Here's a post from my personal experience. Below I have outlined a few tips for everyone on how to get the best deals our there, so that you don't have to "Google Search" for coupons before each shopping trip. If you follow these tips, you will save yourself time, and you won't have to subject yourself to the risk of giving out your personal information to some scammy coupon websites out there.
1) Set up a "Fake" email address just for coupons: I don't know about you, but I do not like receiving e-mail promotions, coupons, and SPAM in my personal email inbox. My personal email address is for friends, family, and people who are generally not trying to get money from me. I am more inclined to delete advertisements from my personal inbox, because they're invasive and annoying! However, many retailers nowadays reserve steep promotions and coupons for their e-mail subcribers. Don't miss out on these great deals. Get these promotions by setting up an email address that you use explicitly for subscribing to retailers' newsletters, promotions, and so forth. Personally, I like Google's email service Gmail, as they have very user-friendly ways of setting up e-mail filters, marking items as spam, and organizing your emails. When you are looking for the most recent coupons, there is no need to look any further than your inbox. You can "Search" for your retailer in your inbox, and all of their recent emails to you (with coupons included) will surface.
2) Stay abreast of the promotions from your favorite retailers: Most of us are half-intelligent with our money, and will proactively plan out our shopping. This is opposed to waiting until cotton-mouthed and famished before going out and purchasing groceries; or upon arriving at the grocery store, only purchasing items surrounded by flashing lights and marketing collateral. If you are a half-conscientious shopper, you already know what stores you frequent, and when you generally visit them. Take this a step further. Take inventory of the top 20 or so retailers that you frequent. You can make this list by forecasting your needs: Groceries, Beauty & Grooming, Home Improvement, Entertainment, Auto Maintenance, etc. If you want to be even more detailed, you can detail out each section with items you know you will purchase (e.g., Pantene Shampoo, Oil Change, Air Filters for home, Body Lotion, Face Lotion). Got that list? OK. Now:
- Go to the website of each location, and find the page for their weekly specials.
- Bookmark that page on your browser. If you want to be even more organized, set up folders for the bookmarks (e.g., Grocery, Beauty & Grooming, Home Improvement).
- While you're on the website, sign up for their email subcription (with your "fake" email address for coupons).
- This next step is the fun part. Once a week, allot about ten minutes to go through each of those bookmarks and check what specials are going on! You will quickly get the hang of it, and soon you will be breezing through the promotions like a cartoon flip-book.
3) Find a few legitimate coupon websites you can visit to double-check your savings: I tell you from personal experience, there are a number of sites out there who will entice you to enter in your phone number and personal information before you see any coupon or ad. Many of these are spammy, and will utilize your information in ways that will annoy you. You might even receive a call from a psychic hotline who gets $100 per phone lead they receive from the coupon site. That's really annoying. The best bet is to find sites that are legitimate coupon sites.... You will know which ones are legitimate very quickly, because they will offer you the promotions up front without requiring you to divulge your personal information.
I'll add onto these tips as time goes on... but I hope they are enough to help you get started!