July 11, 2011 Posted by: Tech CU
Remember when you used to sift through the Sunday paper to cut out coupons for the following week? This seemingly nostalgic, almost “Norman Rockwell-esque” scene has virtually disappeared with the multitude of “coupon” web sites that have come into being during the past few years. The notion of serving up daily deals has become today’s hot startup concept with Groupon’s recent filing to go public, and a flood of couponing companies saturating the market.
I’ll admit I too have been sucked into this vortex and will do the occasional click when a particular designer name or intriguing product or service appears (massage anyone?). I signed up about a year ago for a couple of sites just to see what all the hubbub was about. Although I find some of the offerings less than appealing, I have made a purchase or two when I see something unique.
I’ve only got a few sites on my docket, but still receive an onslaught of daily deals rivaling those from such established retailers as Target and The Container Store. At the end of the day, how do you separate the real deals from the junk? After all, according to a recent Smart Money article, there are currently approximately 500 web sites purporting to offer good discounts — but, states the article, only about 50 are worth looking at.
Couple of key indicators to help determine whether you are getting a valid deal or not. First of all a “legit” site will generally require special software for printing a barcode, as well as put a limit on the number of copies you can print of a coupon. Also, look for the dates on coupons to ensure that they are recent.
According to Smart Money, the top five coupon sites include the following:
Coupons.com – Thought to have the biggest selection of printable grocery coupons.
CouponCabin.com – Tests thousands of coupons every day and will guarantee some from major retailers.
Coupon Network by Catalina – Another supermarket site with printable deals and a rewards program. (The company that produces coupons printed out with your grocery receipt.)
DealNews.com – Lists the latest coupon codes for large retailers. Provides analysis on the deal’s relevance.
DropDownDeals.com – Displays an automatic pop up with current sales related to the retailer you are browsing.
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