Once upon a time, saving money was pretty straightforward. You’d either wait for a sale or find a coupon.
If couponing, all you had to do was cut it out of the paper or peel it off of the stand in the supermarket and hand it to the cashier at the checkout.
Today, it seems like there are twenty unnecessary steps involving giving away your email address (do any of us really need to be getting more emails?), your phone number, and other digital privacy information that you’d rather not give out, all for the chance of getting a digital coupon code that half of the time doesn’t even work.
Then there are the sites that promise coupons for “simple” tasks like watching videos or answering questionnaires.
The only problem is, it takes a full work week’s worth of time and energy to earn that 5% off coupon—very quickly, these sorts of systems become not worth the trouble.
The following will explore some of the ways you can search to score deals and coupons without the hassle.
Of course, every online retailer is different, meaning some don’t offer coupons online or in-store except for very special occasions.
Leave Stuff in Your Cart
This first trick is especially wonderful as it doesn’t take much effort on your part. If you have a few days to wait for your online purchase, try leaving the items you want in your cart and then leaving the site.
You’d be surprised how often online stores will send you an email offering a discount to encourage you to get back to the store and make your purchase—sometimes, you can save up to 30% or even 40%.
Not every store does this, but when it works, it feels pretty spectacular.
Find a Coupon Site That Lets You Search by Store
One of the biggest hassles when it comes to coupon hunting is being shown all these fantastic deals for things we don’t actually want to buy.
It can be tempting to use the coupons just because they offer such epic savings, but then those crackers no one likes are still sitting in the cupboard in six months, and it turns out you spent more money than you saved because the item went to waste.
Look for stores that let you filter coupon results by where you already intend on shopping.
For example, you might be on the hunt for a new piece of tech and are thinking Wyze is the place to buy it.
A high-quality online coupon platform should allow you to only see the Wyze coupons they have available.
Go now to see an example of this on DealDrop. Ideally, you shouldn’t have to scroll through hundreds of “save ten cents on the shampoo you never buy” listings to get to the coupons you want.
If it takes hours to save a few bucks, are you actually saving any money? Surely you could have used those hours to start a side hustle or babysit the neighbor’s kids or cut your lawn, so you don’t have to pay the kid from up the street to do it.
Protect Your Data
This point might seem a bit shocking to some (and to be fair, it is), but not everyone gets shown the same prices for things when they shop online.
Many online retailers use something called dynamic pricing, which involves using the data you’ve given away to the internet (without really even being aware of it) and calculating the highest price you will pay for a good or service.
Trackers have become incredibly sophisticated in this regard, and the end result is that you might find an item to be more expensive for you or someone shopping on your phone or computer.
There are two crucial steps you need to take when shopping online to ensure that you protect yourself from this discrimination (make no mistake, that is literally what dynamic pricing is: discrimination).
First, you’re going to want to erase all your browser’s cookies on a regular basis. Cookies are packages of data or information that websites (nearly all websites) send to your computer; your computer then stores this data.
When you visit a website again, or a different page of the website, that site accesses the cookies saved on your computer and uses this information for all manner of things, including, you guessed it, setting prices.
Secondarily, you’re going to want to try shopping in your browser’s “incognito” or “private” window mode.
This can help reduce the number of cookies saved on your computer or mobile device.
Check Out Your Favorite Stores on Social Media
Whatever online retailer you love, you can bet that they have some form of social media. It might be TikTok, Instagram, or Twitter.
Find these accounts because often coupon codes are posted on their social media pages. You don’t necessarily have to follow these accounts (we all get too many notifications as it is), but you can visit them when you’re thinking about purchasing something to see if there’s a nice code you can use at checkout.
Think about the Order of Coupons
If you are coupon savvy and know of online stores that accept multiple coupons in a single purchase, pay attention to the order in which you enter the coupon codes.
Let’s say, for example, you have two coupons: one lets you save $20, and one lets you save 10%.
You want to apply the 10% off coupon code first and the $20 off second. If you were to do it the other way around, you’d end up saving the 10% on the price minus the $20, meaning you would be paying an extra two dollars when you didn’t have to
The above tips should help you save money when shopping online without having to deal with a massive hassle.
Time and money are equally important, even if sometimes it seems like we’re only going to be able to have one of them in abundance.
It’s completely possible to pay excellent prices for the things you need if you approach online shopping with a little bit of awareness regarding how online retailers function.