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Never Pay Full Price: The Ultimate Guide to Online Coupon Codes

Using coupon codes wisely can maximize your potential savings — but it may take a little know-how to navigate the vast amount of coupon information out there.

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Advanced Saving: Finding Coupons in the Wild

By now, you're probably feeling pretty clever. You've mastered the basics, and you can easily right your wrongs along the way. Now, you're ready to take it to the next level: sniffing out discounts on the Internet.

A Little Digging Goes a Long Way

Now that we've covered a few coupon basics, you might be wondering where you can find coupon codes. Some stores will list codes right on their website, which is very convenient, but it may not be the best discount available for your particular order. There are also many cases where coupon codes for a store exist, but aren't listed on the store's website at all. This is where a little coupon research comes in handy.

Coupons are easiest to find if you have already decided which store you want to purchase from. If you visit the Coupon Center here at DealNews, you can use the "Find a Store" search box on the right side of the page to type in the store name. You can also use the main search box at the very top of the page. This will take you to the store page, where you can find both coupons and deals for that particular store.

You can also do a general Internet search. We find that it typically suffices to enter the store name and the term "coupons" in Google or your preferred search engine (ex. Best Buy coupons). This should bring up a wide variety of sources for finding coupons for that store.

Perhaps you don't know what store you want to purchase from, but you know the item you want to buy. If you are set on a particular model of TV, for instance, you can search the model number on DealNews to see if any deals are listed for it. Using the model number is a quick way to pinpoint the exact item you are looking for. If you don't see a current deal, you may have to take it a step further and find out which stores are selling the item that you want. Use a search engine like Google to type in the model number, or a combination of brand and model number, to find stores that sell the item. Determine which of the stores you would feel comfortable purchasing from and, from there, you can use the search by store technique to find out if any coupons are available.

Not Finding Any Coupons? Try Signing Up for Emails or Go Social

There are some stores that rarely or never offer coupon codes, so you may not find anything when you search. But, there are still a few other ways to find a discount. Certain stores will send you a coupon right away if you sign up for their emails. Some of the coupons sent to email subscribers may be one-time use codes, which means the code is generated to be unique to that subscriber and can only be used once. At other times, clicking through a link in the store's email is the only way to get the discount. As such, you generally won't see these offers listed on coupon and deal sites.

You can also check all of the store's social media pages. Liking or following a store on social media outlets like Facebook or Twitter may notify you of a coupon. Even if you don't have an account at one of these sites, you may still be able to view the store's page to see a coupon listed exclusively there.

You might even contact the store to ask if they have any coupons available. If you have never ordered from the store before, you are in a particularly good position to do this, as stores are more likely to have discounts to attract new customers. In any case, it doesn't hurt to try.

In the absence of any coupons, you might find that one store's price without a coupon is better than another store's price with one. That TV you've had your eye on may come out at a better price at a store like Walmart or Best Buy without a code, especially considering whether free shipping is offered. You'll want to calculate all of the actual costs involved before making a decision on where to purchase.

Ready for some extra credit? Continue on!

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Coupon Editor

Sarah Jones joined DealNews in 2005 and currently manages the team that publishes coupons and breaks down the info in Black Friday ads, one item at a time. She enjoys family, music, writing, and fashion.
Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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I needed 12 bottles of a non-prescription drug that is price controlled by the manufacturer. I found a seller who gives points on each purchase. You can apply those points to a purchase by cashing in points for a coupon. Unfortunately, only one coupon applies to a purchase. I followed their instructions to a t, but had to make 12 separate purchases of the same item due to their coupon restrictions. It was also necessary to restart my browser 12 times to clear the cache. It all worked out, but I guess they figured it out, since they sent all 12 bottles in the same box. I saved about 15% on the price-controlled drugs.
For maximum discount, also click through one of the cash back rebate sites.

And does a great job of compiling cash back, coupon codes, and special offers for most online shopping sites.
If a store says you've already redeemed a coupon, try creating a different account. How? Use another web browser (or clear your cookie from that store) and a different email address. You'll find that with many stores, that's all you need. (For the others, you'll need another credit card.)
Good article! Just the type of info that DealNews readers can use to keep saving.

I have Priceblink installed on Firefox. It's an "add on" that you can attach (I go to the Tools menu on the browser and select Add-ons). When you shop, it automatically shows some coupon codes and also compares prices at several other stores. It's saved me a lot of time and effort to find coupons or codes, not to say there aren't additional codes to be found elsewhere, sometimes with better savings. Users can also submit codes that are not listed so that Priceblink can check them out and add them to their list.

Also, don't forget coupons/deals and points/cashback that you can earn from on-line shopping through your credit card's shopping mall.
If a coupon code doesn't work, try calling customer service because they often have a little extra lattitude. Once I was trying to get a code to work on and called customer service. The agent figured out that the coupon threshold was $75 and the item I was buying was $74.99. He did an override and got me the discount anyway. Several times, when I have called Musician's Friend to place an order, the agent has managed to find me a coupon code to bring the price of the item (which was already on sale at a very good price) down even further.
When searching for a discount code, you should search based on what the site is asking for. In other words, if it asks for a "coupon code" use those words as the search parameters. If it asks for "promotional code", search with those words.

I never make an online purchase until do a thorough search for a code. Usually I will get to check out and see what type of code they are looking for and then do my search.

If no code is found here's another trick. Fill in name and email and go all the way to check out short of entering a credit card if possible and then close the browser window. Sometimes you will receive an email from the site inquiring why you didn't complete the purchase and they offer a discount then -10% off seems most common.