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One of my many financial pet peeves is the copious amount of books or magazines of coupons I receive each week.
Why is this one of my pet peeves?
Essentially, the coupon system in the USA is out of control. Coupons have become more of a way of getting us to spend more money that we don’t have at stores we would never step foot in (or be on their webpage), as opposed to what they should be – a way to save money on things we already need to buy and for stores to reward customers. On top of this, all of the different coupon packets sent to me each week (Red Plum and Valpak, just to name a few) go directly in the garbage and fill up our landfills.
Let me give you all a quick example of the uselessness of the current system.
Today, I received a Hometown Magazine booklet of coupons. I just flipped through the booklet cover to cover, and I did not see one coupon for something that I already needed to buy this coming week. However, there were plenty of good looking deals to get me to spend more money on things I don’t need, like going out to eat at the China King Buffet and getting $2 off, getting 5% off car repair work if the repair job is over $350, or getting a discount price on a golf club membership for $1799 per year.
Clearly, this type of coupon system is not working. What is a needed in today’s shopping environment is a searchable interface where you can actually find deals for things you are looking for.
But, There is a Promising Solution!
Online coupons providers are becoming a very promising resource for consumers to “strike back” and save some real money. One of these resources that I was recently exposed to was PromotionCode.org.
This system allows you to search for the specific store you normally shop at (whether it be Target, Amazon, Wal-Mart, Kroger, etc) and find coupons on the actual items you normally buy. There is also a cool feature that allows you to sign up to receive new coupons via email when they are posted or get coupons that specifically offer free shipping on online orders.
An example of how this system can be used is as follows:
As you all know, my favorite place to buy cheap, used financial books is through Amazon.com. And, one of the books that I already know I want to buy is The Power of Passive Investing by Rick Ferri. By simply searching for Amazon, PromotionCode.org’s system directs me to the Amazon coupon codes page. Listed on this page are several 5% off promo codes that can be used to reduce the cost of buying this book. It also lists the success rate that other users have had with the codes, as well as a system that allows you to report faulty or expired deals.
This is definitely something that would never be possible to obtain from a ValPak booklet.
How about you all? Do you ever use the coupons that you receive in the mail? Have you had good luck with online coupons recently? What resources do you use?
Share your experiences by commenting below!
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