Legend has it that Coca-Cola company owner Asa Candler created the world's first coupon when he handwrote tickets for a free glass of Coca-Cola back in 1887 [source: Tuttle]. Since then, coupons have become a mainstay of American consumer life. They're all over the Internet now with sites like Coupon Sherpa and phone apps like Pushpin. You don't have to become an "extreme couponer" to enjoy the benefits of coupons. Here are a few tips for stress-free couponing:
- Learn the lingo: A "stackable" coupon is one where you can use a manufacturer's deal in addition to a store coupon. A "double" coupon is a situation in which a store doubles the value of a coupon on a certain day or time period.
- Be organized: Mobile apps like Pushpin organize and keep track of your coupons for you. For old-fashioned paper coupons, you'll need to organize them yourself by date and type so that they don't expire before you can use them.
- Only buy what you need: A sweet deal isn't so sweet if that two-for-one shampoo is gathering dust in your cabinet months after you buy it. Only clip coupons for brands and products that you actually use.
Clark Howard has an extensive list of coupon sites on his Web site. Discovering these bargains can feel like finding free money -- and there's nothing more stress-busting than free money.
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