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Online coupons and discount codes can save lots of money, at lots of stores, on lots of stuff

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Although I’m a frugal person, I’ve never been a couponer.

Cutting out and organizing paper coupons takes a lot of time. I saw my mom do this when I was a kid and it looked like an exhausting way to save a couple bucks.

So beyond checking out the ValPak that comes in the mail (there, I get $1 off at the local bagel shop and $7 off an oil change), I don’t clip.

But I still want to get the best possible price. That’s why I check for online coupons and discount codes before shopping almost anywhere, for almost anything.

Here are three sites that can help you with that, no scissors required.

Retail Me Not

The granddaddy of retail coupon sites, Retail Me Not launched in 2006 and now hosts nearly 600 million visits a year, has 20 million newsletter subscribers and facilitated $3.5 billion in merchant sales in 2013.

Retail Me Not is their main U.S. site, but they also own sites for other Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands and France, as well as the niche site Deals2Buy.com for tech and gadget products.

You just enter whatever online retailer you’re shopping at and the site provides coupons or discount codes for various deals. Those codes may or may not work for you, but Retail Me Not includes the success rate for previous users and comments about their experience with that retailer.

Some of the savings listed aren’t really coupon-related (Example: Fourth of July weekend appliance discounts at homedepot.com were applicable whether you had a coupon or not, and also in-store since I shopped for refrigerators that weekend), but that’s OK. It makes Retail Me Not a one-stop shop to see if you’re missing an obvious discount or free shipping before making a purchase.

DealScience

Data takes on dealing. This site, which launched in 2013, tracks and analyzes online retailers and uses that information to draw out patterns in upcoming sales and promo code releases.

It aggregates deals from sites like Savings.com and Twitter, lets you know the best times to shop, whether a sale or discount code is new or not, and if a code is reliable or unverified.

The deals are pretty good, too.

Like Retail Me Not, it will alert you to any general sales, like summer clearances and what sites have free shipping, but there are specific deals, too.

I’m a regular shopper at 6pm.com and wish I’d have checked Deal Science before I bought that last pair of running socks. I would have saved 15% (that coupon is no longer valid).

Through it’s “Shopping Tips,” DealScience also let me know that 6pm.com releases new sales every morning, and that if I’m a regular shopper, I should sign up for their Daily Deal’s newsletter and check out their “Brandaholics” frequent shopper program.

If you’re not site picky, you can search for an item to see who has it on sale. So when I put in “running socks” in the search engine, DealScience gave me 13 options where I could buy them on sale.

The Krazy Coupon Lady

Sure, this site advertises that it’s “extreme couponing,” but you don’t need to clip anything for it to be helpful.

Here’s an example of how I use it.

Before I headed out to CVS, I want to know what deals I could possibly find therein. I don’t save circulars, so instead I’ll go to this site and, under “stores,” click on CVS to find out what could be a deal for me this week. They don’t just show you the circular, but point out what’s really a good deal.

The drug store chain also has coupon printer kiosk in its stores for “ExtraCare” customers. This site will let you know what coupons will print out for most customers. I’ve saved big on paper towels and Cheerios that way.

If extreme couponing is your thing, the site tells you a store’s policies, and how to make the most out of them, including where there might be push back from management.

On CVS.com, for example, The Krazy Coupon Lady not only shows you where to find the store’s coupon policies, it directs you to the specific part that you might need to convince a recalcitrant store manager that you’re playing by the rules.

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