Thursday, March 12, 2009

Boot Camp: The Internet– A Couponer's Best Friend

What's the number one tool to help you find success in couponing? A trusty Internet connection. I'm guessing by the fact that you are following The Frugal Muse, you've already got that in place! 

Here's how you can use the Internet to maximize your coupon savings:

• Make a list of frugal blogs, and get in the habit of checking them at least once a day.

Hundreds of bloggers are posting the best deals to be found all across the county. A frugal post is probably going live just about every minute of every day. Take advantage of this incredible resource! Other people are doing the work, and you get to reap the benefits!

I have a list of frugal blogs/ couponing sites bookmarked, and I click through them every day to see what new deals are popping up across the board. Often I'll see the same deals on several of the blogs, and each blog often has unique content as well. Many of the best deals are short-lived, so if you only check your blogs sporadically, you might miss out. Here are a few frugal blogs that I would recommend adding to your list:

The Frugal Muse (of course!)
Money Saving Mom (my very favorite– always tons of great deals!)
The "Cents"ible Sawyer (great place to start for learning CVS; great Walmart deals as well)
BeCentsAble (host of the well-known 'Grocery Gathering'- check this out!)
Frugal Living NW (if you live in the Pacific Northwest, like me!)

There are literally hundreds of other great frugal blogs out there, so when you find one you like, add it to your list! My personal blog list includes several more that post specifically about the stores I often shop at; find some that are a good fit for you and add them to your own list!

• Utilize online resources before every shopping trip.

In addition to the frugal blogs, there are a few all-inclusive couponing sites that are fantastic resources. These sites offer coupon databases (where you can type in a product name and see every coupon that is out there, including internet printable links.), forums for every store you could name, and lots more. 

For example, if you are heading to Target this week, stop by the Target Forum at A Full Cup. You might be surprised how five minutes of perusing the posts there will give you tons of ideas on freebies and cheapies to pick up during your trip.

Here are my favorite all-inclusive couponing sites:

I spend the majority of my time on A Full Cup and Hot Coupon World, mostly just because I know those sites better and can navigate easily. But I know tons of people who claim Coupon Mom as their favorite... so check out all of them and see which you like best!

• Post referral deals on your own personal blog, or e-mail family and friends.

You will often find online deals that get even sweeter when you refer family and friends.

Swagbucks is a perfect example. Swagbucks (a great site where you can earn gift cards for doing your normal internet searching) is a great deal even if you never refer anybody. But when friends and family sign up under you, you'll be amazed at how quickly you start earning those gift cards! 

Take advantage of these types of deal by posting about them on your own blog or e-mailing friends and family. If it's something you love, there's a good chance your friends and family will, too!

These ideas are just a tiny fraction of the way you can use the internet to maximize your couponing and frugal shopping potential. The World Wide Web really is a couponer's best friend!

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