Combining Coupons, Earning points, and Hunting for Sales

From smartphone apps to social media, today’s technology makes it easier than ever for consumers to connect to and track their favorite brands. Long gone are the days when deals were displayed in one of a handful of media: storefronts, mailers, and the occasional TV ad or billboard. And while there’s still something to be said for good old fashioned coupon clipping with scissors and paper, there are a myriad of additional methods you can easily use to ensure you get the lowest price, whether you’re shopping for groceries, a new car, or your next airline ticket. Check out the following sites, apps, and tips before your next shopping excursion.

Use Honey

Honey, a Google Chrome extension, is one of the latest and greatest additions to money-saving technologies. Essentially, it acts as a coupon-hunting wizard, sorting through dozens, hundreds, even thousands of potential coupon codes for you at checkout. All you have to do is click a button and sit back as it works its magic, trying each coupon at lightning-fast speed until it finds the best applicable deal available. Although it isn’t coded for all stores (yet), it works with several prominent sites, including Old Navy, Amazon, and Best Buy.

Leverage social media

You don’t have to be an avid tweeter to make social media work for you when it comes to finding sales. Twitter is probably the most common means of consumers connecting with their favorite brands via social media. It’s great for companies as it provides a quick, easy and cost-effective way to advertise to millions of followers. And it’s great for customers because it allows you to casually keep track of a brand’s happenings by simply scrolling through its feed. Often, companies advertise flash sales on their social media sites that you may otherwise not see, unless you happened to visit their website within the specified timeframe. Another savvy way to use this tool is to follow well-known savings or shopping bloggers and personalities via social media. A cluster of tweets about a specific brand is a likely indicator that it’s worthwhile to keep an eye out for deals.

Take advantage of cash back

Though it’s a good idea to generally avoid spending more than what’s available in your pocketbook or checking account, using a credit card can result in some significant savings if you work it right. Many credit card companies offer cash back offers correlating with certain product or service types, or brands and companies. Often, these are seasonal, such as 5% cash back on home improvement supplies in the month of September, etc. Be sure to check your cash back offers regularly, as these often require a sign-up to activate (usually no more than a simple click of a button after signing into your account). If you go this route, just be sure to pay off the debt right away to avoid paying interest later. If you’re shopping online, you can also use Ebates for cash back and discounts on purchases from a variety of e-retailers, ranging from Walmart to Target, The Gap to Jo Ann Fabrics.

Use apps

These days, there’s an app for just about everything, whether you want to track the steps you’ve taken in a day, or gauge the mileage in an upcoming trip. There are even apps to help you find new friends, and apps to help you locate your existing ones. And there are plenty of apps for savings. One of the best is Yowza, which alerts you to deals in your geographic region. Many of these deals come directly from the retailers or manufacturers, so you may not see them elsewhere. Coupon Sherpa is another excellent choice, and one you can use as either a mobile app or on a website. With the app, you’ll get access to in-store coupons, while online, you’ll be connected to deals via the store website. Yipit is another great one, perfect for couponers who prefer not to be inundated with deal notifications via email. Yipit compiles a summary of all the deals in your area that may be of interest to you, and delivers it directly to your inbox once daily.

Combine coupons

Not all retailers allow you to combine coupons or use coupons on already discounted items, but many do, and it’s an excellent method of saving a few extra dollars. Keep an eye out for manufacturer coupons that you may be able to use to supplement a store-wide sale or retailer coupon. Typically, stores have standing policies in this regard, so you can easily check to see whether doubling is allowed via the store website before you head out, if the retailer coupon itself doesn’t specify restrictions. Note: this almost always only works if it involves combining a manufacturer and retailer discount, not two manufacturer discounts or two retailer coupons. Some of the best coupon-stacking stores include Target, Albertsons, CVS, Victoria’s Secret, and Kohl’s.

Of course, there are plenty of other great ways to scout for sales and save some change as well. If you’ve got some savvy bargain-hunting tips of your own, let us know in the comments!

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