Anyone who has travelled in the US will be familiar with the coupon booklet; that is a booklet full of money-off vouchers that can be picked up in almost any store or motel.
Over there the use of coupons to save money on your grocery shopping is part of daily culture and it is slowly become part of the Irish culture too.
So where do you get coupons an discounts?
First, bookmark this link: 30 sites with deals, comparisons and offers.
Money-off coupons you get from your supermarket / store loyalty card
People are accustomed to using supermarket coupons such as those from Dunnes, Superquinn or Supervalu.
It is free to sign up to any loyalty scheme and typically you get 1c back for every €1 spent, in addition to coupons.
Print off grocery coupons
It’s not at the level of the US here when it comes to coupon availability for groceries (check out coupons.com to see what I mean) but you can get them.
The easiest way to find grocery coupons in one place is to log on to pigsback.com and sign up as a member, which is free. Click on the section called coupons, choose what you want and print it off. For example, I spotted vouchers for €2 off Persil bio, €1 off any Comfort product, €1 off Johnsons baby oil, 60c off McCambridges wholewheat bread and more.
People do seem to be embracing coupons more: Pigsback report a 55pc increase on coupon prints in the second half of last year and say that this year the overall prints per coupon have increased further, rising to 2,500 to 3,000 prints per month from 1,500 to 2,000 per month.
Sites with coupons and voucher codes
Try sites that have printable coupons, voucher codes for online purchases and information on sales for non-groceries. Sites include: voucher-cloud.ie (it also has a handy App), 5hop5.ie, voucherpages.ie, myvouchercodes.ie and clicknsave.ie, among others.
For new mums or mums-to-be there is a very targeted site called eumom.ie, which in addition to being a parenting website with a discussion and support platform has a marketing element. So if you become a member of the site you’ll get money–off coupons, for example €1 off Liga and €5 off baby purchases at Boots and so on.
Discount vouchers that you purchase (daily deals)
These are the discounted vouchers for anything from a meal in a restaurant to a beauty treatment or a language class, that you purchase on a ‘daily deal’ site such as Groupon, Living Social, Pigsback, Grabone etc. The discount is an average 60%.
mydealpage.ie to find details of all daily deals in one place.
Just make sure that you’re buying something because you want it and not just because it is discounted. Remember the psychological pull of the giant discount sign can be very strong.
Get cash-back for online purchases
If you shop online you can get cash back on a purchase by going to your web trader’s site via a cash-back site (i.e. fatcheese.ie). You are not getting a discount on a purchase but rather a specified cash sum or percentage of sale as advertised.
Your experience shopping on your web site of choice is exactly the same as usual, you get the offers if any etc. But the difference is that ‘cookies’ on your computer let the web trader know that you have come to them from a cash-back site. They have an agreement in place with the cash back site where they will pay you either a fixed amount of a percentage of the purchase, directly to either your bank account or PayPal account. Essentially the retailers are paying the cash back site a commission to send customers their way, and then this is passed on to you.
For example, current cash-back offers include 4% back on Debenhams purchases, 5% from Coast, 6% from Asos, 10% from hotel.com and you’ll also find cash amounts like €30 for AA home insurance and similar for things like phone and TV contracts.
Follow businesses on Facebook and Twitter
For a growing number of businesses social media networks are a platform for winning and keeping customers. Many businesses have competitions or give out freebies just on their facebook or Twitter pages, which means you have to follow them and engage with them to get the free stuff.
To mention just a few examples Electric Ireland were giving away tickets and festival kits for the Electric Picnic via twitter and were advertising a 10% off offer on school books in conjunction with Easons for their customers. New online delivery and hosting service Parcel Motel is using Facebook and Twitter to run competitions to give away Playstations and Dublin restaurant Skinflint gives away free lunches on Twitter.