Everyone loves a coupon bargain - Word&Way

Everyone loves a coupon bargain

I am not a clipper.

Although my wife scans newspaper and mailers, clipping and organizing coupons and offers, I am a store's ideal consumer.

I confess to being an impulse buyer, picking up a candy bar, box of chips or magazine as I pass displays and through the checkout lane's gadget gauntlet.

Increasingly, the Internet is impacting our shopping habits, whether it is looking for so-called "Black Friday" deals during Thanksgiving weekend or consulting online stores such as Amazon.

Here are just a few coupon-related sites to help you become a clipping, printing and phone-wielding super-shopper.

Print coupons: The government frowns on you making your own money, but printing your own coupons? Stores are increasingly saying, "Go ahead!"

Coupons.com and valpak.com allow you to seek and print out coupons by zip code. Often these include barcodes to reduce cashier confusion.

A Smart Money article (snipurl.com/smartmoney-coupons) suggests other recommended sites and tips. Other sites are DealCatcher.com, CouponCabin.com and CouponMom.com.

Mobile coupons: "Go green" while shopping with these coupons, often a text message with a discount code sent to your phone. In the first half of this year, nearly 10 million digital coupons were redeemed, said coupon-processing company Inmar. On a feature-rich phone, an application such as Coupon Sherpa can download coupons for you.

Coupon comparisons: SearchAllDeals.com claims to compare all deal and coupon sites simultaneously. For iPhones, try the Save Benjis application (savebenjis.com).

Coupons that find you: What if you could have coupons sent to you based when you are near a store or restaurant? Yowza (GetYowza.com) and Mobiqpons.com are two examples of this type of proximity service for some mobile phones.

Code coupons: Have you shopped online and noticed a promotional code box at the checkout screen? CurrentCodes.com or RetailMeNot.com are two sites that list many of these.

Skip-the-extras coupons: A Consumer Reports column posted on Yahoo! Finance noted that although 70 percent of consumers report utilizing rebates, households with an income of less than $50,000 are least likely to take advantage of them. AntiRebate.com helps you find Internet bargains without mail-in rebates. And Free Shipping.org helps you avoid paying shipping costs.

Caring coupons: Finally, CommonKindness.com not only lists coupons, but also benefits charities when these coupons are redeemed.

Coupon cautions: There are caveats to using the Web for coupons. Confusion and counterfeit coupons keep some stores from accepting Internet coupons. Checking origination can help you avoid bogus ones. Do not photocopy coupons because they contain unique codes. Be alert to services that may load tracking software, toolbars or adware. Some services require personal information to register.

Don't keep any gems you unearth to yourself. Help those in your church and community be aware of savings and share coupons when possible. Remember comparison sites (shopzilla.com), loyalty cards and frugal tips (livingonadime.com).

Get extra readership for your publications by regularly pointing out bargain helps. And consider this as one facet in a larger church ministry for financial discernment.

Ken Satterfield (ksatterfield@wordandway.org) is marketing coordinator for Word&Way.