The 5 most popular coupon sites (and one with a mission)

I tried for years to be a coupon clipper.

Every now and then, I'd decide I was going to save as much money as possible on my groceries, or at least on stuff like toothbrushes and razor blades. I'd gather all the coupon circulars that normally went straight in the garbage, and I'd review the ads and clip the coupons that spoke to me. Sometimes, I'd even organize them into categories or put them in a special envelope marked — wait for it — “coupons.” Feeling super responsible, I put the envelope in my purse, where I was sure to see it next time I went to the store.

I'm pretty sure I never redeemed a single one. Months after the last one had expired, I'd find my coupon envelope at the bottom of my purse, along with some long-forgotten receipts and a stray Altoid.

“Hmm, coupons,” I'd think, as I popped the Altoid in my mouth. “I really should try to do this coupon thing and save money on groceries.”

I marvel at people who can clip 800 coupons and magically make money on their grocery bills. I read those stories and get psyched about the possibilities. “If they can do it, so can I!”

Only I won't. Let's just be honest.

Shopping Online

I may be the world's worst coupon clipper, but there's one thing I can do pretty well: find awesome deals online.

I always look for coupon codes, which make a commission from the merchants and also make money via advertising. It takes maybe two minutes and can yield savings like 10 percent off or free shipping, so it seems worthwhile to me. And sometimes the savings are pretty considerable.

For instance, as regular readers know, I just bought a house. And with a new house comes a lot of expenses. One major expense was a new refrigerator, since our house didn't come with one. I scoured the web for the fridge that would be just right and found one I liked at Sears. I checked it out online, then dropped by the store to see it in person. Satisfied that it was the one, I purchased it online and had it shipped to the store for pickup, which saved on shipping costs. (They didn't have the color I wanted in the store anyway, so there was no way around having to order it.) I also found a coupon code to get 8 percent off, which is considerable when the purchase is that large. In addition, I used the site eBates, which was offering a quarterly rebate from Sears.

All in all, I saved close to $300. I felt a little vindicated for my past coupon performance.

Popular Coupon Sites

I have my favorite methods for maximizing savings online. Usually that means Googling a retailer plus the word “coupon”, then using eBates. But I was curious about which sites were the most popular, so I Googled “most popular coupon sites” (natch) and found a list of the most popular sites as ranked by eBizMBA, which uses average of Alexa Global Traffic Rank and U.S. Traffic Rank from Compete and Quantcast. Here are the top five:

1. Groupon. Most people know all about Groupon. If they haven't used it, they at least are aware that it features a daily deal on the best stuff to do, see, eat and buy in your city. Launched in November 2008, the deals are only up for grabs for a specified period of time or until a certain number are sold.

Estimated unique monthly visitors: 14,500,000

Example deal: Two hours of kayak, stand-up paddleboard or canoe rental for two for $29

My take: I have a love-hate thing with Groupon. I bought a coupon for a gourmet restaurant once, and it was a fantastic deal. That said, I already knew I loved the restaurant. More often, the deals seem to be for things like massages, which my friend Kacey bought for a while, until she'd had one disappointing massage too many.

2. LivingSocial. Similar to Groupon, LivingSocial offers deals on things like local events and experiences, gourmet dinners and more.

Estimated unique monthly visitors: 13,900,000

Example deal: 18 holes of golf, cart rental, bucket of balls and lunch for two for $49

My take: I used to check out LivingSocial deals, but never bought one. I unsubscribed because subscribing to Groupon and to LivingSocial was too much for my inbox.

3. RetailMeNot. A “digital coupon marketplace,” RetailMeNot features coupons from about 500 of the world's largest online retailers.

Estimated unique monthly visitors: 13,000,000

Example deal: Save $10 off an Old Navy order of $50 or more

My take: RetailMeNot always comes up in my Google coupon code searches. In my experience, most of their coupons work. Every now and then you'll get a bogus code, but that's pretty normal with any coupon site.

4. Coupons.com. If you're looking for the more traditional supermarket coupons, the Coupons.com site offers deals on items like toothpaste, Cheerios and Tide laundry detergent.

Estimated unique monthly visitors: 8,400,000

Example deal: $.50 off two boxes of Nature Valley Granola bars

My take: I've never used this site because I don't purchase any of the items for which they offer coupons, and because we've established that I'm not great at remembering to redeem coupons in stores. But if you do manage to redeem your coupons like a responsible adult, it's worth checking out. Also, while reviewing the site to write this article, I saw that they do offer coupon codes for retailers, as well.

5. SlickDeals. This “community-driven bargain hunting” site that relies on its community to post and rate deals and coupons. The site doesn't focus on any particular type of deal.

Estimated unique monthly visitors: 6,000,000

Example deal: A Panasonic Lumix LX7 camera for $299, plus free shipping

My take: Like Coupons.com, I haven't used SlickDeals. It's obviously a popular site, but just surfing around on it for 10 minutes or so was pretty confusing. Maybe it's for deal-seekers more hardcore than I.

Coupons For a Cause

Recently I learned about another way to play the Internet-coupon game: Saving money and helping a good cause.

Michele Boal co-founded Coupons.com after she used coupons to survive on a budget. Then, more than a decade later, she decided to help families who can't afford groceries at all, even with the help of coupons. So Boal launched Coupons for Change, partnering with Feeding America to help consumers save money while providing free meals to those in need. For every three coupons clipped from the site, one meal will go to a family.

Sounds like a win-win. According to their website, they've provided 107,653 meals to date.

I know I've covered just a small handful of the coupon sites out there, so let me know: do you use online coupons? If so, what are your favorite sites?

 
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Pauline
Pauline
7 years ago

I am not a big fan of Groupon for food, and in general find they make a new, special menu for Groupon so it is hard to compare with other prices from menus or a la carte.
Also I have had friends keep the Groupon and let it lapse so it was plain money wasted. Make sure you will use it and have a calendar reminder.

qazwiz
qazwiz
7 years ago
Reply to  Pauline

groupon refunds unused expired groupons so you only lose if you forget to use multiple coupons like I used only 4 of the 5 codes for movie rental at blockbuster kioses

Jim
Jim
6 years ago
Reply to  Pauline

I have used groupon for trying new places as well, only to find that they weren’t a good place to dine itself.

Darlene with BlogBoldly
Darlene with BlogBoldly
7 years ago

I don’t go to particular sites.. but I “Google” for a coupon before I place online order.

Then I go to whatever site pops up.

~ darlene 🙂

Nathan
Nathan
7 years ago

I try using coupons, but coordinating coupons and sales is time consuming, and I generally find that I get more savings by buying the majority of my groceries at Aldi. When I do take advantage of coupons, it’s usually to try a new product. Two recent examples: I found some $1/1 coupons for Kettle brand potato chips that coincided with a sale at Kroger, so I was able to get four bags for $1 each. They turned out to be a very good product with a reasonable price, and I have since purchased them sans coupon/sale. I received a coupon… Read more »

David
David
7 years ago

I use slickdeals. Typically I browse the frontpage deals, and popular/trending deals in the sidebar. Or, I look for something specific in the search box in the upper right. You can save searches with alerts in case you can’t find a current deal on an item you want. No extreme couponer inclinations needed. 🙂

John
John
7 years ago
Reply to  David

Slickdeals and FatWallet absolutely KILL the other top 4 that are listed. SD and FW have actual “real deals” posted by users, not contrived marketing schemes to increase perception of a good deal.

Ed
Ed
7 years ago
Reply to  John

My morning ritual is to always check the following: amazon.com deal of the day woot.com fatwallet.com slickdeals.com dealcatcher.com dealnews.com There’s a fair amount of overlap between them, but sometimes you can use that as a “proxy” for how good the deal is (esp if it’s on a product you are unfamiliar with). And yeah, there’s really no way to get around browsing through all the crappy deals to get to the good stuff. But after you do it for a while you get pretty fast at it. The best deal I have seen via these sites, that I sadly missed… Read more »

csdx
csdx
7 years ago
Reply to  David

Definately a +1 to slickdeals, though I find the best deals tend to be in the forums, the frontpage ones are usually selected by the Slickdeals staff because they’re the ones that make them the most commission/affiliate money rather than being the best deals.

Also if you’re interested in the traditional coupon clipping, Slickdeals has their “Grocery/Drugstore” forum dedicated to finding the best deals and ways to use them.

Jordan
Jordan
7 years ago

I highly recommend a Chrome extension/Firefox add-on called ‘Honey.’ It does all the coupon code searching for you at the webs most popular retailers.
http://joinhoney.com/

attgig
attgig
7 years ago

The problem with most sites like this (particularly groupon/living social) is that it makes you buy things you may not necessarily have bought.

the other three, you can search for things that you need and buy just those things. However, slickdeals gets tricky because sometimes, there are great deals that come up that make me buy stuff when I don’t REALLY need it, but just buy because it’s a great deal…

Ohplease
Ohplease
7 years ago

I no longer buy from Groupon et al. Often these deals translate to a loss for the merchant. Few groupon buyers end up returning to said merchant and unless you redeem your voucher very soon you won’t necessarily get the best of service. This is often because the merchant has lost a lot of money offering a service or product for 50% off or even nearly free and can be frustrated or have to come up with ways to salvage what he or she still has. When thousands of dollars worth of, lets say, laser hair removal, is sold but… Read more »

Jane
Jane
7 years ago
Reply to  Ohplease

Like you, I think any Groupons for service-oriented things should be avoided at all costs. Many of the bad reviews I encountered on Angie’s List were from disgruntled Groupon users. In my mind, it is a mutually unbeneficial relationship for the business and the consumer. The owner or contractor feels like they are being taken for a ride by Groupon or the coupon holder and then either does a shoddy job or tacks on all kinds of other charges. Conversely, the coupon holder expects the same level of service and free scheduling that a non-Groupon holder would get and then… Read more »

TripleE
TripleE
7 years ago

I use Groupon and LivingSocial sparingly for reasons others have said above. Or I get excited about something and end up not doing it in time. I find where they work best is for lower prices on events where it’s a set date. Goldstar.com is good for that too, as it’s a discount ticket site that was doing this well before either of those existed. On a side note, not sure about Groupon, but LivingSocial is having some serious money flow issues. Well known thing in DC (they’re headquarters are here) since the city gave them a fat tax break… Read more »

Honey Smith
Honey Smith
7 years ago

Increasingly these daily deal sites are popping up in niche areas, so if you subscribe to those you are likely to get a good deal on something that you’ll actually use, and can avoid getting sucked into something you might not otherwise buy.

http://www.unbrokendeals.com/ (for those interested in Cross Fit) is one such, though there are more.

Derek | MoneyAhoy.com - Money Saving, Making Money, and Investment Ideas
Derek | MoneyAhoy.com - Money Saving, Making Money, and Investment Ideas
7 years ago

I agree with most of the folks above.

I especially dislike site like groupon because they entice you to spend money you would otherwise not part from.

My wife has a special weakness for Groupon 🙁

Marsha
Marsha
7 years ago

Although I buy online frequently, it’s usually from just a handful of companies that I know from experience that I can trust. I’m on their “preferred customer” lists, so I get advance notice of any sale or coupon. If it’s a new-to-me site, I just google for coupons. I’ve never bought a voucher from Groupon or LivingSocial. After unsatisfactory experiences with vouchers from Restaurant.com several years ago, I haven’t bought any coupons since. In general, I think coupons encourage overspending and buying more than you need. I’ve found a significant correlation between lower coupon use and more money in the… Read more »

HKR
HKR
7 years ago

Personally, I love Groupon and think it’s a great opportunity if used correctly. My husband and I first used Groupon when we were shopping for engagement rings for eachother- a jeweler was offering a Groupon good for $250 in store at a cost of $100. We had already been looking at rings for me and this shop had one I adored, so this Groupon sealed the deal for both my ring and my husband’s. As others have mentioned, there’s a lot of temptation to buy things you don’t need, and I make a point to only go on the site… Read more »

Susan
Susan
7 years ago
Reply to  HKR

If you were buying two rings from the store at the same time, you could have negotiated a discount instead of using the coupon. There is a huge markup on jewelry and stores have a lot of room to negotiate.

HKR
HKR
7 years ago
Reply to  Susan

We did wait for the semi-annual clearance sale, which allowed us to use the coupon at their “rock-bottom prices.” Although maybe we could’ve got the same or better deal by traditional bargaining, outside of yard sales (which is considered a sport in my area) negotiation is not really my forte, and it came as a big relief to have an additional $150 discount handed to me on a green coupon.

Mike@WeOnlyDoThisOnce
7 years ago

I don’t use Groupon, but I wonder if people’s savings are affected by how many others use this site (i.e. is there competition?).

Rachael
Rachael
7 years ago

Groupon is a fabulous place for getting discount tickets for attractions. It might not be great for service, but it sure does help on ticket prices. We were able to see two wildlife “attractions” That otherwise would have been totally unaffordable for a “group” for about 1/2 price. These two outfits don’t seem to have other discounts out there, so this was a huge help in paying the bill.

Valerie
Valerie
7 years ago

Retail Me Not has saved me a ton of money over the years. I try to check for coupon codes every time I make a purchase online, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised how often there’s a deal I never would have known about otherwise.

partgypsy
partgypsy
7 years ago

I have placed coupons in my husband’s wallet for actual cash off at the grocery store, and they will expire before they are used. I bought a living social coupon for a funpark place that we wanted to try, a great deal. Husband went with kids a month later, but forgot to bring coupon and so paid full price, even the coupon would have paid both of their admission fees, and then it expired. I think you really have to ask yourself if you are a coupon person before commiting. My husband has an aversion to coupons so I only… Read more »

Brianne
Brianne
7 years ago
Reply to  partgypsy

My husband is the same way. I’ll e-mail him a coupon he can scan right off his phone for the grocery store and he still won’t use it.

Jake @ Common Cents Wealth
Jake @ Common Cents Wealth
7 years ago

I’ve used all of these sites and each one of them has their place. I really like retailmenot.com for finding coupons to random stores that we’re heading to. We’ll always check for coupons either before we go shopping or while we’re shopping (sometimes even in the checkout line). There are so many free coupons out there that will save you some good money.

Ely
Ely
7 years ago

We are not really coupon people, and don’t buy a lot of the stuff that there are always coupons in the paper for. I’ve tried Groupon and Living Social and had mixed experiences. However I have saved money with RetailMeNot and Ebates. Also our local grocery store – one with membership cards – recently sent coupons for stuff we buy all the time anyway, and I happily used those – ignoring the ‘temptation’ ones they sent for stuff we don’t buy. 🙂

kathleen
kathleen
7 years ago

They vary in the mentality. Daily deal sites are basically showing you a deal and trying to get you to spend money, and coupon sites are for when you’re at the part in your buying process where you’re about to check out. You’re leaving money on the table if you don’t at least do a cursory search for “retailer coupon” before handing over your credit card info.

Brianne
Brianne
7 years ago

I’ll still use Groupon, Living Social, or Amazon Local but only with caution and usually for exercise classes/yoga. It’s just too hard to get us out of the house to a new restaurant or other “experience.”

Retailmenot is great and I check there or my credit card rewards program before I buy anything online.

Slickdeals and woot are a lot of fun but are used fairly infrequently. Slickdeals has found us some great deals for vacationing in Las Vegas.

Chelsy
Chelsy
7 years ago
Reply to  Brianne

I too, check my credit cards reward site for bonus points just for clicking through their link to reach the website I’m planning a purchase on. I’ve read that it doesn’t work if you use promo codes in conjunction, but I always search for and use retailmenot.com to see if there’s a better deal (usually) than the extra points. Either way, I’m covering my bases for getting something extra than nothing at all.

Jennifer
Jennifer
7 years ago

If you think coupons.com doesn’t have coupons for the things you use, you just don’t check it often enough. Coupons “run out” when X number are printed and coupons re-set on the 1st of each month. There are often coupons for $.75 of any Cascadian Farms product, which can mean a very inexpensive bag of frozen veggies when doubled or $.75 of any Muir Glen product. I’ve been stocking up on a couple $.11 cans of organic tomato paste for the last couple of months. I also like Slickdeals. I regularly follow the thread for the 2 grocery stores I… Read more »

Teinegurl
Teinegurl
7 years ago

I also unsubscribed to groupon and livingsocial deals. I dont buy them but my sister loves them and ends up not using them in time. Although it was way easier to get a refund from livingsocial deals then it was from groupon. (which did not give a refund). Ive used retailmenot in the past for purchases. I get so happy when i see free shipping but usually not to hawaii so then im bummed. I’ve also tried to coupon through the newspaper but it actually cost me more to buy newspapers and i wasn’t saving that much on groceries not… Read more »

Steve
Steve
7 years ago

I HATE TO USE FRAUDULENT COUPON. COM! Whenever your click on a link it never takes you directly to the exact coupon you seek. Just like the link on the bottle it takes you to a whole sheet of coupons not to the actual coupon. ANOTHER fraudulent bait and switch action they do, even if you select only 1 item, then click print, IT WILL STILL FORCE YOU TO PRINT EVERY DAMN COUPON LISTED, regardless of what you have listed!! I hate ANY fraudulent, bait and switch tactics. I simply REFUSE to search the entire coupons(dot)com index to get the… Read more »

Anne
Anne
7 years ago

I’ve found that there’s a rather big difference between the coupons you find on sights like Coupons.com (which seems to mimic the traditional “clippable” coupons and is better for groceries/everyday products) and social/deal of the day sites (like Groupon and Living Social), which have short term deals that are usually pretty good, but that often won’t actually get used. The social sites aren’t always the best deals, because sometimes you end up buying things you wouldn’t have in the first place, just because it’s on sale! I hate how quickly the really good coupons expire, but I recently came across… Read more »

Lida
Lida
6 years ago

When I clipped coupon for the first time, i also googled “best coupon sites” and I was led to eBizMBA. Those coupon site list is really useful. I compared and choose retailmenot.com. I did save some that time. And now, I always collect coupons from the following sites:
Retailmenot.com
Dealnews.com
AnyCodes.com
Fatwallet.com.

Coupon clipping is a good way to spend less for more. However, it will make you spend more if you don’t know how to use them in a smart way. Never buy something just because they are cheap, buy things when you do need them.

Michele
Michele
6 years ago

I always check for coupons on two sites UsPromoCodes.com and Retailmenot.com, for me they are the best and I recommend them all.

Lucy
Lucy
6 years ago

Great coupon sites. I have used 2 of them.

Debbie
Debbie
6 years ago

Bargainist.com is awesome.

shan
shan
5 years ago

when ever i need coupon code i just everytime go for crazycoupons.in and retailmein.com, these 2 coupon sites provide 300+ store coupons, so i go directly for coupons on above 2 sites.

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