Have you noticed lately that almost every online retailer has added an "Insert Promo Code Here" box to their checkout page? Even Paypal allows sellers to accept Promo or Coupon Codes as a way to offer discounts to their customers.
So what are Promo Codes, and how can they save you money each time you shop online?
Promo (or Coupon) Codes are nothing more than a string of letters or numbers (or both) that, when input into the checkout page of a participating retailer, will reduce the sales price of the item(s) you just bought. These codes can reduce your purchase price by 5-50%, depending on the size of the discount offered by the retailer.
One of the biggest retailers online, Dell Computers, has codes available that will save you $300 or more when you buy a computer online. I personally know a woman who just saved $350 when buying her new laptop from Dell, just by using one of these little known "secret codes."
The trick, however, is finding the latest code numbers, and using the ones which will save you the most money. These codes are notorious for having a short lifespan...what retailer wants to have a 35% Off Promo Code floating around cyberspace indefinitely? That would kill their long term profits.
So these codes tend to have short expiration dates. If you find one, you usually need to use it fast. Also, it's good to try and locate several sources of codes, as one website might have a 15% Off code, while another will have a 25% off code, but one that is only good for 24 hours.
So where do you find these codes?
A Google search is always a good place to start (or Yahoo, or MSN, or whatever search engine is your favorite). You can try a general search under terms like "Promo Code" or "Coupon Code" and you will dig up a treasure trove of sites that keep track of these codes.
A better way of searching is to be ultra-specific in your search. If you are searching for a Dell Computer Promo Code, use that as your search term. If you are looking for a code from Office Max, search for "Office Max Promo Code" or "Office Max Coupon Code." Either term should get you started in the right direction.
A third way of searching is to use the resource available at PromoCodeSource.com, which is an .exe program that automatically compiles results from over 60 sites dedicated to the search and publication of Promo and Coupon Codes. This is how I save a TON of time when I am looking to shop and save online.
I've also found a bunch of Dell Codes for sale on Ebay. Do a search for "Dell Coupon Codes" (but don't use the " "'s...). The last time I did one of these searches, I found over 200 codes for sale with prices ranging from $.99 all the way up to $9.99.
And it makes sense for someone about to spend $1,200 on a computer to spend $10 on ebay to buy a coupon code that will save him or her $300-$350 on that purchase. Of course, it would be cheaper to spend a little time searching for those codes for free online, but some people would rather save the time and spend a few bucks to save a whole lot more.
Which bring me to my final point about these coupon codes: There is a HUGE market on ebay for people who will spend the time to find the codes and put up an auction. You may not make a fortune on any one sale, but you could end up selling dozens of codes each week for a few bucks apiece. Use your research skills to find the latest and greatest codes, or simply search the web using the PromoCodeSource.com compilation program and start a little side business on ebay as the Promo Code King (or Queen!).
But no matter how you find the codes, just start finding and using them when you shop online. For a few minutes of effort, you can put hundreds, even thousands of dollars back in your pocket each time you shop online.