Photo (cc) by jridgewayphotography
Frugality means shopping responsibly: not spending more than you can afford and NEVER paying retail prices.
Discounts are everywhere, as long as you know where to look. With that, I give you the definitive guide to promo codes, coupons and deals. With more than a dozen resources at your fingertips, you’ll never have to pay retail again.
1. Coupon sites
Probably the easiest place to find promo codes is on online coupon sites. Among them:
- NerdWallet Coupons
2. Daily deal message boards and sites
Whether created by an in-house staff of professionals or user-generated, daily deal sites and message boards scour the Internet for what’s cheap right now. You’ll find deep discounts on these sites, but proceed with caution. Limited-time sales can easily tempt you into overspending.
- Slickdeals — deals in every category you can imagine, both in-store and online.
- Techbargains.com — mostly online tech and gadget deals.
- Woot – a daily roundup of super cheap offers.
- Groupon — deals at local businesses like spas, restaurants and hair salons.
- LivingSocial – another local deals site.
- HauteLook – daily discounts on designer clothing.
- Eversave.com – daily limited-time sales and printable coupons.
- Doggyloot – limited-time sales on dog gear, toys, treats and food.
3. Online games
Playing a game for prizes isn’t a new concept, but some retail sites have embraced the idea of playing for discounts. For instance, Out of Print Clothing, a literature-inspired T-shirt shop, is hosting “The Great Gatsby” game mirrored on the old Nintendo style of play. If you win the game, you’ll get a coupon code to use on your next purchase.
Instagram is a photo sharing application for iPhone and Android devices. It was designed for casual users, but businesses are coming around to using Instagram as a way to connect with their fans. Many post coupon codes and secret sales for their followers.
To find deals, download the Instagram app, search for stores you like, follow them, and keep an eye out for promotions.
Pinterest is a popular social networking site used by both casual users and businesses. You can find deals and coupons by following the Pinterest page of a retailer (they usually provide a link to their Pinterest page on their website).
Other users have created boards for deals, printable coupons and promo codes. Find them by entering key phrases like “deal,” “promo code” or “coupon” in the Pinterest search bar. For example:
Following a retailer’s Twitter feeds will get you access to secret sales. Many companies also have a separate Twitter account just for deals, including:
You can also find discounts by following deal-savvy Twitter accounts like:
By now most retailers (both online and off) have created a Facebook fan page. Like your favorite retailers on Facebook and you’ll get access to coupon codes, printable coupons and secret sales. Many manufacturers and retailers will also give you a discount just for “liking” their Facebook page.
My rule of thumb: Never toss a receipt without checking the front and back. Look for manufacturer’s coupons and opportunities to complete surveys. You may have to call a number and answer a few questions, but you’ll get discounts, buy-one-get-one-free offers, and other deals for a few minutes of your time.
If you have a smartphone, make it work for you. Numerous apps post deals, coupons and information on sales (both online and in-store). Check out:
- Weekly – tracks local sales at department stores and other retailers. Available for iPhone.
- Zoomingo – has a database of sales at brick-and-mortar stores. Available for iPhone and Android.
- The Coupons App – coupons for online and brick-and-mortar stores, daily deals, plus a gas price tracker. Available for Android.
- RetailMeNot – the app version of the popular coupon site. Available for iPhone and Android.
Reddit, if you’re unfamiliar, is a massive message board of sorts where users post anything and everything they come across online. On Reddit Deals users post discounts, and ask and answer questions. Not sure what diner in your area has the cheapest breakfasts? Ask the Reddit community.
Magazines are still a good source of coupons. Recently I’ve found deals on clothes, shoes, housewares, and a few local restaurants tucked into the magazines I read. Don’t subscribe? Ask your friends or family to bring you their old magazines when they’re done reading them.
12. Manufacturer’s websites
If you’re looking for something specific like toiletries, cosmetics or cleaning products, go right to the source. Many manufacturers post printable and online coupons on their sites. For example:
Most retailers have a newsletter. Sign up and you’ll get coupons, links to private sales, and other deals. Of course, you’ll also drown in emails if you sign up for a lot. Instead, set up a new email account only for company-sponsored emails. Here are a few stores with good newsletters:
14. Money Talks News
Finally, don’t forget to check Money Talks News. Our resident deal expert, Karla Bowsher, updates the Deals page every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. You can also see deals on our daily newsletter after you sign up.