are browsing on Amazon.  Such price history often helps shoppers decide whether to buy now (for example, if there are no historical price promos for this item) or wait for a better deal especially if the item is promoted heavily and often.  The Camelizer can also send you price drop alerts via email when you put the item you are interested in on the watch list..

 

#11

Emails

If you don't mind receiving tens, hundreds, or even thousands of emails each month from various retailers, then you can sign up to receive coupons, deals, and promotions right into your inbox every day.

These days most retailers and restaurant chains do that.  All you need to do is go to their websites and sign up to receive those email promotions.  Actually, whenever you are visiting their website you have likely noticed that within a few seconds a popup message offers you a discount in exchange for your email.  Or whenever you are about to leave their website, a "Hey, before you go"-type popup message springs up on you and offers you a deal in exchange for your email.


Retailers:

There are thousands of retailers, so, if you would like to sign up to get coupons and promos by email from one of your favorite retailers, simply search for "[Retailer Name] email promo sign up" to find the signup webpage and in most cases you will start getting email promos and discounts within seconds.


Restaurant Chains:

By searching for "[Business Name] email promo sign up" you can find out if your favorite retailer, restaurant, auto shop, or some other type of business has an email sign up page and emails around coupons and discounts to customers on a regular basis..

 

#12

Professional Discounts and Discount Networks for Military, First Responders, Teachers, Students, and Seniors

Many businesses, in addition to offering coupons and discount to the general public also offer special discounts (which are either bigger or more permanent than the general ones) to such professional and social groups as:

  • Military and Veterans
  • Firefighters
  • Healthcare workers (doctors, nurses)
  • Teachers
  • Students
  • Seniors

Such professional group discounts can be found on (a) dedicated professional discount networks and associations, and (b) on websites and in-store at individual retailers, restaurants, and other local merchants. Couponfindr.com  allows people to search by category, including Kids Eat Free.  Here are some examples of other places to find such lists.


Professional Discount Networks:

 

Professional Discounts from Individual Retailers, Restaurants, and Local Merchants:

Click here to see a list of retailers, restaurants, and local businesses offering discounts to:

 

#13

Group Buying

About 10 years ago group buying was "The Thing." Every newspaper, blogger, and social media outlet couldn't stop raving about Groupon, LiveSocial, and a hundred or so other group buying sites that sprung up within just a few years.

Fast forward 10 years. Group buying is not dead. It is still out there, but significantly scaled down. Dozens of group buying startups burned through millions of dollars in cash and perished. Groupon and LivingSocial are the only two left standing. And have you noticed how incredibly similar both websites look and feel? Well, there is a reason for that. Groupon and LivingSocial are actually one company with two brands and websites but run pretty much by the same people. Hence the similarity.

 

Groupon and LivingSocial:

This is how Groupon and LivingSocial work:  local merchants agree to discount their services by 20%, 50% or even 90% if a certain number of people buy their service and use it within a certain limited period of time.   So, consumer gets a great deal—where else would you get a 90% discount?—and the local merchants are hoping that after you try their service, you'll stay on as a customer and pay their regular prices.

 

Other Group Buying Options:

Of course, besides the options of using Groupon and LivingSocial, you should always be on the lookout for group discounts that are typically offered by individual companies especially in such industries as travel and entertainment: theme parks, hotels, music and theater performance, sports games, etc.

Here are just a few examples of company discounts in case you pull together your large family, a group of friends, coworkers, or neighbors to take advantage of the lower price:

 

#14

Employee Perks and Discounts

Somewhat similar to group buying, many companies sign up for one of the multiple employee perks and discounts programs giving their employees access to pre-negotiated discounts on a variety of products and services.

If you part of a large company, you may want to check with your HR to see if your company has access to an employee discounts programs that can help you save even more money.

Vendors of employee discount programs include Plum Benefits, Tickets at Work, Nextjump, Access Development, Motivano, Corporate Offers, Perkspot, Benefits Hub, Perks Hub, Entertainment, YouDecide, Lifecare, Beneplace, Anyperk, and Abenity..

 

#15

Association Special Discounts

If you are a member of a professional association, a labor union, or a seniors group like AARP, you might also have access to one of the pre-negotiated discount networks offering discounts at numerous retailers, restaurants, and national and local businesses..

 

#16

Discount Networks

There are several types of Discount Networks that exist:

  • National discount networks
  • Local discount networks

 

National Discount Networks

National Discount Networks are similar to employee perks and discounts networks and in many cases are operated by the exact same companies.  Such discount networks pre-negotiate with vendors and offer consumers, once they join the networks, coupons and discounts, free shipping, loyalty points, or cash back.

Here are some of the more popular discount networks you may want to check out:

  • Rakuten offers in-store cash back from such retailers as Aeropostale, Banana Republic, H&M, and many others. The way it works is that you'd need to create an account on Rakuten and tie one or more of your credit cards to this account to receive cash back when you use that same credit card at any listed retailers.  Rakuten also offers cash back when dining in one of the 10,000 restaurants who participate in their network.  However, to get the cash back from eating out you'd need to download their app.
  • Glamour Rewards 
  • Neighborhood Nosh Rewards is another national network that rewards participants with 5% to 10% cash back from participating restaurants.
  • Corporate Shopping is a discount network offering discounts and free shipping for hundreds of brands, retailers, rental cars and theme parks.   It is free to join.  To gain access to the discount codes one just needs to create an account and start saving.

Keep in mind when linking your credit cards to any cash back networks, be that Rakuten, Nosh, Dosh, or any other, you are effectively agreeing to give them the right to monitor transaction activity on your used credit or debit cards.  These networks do need this information "for purposes of providing rewards and more relevant offers to you" as Rakuten puts it.  But nevertheless you need to be aware of that..

 

#17

In-Store and Online Flyers

Anyone who visited retail stores surely saw store flyers often placed at the store entrance and/or store exit.   In many cases such flyers are also available on retailers' websites to view or download as a PDF file.  These flyers are one of the best sources of discounts-of-the-week information.  A key step is to pick the advertisement for your specific store or region.  When using the retailer's website to read the flyer, make certain to specify your location or preferred store--sales can be different region to region and even store to store..


Figure 5:  In-Store Flyers Examples


#18

Online Promo Code Websites

As online shopping continues growing at a rapid pace more and more people are seeking deals online.   A significant number of websites sprung up to help shoppers find discount codes to save on their online purchases.  Some of these websites are better than others. The main difference between the "good" ones and the "not so good ones" is that the good ones ensure that as many as possible of their listed promo codes actually work.

And this is a lot more difficult to accomplish than one might think. There are thousands and thousands of online websites out there. Most of them start or discontinue numerous promotions every day.  So, keeping up to date a few million promo codes created every month and every year is actually not an easy undertaking.

Here are a few promo code websites that seem to have proven their worth and staying power over the last few years (listed alphabetically):

 

#19

Social Media

Various venues of social media are where people spend most of their time on the internet these days.  And of course, that's where many companies, bloggers, as well as regular users post coupons they try to promote or simply found to be exciting and wanted to share with others.

Keep in mind, though, that unlike those well-organized coupon books, coupon websites, or automatically scouting coupon browser extensions, none of the social media sites have been created to make it easy to find coupons on them.  So, in that sense, they are quite messy and disorganized. However, social media does a great job of presenting matchups and other people’s hauls—both of which can inspire and teach new couponers how to improve their own deal stacking.  Posts  disappear from the home feed quickly.  Since users post in different formats, it’s not easy to sort posts by criteria like brands or specific items you want to buy.  All you can do is scroll through all of posts in a group you find useful.   

If you prefer more of a planned, purposeful, and well-organized process for finding the right coupons, social media might not be the place for you.  On the other hand, if you find a group with similar interests to your own, have time, and enjoy perusing through a lot of stuff in an effort to find that gem of a deal worth having, the social media sites are the thing for you.

 

Facebook

The best way to find coupons and deals on Facebook is by joining one of the public or private groups depending on your interest.  Needless to say, there are thousands, if not tens of thousands of groups dedicated to a variety of couponing topics.  

Groups range from those dedicated to general couponing, couponing how-to guides, coupon glitches, as well as those that are finding and sharing deals at specific stores or sites.

Here is a tiny sample of what's available out there (in no particular order):

 

Pinterest

There are at least three ways you can navigate Pinterest when it comes to finding coupons: (1) simply search for coupons, (2) browse through the coupon boards, and (3) sift through Users and Companies posting on coupons. 


Figure 6:  Finding Coupons on Pinterest Boards


Figure 7:  Searching Pinterest Users and Companies Dedicated to Coupons


Instagram

Compared to Facebook and Pinterest, Instagram appears to have a lot less variety and fewer options to choose from when it comes to coupons, deals, and general information on ways to save money.  You can still find both bloggers posting coupons and bragging about their hauls, hash tags on the coupons, deals, and savings topics.  But this information will be less actionable and more difficult to use than what you can find on coupon websites, in coupon apps, and in Sunday newspapers or local coupons books.


Figure 8:  Searching Instagram Users and Hashtags Dedicated to Coupons


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