A paper coupon is perhaps the most well known type of discount available. These are physical coupons only redeemable at physical retailers. They can often be found in newspapers advertisements, and they are distinguished by a dotted line indicating where to cut them out. They consist of information (the store and product they apply to and the amount or type of discount), fine print (detailing the stipulations of the coupon and often the date of expiration), and a barcode. Again, paper coupons do not require any computers whatsoever. The coupon is found in physical media, and the coupon itself is exchanged in a physical store.
An online coupon requires the use of an internet-capable computer but, unlike the paper coupon, does not involve any physical exchange. Online coupons can be found at various websites, including sites such as www.couponwinner.com. Rather than being physically made of paper, the coupon is merely a promotional code. A promotional code is a series of number and/or letters that you type into a promotional or discount code box at the time of checkout. (For more information about redeeming an online coupon, please see the “Redeem your Coupon” and click on “Online Coupon.”) Online coupons are found exclusively online and are used exclusively at online retailers.
Printable coupons can be considered a hybrid of both online and paper coupons. Printable coupons are compiled on various websites much like online coupons. A quick search for “printable coupons” in any major search engine will yield many such websites. There will be a link for each specific printable coupon. The link will take you to a page where there is an image of that coupon. You will need to print it out from your own computer. Once the coupon is printed, it essentially becomes a paper coupon. (For more information about redeeming printable coupons, please see the “Redeem your Coupon” and click on “Printable Coupon.”) Printable coupons, therefore, are found exclusively online but used exclusively at physical retailers.
Rebates are slightly different from a coupon. Where a coupon yields a discount at the time of checkout, rebates yield a discount at a later time. Purchases with an offer of a rebate require that you pay the full amount of the product upfront. You then fill out paperwork, and your rebate is mailed to you several weeks to several months later. (For more information about redeeming a rebate, please see the “Redeem your Coupon” and click on “Rebates.”) Rebates are generally offered on more expensive products, and they are available at online stores as well as physical retailers. Therefore, if a television is advertised as $1600 after a $300 rebate, that means you actually have to pay $1900 upfront. Once your paperwork is received, verified, and processed, your $300 rebate check will be mailed to you.
An online gift certificate is very similar to cash, except it is used exclusively at online retailers. Your gift certificate can either be emailed to you, or it may be sent through the physical mail. For that reason, online gift certificates can either be an actual piece of paper, or it can simply be an electronic file. Either way, an online gift certificate will include a promotional code just like any other online coupon. A promotional code is a series of letters and/or numbers you type into the promotional or discount code box at the time of checkout. (For more information about redeeming your online gift certificate, please see the “Redeem your Coupon” and click on “Online Gift Certificate.”) Depending on the type of gift certificate, it may be redeemable at one specific site or several different websites. Read your specific gift certificate carefully for details. The amount of the gift certificate will be deducted from your total bill after you type in the promotional code. It can be applied to both the product and any additional shipping fees. Again, online gift certificates are not valid at physical stores.
Free shipping is essentially what it sounds like. At pretty much any online retailer, after you purchase a product, additional shipping and handling fees will be added at your expense. But if you have a free shipping coupon, or if the websites itself is hosting a free shipping promotion, you will not be responsible for those fees. Rather, you will pay for the item itself and only the item. The company then has to pay for shipping out of pocket. Because the company is not reimbursed for those shipping costs, they often require you spend a minimum amount of money on their site to qualify for free shipping. The amount varies, but it is almost always at least $25. At the time of checkout, look at your itemized bill. If you have qualified for free shipping, the shipping section should read $0.00. If it does not, your purchases do not qualify for their promotion, and you will be charged for any and all shipping fees.
You can receive a percentage off your total purchase either through an online coupon or through a website promotion. (For more information about redeeming a percentage off your total purchase, please see the “Redeem your Coupon” and click on “Percentage Off Total Purchase.”) This type of discount basically means some specified percentage will deduct from the total amount of your purchase. Therefore, if you spend $50 on your online purchase, and the discount is good for 10% off, you will only be charged $45. To determine your discount, multiply (total purchase amount) X (decimal equivalent of percentage off). In this example, (50) X (.1). Then take (total purchase amount) — (your previous answer). Since our previous answer was $5, the total amount we would pay after the discount is $50 - $5, or $45. One final note, the percentage off your total purchase does not usually apply to shipping fees.
You can receive cash off your total purchase either through an online coupon or through a website promotion. (For more information about redeeming cash off your total purchase, please see the “Redeem your Coupon” and click on “Cash Off Total Purchase.”) This type of discount basically means some specified amount will deduct from the total amount of your purchase. Therefore, if your online purchase costs $50, and the cash off promotion entitles you to $5 off, you would only pay $45. To determine your discount, simply take (total purchase amount) — (cash off amount). In this example, $50 - $5 for a total of $45. One final note, the cash off your total purchase does not usually apply to shipping fees.
Reward points come from a variety of places. Many credit cards offer reward systems, or there are various websites that establish reward systems of their own. The important thing to remember about rewards points is they do not offer discounts at the time of purchase. In general, for every dollar you spend on your credit card or through any various reward systems, you will receive a specified amount of points. These points will amass until you have enough to redeem benefits. (For more information about redeeming your reward points, please see the “Redeem your Coupon” and click on “Rewards Points.”) Again, you are still required to pay the full price of your purchase upfront. There is a lot of disparity between these reward systems, so some apply exclusively to online retailers while others allow you to earn rewards on both online and physical retailer purchases. Consult your specific plan for details.
A grocery coupon is a specific kind of online and paper coupon. It remains one of the most commonly used discount. Whether it is a paper coupon or an online coupon, grocery coupons apply to purchases made at major grocery stores. They can apply to food purchases as well as other common non-food items found at these types of stores. If you’re using a paper coupon, the coupon is redeemable at any of the specified grocery chains, unless otherwise noted on the coupon itself. If you’re using an online grocery coupon, it is redeemable at that grocery store’s website. For more information about redeeming grocery coupons, please see the “Redeem your Coupon” and click on either “Paper Coupon” or “Online Coupon.” Since the grocery store is one of the most common places to shop, grocery coupons can save you a surprising amount over time. Try them out, and see how a few cents saved here and there with these coupons really adds up.