Tuesday Tips: Click and Save

I've learned a lot since starting this shopping blog back in October. Heck, I've learned a lot since my mother introduced me to the thrill of shopping as a young child. I can only hope to pass it down to my own kids one day. As it stands right now, I have to bribe my 4-year-old every time we need to hit our neighborhood Target. But give her time and she'll come around. She too will learn one of the greatest thrills of shopping -- saving money.

Here are a few easy tips on how to find out about sales, and where to get coupons online if you have little patience to sort through newspapers and junk mail:

Tip #1: Sign up for your favorite stores' e-mail alerts. I know it may seem like the last thing you'd want to do -- load up your inbox with e-mails advertising sales and promotions. But you never know when a heads-up about a sale or a printable coupon will come in handy. JCPenney's e-mail alert recently proved useful when it sent me a coupon for 20 percent off just as I was getting ready to buy my daughter some new bedding. The Kohls e-mail alert has also been useful in advertising its sales, including its current clearance of up to 80 percent off on various items, as well as its recent early bird and night owl sale. Many retailers will send you a coupon immediately after you sign up for e-mail alerts. Some retailers' e-mail alerts offer a preview of their new merchandise. I like Nordstrom and The Gap. They're not coupon-happy, but you'll get to see some of their spring fashions before you brave the cold to visit their stores.

Tip #2: Use coupon Web sites. It wasn't until recently that I discovered these sites, where you can get coupons for online and brick-and-mortar stores. Some of my favorites include CouponCabin.com, which had a printable 20 percent coupon off for Barnes & Noble and $30 off a $100 purchase at The Limited. I also really like Dealcatcher.com, which recently advertised a deal from ProFlowers.com, where you could get 20 sweetheart tulips with a bear and glass vase for $29.99 plus shipping. The site also had a printable 20 percent off coupon for Linens 'n Things.

Tip #3: If you know where you're going to shop, visit that store's Web site first. They may have some online coupons that you can print out and use in the store. The Linens 'n Things Web site spits out a 20 percent off coupon if you sign up for their e-mail alerts.

Tip #4: Check out Valpak.com. Valpak is a bulky blue envelope that lands in your mailbox a few times a month along with other junk mail. Inside is about 20 to 30 sheets of paper, advertising different businesses. Save time and scan the savings online. If you look closely you'll find coupons for everything from $2 off car washes to 20 percent off Botox treatments at a local cosmetic surgeon.

Tip #5: Sign up for "Deal of the Day" e-mails. Amazon.com sends a daily e-mail with deals on the most random of things. One recent e-mail advertised a Timex women's diamond accented watch marked down to $99 from $225. And then there was the Rubbermaid custom closet kit for $49.99, which was 50 percent off the original price of $99.99. Hey, you never know what you might find.

How do you find out about sales? Do you have a favorite coupon Web site? Post a comment below.

By Tania Anderson |  February 12, 2008; 3:00 AM ET Tuesday Tips
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Comments

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For technology and electronics, I like techbargains.com, although they shill more than they used to. Also fatwallet.com, but you have to dig a little deeper to find deal information.

Posted by: shop shop | February 12, 2008 10:03 AM

And don't forget Bed, Bath, and Beyond and Linens and Things take each others coupons, within reason.

Yankee Candle and Bath and Bodyworks have great e-mail bargains, too, esp. around the holidays.

I also have a MyPoints account and earn points toward giftcards when I read their e-mails or order from a store (Petco, JC Penney, Kohls, etc.) via their linkage.

Posted by: WDC 21113 | February 12, 2008 10:15 AM

Linens 'N Things takes BBB coupons?

Posted by: Wow | February 12, 2008 10:45 AM

My favorite coupon website is retailmenot.com. This site has tons of coupons for online retailers along with a guage of when the code was last used successfully. I've always been able to find a valid coupon using this site.

Posted by: BargainHunter | February 12, 2008 1:06 PM

ProFlowers "deals" are no big deal: they are always available to everyone without being on their e-list. A ProFlowers rep told me that. Plus, the flowers get no raves + frequent shipping errors. But Hallmark does offer deals both to e-mail listers and if you make a purchase. I've gotten 20% off + the online special. Recipients rave about the flowers. United Airlines miles are earnable at FTD.

Posted by: ccbene | February 12, 2008 1:59 PM

BBB accepts out-of-date coupons. I just used one from 2006! If you have 5 items, you can use 5 coupons -- and the cashier will tell you which proves to be the better deal per item (the $5-off or the 20%). The Friendship Hts. L&T isn't at all as generous; they pretty much stick to the expiration date rule. BBBs returns are easier to negotiate.

Posted by: ccbene | February 12, 2008 2:05 PM

Dealnews is good. Also, I have had success just using google (e.g. "j crew free shipping coupon") and finding coupon codes.

Posted by: anon | February 12, 2008 2:14 PM

As a former BBB employee, I can confirm that we did take L&T coupons, as well as our own expired coupons.

Living close to retail outlets in Hershey and Lancaster, I've also signed up for Van Huesen's email list which clues me in to when the VH family of stores (Bass, Izod, Geoffrey Beene, VH) has a special sale going on.

Posted by: harrisburg, pa | February 12, 2008 2:23 PM

fatwallet.com and dealcatcher.com are also good sites for online coupon codes and deal discussions.

Posted by: savvyshopper | February 12, 2008 4:06 PM

Hotcouponworld.com is my absolute favorite for great deals at grocery stores, big box stores like Target, and even online codes.

Posted by: Jenny | February 13, 2008 3:12 PM

How about the idea of saving money by not shopping? Why do we, as Americans, buy so much stuff? We should live minimalistic lifestyles and use the money we don't spend for some greater good. There are so many people in the world who don't have clothes/shoes, toys, plates to eat on, etc.

Here's an idea that will satisfy both our need to shop and need to feel good about ourselves: Go to Target. Buy some stuff. Make a care package. Bring it to a family in the not-so-well-off part of your town/city. Easy enough, right?

And when it's time to buy gifts, get a goat or cow for someone who really NEEDS it -- www.heifer.org

Give.

Posted by: Seth | February 13, 2008 3:24 PM

www.heifer.org


Just wanted to echo what a great organization they are!

Posted by: Jenny | February 13, 2008 3:52 PM

Seth,

Just because people buy things for themelves and their kids, does not mean they do not buy stuff for others. :)

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2008 4:24 PM

Thanks for the article. I learn something new everyday especially signing up for the e-alerts. I saw on susiesays.com that they have a list of free shipping offers for some great online sites. I also like retalmenot.

Posted by: Jenny B. | February 13, 2008 8:41 PM

Coupons available in the Washington and VA areas are available on www.washoffers.com ,www.wtopoffers.com and coupons4savers.com and if you have a business that wants to advertise on any of these sites regester as an advertiser FREE build your own coupon and get it out there, it's quick,it's easy it's great and you don't pay a cent unless someone prints the coupon.

Posted by: Andy | February 15, 2008 3:48 AM

BradsDeals.com is very good. It has a personal touch, which most of these sites don't. That is very helpful and assuring.

I actually emailed once when I had a problem and got a quick reply from Brad so I have confirmed he does exist!

Posted by: momma coupon | March 12, 2008 7:42 PM

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