1. Let the deals come to you
If you find an online store that has a lot of the gifts on your list but isn’t offering any coupon codes, you might be able to entice them to give you a discount by playing hard to get.
Create an account on the site, then browse as you normally would and add any items you like to your cart. Finally, bookmark the checkout page and close your browser window without making the purchase.
The company will see you’ve abandoned your cart and may start sending you emails in a few days, offering a 10% or 20% discount if you complete the transaction.
Although this strategy doesn’t always pay off, it’s been used successfully on dozens of popular sites and is worth a shot if you’re shopping on a tight budget.
2. Use a browser extension
One of the simplest ways to take advantage of online coupons is to install the free Capital One Shopping browser extension, which will automatically try to apply coupon codes to your order when you check out.
Capital One Shopping uses data from its millions of shoppers to maintain a collection of available coupon codes that have worked in the past. No need to go searching on bargain-hunter forums.
As an added perk, Capital One Shopping will also automatically price-check items while you browse on large sites like Amazon and Target. You’ll instantly be able to tell whether you can get a better deal somewhere else online, taking into account things like coupons, taxes and shipping costs.
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3. Read the fine print
Whenever you type in a coupon code and it comes back as invalid, take a few minutes to investigate why. It may not be out of date.
Online coupons often come with exclusions, and sometimes a single item in your cart can torpedo the whole offer. The fine print should hold your answer.
It’s also possible that you might need to spend a certain amount to qualify for a discount, and adding a few more things to your order could put you over the minimum required. Just keep in mind that tax typically doesn’t count when it comes to minimum-spend offers.
4. Create a dedicated email account
Some stores send out exclusive coupon codes to members of their mailing list, so consider registering to receive email updates and offers from any online retailer you shop at frequently.
It’s a good idea to create a dedicated email address you can use for all of your mailing lists, since these store emails can quickly start cluttering up your inbox if you subscribe to a lot of them.
Many stores also offer new mailing list subscribers a small discount just for signing up, so starting a separate email account for coupons could help you take advantage of any introductory offers you already used with your main address.