One Cheap Chick: Merger brings attention to lesser-known coupon websites
The company that owns and distributes Valpak coupons to millions of homes nationwide made news recently when it acquired the Savings.com website.
The deal is good news for bargain shoppers because it probably means the Valpak envelopes that arrive in the mail now will have more coupons and other offers from national companies, as well as from local merchants. Users of Savings.com, which features mostly national offers, are most likely to benefit by getting a better selection of local deals.
The acquisition, announced in late June, also puts the spotlight on some lesser-known websites that can save you money.
Although most people may know Valpak for those blue envelopes full of coupons for merchants near them that arrive in their mailboxes, the company has been working to develop its website into a one-stop shop for national coupons and other money-saving deals, as well.
Valpak.com, for example, has a searchable database of printable coupons good at merchants nationwide. Simply type in your Zip code and you'll be provided with a listing of offers in various categories. I typed in 84101 and saw discount offers for more than 100 offers from merchants in the Salt Lake area.
The site also has entered the daily deals business, selling discount vouchers good at local establishments. For example, you can buy a $10 voucher good for coffee and other beverages at The Daily Rise Expresso in Ogden for only $5 on Valpak.com, or get an admission voucher worth $10 to Jump Around Utah for $4, among other bargains.
Valpak.com also has added printable grocery coupons, some of which cannot be found anywhere else.
Although most people who print grocery coupons off the Internet use Coupons.com, SmartSource.com and Redplum.com, both Valpak.com and Savings.com have worked in the past year to increase their offerings.
Savings.com has more than 70 grocery coupons in its new printing center.
While on Savings.com, click on "Community" and you can find ways to use coupons to get good deals at grocery stores and pharmacy chains. In this online forum, bargain shoppers and frugal bloggers share some of their favorite deals, as well as freebies and recipes.
Valpak.com and Savings.com are only two of several less-traveled websites that are worth checking out. Another is CouponNetwork.com, operated by Catalina Marketing.
This site has printable coupons but also takes saving at the grocery store one step further by including Catalina rebate offers. Catalinas are basically store credits you can earn when you buy specified items.
For example, the site recently listed a $4 Catalina coupon available to those purchasing five or more Morningstar Farms brand vegetarian food products at Smith's Food & Drug stores.
Smith's recently had Morningstar products that usually cost about $4 per box on sale for $2.99; I used $1-off coupons to get them for $1.99 per box. That price is great, but add in the Catalina offer, and it becomes better. By purchasing five boxes of Morningstar products at Smith's for $9.95, I was able to get a store credit of $4.
Another lesser-known site worth visiting is SavingStar.com. It does not feature printable coupons. Rather, it allows shoppers to load coupons onto a shopper card such as Smith's Food & Drug's Fresh Values card.
The site is similar to competitors such as Cellfire.com and Shortcuts.com. But unlike those sites, SavingStar.com provides shoppers with the opportunity to earn rebates for buying a specific amount of a particular product. Through Aug. 8, shoppers can get $5 back on a purchase of at least $15 worth of Wisk brand laundry detergent.
Pair a rebate offer such as this one with a sale and/or even coupons, and you'll get a huge discount on items your family needs.
The nifty part of SavingStar.com rebate offers is that once you register your card with the website, it tracks your purchases. That means you don't have to buy all the Wisk detergent in one trip. Simply purchase $15 of the brand by the deadline and you'll get the rebate.
Lesley Mitchell writes One Cheap Chick in daily blog form at blogs.sltrib.com/cheap.
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Less-traveled coupon websites
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