Yesterday I mentioned that there are five basic ways I find my deals. In this first post, I explained why couponing and money-saving blogs are such a great resource. You might have also noticed that yesterday I expanded my blog by adding a "Recommended Sites" list in the right-hand column. I hope you take a few minutes out to explore some of these worthwhile resources!
Today I'll digest the second piece of my deal-finding pie: Hot Coupon World.
Hot Coupon World is a central hub for all things couponing and deal sharing. The site offers a variety of services and resources that are valuable to both newbies and old pros alike. Some of the key sections of this site include:
- Forums: forums are places where online users can report on deals they've found, ask questions, vent over frustrations, and get encouragement from other couponers worldwide. If you've never been a part of a couponing forum before (or any forum, for that matter), I suggest you give it a try. It's a lot less complicated than you may imagine, and it's a great way to learn. You can visit Hot Coupon World's forums here. You'll notice there are many, many categories including sections geared for newbies, people wishing to buy organic, and folks looking for deals on baby-related items. I spend the bulk of my time perusing the threads related to specific stores. You can find these under the box labeled "Swingin' Deals." From there, you'll find forums for Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid, Safeway, Kroger, Target, Office Max, Home Depot, Costco, and many, many more national and regional stores. Poke around and find the stores you shop at, and read through a few threads to get the idea of how it works.
- Coupon Database: members of Hot Coupon World work hard to keep their coupon database current. It's a great tool and one I use frequently. You can access it by clicking here. Simply start by typing the manufacturer name into the description field and the database results will refresh below. Why would you use this? Namely this is a great tool if you do not cut your coupons, but file them by insert. This database will quickly help you determine which insert to head for to retrieve, say, the Clorox coupon you need for an upcoming sale. It's also invaluable to the blogger who puts together weekly shopping scenarios.
- Trading: if you are interested in trading coupons, Hot Coupon World can help you connect with other couponers. They offer special forums just for this purpose.
- Grocery Guide: I recently discovered this fabulous service! When you visit their Grocery Guide, you can generate FREE, current shopping lists for the stores you shop at. These list the top deals at those stores. Then you can head to their coupon database (or your coupon binders) to quickly do the matchups.
- Weekly newsletter: I subscribed a few weeks back to Hot Coupon World's free e-newsletter, and I have to say, the content is top-notch. Julie and Heidi, Hot Coupon World Administrators, put it together each Friday. In addition to highlighting top printable coupons, deals, and samples, you'll also learn about emerging grocery trends and larger sales promotions to watch for. The predictions are insightful, and often, scary accurate. You can subscribe by going here.
While at first glance Hot Coupon World can seem a bit daunting, I encourage you to dig in a bit. Thanks to this site, I've become a much more savvy and efficient shopper. I've learned techniques that have made a tangible difference in my grocery budget. I've also been able to take advantage of deals I wouldn't have known about otherwise. You'll find the online community there is helpful, knowledgeable, and supportive.
Sometime in the next couple days, I'll spend a little bit of time describing how I pull out the best sales in store ads and matchup my coupons. More to follow!