Saving Money: Using Coupon Codes at Christmas

This year I’ll be doing nearly half of my Christmas shopping online. Last year that number was probably closer to 75%, but this year I found some of the gifts I needed at Costco. So far I’ve only needed to visit two online stores to get many of my gifts: Amazon and Red Envelope. Red Envelope specializes in high quality, unusual gifts in a wide range of prices (some of them are even affordable). Their gifts are great for moms, dads, best friends – and they always offer coupon codes.

With Amazon, it’s easy enough to get a good deal simply by buying enough to get free shipping. One caveat, make sure the item states that it’s eligible for free shipping. Affiliated stores usually charge shipping, even if you otherwise qualify. To save more, watch your cart for sales. That’s how I saved 60% on two gifts yesterday, and still got free shipping.

With Red Envelope, I also monitor the site to see if any of the gifts I’m buying are on sale. If something goes on sale before my purchase deadline, I grab the deal. If it doesn’t, I buy it on my deadline date to make sure it arrives in time. This year, I combined a sale item with a coupon code, which saved me an additional 10%.

If you want to use coupon codes, simply search online for “[name of the store] coupon codes.” For example, I searched for “red envelope coupon codes.” You’ll see a list of numerous sites. I’ve had good luck with Coupon Cabin for the stores I shop, but your results will vary.

Check each site, looking for notes on which coupons are working and when they expire. With Red Envelope, one site listed either 10% off the entire purchase or free shipping. I did the math and determined that 10% off was a slightly better deal, so I used that one. If that hadn’t worked, I would have kept trying different codes until I found one that did.

If you can’t find coupon codes, you can also search for promotional codes and discount codes. A few stores never offer coupon codes. If you really like a store, join their mailing list. They’ll regularly email you sale announcements and coupon codes. I’ve never paid full price for anything at Ann Taylor Loft because they send me a coupon code nearly every day.

And remember, using a coupon code doesn’t mean you have to spend more out of guilt! Four years ago I bought my husband a game I knew he’d love, but it rang up at one cent. I felt so bad about only spending a penny on him that I bought him a second game for $40 (my budgeted amount.) He loved the first game, and still hasn’t played the second game.

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