Coupon codes are a great way to save money while shopping online. But how can you find the best deals for the sites you frequent? Googling isn’t reliable — search results yield too many spammy sites and too many outdated codes. Matt Haughey writes that there’s a better way:

[While searching for coupon codes,] I remembered the BugMeNot people did a coupon site last year, so I went to bugmenot to find it and found RetailMeNot… A quick search for the product I was buying turned up half a dozen coupons including the one I was trying. It also lets you quickly vote on which ones worked and didn’t work, and reported how successful each coupon was (they sorted by success rate, so the best stuff was at the top).

Thanks to the site, I got to help others and report that my coupon code didn’t work and I tried a similar one that did end up working. The RetailMeNot site is also easy to read and navigate, letting you get in and right out as quickly as possible. The other “coupon code” sites seemed more interested in acting like quicksand and trapping you into their site.

RetailMeNot provides a database of over 35,000 coupon codes, each of which is tagged according to its category, and rated by users according to its utility. The site offers discussion forums where members can swap shopping tips. You can also download a Firefox extension, a Mac Dashboard widget, or a quick-access bookmarklet to make finding coupon codes even simpler.

Here’s a short RetailMeNot tutorial put together by a Phoenix, Arizona television station:

Christmas season is approaching. I plan to do much of my shopping online, and you can bet I’ll use RetailMeNot to make my dollars stretch further!

This article is about Money Hacks, Shopping, Tools