The internet is a fabulous money-saving tool when you know where to look. This list of Carrie’s favorites should help you cut through the fat, avoid spam offers and start saving your hard-earned money.
If you have a favorite money-saving website that is nationally relevant and not listed here, please email me about it.
There are three primary websites that aggregate coupons that can be printed from your computer from a variety of companies:
In addition to these three sites, many manufacturers provide printable coupons right on their website, including all of these for organic products.
If you don’t clip and file your coupons you will need a database to help you locate the coupons you need in a hurry. No online database is perfect, but these two are the best of their class:
Pocket Your Dollars has its own coupon database that helps you find printable coupons and coupons from magazines like All You.
CouponMom.com. Create an account, then check out the Grocery Coupon Database to find out which coupons were included in your local Sunday paper, since coupons vary by region.
Old-fashioned, paper coupons are still a large part of saving money. These three resources will help you get all the paper coupons you need:
The Sunday paper. Your local Sunday newspaper is still the best source for old-fashioned coupons. Check out Discounted Newspapers if you want to order one or more subscriptions to your local Sunday paper because you get more coupons from a home-delivered paper than one from the newsstand. If you live in Minnesota or Western Wisconsin you can get two free passes to the Water Park of America when you buy a home-delivered Star Tribune subscription.
All You Magazine. This magazine is full of coupons, many of which are different and higher-value than what you get in the Sunday paper. It is sold on newsstands exclusively at Walmart or can be ordered online for $0.83/issue with a 30-issue subscription.
Getting Out of Debt
Until I write my own book, I recommend the following two books for those that want a plan for getting out of debt:
Free budget worksheets. I like the resource library at Crown Financial Ministries for budget worksheets and other online financial planning tools.
Perkstreet Financial. This is an alternative to an ING Direct account, but it comes with a debit card that pays 2% cash back.
Mint.com. Use Mint.com to automate your expense tracking and budget management. It automatically tracks your spending and attempts to categorize what you buy, then generates a robust set of reports. It is owned by Intuit, the makers of TurboTax, Quickbooks and Quicken, so I trust the brand and integrity of the product.
Eating Out and Recreation
Restaurant.com. Buy restaurant coupons at a great price for establishments nationwide. Restaurant.com often releases coupon codes that offer a discount off their already-low prices. (The image above updates in real-time with whatever promotional code is active at Restaurant.com to discount your purchase by 50-80%)
Groupon. Offers a daily deal tailored to your locale. Often they are restaurant deals.
Entertainment Book. You make a one-time investment into this coupon book specific for your region and receive hundreds of coupons, many of which are buy one, get one free restaurant deals.
Valpak. Free printable coupons for all sorts of establishments nationwide.
Goldstar.com. Goldstar sells discounted tickets to various live entertainment events including theater, sporting events, family events and more. They operate in select cities, including my hometown of Minneapolis.
Cash Back Sites
These sites are like an online shopping mall where you use them as a portal for all your online purchases. When you stop at a cash back site first, then click through to the retailer you will earn a specific percentage back into your account. The percentages vary over time and by online retailer.
PYD Rewards (yep, this is our very own cash back site)
Swagbucks. Swagbucks was the first search engine I know of that rewards you for searching. You create an account and keep yourself logged in; no requirement to install their toolbar.
Bing Rewards. Bing, by Microsoft, has a search engine that also rewards you for online searches. You will have to download their toolbar in order to participate.
Daily deal sites offer one deal each day until it either sells out or the day is done. There are literally hundreds of daily deal sites, but these are three of the original that offer specials nationwide.
Groupon. Offers a local deal tailored to your area.
Living Social. Works just like Groupon, but better. If you recommend a daily deal to friends and three others buy it, then your daily deal is free.
Plum District. These deals are tailored for a female and mom-type audience.
Online Sweepstakes is the premier website for finding legit online contests.
PhenoMNal Twin Cities is a local-to-me blog, but a great source for local fun on the cheap.
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